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Old 09-17-13, 11:53 AM   #1
MEversbergII
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My rack and bag minireview

A little over a month ago I picked up a replacement for the backpack:

I'm still in the "budget accessories" category, probably for a while longer, so when I wanted to get some better cargo options I started at the bottom.

These aren't Wald racks or Ortilieb bags or anything, so I wasn't expecting perfection. However, these are surprisingly good, from what I can discern so far.

Rack - Ventura Universal

http://www.amazon.com/Ventura-Univer...ef=pd_sim_sg_2

Design and function: The rack is Pletscher style, so it has one of those rat traps. Pretty generally the bag's on when I'm going anywhere, so I haven't had much use for it. It holds a quart jug of milk pretty easily, though, and is a secure place to stash bike locks. It has also held my wallet perfectly fine on a few occasions.

This rack is made of sold steel bars, so it's relatively heavy. The welds all look good, but I haven't wailed on it with a hammer or carried more than 40 pounds on it. There are mixed reviews on the included hardware, but so far so good. I carried an old steel bike bungied to one and everything seems to have gone well.

There doesn't seem to be a way to use panniers, as it lacks those side U/D shaped things to secure them. That may be inaccurate, however.

Installation: The rack comes with almost all the hardware required - M5 bolts (IIRC the same size as a standard bottle cage one) and nylon nuts. You will need to supply the hardware that mounts the arms to the seat post. It takes a M5 bolt, and on my Trailway ended up doing alright with a 30mm length bolt and a nylon nut.

The instructions are useless - use some example pics if you need to off Amazon. I think the first one took about 30 minutes while I figured everything out. The second one I installed (for the fiance) took about 10.

What's nice is that there's several considerations for mounting style. Mine uses a central mount near the seat tube, but it'll work with dual-side mounts as well. 28" and 26" wheels are a possibility.

Fit and finish: The paint's poor quality and is getting rubbed off, and the rat trap has some light rusting on the springs.

My main concern is the bolts that attach into the chainstay area. These can't be very long, so they only thread directly into the stay. Not sure how well that sort of attachment will do without something like a nut securing it further.

With all the hardware in place there isn't really any play to comment on. It's pretty solid. The fiance and I are considering having one of us (her) sit on the rack bodaboda style to test it out at low speed. That is, however, over the weight limit it is weighted for.

Conclusion: For $13 it's a solid enough rack. For about $2 you can get new bolts to secure the arms to your frame and you should be good to go.

Trunk Bag - Roswheel Multifunction

http://www.amazon.com/Multi-function...ef=pd_sbs_sg_3

Design and function: It's a basic trunk bag with a large main chamber (6" deep, 6" wide, 11" long), a large left hand side chamber and a pair of smaller right hand side chambers. It uses two wide velcro straps under the rack and two thinner ones to attach to the bar nearest the seat to stay on. The right front chamber is smallest, but works well for a wallet and makes fishing for my base ID easier. The one behind it is larger, and is a good place to stuff my cargo net. The large left hand chamber works for bungies and tools, but it's easy to overload it a bit and make the left side "sag". The main chamber comfortably holds a gallon jug without any struggle. The fabric does well against water, especially the main chamber where no zippers are exposed. The fabric also has some mild insulation qualities. The bag features a detachable shoulder strap, but I have only used it has a backup bungee for my rack. The cup holder is nice, but it has issues with larger tapered disposable foam coffee cups - I use it to attach an extra light, mostly. There's a reflective strip on this cup holder, and it functions - but it's just a reflector, and it's grey. There is a handle on top that runs in line with the shoulder strap.

Installation: You just velcro the thing on. The velcro's pretty tough stuff, and has held the bag on through all kinds of jolts, even when loaded.

Fit and finish: For $15 this is actually a pretty good bag. I've owned $30 lunch pails that weren't this good. It's carried about 12 pounds within without issue. I have had some issue with sagging if the left side is tool-loaded within the side pocket, but no slippage has taken place. If I could make one change, I would reverse the direction of one of the large velcro straps. Currently they face the same way, and I think even greater security could be achieved by having them go opposite each other.

Conclusion: It's $15, but is functional none the less. I don't know who "Roswheel" is, though. I am happy with the size, price and quality.

M.
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Old 09-17-13, 07:31 PM   #2
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Doesn't look much like any Pletscher rack that I used back in the day. Looks better for a racktop pack than for panniers. $13 is indeed budget-priced.
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Old 09-18-13, 04:44 AM   #3
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You might be right; I'm under the impression that the rat trap bit is what makes it "Pletscher", whereas the Blackburn ones use a solid base. That's just what I've gleaned, however, so it may need to be corrected.

For the money, good enough rack. I can't suggest this for hardcore touring though. There is a bit of wobble when I carry a full trunk bag (the above mentioned gallon jug), but it's slight.

M.
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Old 09-18-13, 06:49 AM   #4
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The rack will support a bag but it is lacking in almost every department.
2 legs, not 3. No lateral triangulation.
Bolt on legs, not welded.
Solid steel, very heavy for its stiffness.
Strength is restricted by the bolts not the steel rod.
This all makes the rack less strong and rigid than it needs to be for heavy panniers.
My Blackburn clone rack was pretty cheap but has all the advantages of a Blackburn.

On the plus side, your rack has a rear lamp bracket.
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Old 09-18-13, 07:38 AM   #5
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Yes it does; I need to find a light that works with it. Kind of kludged my old light and a reflector on in the mean time.

How does one of these have three legs? Where's the third one go?

Well, it's certainly not top end, and I'm with you there on the bolts. Welds / joins of any kind are always the weakest spot. This does the trick and meets my needs for now, and got me off the "Why use a rack when you have backpacks" rock.

BUT! Now that I have something that meets my needs for now, I can start looking for a better one for the future. My only requirement is that it support a single centre mount - my only mount for this is a hole through a bar that connects seat stays. What would you suggest?

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Old 09-22-13, 11:11 AM   #6
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My rack and bag minireview

I have that rack, it was a pain to install and even had to get another one sent because of missing parts. Regardless I made it work.
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Old 09-22-13, 03:25 PM   #7
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How'd it go in the long term? It's working for me, for now, but I'm eying a better one for the future.

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Old 09-22-13, 09:17 PM   #8
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It's not bad, once I rigged it I was fine with it. I can't imagine what a nice fitting one costs. I use the clamp to hold my u-lock but otherwise it hold a small cooler and my Discgolf bag.
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Old 09-22-13, 09:35 PM   #9
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That rack is worth keeping in mind if I have to fix something up on an extreme budget. I have a couple of Roswheel top tube panniers. They seem to make decent enough stuff for the price. I don't expect Jannd or Ortlieb quality for that kind of money.

Thanks.
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Old 09-23-13, 07:06 AM   #10
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With you there on quality, Yo Spiff. That said, as nice as this bag is to my perception, Jannd or Ortlieb must be amazing. I'll take a look at that top tube one, might be handy.

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Old 09-23-13, 08:25 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by MEversbergII View Post
I'll take a look at that top tube one, might be handy.
They are a good alternative to the ones that sit on tip of the top tube. Most of the latter type have long straps for use on fat tube bikes and I haven't been able to get them to sit securely on steel tubes. The pannier type bags hang on either side, so I don't have to get the straps really tight.
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Old 09-23-13, 08:41 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by anthonygeo View Post
It's not bad, once I rigged it I was fine with it. I can't imagine what a nice fitting one costs. I use the clamp to hold my u-lock but otherwise it hold a small cooler and my Discgolf bag.
Do you by chance know what light would work with the rear rack's centre mount? Been meaning to measure it but I keep forgetting.

Yo Spiff, I was looking at that style right after you mentioned it. Unfortunately for my unit, I think it would interfere with the cables that run down the top of my top tube. For me, I think I'll go with those triangle style bags that sit near the seat tube/top tube junction. They use thin, wide velcro straps that I think would easily slip down under the cables. That style there, though, looks like it would work well for wifey's hybrid, or my road bike, so that's for the suggestion.

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Old 09-23-13, 10:12 AM   #13
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My rack and bag minireview

Sorry no, I use these on my bikes, CatEye TL-LD150-R Bicycle Rear Safety Light
http://amzn.com/B000R6Q9VQ. I've been wondering a million things to do with that bracket lol
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Old 09-23-13, 01:19 PM   #14
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Right now I have a cheap rear light and a reflector screwed into it.

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Old 10-02-13, 07:54 PM   #15
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Do you guys think this would work with that rack?

http://www.amazon.com/Avenir-Metro-P...=IRT87T03SC1V4

Or do these require those 3-bar support racks?

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