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Old 09-26-06, 03:15 PM   #1
Digital Gee
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Rack over rear tire -- worthwhile?

I've been thinking of mounting a rack over my rear tire, but wondering if it's going to be worthwhile. I have a small saddlebag which (barely) carries everything I normally tote: tube, breakfast bars, cell phone, wallet, house keys. Sometimes I think I'd be better served with a rack and a couple of bungee cords so that I could carry other stuff (even stuff I find out there). For instance, the other day I came across a book sale while riding, and bought three paperbacks, and kind of "juggled" them home.

But then again, how often would I use it -- and so therefore, is it worth it or not?
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Old 09-26-06, 03:23 PM   #2
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Yes, I have one on both my bikes, mainly to commuted to work. If you want a serious ride for time and distance, it doesn't take long to remove them.
Enjoy the ride.
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Old 09-26-06, 03:30 PM   #3
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DG: I have one on my touring bike, but when I need to carry stuff on my other road bikes (without racks), or anticipate that I will, I take along a small fanny pack. If I were making a choice between a rack and a fanny pack (have to watch those dollars!), I'd go with the fanny pack, because it can be used in more ways. I've never found riding with one cumbersome, and can manage a rain jacket, maps, snacks, and a 35mm camera in one with room to spare. So, guess you could easily stuff a few books into it too.
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Old 09-26-06, 03:51 PM   #4
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A rack is a good idea, it's not that much heavier. And then there's the benefits: like acts like a fender, carrying panniers for shopping or traveling, transporting stuff, and whatever. I have one on my old Bianchi road bike, and I love it as much as a kickstand too.
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Old 09-26-06, 04:03 PM   #5
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A quality rack doesn't weigh much, and it does give you options.

I took mine off before a long ride because I thought lowering the bike weight would be beneficial. Then I realized it weighed almost nothing, so I just put it back on...

It is however tricky to bungee something on and get it to stay. You nust secure the load pretty well for motion in any axis. Be patient and it can be done. I have a cargo net for mine that works pretty well... But my biggest benefit is a trunk bag that holds more than any seat bag.
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Old 09-26-06, 04:19 PM   #6
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Just another thought, you could also go with a larger seat bag ala carradice. But they are a bit costy, and I love mine. I can carry a tire, couple of tubes, tights, small tool kit, a jacket, and still have room if I find a couple of paperbacks along the way
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Old 09-26-06, 04:20 PM   #7
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Agree about the usefulness of a rear rack.

'Darwin noted. . .

>>> It is however tricky to bungee something on and get it to stay.

Agree here, too. Bun-Gees are a royal pain. I use these racks. . .the bag "velcros" to the rack. . .it goes from bike to bike as required. . .it hold lots of freight short of a tour. I've super-glued a blinkie to the rear clip. Downside is that it raises your center of gravity and I find I haul more stuff than maybe I need to.
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Old 09-26-06, 05:09 PM   #8
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I have a bag that velcros to the rack too, and use it quite a bit, but I usually have one of these net-bungees that makes it easy to hold down stuff I discover when I am riding. Works really well and weighs nothing.
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Old 09-26-06, 05:40 PM   #9
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I was just thinking how it was time for me to put mine basck on the bikes. I use them mainly in the spring fall and winter for extra clothing. (weather changes fast around here.)
Carpe who?
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Old 09-26-06, 05:41 PM   #10
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I have one on my tandem and one on my beater bike. They have their merits.

Here's the downside. You've already made mention of all of the stuff that you carry with you. Bigger bag = more stuff, most of which is unnecessary. I have a trunk bag that velcros onto my tandem rack. We never leave home without it. What's in it? You're guess is as good as mine. I know that I have a couple of tubes and a CO2 inflator and a few tools. It always seems to be full of stuff that we think we might need so there's seldom room for things that we might want to buy along the way. Uh - it's been years since I've needed anything other than an inner tube and an inflator, maybe a candy bar from from out of that bag.

Incidentally, regarding bungee cords, I've got one that has flat straps. I think that it's a Blackburn product. You wouldn't think that flat straps would be very much different than round ones but they are. The straps don't seem to move around as much and they hold things much more securely than round bungees do.
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Old 09-26-06, 07:31 PM   #11
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I keep my essentials (spare tube,tools and tire spoons) in a carrier mtd. to my seat rails, and it probably weighs about a pound. And I always have a rack in back but the only time I use it is when I quick mount a milk crate to it for hauling groceries, supplies, or a run to the laundry...about twice a week. But as the rack weighs a minimal amount, for me it is just so simple to always have it there. And yes I agree bungee cords on the flat rack are difficult. It's why I use the milk crate, as long as it is a planned shopping run. If not I always have a couple of cords with me and make them work.
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Old 09-26-06, 08:26 PM   #12
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I ride a Bacchetta Agio (bent) so a fanny pack, and back pack just wouldn't work. I had them install my rack at the shop when I bought the bike, and I have not regretted it. Since I commute to work as often as I can, the saddle bags I carry not only hold everything (2 tubes, pump, chain & lock, tire levers, full change of clothes for work, towel, bathroom kit, and my boots) but when I get to work both saddle bags can come in with me for security. When I am not commuting, I have attatched my old backpack to the seat frame, so I can carry my camelback (and my maintenance kit) so that it rests on the rack. I can also attatch a trunk bag to the top of the rack, which would give me a heck of a lot of carrying capacity. The rack itself certainly doesn't have a noticeable weight. It really doesn't make a difference for my rides, but someone who is REALLY concerned about weight might think twice about it.
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Old 09-26-06, 10:35 PM   #13
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The rack is essential equipment, especially in spring and fall when you need layers. Always have 3-4 bungies on it to attach things. I've used a handlebar bag for years to carry gloves, camera, lock, etc. but it is about to fall apart. My emergency kit (tube, first aid, tools, etc.) is always under the seat. The handlebar bag will be replaced this fall with a rack trunk so I'll have a watertight place for the jacket, food, etc. It also seems a perfect fit for that bottle of wine and picnic lunch with the wife.

I also use a small daypack with hydration pouch on occassion, especially while packing my good camera or binoculars for wildlife watching.

I carry too much junk with me, but often ride in remote areas. You just know the first time I left something at home I would need it 15 miles out in the boonies, where the cell phone just doesn't work!
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Old 09-26-06, 11:06 PM   #14
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I'ld be lost without a rack. For short trips I use a trunk bag for tools, tubes, snacks and a digital SLR. It can carry half a day's supplies for both my wife and myself. If we're going on an overnight, or if we have to carry bulky stuff, I use panniers.
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Old 09-26-06, 11:17 PM   #15
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I keep a cheap, flimsy plastic rack on my bike at all times. It makes a great fender in the wet, and I keep a rolled-up shell parka on it for weather emergencies. The rack isn't strong enough for much else, so I use it to transport an old newspaper carrier's bag to the grocery store, and use that to haul home the foodstuffs.
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Old 09-27-06, 12:12 AM   #16
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My MTB has a rear rack & it's great. Weighs hardly anything (made from aluminum). I had to get one that had as much heel strike clearance as I could find (my feet are too big/long).

My German bike didn't have a rack so I got one off a wrecked bike here at the study center and since I have to buy groceries & haul them back to my apt., it has worked great.

At home I have this wonderful trunk bag but here I just use one of those gimme shopping bags that I've gotten at a convention to haul stuff home. Put everything in it then fold over top & strap it down. Bought a flat strap-style bungee with 3 flat straps that does a MUCH better job of holding things in place than a round bungee would.

The Germans use wire baskets, milk crates, all kinds of containers mounted on their rear racks. Since their bikes ARE their cars most days of the week, being able to plop backpack, groceries, lock, etc. into the container on the rear rack is expected. In fact, from thinking about it, only the road racing bikes are sold without rear racks - all other bikes seem to come with them.

The Commuting and Touring BF forums have endless threads about different racks & bags & panniers. As witnessed by how many responses you got to this question, eh?


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Old 09-27-06, 06:54 AM   #17
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I couldn't imagine riding without one, as it holds my rain gear. It also makes it possible to stop off for some grocery shopping on the way home from the office.

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Old 09-27-06, 07:05 AM   #18
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Now that you are venturing off road, don't forget the first aid kit. I learned that one the hard way when I had to put up with a bleeding calf for the last 30 minutes of a ride.
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Old 09-27-06, 09:25 AM   #19
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I just recently put a rack on my "main" bike and I wonder why I waited so long. The (vert small) weight penalty is more than compensated for by the utility of it. Get a light nylon stuff sack at REI and tie it down with a few old toestraps.
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Old 09-27-06, 09:46 AM   #20
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I have one of those Topeak racks that cantilevers off of the seat post and has a quick-release mechanism, so takes about a minute to put on or take off. I bought it for my comfort bike (Giant Sedona), but was pleased to find that it also mounts easily on my new Sequoia. I usually just use a seat bag on the Sequoia, but this time of year where you want to dress in layers and then peel along the way (plus take some rain gear along), it is nice to have the rack with a trunk bag on it.

However, I don't think that I would use this on a bike with a carbon seat post!
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Old 09-27-06, 09:51 AM   #21
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Much can be, and has been here, said about the usefulness of both a rack and
handlebar basket. However, it boils down to this simple statement.........
"You can't use what you don't have".

If this were me, and I did do this, I'd put a quality rack on all my bikes
and a basket or bag on my handlebars. Solved lot's of carry problems
for me.
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Old 09-27-06, 10:31 AM   #22
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Racks and bags make the difference between excersize equipment and useful transportation.

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Old 09-27-06, 11:11 AM   #23
Pedaled too far.
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Just a couple of nights ago I carried a 2.5 gallon water container home over hill and dale. I agree with blues dawg.
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Old 09-27-06, 11:42 AM   #24
Time for a change.
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The amount of spares we have to carry on the Tandem makes it imperatif that we have a rack fitted to it. Sorting the rack that would fit the Tandem was a problem though and eventually I found one. Then I fitted disc brakes and had to start the search again. I came up with a seat post mounted one. The first one only lasted a year or so before it fell apart but now have the one as shown in the attachment. Great thing about it is that the seat post is the same size as the bianchi so no fiddling to change from bike to bike. Just change post. As to the sturdiness of this one- It will on the big rides carry 10lbs in the top bag and that is being bounced at a tremendous rate on the offroad trails. The position of the carrier section can also be moved fore and aft if necessary
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Old 09-27-06, 11:49 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Digital Gee
But then again, how often would I use it -- and so therefore, is it worth it or not?
I have one on my touring bike that stays there. I also have one on both mountain bikes. I have a seat rack for the road bike but for my type of riding will probably put a light aluminum rack on it sometime in the futre. I like having the ability to carry a trunk rack whenever I want. It allows me a third bottle, or two bottles if the light battery is in one holder. It's also convenient for the tube, cell phone, a snack, and to carry the cycle jacket, leg warmers, etc. I consider it almost a necessity for an all day Saturday ride. Then again, where I live and bike it is often 20-30 miles from anything so you need to carry a little extra. Failure to do so can make for a miserable ride.
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