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Old 01-24-09, 02:00 AM   #1
Agentbolt
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Anyone here have any thoughts on the Topeak explorer racks?

I distinctly like idea of a rack with an integrated locking mechanism for the trunk bag. You could get into the campsite, set up camp, and slide off the rear bags in about 10 seconds to store them in your tent. Then your bike can be ridden into town to check out the nearest cafe or restaurant without having all the equipment still lashed to it.

It SEEMS like a good idea in theory anyways, but has anyone here had any personal experience with it? How's the durability, quality, etc. I do notice the biggest rear bag Topeak makes that works with that thing is about 1220 cubic inches. I guess that's pretty wimpy as far as storage space goes, which means you'd have to run big front panniers as well for a supported cross-continent tour, and then you're losing out on the ease of removal aspect I'm so smitten by (Unless topeak makes a front rack I'm unaware of)
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Old 01-24-09, 03:15 AM   #2
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I have the Topeak Explorer Disc rack with the slide locking mechanism, and the Topeak MTX DXP bag. It is a great combination. I use it everyday for commuting to school / work, and have used it on short "out and backs" camping. It holds a surprising amount, but I doubt I would take it out on a longer tour over my Ortlieb panniers. It is a great rack and bag, though.
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Old 01-24-09, 04:41 AM   #3
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i have the disc model. It's a nice sturdy rack. I like it a lot. I've noticed that the finish wears pretty quickly on this rack. It doesn't affect the usefulness of the rack, but if you are looking for something that will look nice I recommend not getting this rack.
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Old 01-24-09, 05:15 AM   #4
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I've used Topeak racks like the one you talk about since 1999, and three of my five bikes are equipped with them now.

I have two of the rack-top, slide-on bags -- the original version, and the middle version. The difference between the two is the size of the extrusion on top of the rack (and therefore the dimensions of the plastic track under the bag). These two bags have been superseded by the MTX bags which, in my opinion, aren't quite so well thought out.

The two bags have been given a hard life, the first one doing many randonnees, and commutes and general riding.

The racks have proved to be extremely reliable. One had been on my touring bike for around 40,000km and has now been transferred to my fixed gear.

The touring bike now sports the DX Super Touriste rack, and I would suggest that if you can afford it, buy it (Part #TA2039B I think).

The main issue with the Explorer rack is that you can slide on the rack bag, but you can't fit panniers on at the same time.

The Super Touriste overcomes this with a second pair of rails welded about an inch below the top rails. You can fit on your panniers and slide on the rack bag without any problems. The bonus is that the load is that much lower on the back of the bike, which may improve handling in certain conditions.

The Super Touriste also comes in disc brake version.
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Old 01-24-09, 09:09 AM   #5
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When you are cycle camping, your load would usually be 2 rear panniers, a bar bag and perhaps 2 front panneirs. All of these can be had with quick-release locking mounts. Its rare to take rack-top bags camping. The rack-top space is sometimes used for tents, sleeping mats,bags etc. Ive never seen a tourist use a racktop bag in addition to all tha stuff.
When I am going from campsite to town I take my bar bag and a minimalist small 20l backpack for larger items.

Rixen and Kaul make a racktop-bag quick release mounting system that can be fitted to most racks.
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Old 01-24-09, 09:31 AM   #6
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I concur with the above. The locking Topeak bags are great for every-day use, but the bags aren't big enough for anything more than a credit card tour.

For longer tours, I wind up putting my tent on top of the rack anyway, instead of using a rack bag.
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Old 01-24-09, 09:42 AM   #7
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I got the rack pictured above, the supertouriste, and have yet to install it. My $.02 is that the idea of a slide off bag is kind of irrelevant as much as the ease of installing/removing panniers while something else is strapped on the rack.
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Old 01-24-09, 11:05 AM   #8
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Your idea was plan A for my first tour this summer, since I already own the rack and trunk bag. I quickly realized that any convenience gained was overridden by the lost top rack space and relative small storage capacity. Tried to figure out a way to make it work but in the end just didn't seem practical. Ended up picking up the Topeak panniers for a good price on Amazon.
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Old 01-24-09, 10:04 PM   #9
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I also used the disc model with Ortlieb Bike Packer Plus panniers
You have to be careful when adjusting the bags initially because if you do it wrong then can fall off when it gets bumpy, it happened once to me
Overall it is a good rack, but I recommend that you care several spare screws, the ones that connect the bottom of the rack to the frame
I had three of these snap on me in four months, and they are not easy to find
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Old 01-25-09, 06:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowan View Post

The main issue with the Explorer rack is that you can slide on the rack bag, but you can't fit panniers on at the same time.
I'd say that's a matter of what you're using. I use a DXP bag with Trek Interchange panniers on an Explorer rack with no issues at all.

-R
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Old 01-25-09, 07:39 AM   #11
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ok,,installed it. It feels dumb replacing a $120 tubus rack with a $45 aluminum rack but it works fine. I ordered the Topeak but it took two months to be delivered so I went with the Tubus Cargo. With the Tubus and a top bag strapped on it acts as kind of a lock to pannier thieves (paranoia) as it's hard to remove the ortlieb bags with a rack bag strapped on but at the same time it makes it hard to add/remove bags for me. I should have gone ahead and ordered the Tubus Logo or LOCC. It's a nice design having pannier attachments lower than the rack level to make it easier to strap on and remove things seperately from the panniers.
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Old 01-26-09, 08:30 AM   #12
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I have the Explorer with a Topeak trunk with the fold out panniers. I really love the set up for runs to the store or on sagged tours. It allows for hauling unexpected purchases.
I wouldn't use it for a loaded tour however since I usually lash the tent on the top, as many have already mentioned.
I'm just modified a midsized REI trunk bag with the sliding base I bought from Topeak. I plan to add a track piece I also got from them to the top of my Jandd front rack. That will give me handy access to things while riding and let me pop it off quickly when I stop. Since Topeak doesn't make a front platform rack I had to improvise.
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