The Fuego and panniers

One of the huge plus points in favour of the Nazca Fuego when compared to practically any other lowracer is its ability to do many different jobs whilst not treating chain retention as an optional bonus. No-one likes a bike that seems to actively be trying to fall apart, and the Fuego is about as robust as recumbents get without building something yourself out of girders.

I’ve talked previously about the Fuego’s ability to tackle light offroad, so lets’s take a look at the luggage options. If you want to tour with more than just a credit card or be able to carry a change of clothes, lunch and a fresh towel into the office, the ability of your steed to carry bags is important.

The Fuego has three mounting points for conventional luggage (so excluding recumbent-only options like banana bags). You’ve got a rack attached to the back of the seat, plus space for two smallish pannier bags beneath the seat:

Sideon view of the Fuego with panniers and rackbag
One rack bag and two panniers mounted securely on the Fuego. Note that the rack bag is high enough to provide a useful bit of gravity-driven positive pressure to the water supply (blue tube secured beneath the seat)

I’ve always used Carradice stuff, and their Super C gear works as well on recumbents as on uprights. Modelled above is a rackbag, and a pair of their front panniers. The rear are a little too big to be this close to the ground in my opinion – you don’t want to bottom out when you sling the bike into corners.

Seat suspended rack

My general commuting load fits neatly into the rack pack, so it’s this option that I use every day. The big plus point of the seat rack is that it keeps your luggage out of the wind (unless you have no head…). Less drag means faster, easier travel. There is a weight limit for the contents, but so long as you’re sensible you won’t run in to bother.

A hidden bonus is that being attached to the back of the seat means that both the bike suspension and the natural spring to the rack protects your luggage from vibration and bad road surfaces. So long as your fragile stuff is small enough to fit in the rackpack (the Carradice will take a Nexus 10 tablet perfectly), this is a great place to keep them safe.

As the rack is a little on the short side, I’ve modified mine with an extra strip of thick plastic extending rearwards. This supports the bottom of the bag (keeping the rear light pointing straight back) as well as helping to keep the muck off.

Pannier rack

The Fuego’s pannier rack is an optional extra that takes about fifteen minutes to add or remove once you get the hang of it. It secures to two of the apexes of the silver central triangle that defines Nazca’s bikes, and includes two braces across the bike that prevent the panniers trying to fold together at the base.

This is a touch dark, but you can hopefully get the idea. The pannier rack is beneath the seat, with the pannier attaching to the trapezium shaped bit.
This is a touch dark, but you can hopefully get the idea. The pannier rack is beneath the seat, with the pannier attaching to the trapezium shaped bit.

The whole thing is as solid as a very solid thing. It would happily take the weight of anything you could fit in the panniers whilst staying nicely rigid. It doesn’t weigh a great deal, but you can always take it off when not in use.

A picture of the rack detached from the bike. The bottom horizontal strut is removable to allow you to actually fit the thing to the bike.
A picture of the rack detached from the bike. The bottom horizontal strut is removable to allow you to actually fit the thing to the bike, and the little pegs sticking inwards at the top engage with the securing mechanisms of the pannier to stop it sliding fore and aft.

As mentioned above, you’ll probably want to stick to the small size of panniers, although if you absolutely had to carry the kitchen sink you could always bump up the height of the seat (about five seconds work with the quick release bolt).

My only gripe with the rack is the removable strut at the bottom. The whole thing is basically one long bolt, so in order to secure a nut against the head of the bolt you’ve got to thread the thing along the entire length. A minor irritation.

Fully loaded handling

Like a freight train, but in a good way.

Most well-designed recumbents ride like they’re on rails, but with the additional low-down weight securely attached to the frame, a touring Fuego will take the line you pick and carve out corners beautifully. This is the main reason why I only use small panniers – the bike invites you to sling it over on the bends, and I haven’t got the willpower to ride slowly and steadily down any long descents I happen to come across…

The racks themselves don’t weigh a great deal, so the main added resistance to your forward progress is from the wind. Although the forward surface area is undeniably increased, the rack does a good job of tucking panniers behind the mass of your body, so it’s not as bad as you might think.

A head on view of the pannier position.
A head on view of the pannier position. My backside is certainly big enough to shelter a good portion of the bags from the wind, so the drag isn’t that noticeable. The slightly disorientating lean is due partly to a slope, and also to the kickstand being in a bit of a hole…

You’ll obviously notice the added weight when climbing, but overall it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. As an example, here’s speed information from a pair of rides completed within a few days of each other last year, the first with panniers on the rack and the second without. Note the horizontal scale is different between the graphs!


Both sets of information from RideWithGPS – first one here and the second here.

So there you have it. A good look at how you could re-use luggage you probably already own on a Nazca Fuego.

For a long term review of the Nazca Fuego, see here.

If this still isn’t enough space for all your crap, how about a trailer?


Add Yours →

Thanks for the review – I was inspired to get my own Fuego in part as a result of your own comments. It’s my first low-racer, having cut my teeth on a home made LWB and its polar opposite, the ultra short wheelbase Pashley PDQ. The Fuego has a lot of the comfort and handling of the LWB – the Pashley would periodically scare the wits out of me – whilst sharing the Pashley’s speed (believe it or not, it was a brisk machine).

I’m hopefully picking up a pannier rack shortly – I wonder if you’ve noticed if the lower suspension settings make terribly much of a difference to ground clearance? Mine’s the medium frame size, I think the large size has a lower seat height.

Hi Graham. Glad I could be of help!

I always ran my Fuego on the lowest seat setting and, as you say, the large frame is a touch lower than the medium. I never had ground clearance issues when using standard-sized front panniers. You’ll be fine!

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