So called “low rider” racks are popular for carrying panniers on the front of the bike. We have already gone over the Nitto Campee rack and the Nitto M-12-2 rack.
Axiom makes the Journey DLX Lowrider and Salsa sells the Down Under rack. Both are made of tubular aluminum.
The Salsa rack is similar to the Tubus Duo in that the top rails sandwich the fork blade and bolt on both sides of it. The only down side is that not all fork blades have a threaded boss on both sides. (The Surly Long Haul Trucker does)
The Down Under rack attaches to the fork dropout eyelets with a welded tab. There are no moving parts and the rack is all one piece which should make it fairly reliable. My only gripe is that there are no “pannier stops” on the top rail and so the panniers have a tendency to slide back and forth but I think some simple after market mods would solve that.
There is a barrel boss welded to the leading edge of both top rails though, ostensibly for the attachment of Salsa’s Minimalist front top rack, but I think they would make ideal light mounts.
The Axiom Journey DLX Lowrider rack employs a two piece design and comes with a large u-bolt to attach to the fork leg. The two pieces are designed to pivot in order to achieve a fairly level attachment rail for the panniers when used on forks with varying rakes. The good thing about this rack is that mid fork eyelets are not required, in fact it appears that the u-bolt attachment actually is designed to stabilize the rack from twisting. When I bolted the rack to one mid fork eyelet on the Long Haul Trucker I was able to twist the rack with my hands- less than ideal for carrying bags next to the wheels! And even with the pivoting design I was unable to get the top rails completely level with the floor when mounted. On a bike with 26″ wheels and wide profile cantilever brakes, such as the Tektro CR-720, the top rail interferes with the brake caliper….not an issue obviously on a 700c wheel bike or even a 26″ one with disc brakes or narrow profile cantilevers.
Another good feature is the stops on top of the rails to keep the panniers from sliding. This is a serviceable entry level touring rack that will not break the bank.