The Nitto Big Front Rack is built like a bridge.
For anything but the shortest tour, you need a front rack to balance your load. If you carry all your weight on the rear rack, you’ll find your touring bike will be hard to handle because the front end is too light. Steering gets squirrely and you can even pop a wheelie if you’re not careful. Besides, you've got all that area up there over the front wheel, why not put it to use?
My first front rack was a basic low rider similar to a Tubus. It worked great, handled the load well and was sturdy enough to stand up to the toughest treatment. But after a while, I found myself wishing I had a platform upon which I could pack additional gear.
I started looking around and came across the Nitto Big Front Rack sold by Rivendell Bicycle Works. At about $200, it’s more expensive than the Tubus but I think the additional carrying capacity and added toughness is well worth the investment.
I really appreciate the extra capacity the Nitto gives me. I plan to use it to carry
extra water when I'm in Africa.
It’s made out of nickel-plated chrome moly tubing so it’s not particularly light, but it’s built like a bridge so you know it will last forever.
I haul all kinds of things on my Nitto. I can carry a sleeping bag and pad, a tool kit and I have a trunk rack that attaches with Velcro straps and acts as a 5th mini pannier. I can even pack a pizza home. My Ortliebs fit nicely on the Nitto and I believe it will work with just about any brand of pannier.
My route through Africa will take me up the coast of Morocco and I plan to carry an extra gallon water jug on my Nitto; something that would be hard to do with a regular front rack.
The Nitto Big Front Rack is easy to install and it stays put. I’ve had mine for over a year and I’ve never had to twist a bolt yet. It’s rugged, spacious and looks really cool on my vintage Trek 520. I’m thinking of replacing my aluminum rear rack with the Nitto rear rack before I leave on my around the world trip in May of 2012.
It’s that good.