How To Use A Rear Bike Rack – What Are Rear Bike Racks For

All bicycle tourists come from bicycle lovers. First, you buy a bicycle, then you explore the nearest surroundings, neighborhoods, hometown, and the nearest suburbs on it. And then quietly you become a bicycle tourist, unless, of course, had time to apply to the extreme or sports disciplines.

You become a cyclist gradually and unnoticed: you set the flask holder for water, carry a backpack with things. Then the backpack is not enough (or just it becomes heavy) and you buy a luggage carrier. On the trunk are already hanging bags, on the handlebars – a bike computer, a subframe bag filled with a repair kit and spare. And that’s it, you’re a cyclist.

Discussion on the Luggage Carriers and Front Racks in Early Period

It seemed that not so long ago when there wasn’t such a wide selection of iron horses – bicycles were already coming straight from the factory to the store with rear racks. This was true for Kama, Ukraine, Desna, and Altair. Nowadays, you can buy bicycles with a rear rack installed at the cheapest price segment. They all look similar to the above. And you can also meet on children’s bikes or special touring bikes.

Modern bicycles, which we recommend use for bicycle travel in the standard configuration do not have a luggage rack. This means that, if necessary, you will have to buy it separately. Once you become acquainted with the nuances, armed with knowledge, and can safely go shopping, hoping that the valiant salesmen will help you. And that they do not torment your head, we’ll understand the types of luggage carriers.

In spite of the fact that there are a lot of luggage carriers in stores, there are not so many types of them. Trunks are divided primarily by the place of attachment to the rear and the front. On the principle of attachment: the cantilever and the trunks with racks. According to the type of attachment to the power elements of bicycles: screw attachment and attachment by means of clamps (straps) and eccentrics.

Until now, the front rack is more of a gimmick than a trend. Then we will dwell in more detail on the consideration of the features of the rear racks.

Cantilever rack – a universal rack that can be installed on almost all types of bicycles. It has one or, more rarely, three attachment points. Attaching the rack is always carried out on the seat post. Mounting is fast enough, and also fast enough to remove it. The trunk is suitable for carrying loads of low weight. Some manufacturers state the weight of the load up to 15 kilograms, but most often this is not true (no more than 10 kilograms is recommended). It is also worth considering that on rough roads and with a constant shaking due to the lack of additional supports and rigidity of the design is collapsing mounts. And as a consequence, your luggage rack can fall off right on the road. And this can ruin your trip. This trunk is suitable for short bike rides or bike tours that do not require autonomy.

Some cantilevered racks have been given the option of additional attachment by means of racks to the bike. This greatly increases the rigidity and reliability of the construction, but it is also not recommended to overload.

And it also happens that this is the only rack option you can fit on your bike. It’s worth paying frequent attention to it and checking it for potential breakage and damage.

A classic rack with racks is the most common and most reliable type of rack and usually has three or four attachment points to the bike frame. In order to choose the right rack, you need to pay attention to the diameter of the wheels of the bike, the type of brakes, and, if you have disc brakes, the location of the caliper.

Obviously, if the rack is sold for a bike with 26″ wheels, for example, niner (29″) it will interfere with the rotation of the wheel or the upper plane or a special mount for the rear light. Sometimes you can bend this mount, but the upper plane will be so close to the wheel that even the slightest buildup of dirt on the tire will interfere with the trip.

If, on the contrary, the trunk is made for 29″ and you have 26″, then the center of gravity of the load will be very high. And this in turn reduces the strength of the construction in operation. And also it is not certain that the “tendrils” of the luggage rack will reach the attachment points to the frame.

Bike Rack for Disc Brakes with Height-Adjustable Rack

Bike Rack for Disc BrakesA universal solution would be a rack with height-adjustable racks. If your bike has V-brakes, you can fit almost 99% of bike racks, as long as they fit the wheel diameter.

If you have disc brakes, look at where the caliper is located: on the inside or outside of the frame.

In the first case, you need a special “disc brake rack”, in the second case – almost any rack will do (but the bikes with this design are much more expensive).

Bike Rack for Disc Brakes with a Crooked Rack

Luggage racks for disc brakes are essential of two kinds: with a “crooked rack” and with additional spacers. Both solutions are designed to carry cargo on the rack without interfering with the disc brake.

Sometimes this kind of rack breaks on a trip, and in its place set “what is in the store” preliminarily having removed a back brake. Learn to use both front and rear brakes.

It’s worth remembering about one obvious thing: the rack with a “crooked rack” and the rack with a height adjustment mechanism due to their features when used with most bike bags (velobauls, velopants) will wear them out faster (wipe, tear).

Another type of universal luggage rack can serve as a rack with mounting by means of eccentrics: a wheel eccentric and an eccentric of a seat clamp. Or their combinations with other types of mounts. And bear in mind the presence of a rear disc brake and the diameter of the wheel on your bike.

Hub-Mounted Bike Carrier

Some bicycles are not designed for mounting a rack. Typically, these bikes are sports or extreme. And we are not necessarily talking about cycling on the track or speedway. There are also MTB sportbikes and cyclotrons bikes, which from birth are not “adapted to hard work.

And it happens that there is a destruction of the nodes mounting the rack to the bike (thread failure, chips, and cracks mounts). The modern bicycle industry gives us the answer to this challenge as well. And you don’t have to change your bike or buy another one.

A Bike Rack with a Fender Bump

Most bikes have a crossbar between the top feathers with a hole in the middle. It is fitted on the seat tube itself. The hole in it is for fixing wings. This is where you can attach some types of racks.

But if you do not have this mounting option, then modern racks with fixation to the bicycle frame without a threaded connection come to the rescue. These racks are attached through clamps or straps directly to the frame.

The Disadvantage of these Racks is the Long Installation Time

  • Front racks: As noted earlier, the use of front bike racks in Russia is not so popular. But who knows, maybe this article will help some bicycle travelers.
  • The prerequisites for using a front bike rack are not as varied. Either you have a major biking self-contained expedition or camping, for example, to carry supplies of drinking water or food, or you need to transport a load that should always be in front of you, but it does not fit in a basket or handbag, such as some animal (cats and dogs) or gadget (solar panel, camera).
  • The problem with using it is the abundance of bikes with suspension forks. You need to mount the front rack so that both the fork works and that the luggage is securely attached. There are not many options on the market, let’s look at them.
  • Front bike rack for bike bags. Uncomplicated attachment by means of an eccentric and/or “clamps”. The functioning of the fork is fully preserved. Also, neither the disc brake nor the rim brake is impaired. Luggage can only be carried in bike bags that are fastened to the bike rack contour. This is more of a design disadvantage, but the low center of gravity is a plus.

Types of Bike Racks and how to Attach them to your Bike?

Bicycle racks are divided into four types depending on how they are attached:

  • Rear with attachment to the feathers of the rear triangle of the frame;
  • Rear with mounting on the seat post (cantilever);
  • Front with attachment to the fork.
  • The trunk on the feathers of the rear triangle of the frame.

The most common and reliable option, which is encountered in everyday life. Designed for a load of up to 25 kg. With confidence, you can put a child’s seat, loaded globally. The only drawback – not all models fit bicycles with disc brakes. Be sure to pay attention to this when buying. A bicycle rack with disc brakes has a slightly different design a curved left rack under the caliper or “spacers” to increase the distance from the rack to the mounting location on the frame.

The rear bicycle rack can be either a collapsible or a frame model. The collapsible model consists of several parts that are bolted together. The advantage is that it folds up compactly for storage. The disadvantage – not suitable for transportation of large cargoes, with time the bolt joints come loose. Frame – one-piece construction, which has no bolt connections. Reliable option, suitable for cycling.

When choosing a rear bike rack, do not forget about the diameter of the wheels of the bike. There are models with the ability to adjust the height of the racks. The manual states what diameter of wheel they fit (Popular racks for wheel diameter 26″, 28″, 29″.

Gooseneck tubing is a popular option for city bikers. Safe load – up to 10 kg maximum. You can put a small bike bag in which you can put the necessary things. Another plus is that the rack is easy to remove and attach backward. The cantilever carrier is the perfect two-pod carrier.

Front Bike Rack for Bike Bags

Front Bike Rack for Bike Bags

Bike rack with attachment to the pants of the fork – the most popular type of attachment of front racks on shock-absorbing forks. You can attach both bags and baskets to such a rack. And always the necessary stuff will be at hand.

The Most Common Type of Front Bike Rack

Bike rack with the attachment through the holes designed to mount the fender and rim brakes. In other words, an unprecedented behemoth. In order for such a device to work you need a universal suspension fork, which has attachments for both rim and disc brakes. There has to be a working brake somewhere. As a rule, such forks do not come with the stock bike, and are installed on them as a result of “kolhozing” or “independent upgrade”. Complete crap, but know that such a thing is on sale.

To summarize this article, in order not to drown in a sea of information, we recommend buying a bicycle rack together with your iron friend. Take your bike, come to the bike store, ask the salesman to help you, try on a rack, and if everything fits, you buy. And the easier it is to attach the rack to the bike – the better.

Wrap Up

A bicycle rack is an essential accessory not only for bicycle tourists but also for the average cyclist. A bicycle luggage rack will help relieve your back and transport the things you need. On it, you can attach a basket, backpack, or child’s seat.

Remember that the bike rack is essentially the same consumable material as the chain or tires, and the moment when it breaks is not far off. And only with experience and through breakage you can pick up or make to order your most convenient bike rack.

Jonathan Tim
Jonathan Tim
A bicycle geek since early childhood spent his twenties as a mechanic in bike shops. His passions include flatland BMX, unicycles, cycle touring, mountain biking, and road riding.