Some pannier rack questions

Discussion in 'Components, Accessories and Clothing' started by ohnovino, 25 Jul 2012.

  1. ohnovino

    ohnovino Large Member

    I'm thinking of finally scarring my beautiful hybrid with a rear rack. I've got no idea what I need so I went to my LBS for advice, but they only had really expensive ones (which I don't need because it'll only get occasional use) so I didn't want to waste their time. Can I waste yours instead?!

    - My hybrid's got a 25" frame. I've heard that some racks might not fit larger frames, but when I look at descriptions of racks they never seem to give a size range. Is size something I need to worry about, or should any 700c hybrid rack fit?

    - Are the clips on pannier bags standard, i.e. would any bag fit any rack?

    - Is there an idiot's guide to securing a small load? Some of the pictures I've seen of loose items bungeed to a rack look really precarious.

    Thanks in advance :thumbsup:
  2. Finding a rack that fits neatly isn't always straightforward. I would suggest taking your bike to a bike shop and offering the rack you're interested in up to the bike. Then you can see whether it's likely to fit or not. The issue is usually with the struts that project forward from the platform of the rack to bolt onto the seat tubes - sometimes they're not long enough - but that's usually a problem with tiny frames and sloping top tubes rather than mahoosive frames like yours.

    What might be more of an issue is whether your frame has bosses or eyes to which to bolt the rack. If not, you'll need P-clips and so on, which your bike shop will be able to supply. It really is a case of, if you have to ask questions like this, get advice. And if you don't have a mate who knows what he or she is doing, well, a good local bike shop is your mate.

    It's not the frequency of use you really want to consider - it's what it'll be carrying. If it's anything with any weight, it's worth spending a little dosh, becuase that buys you a stiff, rigid rack that won't flex (or break) under the load. You really don't want a heavy load waggling about behind you. If you plan to use panniers at any stage, a rack with stays that stop them flapping into the rear wheel is appropriate. Better racks have various hooks and projections so that pretty much any pannier will fit. Better panniers will fit pretty much any rack anyway. Cheap racks and cheap panniers can be a headache - or they can be straightforward. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

    You're right, small loose items bungied to a rack platform can be a bit dodgy. Much better to use a pannier or two, or a rack bag, or something like that for small loose items. Single large objects (rolled-up jacket, shoe-box, briefcase etc) can be bungied on quite succesfully and safely.
    ohnovino likes this.
  3. Oh, and you're not 'scarring' your beautiful bike. You're turning it into an even more useful and elegant machine than it already was.
    tyred and ohnovino like this.
  4. Whoever said that racks don't fit big bikes was talking out of their rear.
    ohnovino likes this.
  5. fossyant

    fossyant Ride It Like You Stole It!

    South Manchester
    I can recommend the Topeak super touriste rack. Bomb proof and don't look too out of place on a nice fixed road bike.

    Sent from my HTC Desire using Tapatalk 2
    ohnovino likes this.
  6. Wow, a twin post recommendation! Must be good.
  7. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    ohnovino likes this.
  8. OP

    ohnovino Large Member

    Thanks everyone for the great advice. I should have known posting on here would lead to me increasing my budget!

    The Topeak racks look like a great value option, so I'm leaning that way at the moment, and I'll probably do a tour of bike shops at the weekend.

    One other little question I forgot: how worried should I be about heel clearance? Do some racks allow you to fit bags a little further back?
  9. The Topeak rack is a good'un. Tortec and Blackburn are also names to consider. Bor Yueh do very similar things at budget prices, and in my experience seem to be just as good (I wouldn't be surprised if they own the factory where other brands are built anyway). Tubus are the Rolls-Royce of racks, but come at Rolls-Royce prices.

    Black racks can look good when new, but pannier hooks will remove the black coating in time, and then they can begin to look a bit tatty. Unless every other alloy part on your bike is black, and you care about colour co-ordination, I'd go for a silver-coloured one; it'll retain its clean looks longer.

    Heel clearance depends as much on the design of your bike's frame, the size of your feet and what panniers you want to use as it does on the rack. I wouldn't expect it to be a major headache unless you're planning to fit enormous panniers onto a short wheelbase, tight-clearance road bike frame, and I don't think you are.

    Well-designed panniers are shaped at the front to slope away to help keep them clear of your heels. Cheaper ones (and some quite posh ones, actually) don't always have this, so heel clearance can become an issue. Posher panniers also have mounting hooks which can slide back and forth along a rail on the back of the pannier, so that you can adjust how far forward or back they sit on the rack rails.

    A little fiddling about and 'offering up' at the bike shop you buy from should help ensure that you don't have a problem with heel clearance, and if, when the rack's fitted, it turns out it IS a problem, then you've done everything you could to buy the right stuff, and the shop staff knew what you wanted the rack for. If it then turns out not to be suitable, they've no excuse not to replace the rack with another that IS suitable, or refund your money.
    ohnovino likes this.
  10. YahudaMoon

    YahudaMoon Über Member

    Can I recomened a rack with a handle hold at the front , this is ideal for offering your bike up and down steps, on / off trains ect.. Also a large top platform on the rack for extra stuff. And also a rear tail light bracket.

    Lots of useless racks on the market without the above with no weight penalty
  11. Rickshaw Phil

    Rickshaw Phil Overconfidentii Vulgaris Moderator

    I can recommend Tortec. My knockabout bike and my brother's Trek 7.1FX have their basic model fitted (in black) and they have been great so far; inexpensive (compared to many), robust and not too heavy.

    My brother's recently survived an unplanned dismount at 20+mph with only a small amount of the powder coat chipping off to show for it. (Doug bounced but has come off looking worse than the bike).
  12. Jmenorton

    Jmenorton Active Member

    i recently got the super tourist aswell, not used it in anger yet, fits my 61cm frame fine, and that's using a seatpost clamp mount. Bit of bending of the stays was need, but ye looks good, feels strong (i sat on it)
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