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Figured this might be the best forum for this question. I am looking at building up a kid hauler I can take on some mellow dirt, hard pack gravel, and pavement. The kid on the rear will be on the Burley Piccolo trailer bike -- which attaches to a pannier rack of sorts. The kid on the front will be on a mac ride -- which is a seat that puts him basically between my legs, with his hands holding the handle bars.

So I need a bike that has a few key things:

1. Rack mount eyelets (since a child will be towed, p-clips wont work)
2. Decent reach with flat bars
3. Stability -- ability to take wide tires ~+2.2 in.

Would love a steel 29er mountain bike -- but it doesnt have to be steel.

I dont think a cross or touring bike is going to give me the stability or length I am looking for

The one bike I have come across that hits these points is the Surly Karate Monkey -- which is an interesting option.

Anyone know of any other other mtb frames with pannier rack mounts?

Thanks in advance
 

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You cannot go wrong with any Surly; for utility, nice riding characteristics, super strong and big load carrying capability.
My personal favorite bike is my Surly Troll with 26x2.5 Extraterrestrial tyres, with a Rohloff/Gates drive and some nice Titanium bits. It's a bit fancy-pants Troll.
But even a Shimano kited up one would be great. Anyway with the Troll you have the Rohloff hub option. The Gates belt requires a cut made to the frame.
Great thing about those tyres is you can transition from pavement to sandy horse trail with a load and not be stuck or stopped.
Pretty much a do-it-all rig with a huge gear carrying versatility. But is also nice to ride unloaded on the paved back roads
 

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I use an older On-One Inbred bike for the same purpose right now. One thing to keep in mind... when I got my Burly rack a few years ago it wouldn't clear my 29er 2.25 tires. I actually built up a 27.5/650B wheel for the rear in order for the rack to fit [for those not familiar with the Burly trailer bikes, they use a specific rack with an attachment for the trailer bike, so you can't swap to a different rack]. Don't know if they have improved the clearance on those.

It also looks like some of the REI Co-Op hardtails are rack friendly. Can't vouch for their bikes, but you can price them based on their components and they may offer a low-price option to get rolling on trails with your kids.
 

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Why Not a Touring Bike?

According to Alee Denham,

"Touring bikes are designed to comfortably carry you and your luggage on bike trips. They are simple, strong, stable, upright and stiff enough to handle very heavy panniers. Touring bikes have adequate mounting points for racks, fenders and water bottles, and are designed so that you can carry heavy loads without the weight affecting the handling too much."

Both the Surly Troll and Tumbleweed Prospector fit his definition. Alee's e-book contains a plethora of bikes suitable for touring with descriptions allowing side-by-side comparison. I used it recently to identify 12 choices for my sister, who then went out and tried them until she found "the one" for her.

His site is here: https://www.cyclingabout.com
 

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One thing to keep in mind... when I got my Burly rack a few years ago it wouldn't clear my 29er 2.25 tires. I actually built up a 27.5/650B wheel for the rear in order for the rack to fit.
Good point. I hadn't thought of that. When we had a Piccolo, all of my bikes were 26'ers.

So I need a bike that has a few key things:

1. Rack mount eyelets (since a child will be towed, p-clips wont work)
2. Decent reach with flat bars
3. Stability -- ability to take wide tires ~+2.2 in.
Is there a reason P-clamps won't work? That is how I attached our Piccolo to my bikes when our kids were small. I only did it for 2-3 years, but didn't encounter any problems during that time.

On my wife's XS bike, we attached the upper mounts to her seat post clamp with a longer binder bolt. On a similar note, both Specialized and Salsa make seat post clamps or clamp on brackets for your seatpost that are designed for rack attachment.

If you eliminate the requirement for rear rack braze-ons, the options are more abundant.
 

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I was shopping in the $1000-1500 range. I wanted to use the rack that came with the Blackburn Copilot kid seat, as well as a Chariot trailer hitch.

I picked a Salsa Timberjack. I really enjoy riding it, it's a hoot. A lower build with a quick release axle so it would take the hitch, and it's worthy of upgrades if I want to. The Alternator rack from Salsa goes best on it. You can mount other racks but they do ride high. It's a really versatile frame with swappable drop-outs and three bottle mounts, internal routing for front derailleur or dropper post. I bought it at REI and signed up for their credit card for the additional bonuses.

I looked at Marin Pine Mountain and Trek X-Caliber / Roscoe, which did better with racks and hitches, but were QR only and lower builds. The X-caliber version felt old fashioned and the Roscoe was out of stock nationwide, I didn't get to ride one.

I looked at the Karate Monkey and a previous generation used Krampus. I'd have been happy with the Krampus but it wouldn't fit the Copilot rack over the 3" tire. The KM in 2017 or 2018 had been available in a very yellowish orange that I really liked but when I was ready to buy it was out of stock and only black was available. The lower rack mounts are pretty high and forward so they don't go great with panniers or kid seat. It has a set of holes way back at the end of the dropout but iirc they were going to interfere with the hitch. I sort of vaguely remember that maybe they're only intended for fenders but don't quote me. And finally, it didn't seem like a great value for the build compared to the Timberjack with the discounts.

REI Co-op now has a model in this sort of class, and I think there was a Kona that had high rack mounts similar to the Surly
 
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