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  1. #1
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    The rear rack question.

    I've been looking at rear racks for my Insight, and with the vast range there are out there, I thought I'd throw the question out to you all in the hybrid section, and see what you come up with.
    Based on the fact that this is my paved trail pleasure bike, which I generally use for 5 or 6 hours at a time and I won't use side panniers on it, I'm not looking to over brace the side struts too much.
    I've got some flexible criteria that I'd like it to meet, so here is the list:
    1) It has to look the business, I don't want something that's functional but ugly.. Obviously.
    2) I like the matte finish powdercoat of the Bontrager racks.
    3) The slightly larger diameter tubing that Bontrager uses also appeals to me.
    4) I want it to mount low, meaning as near to the top of the rear tyre as possible. I think this makes things look more streamlined.
    5) Slide on quick release locking system, or not? I like Topeak's system, and the price and variety of their bags, I'm just not keen on that silk look finish, or the slightly spindly looking tubing. Do any of you use racks successfully with velcro straps?
    6) It has to be black.

    I'm open to suggestions and options, but it has to be a decent build, preferably welded joints, needs to be light, and look nice on the bike.

    There we are, maybe those of you kind people with racks would like to give me some input and post some pics of what you have, and let me see what looks good.

    Thanks in advance.
    Cheers.
    Last edited by fire; 01-02-13 at 10:57 PM.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Since you like the looks of Bontrager racks so much, why not just get one of theirs? They have their own Q-R system they call 'Interchange'- pricier than Topeak, nor as big of a selection, but if that's what appeals to your sense of style...

    I've used a rack trunk that mounted using 4 velcro straps. It was pretty stable, but not something that I would enjoy using for commuting (which I did use it for that purpose). For a lengthy recreational ride like you're talking about, trunk bag makes for a handy place to stash snacks and extra water, plus someplace to put layers.

  3. #3
    Senior Member DEW21's Avatar
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    Got the Topeak MTX rack and bag for Christmas, love the rack, love the bag but hate the appearance of the universal seatstay mounts. Did a little research and ordered a Bontrager large strut kit #427332 (black) $5 and will fab a mounting block to bolt to the bottom of the rack. I even painted the Topeak brackets black but that didnt help. Still looks like azz!
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by DEW21 View Post
    Got the Topeak MTX rack and bag for Christmas, love the rack, love the bag but hate the appearance of the universal seatstay mounts. Did a little research and ordered a Bontrager large strut kit #427332 (black) $5 and will fab a mounting block to bolt to the bottom of the rack. I even painted the Topeak brackets black but that didnt help. Still looks like azz!
    I second the Topeak. Have both on my old mongoose and QR beam rack on my mtn bike. The MTX bag is great as well. The whole system works and is neat. That said the metal seat post mounts don't do the rack justice. Wish Topeak would change that. Where did you find the strut kit if I may ask?

    Thanks
    Bruce

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    Since you like the looks of Bontrager racks so much, why not just get one of theirs? They have their own Q-R system they call 'Interchange'- pricier than Topeak, nor as big of a selection, but if that's what appeals to your sense of style...

    I've used a rack trunk that mounted using 4 velcro straps. It was pretty stable, but not something that I would enjoy using for commuting (which I did use it for that purpose). For a lengthy recreational ride like you're talking about, trunk bag makes for a handy place to stash snacks and extra water, plus someplace to put layers.
    The reason for not jumping straight for a Bontrager system is because although I've seen the Bontrager and Topeak racks close up, there are plenty of other racks out there. The idea was to try and get some legit input on those from people that used them, not comments on why I should just go for one of the racks that I'd mentioned (as if it were a stupid idea not to). Yes, I'm aware that Bontrager has its own system and that Topeak has more bags and cost less, but I guess that I didn't really make that clear in my original post.

    I've put just over 3100 miles on this bike, and I'm aware of the advantages and uses of a trunk bag, that's the general idea of why I want a rack, to completely do away with the saddlebag and backpack that I have used for the last 3 years.
    As for extra layers? I'm a transplanted Brit based in Central Florida, it very seldom feels cold enough to ride in much more than a long sleeve quick dry tee.
    It's more about convenience and comfort, than hauling a lot of stuff. A hydration pack (or hydration backpack) is fine for awhile, but it makes venting out more difficult, which is a distinct disadvantage when riding in a florida summer. Spare tube, pump, tools, grub and insect repellent, as well as sunblock and a place for a hat all take up a space, and a saddle bag is too small on its own.
    Last edited by fire; 01-03-13 at 08:32 AM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DEW21 View Post
    Got the Topeak MTX rack and bag for Christmas, love the rack, love the bag but hate the appearance of the universal seatstay mounts. Did a little research and ordered a Bontrager large strut kit #427332 (black) $5 and will fab a mounting block to bolt to the bottom of the rack. I even painted the Topeak brackets black but that didnt help. Still looks like azz!
    Yeah that's definitely one of the points that put me off the Topeak rack. I really like their mounting system, and the MTX EX trunkbag is exactly what I'm looking for size wise, but I'm just not so keen on the look of the rack when compared to some others that I've seen pics of here in the hybrid section. I don't like that universal stay, either. I'd be interested to see a picture of how it looks with the Bontrager strut kit on.

  7. #7
    Senior Member DEW21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DowneasTTer View Post
    I second the Topeak. Have both on my old mongoose and QR beam rack on my mtn bike. The MTX bag is great as well. The whole system works and is neat. That said the metal seat post mounts don't do the rack justice. Wish Topeak would change that. Where did you find the strut kit if I may ask?

    Thanks
    Bruce
    Ordered from a local Trek shop, should have it in a few days and will post pics when its installed

  8. #8
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    I really like the Axiom Journey rack I put on my bike. its a little larger diameter tubing than most racks are made from, mounts really solidly, is as light as they get, and 2-3 times stronger than anything else I've seen (rated at 150 lbs or something). the Journey (and their Streamliner) racks mount a little farther back than most, so side bags are less likely to interfere with your heels.

  9. #9
    Carpe Velo Yo Spiff's Avatar
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    You asked about strap mounted bags. I have a Topeak DXP strap mount. It takes 30 seconds to a minute to mount it. The Topeak rail system would certainly be faster and convenient, but my bike already had a Blackburn rack and I didn't want to have to invest in Topeak's proprietary system for every bike I wanted to use it on.

    The panniers on this model are huge for something like this, but Topeak hasn't too much choice in strap mount models. There have been a couple of times when I was glad I had the capacity. A group ride on a cold morning that warmed up quite a bit. I had my camera in the main compartment and my multiple layers went into the panniers as the day progressed.

    If you get a rack trunk without fold out panniers, consider getting one of the wider racks meant for a MTB, so you can use both a rack trunk and some panniers together. Otherwise the panniers stick up over the top, and the trunk hangs over the sides, so you can't use both at the same time.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by pierce View Post
    I really like the Axiom Journey rack I put on my bike. its a little larger diameter tubing than most racks are made from, mounts really solidly, is as light as they get, and 2-3 times stronger than anything else I've seen (rated at 150 lbs or something). the Journey (and their Streamliner) racks mount a little farther back than most, so side bags are less likely to interfere with your heels.
    I just tried took a look at the Journey, online. It looks a nice rack, and I'm going to put it on the list of possibilities. I'll need to get out to some LBS and check what the racks physically look like before I can make a decision.
    Thanks for the suggestion.

  11. #11
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    none of my LBS's carried Axiom, so I asked one to order one, but I wasn't sure if I wanted transit or journey, they looked in their QPB catalog and said 'how about we get both, and you pick", sounds good to me!

    they'd not seen them before, and were really impressed when they came in, so plan on carrying them from now on



    (I've since moved the upper fender stay forward so it doesn't get in the way of the hook, the fender stay mounts on these fenders can be slid fore/aft via the little clamp screws on the side)

    I do think I'll be putting a slight bend in the extension pieces that secure the rack to the upper seat stays, just because it will look better

    here's with a Banjo Bros' tail pack.


  12. #12
    Member dennismont's Avatar
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    I bought a Transit rack for my Giant Escape, but didn't like the look of it when mounted. It also sat real close to the back tire and made it difficult to thread a bungie cord underneath it. I have since changed to the Planet Bike rack. It is a nice looking, flat black, and well made rack.
    "I don't make mistakes, only design changes"
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by pierce View Post
    Nice picture!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yo Spiff View Post
    You asked about strap mounted bags. I have a Topeak DXP strap mount. It takes 30 seconds to a minute to mount it. The Topeak rail system would certainly be faster and convenient, but my bike already had a Blackburn rack and I didn't want to have to invest in Topeak's proprietary system for every bike I wanted to use it on.

    The panniers on this model are huge for something like this, but Topeak hasn't too much choice in strap mount models. There have been a couple of times when I was glad I had the capacity. A group ride on a cold morning that warmed up quite a bit. I had my camera in the main compartment and my multiple layers went into the panniers as the day progressed.

    If you get a rack trunk without fold out panniers, consider getting one of the wider racks meant for a MTB, so you can use both a rack trunk and some panniers together. Otherwise the panniers stick up over the top, and the trunk hangs over the sides, so you can't use both at the same time.
    That's one of the primary reasons for not going straight for a Topeak system, swapping the bag is then limited to one type of rack. I've already got a rack that I took off a donor bike and will put on either my wife's cruiser, or mine. I'm caught between liking the Topeak bag and rail mount system, but not necessarily liking the rack, and creating a lack of verstility with the bag for putting on my hybrid.
    Fortunately the Topeak Trunk EX bag is available with the strap mount, and I know that this particular bag is ideal for me, because one of my biking buddies has exactly that with a rail mount... he has a seat post rack, which I'm not keen on though.

    Cheers for the advice on the panniers too, I'm listening to you all on that.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by pierce View Post
    none of my LBS's carried Axiom, so I asked one to order one, but I wasn't sure if I wanted transit or journey, they looked in their QPB catalog and said 'how about we get both, and you pick", sounds good to me!

    they'd not seen them before, and were really impressed when they came in, so plan on carrying them from now on



    (I've since moved the upper fender stay forward so it doesn't get in the way of the hook, the fender stay mounts on these fenders can be slid fore/aft via the little clamp screws on the side)

    I do think I'll be putting a slight bend in the extension pieces that secure the rack to the upper seat stays, just because it will look better

    here's with a Banjo Bros' tail pack.

    Yeah, I definitely like the look of that rack. The flat black finish, and the thickness of the tubes is the kind of look that I'd like to achieve.

  16. #16
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    re: pack systems. many years ago I had a complete system by Eureka, that fit their own racks. the panniers and such slid onto a groove on the rack, so they could be removed from the bike in seconds, and were held really securely.

    Of course, fast forward, and oops, Eureka is out of the bicycle business (they do motorcycle stuff only, more lucrative), and that rack isn't very useful with anything else other than bungi-corded on loads.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by dennismont View Post
    I bought a Transit rack for my Giant Escape, but didn't like the look of it when mounted. It also sat real close to the back tire and made it difficult to thread a bungie cord underneath it. I have since changed to the Planet Bike rack. It is a nice looking, flat black, and well made rack.
    How close do you think it sat to the tire? Also, is the Planet Bike rack a similar tube diameter?

    Quote Originally Posted by pierce View Post
    none of my LBS's carried Axiom, so I asked one to order one, but I wasn't sure if I wanted transit or journey, they looked in their QPB catalog and said 'how about we get both, and you pick", sounds good to me!

    they'd not seen them before, and were really impressed when they came in, so plan on carrying them from now on



    I think the Journey looks really nice. Its fits the bike well, and the tube diameter and finish is pretty well exactly what I'm looking for.

    I've looked at the Transit online too, and I actually like the look of it, especially as I've decided on a trunk bag without panniers.. Would either of you be able to offer an opinion as to whether the tubular frame of the Transit seems the same kind of diameter to the Journey? I'd hazard a guess that Pierce would know as he saw the two racks together in his LBS?

  18. #18
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    The Transit uses the same diameter tubing for the main rack, but the forward mounts that secure it to the seat stays were chrome straps rather than tubular alloy like on my Journey shown above.

  19. #19
    Road Runner DougG's Avatar
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    I used a Topeak clamp-on beam rack for a while. The problem I had with it was that there's a limit to how firmly you can clamp it with the quick-release type of lever, and I occasionally had trouble with it shifting off-center, especially if the pack was fairly heavy. The one I had would take any type of pack that comes with velcro straps -- I didn't have to use a Topeak bag. I'm not sure if it was a different model from the one that uses their "system" or not.

  20. #20
    Road Runner DougG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pierce View Post
    none of my LBS's carried Axiom, so I asked one to order one, but I wasn't sure if I wanted transit or journey, they looked in their QPB catalog and said 'how about we get both, and you pick", sounds good to me!
    So which one is in the picture -- the Transit or the Journey? One thing that impresses me about that rack is that it doesn't use the cheap bend-to-fit metal straps for connecting the rack to the stays.

  21. #21
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    I like this thread and I'm just replying to get updates and find out where fire winds up. good luck! :-)
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  22. #22
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    Cheers for the info. I was looking at Axion's site, but they mentioned 15mm tube as opposed to 10 for one of the Journey racks.. hence the question.

    I really like the look of the Journey as shown on your bike, but the Transit makes more sense for what I want to put on it (no panniers).. and it's lighter too. No real point in me having a bigger rack with extra side struts, when all I want is a trunk bag on the top.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    I like this thread and I'm just replying to get updates and find out where fire winds up. good luck! :-)
    Cheers mate, I'll be sure and let you all know. once I've got it sorted! To be honest, if I could find an Axion Transit to look at over the weekend, I may well have a decision by Monday.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougG View Post
    So which one is in the picture -- the Transit or the Journey? One thing that impresses me about that rack is that it doesn't use the cheap bend-to-fit metal straps for connecting the rack to the stays.
    That's a Journey in his pic, and I liked the way it connected to the stays, too. That decent sized tube adjustable system really looks nice, and it's almost making me want that particular rack over the Transit.
    http://www.axiomgear.com/products/gear/racks/
    Last edited by fire; 01-04-13 at 05:39 PM.

  25. #25
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    I can't say enough good things about my Bontrager rack and "interchange" bag. This system has been great!
    2012 Trek DS 8.3 (Gary Fisher)
    - Deore rear (upgrade)
    - Ergon GX2 grips and magnesium bar ends
    - Kenda Happy Medium Cyclocross tires 700x35
    - Bontrager Trunk - Deluxe
    - Shimano PD-A530 clipless pedals
    - CatEye Strada Wirelesss

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