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Old 08-17-11, 11:51 AM   #1
jan191976
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Rack Differences

What is the differences between the following racks other the the $100 price and one being Al and other SS
http://www.tubus.com/en/rear-carriers/cosmo
http://www.topeak.com/products/Racks...larRack_w_o_sp

I just finished building a tour/commuter and looking for fit racks and panniers.

I am looking for a quality rack and found Topeak for $40 and the Tubus for around $120ish
I am looking for something that will work well for Credit Card Touring 5-50 days and work commuting
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Old 08-17-11, 12:00 PM   #2
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Flex aluminum often enough and it breaks, steel is going to last a lot longer with a heavy load aboard.

the 10mm OD chromoly tube will be adequately light.

I have a 20 year old Bruce Gordon Rack set, still fine ..
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Old 08-17-11, 01:43 PM   #3
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These two racks are overkill for your plans. I'd get a cheap $15 aluminum rack like this one.
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Old 08-17-11, 02:42 PM   #4
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While they both have mounts for tailights, unlike the MEC one, the Tubus rack uses only the European standard. That's usually not a problem though, you can get or make an adapter. Some tail lights even come with an accessory so that you can use either mount. Though, that is not my favorite way of putting a light on the rack. I like to bolt it directly to the mount.

I also agree with what fietsbob says about durability. The Tubus brand is very good. They have a 30 year warranty on their racks. I own both a Tubus Cargo and a Topeak Explorer. Not the same as the ones you listed, but close enough. I have used the Topeak on my commuter/grocery bike for the last four years without a problem. The Tubus is rated at a higher load, but I havee had a lot on my Topeak (food for me and a 20lb bag of food for the dog.) The Tubus is on the tourer/part-time commuter. The weight capacity won't really matter for you, but it is nice to know you can carry more if needed.

I agree with voj112 that for your stated purpose, you could go with less, like the Tubus Vega. It will weigh less but still plenty strong.

If I could only have one rack, it would be the Tubus Cargo.
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Old 08-17-11, 03:33 PM   #5
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although I've got the Tubus Cargo I'm partial to the Topeak Super Tourist DX for the flat aluminum plate and lower rails. It's nice to not worry about things pressing down into the fenders/tire and the lower rails make removing goods strapped down on the rack easier when there are panniers on the lower rails. I had the DX for a year before getting the Cargo and liked the lower rails so much I had another set brazed on the Cargo.

That $15 MEC rack is an impressive deal.

http://www.topeak.com/products/Racks...tDXTubularRack
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Old 08-17-11, 03:41 PM   #6
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We've been using the same two Blackburn racks on our bikes for CC touring since the mid-1980s.

http://www.amazon.com/Blackburn-EX-1.../dp/B004CXBVJU
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Old 08-17-11, 03:50 PM   #7
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Racks like the Tubus and others that are designed to carry 70 or 80 lbs. are more expensive, plus they are sometimes constructed of more expensive materials. As the others have said, for credit card touring, any of the less expensive racks mentioned are more than enough to serve your purposes nicely. People going on a long self-supported tours, carrying everything, need and are willing to pay for extremely reliable, durable racks that can handle the heavy loads.
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Old 08-17-11, 04:48 PM   #8
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I have a Topeak Supertourist rack on my bike and I like it a lot. I don't haul massive amounts of goods, but it is plenty sturdy and strong enough rack for most purposes. If I remember it has a 55lb load capacity. I usually at most have 20 in each rear pannier and 10lbs on top of the rack. I also like that the pannier mounting rails are spaced a little below the platform so you can use your regular trunk bag in combination with panniers very easily. Also if you get a Topeak trunk bag, you can get models with a track on the bottom that slides into grooves on the rack top and slides into a locked position. You don't have to mess around with tons of velcro straps and worry about it coming loose. I love mine, and have one on each of my bikes.
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Old 08-17-11, 07:08 PM   #9
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Panniers with rigid back panels and precise locking fasteners may not fit some of these cheaper Al racks, such as the Topeak Super Tourist. The problem is poor design, and evidently no customer feedback.

The top rails are not located far enough outwards to vertically clear the side rails. When you try snapping on some Ortliebs or similar, they can't hang down straight. You have to bend the rigid backing to get the bottom fastener close enough to engage the side rails. It's as if the rack was designed to break the top fasteners off your pannier. I had a similar experience with an Axiom rack.

You can't easily spot this design defect from pictures in internet ads. You normally discover the poor fit 10 seconds after you try to attach a pannier, and 20 seconds before you realize the shipping cost to return a $40 rack for credit is $20. This partly explains why there are always thousands of ads for bike racks on eBay, and rarely are any of them for Tubus racks.

Tubus racks are generally properly designed to accommodate all panniers. If you go with cheaper panniers (the ones with big Al hooks), these are more likely to fit Topeak/Axiom/etc cheap racks, due to the slop in the pannier fasteners. Also, it is possible to bend the hooks to improve fit.

If you can, test before buying to ensure compatibility between panniers and racks, as well as racks and bike.
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Old 08-17-11, 08:40 PM   #10
Erick L
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetLou View Post
While they both have mounts for tailights, unlike the MEC one, the Tubus rack uses only the European standard.
If "both" includes the MEC rack, that one doesn't have a light mount at all. I have one and it's all right but I don't like it.

I've never used a Topeak rack. They have good reputation. I have a Tubus Logo and it's rock solid. It actually makes the rear triangle of my bike more solid. The lower rails make putting the panniers on and off more easily when there's a trunk bag on the platform. I also like my rear light to be bolted on. The Cosmo didn't exist when I bought my Logo or I would've chosen that one for the wider platform. The Vega would be enough for credit card touring and commuting, and probably even "loaded" touring. The platform is a bit narrow in front and the lack of support in the back could be a problem with panniers without a rigid plate.
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Old 08-18-11, 02:56 AM   #11
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In regards to using cheaper racks with lower weight limits, think hard about what you want to do with the bike. I personally appreciate the better build of a Tubus or one of the other "better" racks. Even when using for errands the higher weight capacity can be a plus. A heavy load of groceries can be a bit much on a cheap rack. I have also carried full propane tanks on my bike and with that weight on top of the rack, a good quality rack makes a difference.
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Old 08-18-11, 06:26 AM   #12
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In regards to using cheaper racks with lower weight limits, think hard about what you want to do with the bike. I personally appreciate the better build of a Tubus or one of the other "better" racks. Even when using for errands the higher weight capacity can be a plus. A heavy load of groceries can be a bit much on a cheap rack. I have also carried full propane tanks on my bike and with that weight on top of the rack, a good quality rack makes a difference.
The OP is looking for a rack for credit card touring. Our lite weight Blackburns have been adequate for that and errands for nearly 30 years.
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Old 08-18-11, 06:33 AM   #13
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Panniers with rigid back panels and precise locking fasteners may not fit some of these cheaper Al racks, such as the Topeak Super Tourist.
I can't speak for the regular Topeak Super Tourist, but Ortlieb panniers fit fine on the Topeak Super Tourist DX.
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Old 08-18-11, 07:14 AM   #14
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The Topeak top-plate may be useful if your bike lacks fenders. With fenders it is superfluous and merely gets in the way of lashing down oversized loads. For everyday use, this may include multi-packs of toilet roll rather than tents and sleeping bags.
The Topeak sliding rails for their MTX mounting system are propietry. They stick up and can press into soft items.
Tubus top-plate is clean, open and usable with any style of lashing-on you like.

Both rear light brackets are usable and once installed, it makes little difference which one you have.

I use a cheap copy of a Blackburn on my utility bike and it handles everything I throw at it and has lasted many years.
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Old 08-18-11, 07:26 AM   #15
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Aluminum holds up fine in my experience. I like the Blackburn EX-1 (often on sale pretty cheap at Performance or Nashbar). It might be overkill for your use, but I wouldn't sweat that. I guess that depends on what you will be carrying though. Some folks manage to carry pretty heavy loads even for credit card touring or commuting.

Also, even in the very unlikely event of a rack failure you can do a temporary repair using tywraps or bailing wire and a splint from whatever you can find by the side of the road. Shouldn't be hard to nurse along until you can do some more permanent solution like replacing the rack or having it welded.

Edit:
BTW, the dry run is a fine idea, but I never bothered and didn't regret it. We loaded the bikes for the first time in the airport at the start of the Trans America. Personally I definitely wouldn't do a lot of riding on a loaded bike unless I had to. The idea of training with a load or doing extensive "testing" of loaded riding may work for some, but I wouldn't bother. Some middle ground like loading your bike at least once and going for a longish ride is probably smarter than what I do though

Last edited by staehpj1; 08-18-11 at 07:31 AM.
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Old 08-18-11, 08:40 AM   #16
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If you're thinking about the Tubus then cost is not your driver. Why not get SS? It's a beautiful rack and it will be a beautiful rack forever. And it's stable, takes a rack bag, etc.
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Old 08-18-11, 10:26 AM   #17
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I can't speak for the regular Topeak Super Tourist, but Ortlieb panniers fit fine on the Topeak Super Tourist DX.
if anything the STDX lower rail is mounted far out from the side rails causing the bag to angle in. I could see it might be a problem with the ST but I had absolutely no problem with the STDX and Ortliebs.
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Old 08-18-11, 06:20 PM   #18
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It's wise to buy racks in person, not online, and bring a pannier with you to make sure it fits.
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Old 08-20-11, 09:12 AM   #19
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I don't want to spend too much $$ and buy something that will be over kill but don't want to buy something that will cause problems while doing a cross country tour I am planning in a few years.
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Old 08-20-11, 12:12 PM   #20
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There is nothing wrong with aluminum racks, tubus are just better. My co-worker has taken three cross country trips with no problems with an aluminum rack. She has also done many 2 and 3 week tours. Another co-worker has traveled the world only using aluminum racks. He has traveled from Alaska to Ohio twice, Ohio to Costa Rica, and traveled through Tibet, Russia, South America, etc. He hasn't had any problems.

Since you are planning to do credit card touring, you won't be carrying too much and I think any rack would be fine. I like the Topeak and Blackburn racks. I also like Axiom and Civia racks. The only thing I don't like about the Blackburn is that it doesn't have a light mount. My Topeak Explorer is about $40-45 and if a fine rack. I would have no problem using it for a loaded tour, so it would be fine for your credit card tour. The Topeak you mentioned has had good reviews, but I don't have experience first hand. I would assume it would be a great rack also.

You don't need to spend the money for a Tubus to get a good rack, it is just that if you do, you will have a rack that will work wonderfully for a very long time. I have one Tubus rack, it is great. My other four racks are aluminum. I have no fear of them failing any time soon. Even if one is used weekly on my grocery getter and daily rides to work for the last four years. I have also used it on short weekend trips, fully loaded.
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Old 08-20-11, 12:23 PM   #21
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I never gave a lot of thought to racks, as long as they seemed well designed and didn't break. However, a couple of years ago I splurged and got a super-pricey Tubus rack for my commuting/light touring bike and I was amazed at the difference.

First, I bought the lightest possible rack I could get that was rated to carry the loads I expected to carry (it's a light-touring bike, not a super-heavy-touring bike). So the rack is light.

But the other thing is the rack is really *strong.* It doesn't flex under weight, and it even seems to stiffen-up the rear of the bike. I usually commute with one very heavily-loaded pannier (clothes, a laptop computer, usually some other stuff) and I have a hilly commute. I can stand on the pedals and crank up a hill and not feel any "swaying" of the load in back.

I never thought racks were that big a deal but my next rack will be a Tubus as well.
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