After taking the Roadeo out in the morning yesterday, I headed out in the afternoon on the Trek to get some groceries. I opted that way as I knew that the load was going to be a bit bulky, diapers. By the time all stops were made I had about 40 lbs of juice, milk, food and god knows what loaded on the front. Even with a bit of sloppiness in the panniers the handling was fine. Actually better than fine with stop and go traffic, slogging up hills into a 15 mp headwind and bombing down the other side.
Most bikes I have owned would handle like crap with that much up front, or anywhere for that matter. My xtracycle setup does ok with loads like that, but just ok, and is a bit more like a clunky old station wagon. The Trek with the 650b conversion is cushy, but sporty. The handling is a bit light with nothing at all up front, but a 5lb u-lock in a bag fixes that. With loads weighing in between the lock and, well yesterday’s 40 lbs, the handling is still smooth through fast turns, holds a line grinding up hills and no wobble or drift at slow speeds.
For those not familiar with the geometric trail of the front end, the subject can be daunting. For those interested in the physics of the whole thing, Wikipedia has a decent
article. The subject has spurred religion/politic like arguments on the web forum over the recent years. I remained fairly neutral until this. Previously I had only ridden the low trail bikes I had built up for my wife, both handled great with a basket, but were way too small for me. This project bike has really opened up my eyes. I still love my Roadeo, just differently, and keep the load in the back. I prefer having the stuff up front, as long as the bike is designed to handle the load, it makes it much easier to keep an eye on the load.