Fork-mounted “porteur” style racks are becoming increasingly popular. They’re super effective for carrying bulky items that won’t fit in a touring pannier, and when combined with a basket or cargo bag, they’re convenient as catch-alls for running errands or commuting. The downside is that carrying a load on the front fork slows down a bike’s handling, and if the load is above the front wheel, it may cause “wheel flop”. Some of this can be mitigated for with low trail geometry, but the selection of low trail production-level bikes is extremely limited.
I have two bikes with cargo racks mounted on the fork; a Civia Loring with the factory rack, and a Surly LHT with a Pass & Stow. Neither have low trail geometry, but I’ve become completely acclimated to carrying weight on the fork, so it’s not really an issue for me. On the other hand, my little Brompton has a frame-mounted carrier that takes the weight off of the fork and places it on the main frame. The difference between these two set-ups is striking. While I notice even subtle differences in how much weight I’m carrying on the Civia and Surly, the Brompton’s steering is unaffected by even relatively heavy loads. This difference may explain the growing number of so-called “cycle trucks” and their variants, with their smaller front wheels and cargo platforms mounted to the frame above the front wheel.
I don’t have much experience with “real” cycle trucks, but I hope to eventually obtain one for review; it’ll be interesting to compare its load carrying capabilities and handling to my existing bikes with fork-mounted carriers. If it ends up being anything like my little “Brommie Cycle Truck”, it should fare quite well.