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Confused by rear racks

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Confused by rear racks

Old 03-26-15, 12:54 AM
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Confused by rear racks

My biking has been short commuting plus recreational rides up to century length. I've been thinking of doing some light touring and have made some moves towards trying it out- took bikeability into account for some camping/backpacking gear purchases, picked up some Jandd panniers on sale, etc.

I also bought a new bike recently - Novara Verita, was hard to resist at 50% off. Unlike the Randonee etc it doesn't come with a rear rack installed (though it does have eyelets & brazeons), so if I want to try touring on it the rack is the next item of business.

A couple years ago, for my other bike (a hybrid, which I plan to continue using for the commute), I grabbed the Delta SuperSherpa rear rack for just over $20. I didn't really do much research or comparison beforehand. The rack seems decent to me- solid welds, 60 lb advertised limit, convenient ring for the pannier hook, relatively light at 1.5 lb, some triangulation. Height non-adjustable but that may simplify durability etc.

Looking around a bit more this time around, I'm confused. Seems like most racks either have no platform (how much weight does that really save, and how could that be worth the lost convenience?) or have gimmicky proprietary mounting systems exclusively for the company's own trunk bags (a hindrance if you aren't using their trunk bag). Some racks have adjustment systems that look less solid/durable. Lots of people's recommendations focus on e.g. the Tubus Cosmo which costs 10x what I paid before.

I guess I had thought I'd readily find something which was a modest but unambiguous improvement on my old rack while being less than twice as expensive. Now I wonder whether I should just get another identical rack (though I haven't yet figured out for sure how well it would fit on the Verita).

What am I missing? Are there other features/qualities I should be looking for? Is the Delta rack's design problematic for touring somehow? What rack advice do you have?
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Old 03-26-15, 01:31 AM
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The center "platform" probably isn't necessary for most stuff. My Blackburn rack from eons ago doesn't have it.

However, if I was adding a new rack on a bike without fenders, it would get the center strip. The two benefits it should have is reducing road spray (for you, as well as your stuff), and keeping your stuff away from rubbing on the tire (I don't have a lot of clearance below my rack).

With fenders, neither of those issues are important, and the rack may be easier to tie stuff down without that wide strip.

I'm not sure about proprietary mounts. Many racks have strips of metal that can be adjusted in length and bent to conform to the frame.
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Old 03-26-15, 05:20 AM
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top plates are wannabe fenders. They reduce your options for lashing large loads to to top.
I too avoid proprietory mounts and adjustable height.
The adjustable stays to the upper eyelets are a major source of bendiness. If they are set short and horizontal, metal strips are OK. For longer or angled used, stiffer rods are better.
Look for a rear light mounting bracket.
Beware designs which include sections of twin rails welded together, you can't fit modern QR locking hooks around anything but single rod/tube.
2 legs are OK for light touring, 3 legs better for loads.
Doglegs are for use with bad panniers which lack stiffening and solid mounts.
A front raised loop can stabilise large loads. I jam the curve of my shackle lock under the loop and retain it with a bunjie chord, resting on top of the rack.

Racks are so over-designed. Tubus may be the best but they are so plain and simple.
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Old 03-26-15, 07:10 AM
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For touring I want a very solid rack that takes the weight of my panniers and mounts them lower. I tour with a Tubus Logo EVO rear rack. The Logo EVO has no top plate and is extremely narrow at the top, too narrow for a rack top bag.

Another photo of my Logo EVO rack on a different bike, this photo taken at lunch time and my lunch was in a Nelson Longflap saddle bag.

The lack of a top platform and the lack of width of the top of the rack does not detract from it in any way, I think the narrower top adds to the structural integrity and stiffness of the rack.

But when I get home I take that rack off and put on a rack with a wider platform that is good for a rack top bag. I only use the Logo EVO for touring.
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Old 03-26-15, 09:33 AM
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Invest in a Tubus rack and you can keep it through several more bicycles , taking it off before selling the old one..

I have a set of chromoly racks , I modified the rack to go with my custom bike build ..

then I bought a new bike for the Rohloff hub, with Tubus racks ..

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Old 03-30-15, 08:31 AM
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I only have one, Jandd Expedition. Long/wide/takes full panniers well. Hasnt broke aftr 8 years
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Old 03-30-15, 08:37 AM
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Jandd stuff is sturdy and reasonably priced. You won't go wrong with a Jandd rack.
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Old 03-30-15, 08:54 AM
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There's nothing wrong with the rack you have already as long as it can handle the loads you intend to carry in your panniers. Load capacity is the main factor distinguishing more expensive racks, as well as range of adjustability. I personally don't "get" racks without sufficient platforms to handle racktop bags. Apparently some cyclists never intend to use a racktop bag, but I would rather not limit my options, particularly since I use my touring bike for commuting as well as touring.

I've got two Tubus Cargo racks, the new Evo version as well as the older style. I wish that I had gotten an older style Cargo rather than the Evo because it has a smaller platform and my racktop bags do not fit as well on it. I also have a Planet Bike Koko rack, which is similar in functionality to the Tubus Cargo racks for about 1/3 the price, but it has an even smaller platform.

I you plan to continue using your rack for commuting with a racktop bag, I would pay close attention to the platform sizes of various racks because many of them are unsuitable for such purposes.
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