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  1. #1

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    Camping with the Monkey?

    Hello,

    I've started dreaming about loading up the Karate Monkey and doing some XC camping. When I look at the bike though it seems like it would be tricky to mount the fenders and racks you will need, especially with disc brakes. With my size 14 feet I have a problem with kicking some of the bigger panniers too.

    Does anyone have any experience with this or have any thoughts? Can anyone suggest some good places to go?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    giddy up!
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    Two words...

    Bob trailer.

    B
    www.thepathbikeshop.com

  3. #3
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    old man mountain

    Upon recommendations on this board, I bit the bullet and bought a set of old man mountain disc/29er specific racks. Talk about easy to install, and you can carry a ton (well, 60lbs or so) Anyway, now I know what a real rack is - light, strong, and fits perfectly. I'm set for some serious multi-days. Go for it! ps - also works with suspension if you want and saves about 12lbs on the bob setup!

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by donkey
    Two words...

    Bob trailer.

    B
    How are they for off-roading?

  5. #5
    Where's Toto?
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    BoB seems like a better option for XC touring. You can remove the trailer and go riding without the annoyance of racks/bags. When you're not touring you can haul in the groceries and firewood. I've used a Blackburn rack and some old Rhode Gear panniers for commuting for many years. Don't think I'd want to carry much more than the recommended 25lb limit on the rack though.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by n8ofire
    Upon recommendations on this board, I bit the bullet and bought a set of old man mountain disc/29er specific racks. Talk about easy to install, and you can carry a ton (well, 60lbs or so) Anyway, now I know what a real rack is - light, strong, and fits perfectly. I'm set for some serious multi-days. Go for it! ps - also works with suspension if you want and saves about 12lbs on the bob setup!
    Those racks look great, and there's a local dealer too! I guess I'll have to do decide if racks or a trailer would be a better choice.

  7. #7
    featherweight clydesdale
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris the monikerless
    Those racks look great, and there's a local dealer too! I guess I'll have to do decide if racks or a trailer would be a better choice.
    Just make sure you get the BOB w/ the yoke that fits 29"ers or loaded touring bikes with fenders. The standard yoke won't work. BOB also works great for hauling tools on trail maintenance days. You may be able to put 50 pounds on a BOB, but I can't recommend going over about 25. Get the Ibex model if you $can$.

  8. #8
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    I managed some 80lb+ on my BOB once. Yes it broke, first day of 5-day trip, after 235km, in the streets of Liege, we were almost at out planned destination. Had to steal bolts from my canti brake to repair it, together with a strong elastic "spin", it held for the rest of the trip.
    I still don't own any lightweight camping, guess I'm in trouble when I decide to go camping again. My BOB's 26" also, so useless.
    Klok - XC - Skate - Ski

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by n8ofire
    Upon recommendations on this board, I bit the bullet and bought a set of old man mountain disc/29er specific racks. Talk about easy to install, and you can carry a ton (well, 60lbs or so) Anyway, now I know what a real rack is - light, strong, and fits perfectly. I'm set for some serious multi-days. Go for it! ps - also works with suspension if you want and saves about 12lbs on the bob setup!
    How much work is it to attach/remove those racks? Like if I wanted to go to the farmer's market and bring some stuff home and then take the racks off for the next ride?

  10. #10
    markybrue
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    off roadin with the BOB

    Quote Originally Posted by chris the monikerless
    How are they for off-roading?
    I use my BOB to get to rock climbing spots. Rock climbing gear for a group can be heavy!! The trailer can handle more weight than recomended and performs very well off-road. The best part is that you can disconect the trailer when you want to ditch your gear.

  11. #11
    Your bike sucks
    Reputation: Carl Mega's Avatar
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    I'm doing a 14 day off-road tour this summer. I'm planning on using a KM, old man mountain rack, and panniers either from Lone Peak or Arkel. For 29ers, the old man mountain racks are just about the only game in town. According to the people at OMM, you should be able run disks.

    I've used a BOB Ibex a ton at work. In fact, it's use was the genesis of the back country trip I'm plannning. They work better than you think but but but I don't think they are the best think for bike camping. They are easy to overload and get very very squirly on the DH when you do. Compared to a rack and pannier combo it's heavy and slower. Pushing with the trailer on just sucks. I don't think they are well suited to constant technical riding.

    So with that in mind, I weighed the pros and cons of using each system:

    BOB
    pros:
    holds a lot of big gear
    weight is off the bike
    removable

    cons:
    handling
    easy to overload at expense of handling
    extra weight
    more parts to break (and they do and I have)
    difficult to push/manuever bike when you need to
    cost

    Panniers/Rack
    pros:
    possibily better handling
    weight
    ability to push
    better over technical and DH terrain
    few parts to break (no wheels, pivots, skewers, pins, etc)

    cons:
    limited by cargo size
    possiblity of off balancing your load
    heel clearance

    I'm sure there's more but I've made my mind up. Hope this helps some.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Mega
    I'm doing a 14 day off-road tour this summer. I'm planning on using a KM, old man mountain rack, and panniers either from Lone Peak or Arkel. For 29ers, the old man mountain racks are just about the only game in town. According to the people at OMM, you should be able run disks.
    Please post pictures! Also tell us about the experience.

  13. #13
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    My thoughts on racks vs. panniers (long) ...

    I've done both, and have had good experiences and problems with both.

    Weight-wise, racks win hands-down. Can easily be 10+ pounds lighter.

    But trailers can carry a lot more cargo. For 20-30 pounds or less of gear, the rack/pannier setup may handle better, but with a heavier load I actually like the handling with a BOB better, because the weight is off the bike and with a much lower center of gravity. Also with heavier cargo the rack/pannier setup puts a lot more weight on your rear wheel, increasing the odds of wheel/tire failure (been there, cheap wheel, won't happen again). Some people will go with a front/rear pannier setup, but then you have a strong handling penalty and a lot less weight savings compared to BOB than with rear-only.

    Rack/pannier is easier to manage in tight spaces (singletrack or urban), obviously, so chalk up one big advantage there.

    Racks and panniers can be trouble-prone, though maybe those OMM racks are better than others. At least with the common Blackburn mountain racks, I've had both the attachment hardware and the racks themselves fail on the trail. I've also had cheap REI panniers fall off or get caught between the tire and rack, causing a catastrophic skid that nearly got me run over on a busy city street.

    I remember running across a website that did an analysis of the problems people had while doing the Bikecentennial cross-USA tour 30 years ago. Nearly 15% of the riders had problems with their racks, and another 15% or so had problems with their panniers. IIRC, these two components had a higher failure rate than anything except tires, and frankly it doesn't look to me there have been quantum leaps in the technologies involved since then (unlike with other bike parts!)

    I don't mean to say there haven't been advancements. Everyone swears by the OMM racks, and on my commuter I'm running a TUBUS tubular steel rack that should have a better fatigue life than a comparable aluminum rack and weighs less too. And I love my Ortlieb panniers, which have served me well for quite a few years without failure, although I can see where failures could occur, especially under real mountain biking conditions.

    And not that BOB is failure-proof. You've got another tire and wheel that could give you problems (or clog up with mud, as I have had happen), and the point of attachment to the bike (as with racks, and as with pannier-rack attachments) is weak. I once jackknifed my BOB in mud, damaging the tiny sleeve that holds the retention pin in place. Fortunately it was marginally usable for the ride home, but welding skills were required to actually fix it.

    I've been mulling this question over quite a bit. I've had great success with BOB doing off-road touring, and it's been my choice for that the last few years -- but it is quite a bit of extra weight and klutziness than I'd ideally like. One option that's really starting to appeal to me is the Xtracycle conversion kit:



    For $300 you get a system that attaches to almost any bike, stretching the wheelbase by 15" for more stability, potentially better weight distribution and more than twice the cargo capacity of standard rear panniers. I've seen these in person and they're very well made, looking to be a lot more solid than any rack/pannier setup I've seen. Seems like this option could be a "best of both worlds" situation, and the only setup I've seen that l would really trust under real off-road singletrack conditions. Sure the wheelbase is longer, but it's much shorter than with a BOB or even a mountain tandem (which is a 24-28" stretch in wheelbase). Biggest disadvantages of the Xtracycle are that you can't just drop your panniers or trailer in 2 minutes and hit the trails on a "normal" mountain bike, and conversion between regular and stretch mode can take 30-60 minutes, enough hassle that most people who have them have it on a dedicated bike. Also no 29" option, although there's no reason you couldn't run a 29" front.

    If money were no object, I'd have a stretch mountain frame custom built with a wheelbase of 56-60", with integrated racks that accept the Xtracycle panniers (sold separately) but with the weight a bit further forward than on their kit. Then I'd attack what I see as the biggest flaw of the Xtracycle: in terms of weight distribution and center of gravity, that big empty space in the rear triangle where the rear wheel used to be is about the best place on the bike to put heavy things, but with the Xtracycle that space is completely unused. I'd have a bag custom made to fit that space so it doesn't go to waste, which would allow for less weight in the panniers and better weight distribution. Ah, dreams...
    Last edited by GlowBoy; 01-28-2005 at 03:04 PM.

  14. #14
    featherweight clydesdale
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloxxki
    I managed some 80lb+ on my BOB once. Yes it broke, first day of 5-day trip, after 235km, in the streets of Liege, we were almost at out planned destination. Had to steal bolts from my canti brake to repair it, together with a strong elastic "spin", it held for the rest of the trip.
    I still don't own any lightweight camping, guess I'm in trouble when I decide to go camping again. My BOB's 26" also, so useless.
    50 pounds is no problem on flat fire roads. Throw in down logs, rocks, and climbs, and it will kill you.

    You can order up a yoke that will fit a 29"er for about $30. It will fit your existing trailer. I have a 26" yoke hanging on the wall.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fattirewilly
    50 pounds is no problem on flat fire roads. Throw in down logs, rocks, and climbs, and it will kill you.

    You can order up a yoke that will fit a 29"er for about $30. It will fit your existing trailer. I have a 26" yoke hanging on the wall.
    Oh yeah, good point. One other big disadvantage of BOB that I forgot to mention! Not stable at high speeds. I have a self-imposed speed limit of 15 mph with a full load, maybe 20 mph on really good surfaces. This is not a big deal for my pace of dirt-road touring, but would be a big problem for some.

  16. #16
    Your bike sucks
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    Yeah, it should be a heck of a trip. I'm riding the Colorado trail point to point. I built my 29er just for this purpose and I think it will be perfect...I love the way it rides so far.

    Glowboy had some interesting comments. Sounds like he's done this a fair amount. As I'm sure you are finding out, it's hard to operate without first hand experience. In lieu of personal experience - I've read a ton of reviews and talked to as many off-road tourers and I could. Never heard of a complaint about the OMM racks and most the newer panniers have super-duper mounting and securing systems. Or so I'm told. I guess I'll find out. My warm up tour is the Kokopelli trail from Fruita to Moab. I hope to learn a lot from this ride - good and bad.

    I've broken small parts on the BOB three times so it's not tops on my list for reliability (2 skewers, 1 pin). There are definately some positives to the trailer systems tho. I've hauled some heavy sh1t and things I would not consider putting in panniers (containers w/ diesel fuel). The absolute, number one reason I chose not to go this route was the posibility of extended hike-a-bikes on the CT. I've pushed bikes w/ loaded BOBs and it is not fun. I hope that a loaded pannier bike will be easier to push when needed. The importance of ease of hike-a-bikes may not be high on your requirements.

    So, I'm glad that you posted this question. It's good to hear everyone's opinions and ideas on this stuff. Maybe the thread will stick around and get even more responses.

    If you are interested, I'll post pics of the equipment I purchase and my eventual setup. Once I do the initial Kokopelli tour, I'll post my findings. There's a good chance I'm going to set-up a site just for my CT tour - pics - route - etc.

  17. #17
    Your bike sucks
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    Agree w/ both of you.

    Cheers.

  18. #18
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    Friends of mine have done 55mph on the road with BOBs, as well as extrely rough Rocky Mtns terrain. at high speed, for them the BOBs were really really stable.

    I once rode up a grassed over dijk with a BOB that I didn't manage without. Added weight on rear wheel as well as a distant extra wheel helped. Yes, BOBs handle very well.
    Klok - XC - Skate - Ski

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloxxki
    Friends of mine have done 55mph on the road with BOBs, as well as extrely rough Rocky Mtns terrain. at high speed, for them the BOBs were really really stable.

    I once rode up a grassed over dijk with a BOB that I didn't manage without. Added weight on rear wheel as well as a distant extra wheel helped. Yes, BOBs handle very well.
    When I rode Cycle Oregon a few years ago, there were a couple guys who called themselves "Team White Trash" and had a big sign that said something like, "Drunk, unemployed, and out of control." One of the guys was towing a BOB rigged up with a giant 110 gallon coleman cooler (probably containing maybe half the week's ration of beer) with lots more stuff piled on top of it. The trailer easily had to have weighed well over 100 pounds.

    At one point I passed the guy on a descent off a mountain pass, and he was looking not too stable at 30 mph. But obviously stable enough!. (And even if he was drunk, he sure was in good shape. Later that same day he screamed past me on a climb, standing in the saddle at about 20 mph -- trailer, cooler, beer and all.)

  20. #20
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    Super easy...

    One of the COOLest features of OMM racks is that you can remove them as fast as flipping your QR lever and removing one bolt on each side. They even sent me extra brackets (at no extra charge) to leave on another bike, so moving between bikes is a cinch. Even initial setup only took me three minutes, taking off is a minute or less. I am super stoked about these racks. Did you look at the action videos on his website? They are riding full boingers fully loaded on super tech trails...quite impressive.

    Quote Originally Posted by chris the monikerless
    How much work is it to attach/remove those racks? Like if I wanted to go to the farmer's market and bring some stuff home and then take the racks off for the next ride?

  21. #21
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    xtra-cycle

    My buddy has an xtra-cycle and loves it. He has it on a geared 26" rockhound, he's taking it on the continental didvide trail this summer. And I believe he said that he was going to gear his monkey and put it on that, he's a LBS guy and I've acctually seen him surf his bike thats how stable it is. Although with it packed he says it flexes alot. It looks crazy and is definitely hard to put on and take off. You have to have longer brake housing and the brake rear brake mounts on it, its definitely staying on the bike the whole trip. He has ridden it around town carring passengers (2) and is currently building a bike rack so he can ride his xtra-cycle to the trail, lock it up ride the trail on his fixed monkey, then ride the xtra-cycle back home with his monkey on the back. He's a crazy SOB but it sounds really cool if you are into it.

    Surly is suppose to come out with their "Nice racks" in a couple of months that are suppose to fit 9ers as well so that may be cheaper (umm less expensive) than OMM.
    Custom Independent Fabrications Ti Deluxe
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  22. #22

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    Really depends on what sort of trip you are doing. If you are doing long trips like the guys above obviously are, you need to carry a bit of gear. However, if you just want to take off for a few days to get away from it all I think it's best to go as minimalistic as possible. I did a few trips last summer of up to four days with an Ultimate Voyager backpack and a seatpost mounted rack.

    All I took was a fleece jacket, some boardshorts, couple of t-shirts, a flysheet with a couple of poles, a sleeping mat, an MSR stove, food, a few basic bike repair bits and not a lot else. Granted, this was in europe with help generally close to hand should anything go wrong, and if it'd rained hard I would have been miserable. However, for short trips I think a lot of people take a hell of a lot more gear than they need. Another advantage of a backpack is that the bike handles much much better through singletrack. As soon as you get panniers on a bike you need to completely re-learn how the bike handles.

    Sam

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Mega
    If you are interested, I'll post pics of the equipment I purchase and my eventual setup. Once I do the initial Kokopelli tour, I'll post my findings. There's a good chance I'm going to set-up a site just for my CT tour - pics - route - etc.
    Yes, I'd be very interested to see your setup.

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