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I have a cross bike with two back ortliebs,

From company website

a 6 liter top tube bag https://www.rei.com/product/877045/revelate-designs-tangle-bike-frame-bag-large

enter image description here Frame bag (the long one below toptube)

and a front pouch https://www.rei.com/product/117049/revelate-designs-egress-pocket-handlebar-bag

Front pouch from link Front pouch

Do you think I'm better off putting heavy things like tools in the top tube bag/front pouch, and putting light stuff in the ortliebs or vice versa, or a mix of both? I want to optmize for good handling. In the past when I have just gone with the ortliebs it works ok but I would love to spread the load out.

  • Ideally heavy stuff low and centered, Let your light stuff sit on the front because that slows down your steering a lot. Ready access things should be easy to get to (tools/pump/tubes etc) – Criggie Mar 9 '18 at 2:56
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    I've added photos from your links. A photo of your bike with bags on would be far superior, so please consider taking one and editing it into this question. – Criggie Mar 9 '18 at 7:19
  • One thing I do (and am looking to extend) is use the lowest bottle cage for tools, to get some weight low in storage that's accessible but not when riding. If you're going to have weight at the front, see if you can attach it to the forks - there are a few solutions when if you don't have pannier rack screw fittings. – Chris H Mar 9 '18 at 7:34
  • You probably want to avoid putting heavy stuff in handlebar bags. – David Richerby Mar 9 '18 at 10:22
  • The main thing is to put the weight as low as possible. – Daniel R Hicks Mar 22 '18 at 22:13
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General Principles. If you have too much weight in back, the front wheel's contact on steep uphills can be a little bit light, and your odds of pinch-flatting the rear tire can increase (especially if you are running skinnier tires relative to the load), or breaking spokes, because it already carries more of your body weight than the front. If you put too much up front, low-speed maneuvering can get a little more tricky because the handlebars have so much mass/inertia, and also it will alter the handing even at other speeds in a way that may take some getting used to. For typical riding, I doubt it is going to make much difference unless the load is really uneven. Maybe 70/30 or 60/40 weight bias towards the rear is what I've done.

Ease of Access Also A Consideration. I've found it to be more important to arrange things primarily by ease of access, with weight balance the secondary consideration. Gear that you use only at camp goes in my front duffel or at the bottom of the panniers or seat bag. I end up using my tangle bag as a buffer space for food, an extra layer, paper maps, or whatever other stuff I need to access frequently while riding. Top of panniers for occasionally-during-the-day-access items.

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