Touring - Which rack for Bianchi Volpe?
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05-24-12, 06:18 PM
I'm looking to go on my first multi-day tour and need a rack for my Volpe. Its shorter chainstays are worrisome though, especially considering my larger-than-average foot size. I found the Jaand Expedition Rack (http://www.amazon.com/Jandd-Expedition-Rear-Rack-Black/dp/B000VSFHNG) which seems like it'll definitely do the trick, but are there any lighter or perhaps cheaper options available?
05-24-12, 07:49 PM
Check out the Tortek Expedition rack. They are on sale all over the place. Even though you have to pay shipping from overseas, they come in at quite a bit less. I have them on a couple bikes and the platform is about 15" long. The weight limit is 35 kgs. I bought mine from A W Cycle, but I see them other places and with prices as low as 31.99.
05-25-12, 08:55 AM
My partner's San Jose (same basic frame as a Volpe, with track ends rather than vertical dropouts) has a Jandd Expedition rack. We bought it in 2007, and it shows basically no signs of wear or use. This is the 3rd bike the rack has graced, and I expect it'll continue to decorate one of our daily rides for quite a long time to come.
Most cheaper racks (am not counting the other poster's TorTec recommendation in that) have a triangular 3 stay configuration that doesn't support your pannier very well. The Jandd and TorTec racks and some of the Nitto and Tubus racks have a rear stay that makes a bent shape and prevents a pannier with a dense load from swaying into your spokes. That is well worth the extra money spent. Stuff swaying into your spokes can break them, cause sudden stops, or otherwise cause a dangerous situation. It's not a super common danger with a triangular stay arrangement, but I have run into it, and these days I make sure loads that might cause the situation are arranged very carefully.
If you anticipate using the bike for general car free use, I'd recommend the Jandd somewhat over the TorTec/Tubus/Nitto type racks, since it has a platform on the rear. This makes it easier to use the rack with a bungee net and random bags to haul home extra load. With a wirework frame on the rack, you have to be careful that your surprise load is securely wrapped before you bungee it on. If you plan to tour exclusively, or you don't expect items to load on the rear platform, it's fine to have the wirework top, and it saves a smidge of weight.
05-25-12, 09:05 AM
IMHO Tubus racks are the gold standard. They are stronger than most racks but significantly lighter. They are also very adjustable, and you can buy Tubus extenders that would effectively increase your chainstay length. I've got a Tubus Cargo and was very impressed at how easy it was to install properly -- that is, level. It drives me crazy to see racks that aren't level.
05-25-12, 12:30 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions! I do plan on using the rack for general car-free use as well so I don't mind spending for quality and durability, but I'm also a terribly indebted miser (woo working poor!). The Jaand rack looks great, but the price difference between that and the first two options below seems a bit much. The Tubus Rack is $140 at amazon, but it looks like it'd be about the same price as the Jaand if shipped from France. Odd.
Topeak Super Tourist - http://www.amazon.com/Topeak-Super-Tourist-Tubular-Bicycle/dp/B000ZKHN6Y/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1337968871&sr=8-2
Tortec Expedition Rack - http://www.jejamescycles.co.uk/cntry-us/tortec-expedition-rear-item40574.html
Tubus Cargo Rack - http://www.xxcycle.com/php/boutique/page.php?nom=PRODUITpp&key=11148&FROM=froogle&wwl=en&wwp=44
Is there any noticeable benefit of buying one of the more expensive racks? Would I need to purchase an extender for the Tubus to get it to work correctly? Simplicity is a plus, if that makes a difference. Any slight modification I make to a new rack would likely end up destroying it and my bike completely.
05-25-12, 02:20 PM
You can buy Tubus racks for much less by ordering from British on-line shops such as Wiggle, Probikekit.com, etc. Also check out the Dajia stainless steel rack sold by Velo-Orange, which appears to be a copy of the Tubus Cargo. Nice rack for the price, and it's SS so it won't rust.
05-25-12, 06:03 PM
Here's an affordable rack that has the bendy strut in back to protect your spokes, the Axiom Journey: http://www.amazon.com/Axiom-Journey-Tubular-Alloy-Black/dp/B002994ES4/ref=sr_1_1?s=bikes-scooters&ie=UTF8&qid=1337990369&sr=1-1 I have had panniers go into the spokes, so I think it's worthwhile to get this feature.
I have this rack and it works well for commuting with panniers. I haven't tried it with a touring type load. They say it can carry 150 lbs, which seems a little optimistic. However, it seems pretty solid.
05-25-12, 06:47 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions! I do plan on using the rack for general car-free use as well so I don't mind spending for quality and durability, but I'm also a terribly indebted miser (woo working poor!).
Looking at Velo Orange's description of their Tubus Cargo clone... I'm not sure I'd choose it for a Volpe. My feet are size 10 women's, and my partner is a men's size 13.5. So we both have pretty big feet, especially for the size bikes we ride, and the Expedition's extra length has saved us a lot of heel strike issues. Heel strike isn't dangerous, but it does wear through your bike bags faster. Panniers aren't cheap, and heel strike doesn't feel particularly good. Plus it looks like the typical price for a Cargo or Cargo clone is $75-85, same as a Jandd Expedition basically. While the VO guys aren't all car free, they do have a lot of bike commuters and utility riders, so I'd take their warning seriously. (they're a great example of how a car free oriented business can provide good advice)
At the time we bought ours, it was comparatively difficult to find bent stay racks for cheap (not impossible, but for a pair of walking focused noobs, not easy). So I just went with what we could get. Instead, we skimped on panniers and picked up a pair of cheapies from Axiom. They eventually got replaced by an amazing deal on very light 40L panniers from REI. For most people, I don't think spending more buys anything special, unless you're spending more to support a local bike shop that's supporting a more car free lifestyle.
Blackburn EX-1 -- It has worked well, and has seen a lot of use.
05-27-12, 10:25 AM
What is available in your Portland, Maine, bike shops?
they will put it on for you too..
bike has short chainstays? rack has to sit further back then.
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