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Since I’ve rode a bicycle, I always had a bicycle rear rack attached to my bike.
Starting from my first days on a bike, throughout my youth, and until recent days, a rear rack is attached to my bicycle.
Some of my friends are asking me for the reason why I insist of having the best bicycle rack attached to my bike. They are saying that a mountain bike should be as light possible, and with a “sporty” look… Nothing being attached to it (except, maybe, a bicycle GPS). To their view, a rear rack can only be attached to a touring bicycle or to a city bicycle.
I am a very practical person, and for me the main reason for having a bicycle rear rack, even on a mountain bike, is a practical one. First, let’s start by asking some basic questions:
What is a Bicycle Rear Rack?
Rear bicycle racks are typically steel frameworks that are mounted on the rear part of bicycles. They are designed to hold “cycling equipment” or personal goods while riding a bicycle. The equipment can be stored inside a bag or strapped directly to the bicycle rear rack with camping trips.
Who Need a Bicycle Rear Rack?
One can find several uses for a bicycle rear rack:
- During a bicycle trip: For folks who are planning a self-supported bicycle touring trip such as our bicycle trip in Japan and our Rhine River tour, a rear rack is a must-have. During the long ride, we are carrying with us lots of personal items, as well as cycling equipment, and a rear rack is an ideal place to hold that stuff.
It should not have a dramatic effect on your balance while riding, and if loaded properly your equipment will not interfere with your legs while cycling. Some touring bikes have only a single rack, while others are using two bicycle racks: one in the rear, and one in the front. This allows them to carry more stuff (believe me – we need this storage space: if you don’t believe me you are invited to read about bicycle touring preparation). Splitting the load on both front and rear racks enhances safety by helping balance out the load on the bicycle a little better. Take a look:
- On a day-to-day commuting by bicycle, or while riding your bicycle in the city: There are many bicycle riding types. I like real mountain biking, but I also use my mountain bike to go shopping and to carry back home stuff that I buy. Holding my shopping bag while cycling is not a good idea at all. Attaching it to the bicycle handle bar is not a great idea either, as it might harm the balance while riding.
A bicycle rear rack is the ideal solution to carry stuff. You can attach a bag to the rack, or carry items attached with camping trips directly to the rack.
Different Types of Rear Mounted Bike Racks
Bicycle rear racks come in a wide variety depending on their design and how they are attached to the bike. Let’s take a brief look at them.
The Common Type
The first, strongest, and most common bicycle rear rack type is those designed to attach to the seat stay and the rear wheel hub. These racks are designed to bear heavy loads as they have a sound support system based on their design and installation.
Seat Post Racks
Beam racks which are attached to the seat post alone. These are specifically designed for use for mountain bikes that come with rear mountain bike shocks. Since they only derive their support from the seat post they tend to have a low limit on the weight they can support.
There are some distinctly designed bicycles which come with already installed bicycle rear racks. The fact that the rack is pre-fitted means that they are suited to the bicycle-style in terms of build, strength, and design; they are a perfect match.
Useful Tips on Using a Bicycle Rear Rack
Loading up the Rear Rack
When you load up your bike with significantly heavy loads you will experience a change in the handling and control. Although the effect of a full capacity load on the rear rack is far lower than that of a front-mounted rack, be sure to keep within the manufacturer’s limits for the best and safest experience.
Bicycle Rear Rack for your Special Bicycle
These include folding bicycles. So as not to compromise your bicycle ability to fold into a compact shape, it is best to seek bicycle rear racks that are specially designed for the same. You can take it to the shop and get is custom-fitted or search for suitable designs online.
When you decide to go out and buy bicycle rear racks to fit on your bicycle, you will have to consider the suitable design to be fitted on the bike’s frame design. For instance, as we have seen above, seat stays mounted rear racks are mainly suited to bicycles fitted with rear suspension, as for hardtail bikes then have the freedom to choose any design. Those attached to the seat stay and the rear axle can bear heavier loads and can, therefore, be fitted with bicycle panniers.
Tip: Always secure the load on your rear rack.
Even a rear rack with a broad surface might not be as stable as you'd prefer. If your load falls off your rear rack, it might cause your whole bicycle to go off-balance and topple over, especially if it is heavy.
Make sure your load is always tightly secured with wire or bungee cords. If your rear rack has a grid design, that will make it even easier to secure the load.
Factors to Consider when buying Rear Rack
Different bicycle rear racks are sold at different prices. The main influencing factors for pricing include the load-bearing capacity and the material used. Aluminum and titanium rear racks are usually very strong and also very expensive. Cheap aluminum racks tend to be flimsy, but the higher the price the stronger and more durable the rack.
Not everyone looking to fit their bicycle with rear racks is intending on loading it up with heavy loads. Before choosing a specific design, it is first important to begin by considering the average load you intend on ferrying. Seat stay mounted racks tend to be suited to lighter loads while those attached to the bicycle wheel hub and set stay offer support for heavier loads.
Rear mounted bicycle racks tend to be attributed to other bicycle accessories such as panniers and bags. Cargo can be carried on the racks while placed in panniers, strapped directly on the rack using bungee cords, or placed in a bag to be carried on the rack. Choose a rack designed to accommodate whichever option you prefer.
Last but not least, the quality of the rear rack is vital to its application. Quality is usually determined by the materials used to build the rack. Steel, titanium, and high-quality aluminum racks are light and strong while Chromoly racks are known to balance weight, price, and durability.
What Bicycle Rear Racks Are Made Of?
There are stain-steel racks, aluminum racks, titanium racks, and there are even Chromoly racks. Each one has its advantages, and disadvantages:
|Chromoly||Light||High||High||Made by Tubus|
Tips on Buying and Using the Best Bicycle Rack
Mounting the rack to the bicycle frame
If your bicycle has one of these mountain bike shocks, you are limited to using only rear racks that are attached to the seat post. For "hard-tail" bikes you can buy any type of rear rack, but you may prefer a standard rack, one that is attached to the seat stay, and to the axis of the bicycle rear hub (or to the brake bridge, near the rear axle). These rear racks can carry more weight, they are more stable and you can easily attach bicycle panniers to them.
If you intend to attach a rear rack to your bicycle's frame, you should check if your bike has the required screw holes (braze-ones). These holes are necessary to connect racks, fenders, and other cycling equipment to the bicycle frame.
The good news is that nowadays most mountain bikes have plenty of braze-ones. Note: If your bike does not have pre-drilled screw holes, you can still mount a rear rack directly to the seat tube and the frame tubes by using metal clips.
It might be quite challenging to find rear racks for special bicycles. If your frame geometry is unique, such as in the case of folding bikes, I would suggest you take your bike with you to the bicycle shop before you buy a new bicycle rear rack. Otherwise, buying online might be the best bargain for you.
Weight and Balance Considerations
Carrying heavy loads on your bicycle might affect steering. If your rear rack is fully loaded, you may feel that you are almost losing lateral control during turns. It takes time to get used to riding a bicycle with a fully loaded rear rack. Still, the effect of heavy load on the rear rack on your handling is less than the effect of loads carried in front.
My Favorite Bicycle Rear Racks
Topeak Explorer Bike Rack
Sleek, slender, and surprisingly strong, this rack from Topeak can carry cargo for all your long cycling tours. Constructed from durable but lightweight aluminum alloy, this rack can hold up to 55lbs, positioning the weight of your load in a way that won't offset your balance or burden your ride. Attaching is easy, allowing you to clip this accessory on when you need it and remove it when you don't.
Blackburn MTN Bike Rack
Mountain biking isn't normally conducive to cargo, but this rack from Blackburn makes storage possible as you traverse the trail. This rack can fit on the end of almost any frame, and it's solid plate also functions as a fender, deflecting splashes of mud puddles. This rack withholds less weight than others, but those who are climbing up and down extreme mountain terrain tend to carry less with them.
Aluminum 3 Leg Rear Bike Rack
For those who know they'll be hauling cargo often, this rack is a much more permanent solution, though it can still be removed whenever desired. Offering ample cargo capacity, this sturdy rack is a paperboy's dream. Grid design makes it easy to secure your cargo with bungee cords, and the rack also comes with its own reflector to keep the cyclist safe. A great buy for those with wide loads.
More Bicycle Rear Racks
|No "Rear Rack" (All condition) found on eBay(US)|
Where to Buy a Bicycle Rear Rack?
If you are interested in buying a bicycle rear rack you can buy it on one of these trusted online stores: