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Having convinced myself that low trail is not the holy grail of front loading bicycles (i.e. I don’t have a problem with my higher trail bike), I added a Nitto Platrack (Rivbike.com) to my Hilsen.  I’ve used it now for a few weeks of bike commuting, as well as a 100k Populaire ride with the local randonneur club.

Rivendell Front Loader

Observations so far:

  1. It has the same ride feel as just having the smaller Mark’s Rack on the bike.
  2. The long stays that support near the hub don’t make a noticeable difference in the handling.
  3. There is no additional noise.
  4. I don’t have a problem with the looks – I thought the long stays would bother me, but they are very insignificant.
  5. I like having a wider base of support.
  6. I’ve found the basket to be mostly unnecessary.  Using the Acorn Boxy Rando bag worked great on the Populaire.
  7. The elastic net holds my ShopSack and other additions just great.

With Wald Basket and Cargo Net

The advantages are mainly around having a larger platform.  This makes it a lot easier to transport bulky items without needing a basket, but if you like the built in container a basket provides, it will give it that much more support when loaded.  I.E. no wobble.  It just feels solid.

Other Side

From the Cockpit

Verdict:  Solid! Recommended!  I will be running this combo for the foreseeable future.  I don’t feel it gets in the way, and adds enough versatility to make it worth keeping for commute duty, without being “in the way” for a longer distance ride.  I’m not racing, so I’m not counting grams.  That said, I don’t feel this makes me any slower on a rando.  Tires are something I feel much more when I change things out.