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Thread: Rack Woes...

  1. #1
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    Rack Woes...

    I recently ordered a rack through mail order from Bicycle Source US. The rack I wanted (this one) can't be sourced in Canada, even though Norco distributes Topeak products. The box came today and I excitedly opened it, only to discover this inside. Close, but no cigar.

    After confirming that I had indeed ordered the correct rack (which I had) I phoned Bicycle Source US and was given a manager's email address, to whom I sent a message regarding exchange. This is a real PITA since I've been trying to get my hands on this rack ever since I bought my new bike late last month. It took two weeks to get this one and I foresee another two weeks before I get the one I want.

    I looked at dozens of other racks from dozens of other companies and this is the one I want, so while I appreciate the suggestions, I'm not interested in another rack. I am, however, curious to know if anyone here has dealt with Bicycle Source US and would be willing to share their experience. If so, please do.
    Gettin' my Fred on.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Sundance89's Avatar
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    Interesting. I don't know if there is a connection, but on Amazon, I am the one leaving a warning to customers and a notification to Amazon that the Topeak Rack in writing does not match the Topeak Rack in their picture. The confusion was with the same Topeak Super Tourist DX Tubular Rack w/Disc Mounts vs. the rack without disc mounts. Lots of complaints even after my post about people receiving the wrong rack. I shied away and bought my Topeak rack from REI just for that reason.

  3. #3
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sundance89 View Post
    Interesting. I don't know if there is a connection, but on Amazon, I am the one leaving a warning to customers and a notification to Amazon that the Topeak Rack in writing does not match the Topeak Rack in their picture. The confusion was with the same Topeak Super Tourist DX Tubular Rack w/Disc Mounts vs. the rack without disc mounts. Lots of complaints even after my post about people receiving the wrong rack. I shied away and bought my Topeak rack from REI just for that reason.
    While I doubt there's a connection to the Amazon problem, inasmuch as it relates to the Topeak company and/or their racks, it's easy to imagine that it's a problem with the pickers/packers/shippers themselves: If I was working in a busy distribution center and I had to pick/pack/ship a product, I could see how it might be possible to confuse a Topeak Super Tourist DX Tubular Rack w/Disc Mounts with a Topeak Super Tourist Tubular Rack w/Spring. This would be especially true if I knew squat about bikes, and even more so if English was my second language. Even with today's ISO systems things get mislabeled and misplaced all the time. That being said, I hope Bicycle Source US realizes their error and sends me the right rack posthaste. Ideally I'd like them to tell me to keep the other rack for my troubles since I could use it on one of my other bikes (yeah, like that's ever gonna happen ).
    Last edited by irclean; 08-24-10 at 09:41 PM.
    Gettin' my Fred on.

  4. #4
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    Update

    Bicycle Source US finally got back to me (with a "did you not receive my first email?" query ). They offered to let me keep the wrong rack for 23 bucks and to send me the correct rack right away. Since it's a $40 rack I decided to take them up on their offer, so all together it's gonna cost me about $68 for two new Topeak racks. Not too bad, I guess... especially considering that they're being shipped from the States. Score one point for NAFTA!
    Gettin' my Fred on.

  5. #5
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    So a manager at bicyclesource.us finally got back to me about the rack - they're sending me one "right away." Hopefully it's the right one this time. In the meantime I installed the "wrong" one on my other, non-disc brake equipped bike:

    HPIM3108..jpgHPIM3111..jpgHPIM3113..jpg
    Gettin' my Fred on.

  6. #6
    12mph+ commuter
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    Quote Originally Posted by irclean View Post
    So a manager at bicyclesource.us finally got back to me about the rack - they're sending me one "right away." Hopefully it's the right one this time. In the meantime I installed the "wrong" one on my other, non-disc brake equipped bike:

    HPIM3108..jpgHPIM3111..jpgHPIM3113..jpg
    I'd say getting a free rack out of it is worth the trouble, =)

  7. #7
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scheherezade View Post
    I'd say getting a free rack out of it is worth the trouble, =)
    Not quite free... but at 23 bucks it's about half-price. Not too bad, IMHO. I didn't really need a new rack for my other bike, but what the hell? I can transfer the cheap one that was originally on it onto my daughter's bike now; she seemed intrigued with the idea of getting the backpack off of her back.
    Gettin' my Fred on.

  8. #8
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    Finally, finally got my new rack. Started installing it, figuring it would be a no-brainer, easy-peasy procedure... not!

    First (and most disturbing) problem was the non-drive side eyelet; I started threading the bolt through and was stopped by, of all things, the caliper bracket. In their infinite wisdom, the engineers at Norco decided to use sliding dropouts to adjust belt tension on the Ceres (and Vesta). Unfortunately in my case the dropout moves the caliper right in behind the eyelet. I guess those engineers at Norco are too busy riding single-track to worry about us commuters and our beloved accessories (and the fitment thereof). In any case, I managed to attach the rack with a 8 mm M5 bolt I had lying around. Hopefully the six or so threads that were showing will be enough to hold. On the other side I needed a few washers so the drive-side attachment point would clear my fender struts.

    Second, this was the first time I've ever had to bend struts to attach them to chainstay braze-ons. It wasn't too difficult, but it left me feeling that pre-bent tubular struts used by other rack manufacturers are a better design.

    All in all, the rack feels very solid and I love the lower side bars for mounting my pannier. It frees up the top of the rack for a trunk bag or, in my case, a lunch bag.

    Extra washers:


    Bent struts:


    Loaded for bear:


    Drive side:
    Gettin' my Fred on.

  9. #9
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    It's ok to bend the struts. I got an Axiom Transit rack and I have to do that so I can clear the brake caliper. I have to do even more "dramatic" bend than you did on yours. Took me about 15min of trials and errors. Would've been easier if I'm at my home where I have a propane torch (and better metalwork tools) to heat the strut up so it bends easier.



    Last edited by earthworm94; 09-15-10 at 10:53 PM.

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Rack strut strips are so useful and re-shape able that I try to get extras from the bike shop..
    racks ship with several so the extras build up in a bin somewhere.

  11. #11
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    Yeah, the struts aren't actually load-bearing, they're just there to keep the whole thing from rotating backwards and dragging behind you. Bend away!
    1988 Miele Azsora

  12. #12
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    Rack Mount Fail!

    I heard a "twang" from the rear end of the bike when leaving for work this morning. Upon quick inspection in the dark I could detect nothing wrong so I carried on. While starting some yard work after I got home I noticed a few shiny washers in the driveway. Upon closer inspection I discovered that the left rear dropout mount had failed me and the bolt hadn't been able to hang on "by a thread", as it were. Luckily, even though my pannier hangs on the left side of the bike and the weight was therefore being placed on the side with no bolt, no damage seems to have been done to either the bike or the rack.

    As per my earlier post I quickly discerned that my rear brake caliper was the culprit and I pondered how to deal with it. I considered attaching the rack to the same eyelet as my rear fender but decided that would lead to problems with bending the struts, and besides... there are two eyelets on either side and I should be able to use them!

    I took off the caliper bracket, which doubles as the sliding dropout to maintain tension/alignment on my belt-drive/IGH bike. You can see here where the rack bolt was pressing up against the bracket:



    I then carefully removed some of the aluminum to make room for my rack's mounting bolt:



    I remounted the caliper, wheel, and rack and so far everything seems to be working. Ideally I'd like to mill some more material off of the dropout to give me more room for adjustment, but I'm loath to remove more lest it lose anymore of its structural integrity. In any case I have concluded that Norco really dropped the ball on this design and I plan to send a letter to them describing my dilemma in hopes that it will be rectified on subsequent models. My experience has certainly convinced me that an eccentric bottom bracket to maintain belt (or chain) tension is a far superior design than sliding dropouts or chain tensioners.
    Last edited by irclean; 10-18-10 at 09:06 PM.
    Gettin' my Fred on.

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