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Need help picking a sturdy rear rack

Old 08-02-11, 04:26 PM
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Need help picking a sturdy rear rack

Hi everyone,

I have a Trek 830 that I use around campus and for some long-ish distance traveling with friends (about 15 miles). Of course I quickly learned sweaty backs aren't that fun. I want to get a rear rack, and maybe panniers in the future (I'm a broke college student, it's fortunate I can even afford a rack at this point).

I want to get a rack that can take a fair amount of abuse. I'd like to strap most things on the rack and have it survive. It also seems that if I were to mount a bag/panniers I need to stick with the same brand.

Right now it seems my options are:
  • the Topeak Super Tourist line, rated at 55lbs, and compatible with the awesome expandable trunk bag.
  • the Axiom Journey, which has a rating of 154lbs . That sounds nigh indestructible.
  • Something else I have yet to know about, but someone is about to suggest

Last edited by element626; 08-02-11 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 08-02-11, 06:12 PM
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I am relatively new to bicycle commuting, but recently searched for and purchased a rack and set of panniers. I, too, wanted something that was sturdy and would last. I ended up purchasing a Tubus Cargo rack and a set of Ortlieb Back Roller Plus panniers. While these things were expensive (they cost more than my "beater" road bike I put them on), I am confident they will last a long, long time. In fact, if/when I upgrade to a nicer bicycle, I will be taking the rack and panniers with me.

As a plus, my rack is made of steel. If it breaks, tubus has a great warranty, OR, I can get someone to weld it back together for me. I'd be a bit leery of using aluminum; although, I know many here have no qualms with using aluminum.

The rack/panniers I chose may be a bit out of your price range, though. Cash is tight, but I like nice things. Good luck in your hunt!

Last edited by overt; 02-04-12 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 08-02-11, 06:22 PM
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I have two Axiom Journeys. I don't know about 154lbs, but it is plenty strong for my purposes, and seems to be a very sturdy rack. Obviously I like them, since I got a second one for another bike.
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Old 08-02-11, 06:24 PM
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Oh, and you may also want to check out Jandd and Old Man Mountain for some sturdy racks.
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Old 08-02-11, 06:27 PM
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Unless you have some extremely 'over the top' use in mind, the Topeak rack will work just fine.
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Old 08-02-11, 09:06 PM
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If you're looking for a low price, don't overlook Nashbar and Performance Bike. They always have constantly rotating sales and coupons, and if you strike at te right time, you can get an incredible bargain. I think I have bought 5 or 6 rear racks total from these two combined, always for less than $25, and I have no complaint about their design or serviceability. We're talking generic racks here, not mounting system specific. That's always been good enough for me.
Nashbar even foreshadows their coupons, so you can bide your time and strike when the most advantageous coupon is in effect.
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Old 08-03-11, 04:33 PM
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I really like the Axiom Streamliner DLX. It has a narrow top platform, which is good and bad. Good becuase is ensures lateral triangulation for stiffness; bad becuase is doesn't offer much support if you want to strap anything to the top. In my case I don't need the latter.
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Old 08-03-11, 10:10 PM
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Also Google for "bucket pannier." ( https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...oc_id=1841&v=v ) FYI, there's no particular reason you have to stick with the same brand of rack and bags, unless you want to use a proprietary bag that only fits that company's rack.

Last edited by mechBgon; 08-03-11 at 10:15 PM.
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Old 08-04-11, 10:51 AM
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The Topeak isn't the beefiest rack in the list, but it's more than enough for commuting purposes. I have it, and I absolutely love the click and go aspect. I have both a trunk rack, and their laptop case. It's great not having to worry about whether the bungees are on tight enough, etc. And the bags are on and off in seconds.
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Old 08-04-11, 11:05 AM
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I have a Tubus Cargo rear rack, definite sturdy, and I've put it to the test many a time with loads of heavy cargo on board. I had to buy a much beefier rear wheel to match the Tubus's load carrying capacity.
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Old 08-04-11, 11:54 AM
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I have Delta Mega and Sherpa rear racks on my touring and commuter bikes. They are rated up to 60lbs. I really like those racks and they are not too expensive.
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Old 08-04-11, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by waynesworld
Oh, and you may also want to check out Jandd and Old Man Mountain for some sturdy racks.
+1 for OMM, I use the Cold Springs for my front rack. My rear is a Jannd who in my experience also make bombproof racks. I'm not 100% happy with the places I can attach bungees to my Jannd rear rack, but suspect that there isn't any rack I'd be totally happy with because I am so picky.
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Old 08-04-11, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by mechBgon
Also Google for "bucket pannier." ( https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...oc_id=1841&v=v ) FYI, there's no particular reason you have to stick with the same brand of rack and bags, unless you want to use a proprietary bag that only fits that company's rack.
I use bucket panniers, but only when bike-camping/touring. They are a little cumbersome in the city. Done right (the tops of them level with the racks deck) they expand the flat surface of the rack by a lot, which helps to carry my sleeping pad, tent, etc. Another nice aspect of them is that in camp they function as stool, and small table, often for food prep.
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Old 08-04-11, 01:28 PM
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I have 2 Blackburn racks that are absolutely great. One of them is about 40 years old and sill in use on my daily commuter.

https://www.blackburndesign.com/racks_mirrors.html

-Gary
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Old 08-04-11, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by element626

  • the Topeak Super Tourist line, rated at 55lbs, and compatible with the awesome expandable trunk bag.
  • the Axiom Journey, which has a rating of 154lbs . That sounds unbelievable.
  • Something else I have yet to know about, but someone is about to suggest
FIFY

I have that rack and there is NO WAY it would hold that much weight. It is not a very sturdy rack, and sways with some significant weight on it.

Of course I am comparing this to my bruce gordon rack, and nothing compares to that!
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Old 08-04-11, 01:47 PM
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What is in the bike shops you have near you? I suggest talking to them ,
particularly if you are not prepared to figure out what will fit , and install it.

UPS guy is not going to put it on for you, , so you pay retail + shipping
.. and still are on your own.
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Old 08-04-11, 02:54 PM
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Tubus makes some of the strongest and stiffest racks made of steel. They are also very light and have the best warranty on the market. They are expensive however.

The Axiom weight rating is plain ridiculous, so personally I would be wary of it.'

The Topeak Super Tourist DX (the version with extra side rails) is a very good rack: reasonable well designed, strong, stiff and not that heavy. I have often commuted with more than 15 kg/30 pounds in a single pannier on that rack without problems. The extra rails makes it easy to use both panniers and strap something bulky on top of the rack at the same time. The rails also gives extra attachment points for bungee straps and prevents panniers to swing into the spokes. They also moves the center of gravity slightly downwards which is a good thing.

However, like most aluminum racks, it will suffer from abrasion from heavy panniers. I really don't think it will a problem for you for many, many years, so I won't hesitate to recommend it if Tubus racks are too expensive for you. It is perhaps better to buy a cheap, "good enough" rack and use some more on quality panniers, rather than buy an expensive rack and cheap panniers.

You don't need to buy rack and panniers from the same company. I like many Topeak products, but their panniers I have seen aren't anything special. Ortlieb panniers like the "Back-Roller Classic" are really excellent products; sturdy, waterproof, and so easy to take on and off because of their attachment system. Worth saving up for.

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Old 08-04-11, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by eofelis
I have Delta Mega and Sherpa rear racks on my touring and commuter bikes. They are rated up to 60lbs. I really like those racks and they are not too expensive.
I have a Delta Mega rack that is currently unused. Had it on my hybrid for a while, and it is a very sturdy rack. I just didn't like the way it fit: a little short, both in length (heel strike) and height (lack of fender clearance). Well made rack, though, if you like the fit on your particular bike.
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Old 08-04-11, 04:10 PM
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My Blackburn EX-1 Expedition rack seems very sturdy. I'd recommend it.
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Old 08-04-11, 04:13 PM
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I saw a rear rack made from PVC pipe on a college campus a few months ago. It was pretty sturdy. I tried to make a photo with my phone camera, but there wasn't enough light.
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Old 08-04-11, 04:19 PM
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if money is an issue get the Topeak. The Axiom payload number is ridiculous. If that number has any validity it's weight to failure which means your rear wheel or eyelet connection on the frame will fail. I'd pick the Topeak over the Axiom Journey.
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Old 08-04-11, 05:52 PM
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Thanks for the recommendations, everyone. I think I'll keep an eye out for sales, with everyone's recommendations in mind. One more question though, often I see two basic designs for racks - one kind using straight bars, and the kind where one of the rear bars are bent into a U shape, apparently to serve some function for panniers. Is this a feature I should really keep in mind?
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Old 08-04-11, 06:16 PM
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I recently replaced my rear rack (Axiom Journey) with the Topeak Super Tourist. I like the Tourist because of the lower side rails. Also those racks with a U shape helps to keep some panniers from swinging into the spokes. It is usually a good idea as it adds a bottom hooking point for some panniers and those panniers without a rigid back.
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