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Blackburn Outpost front rack review

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Blackburn Outpost front rack review

Old 09-07-16, 08:43 AM
  #1  
mstateglfr
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Blackburn Outpost front rack review

So I had a gift certificate and wanted to try a front rack with platform that could handle mounting panniers high or low. I narrowed the potentials to a Blackburn Outpost or Jandd Extreme. I eliminated the Surly front rack because it weighs 19oz more than the Outpost and I simply donít need the extra weight or the extra strength that comes with the Surly rack. Iím not crossing Western Africa here.

Simply put, the Blackburn Outpost front rack is a raging POS. I wanted so badly for it to not be terrible, but in spite of my hopes, it was beyond terrible.
I took it to a bike shop to have them look at it as a 3rd set of eyes since a couple of us were stumped. The rack blew their minds and I ultimately returned the heap of metal.


Below is a rundown of the good and the bad. I wanted to get this all down(both the positive and negative) since this forum seems to get a decent number of hits from general google searches.



Good
- Incredibly versatile mounting. I know there was thought that went into this rack as the versatility in mounting is very impressive. It fits 26Ē, 27.5Ē, 700c/29er wheels. It fits tires up to probably 3Ē wide. It mounts to traditional brazeons, or to the skewer, with Pclamps, or to canti posts. Genuinely pleased with how many options there are.
- Solid rack once tightened down. There isnít sway.
- Can use it with the top rack or without. The top rack is secured with 4 hex bolts.

Bad
- Absurdly wide. Yes, thatís part of the good column, but its comically wide. My 35mm tires look like 23s with the rack on.
- The directions are as close to useless as you can get. Itís a few blurry pics and they identify parts by names that arenít listed anywhere. They have 3 different types of 5mm hex bolts and you have to guess which bolt to use where. Just unnecessary confusion. 5min of time spent on the directions would have made it clear for most everyone installing the rack.
- The rack is advertised as high or low mount capable. Well thatís just wrong. To mount panniers low, you would have to hook the bag onto the bottom of the rack which is a smooth curve. The hook obviously slips off right away.
- The rack didnít fit 5 different pannier brands. I tried Axiom and Banjo Brothers at home. I borrowed some Jandd and Avenir panniers. I then tried Arkel at the bike shop. None of them fit the rack. The horizontal mounting bars on the rack are too close together to attach the bottom hook. And retying the bungees isnt an option as each hook then is too short to be tucked under the flap which is necessary to keep the panniers from flopping outwards.


I tried emailing and calling Blackburn. I got an email from them stating the rack is not capable of mounting high and low. I politely let them know that they advertise the rack on their website as capable of doing this and the packaging the rack came with advertises this capability.
Shocker- they havenít responded since.


This rack could be really great, but I have no idea how people use it. The bike shop couldnít figure it out either. Racks need to be customized for each bike, yes, but this rack would require way more changes than whatís reasonable.

Long review for something I never even go to try out, but I wanted anyone looking into the rack to be aware of the conflicting comments by Blackburn and the otherÖquirks.
I just ordered a Jandd Extreme rack since bags mount to it easily, as they should.



below are a few pics. The mounting arms are facing outward, which is an option, but I ended up rerouting them to point forward and parallel with the bike. As mentioned, mounting is legitimately very versatile...its just a useless rack.


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Old 09-07-16, 08:44 AM
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This is a pretty devastating review. Thank you. It will save me from buying one. I have a Jandd extreme; you will like it I think.
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Old 09-07-16, 09:17 AM
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Looks like a hot mess.


If you have the coin, this is what I use:


Nitto Big Front Rack 34F - 20075


You could conceivably mount the panniers high or at the intended mid-level.
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Old 09-07-16, 09:58 AM
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Consider getting these inexpensive Tubus Rack accessories and you then have a place to mount your pannier hook on the lowest part of the rack. I use them on my Tubus Tara and they work great.

https://www.bikebagshop.com/tubus-pa...ps-p-2726.html


Last edited by robow; 09-07-16 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 09-07-16, 11:17 AM
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Yah..I was strongly considering that rack, but after researching it my gut said..nope..in general it didn't pass the smell test. It looked needlessly complicated, user experiences here and elsewhere were mixed at best, the color??? I passed. I picked up a Jandd low mount rack($52 delivered after discounts), received and installed it yesterday..took about 5 minutes to bolt in..not sure if there even were instructions to mount it..not much to it.. good fit..seems rock solid.

On to other concerns..

Blackburn has been at "racks" for a few years now. I have one that's pushing 30 years old. You'd think they might have the design/mfg process down by now.
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Old 09-07-16, 08:05 PM
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I ordered one for my new Novara - Safari. What made me send it back was that all the shavings from the drilled holes ended up trapped inside the hollow tubes of the rack, and rattled and jangled around quite loudly. This was also true for the rear version; so back they both went. I then tried the Jandd Extreme, but it would not fit my wide front end. Next up I tried Mountain Man Sherpa, and that one is working out great so far, and the customer service I've received has been second to none; highly recommended.
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Old 09-12-16, 03:50 PM
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FYI, This rack is not POS as the OP put it. It is one of the best rack we've seen. OP did not mount the rack correctly judging by the picture.

Also, this rack can mount panniers in lower position.

I just don't want the misinformation to transfer to other users.

However, I can't say much about the durability though. It's relatively a new model.
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Old 09-12-16, 04:32 PM
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You don't own a Hacksaw?

I do agree for a Gentleman of your refined tastes buying a Tubus Tara is the way to go ,

you can shop for a Top of the wheel rack like from Nitto that mounts to the fork crown

and has struts to the ends of the cantilever brake Bolts
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Old 09-12-16, 04:35 PM
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As far as mounting the rack I would have used the canti bosses to mount the struts instead of using the mid fork eyelets. The higher attachment points would give the rack a more rigid support.
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Old 09-12-16, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Dream Cyclery View Post
FYI, This rack is not POS as the OP put it. It is one of the best rack we've seen. OP did not mount the rack correctly judging by the picture.

Also, this rack can mount panniers in lower position.

I just don't want the misinformation to transfer to other users.

However, I can't say much about the durability though. It's relatively a new model.
I mounted the rack to the mid fork 2 different ways. Whats shown in the pic was the 1st way. I changed it after i saw how wonky it was.
I say the fact that it was set up so wonkily is testament to the horrific directions. The total lack of guidence by the company on paper or their site resulted in what you see in that pic.

As for low mounting...i would love to know how to securely mount panniers with the hook atraching to the tip of a triangle pointing down. I couldnt figure it out, another cyclist couldnt figure it out, and an entire shop (with mechanics and 2 people who have ridden across the US) couldnt figure it out.

Even if its possible, it shouldnt be difficult to figure out. The fact that so many were stumped means it isnt intuitive. Get a tara rack and you know right where to mount the lower hook. Same with the surly front rack, the nitto front rack, etc etc.

I really would like to know how just for peace of mind.
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Old 09-13-16, 06:09 AM
  #11  
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I agree with Dream Cyclery with the exception that the rack isn't that new, I've had one on a Randonee for over 3 years and am very pleased with it. FWIW, I have 3 bikes with 3 different front racks, (Tubus Tara, Blackburn Outpost, and Salsa Down Under). Of the 3 the Blackburn is my favorite for carrying lots of stuff. The mid mount on the Blackburn is roughly the same as the Tara and Down Under.

As a clarification I just stuffed a tarp into the bag and threw it on the rack to show someone else how it mounts, it is my daughter's bag and the hook is set for her Tara, but the hook can easily be adjusted to hang onto the Outpost. Also, I chose to angle the stays in such a way that I didn't have to cut them so I could move the rack to a different bike if I chose.

edit: mstateglfr I guess I should feel guilty as after I posted this I realized I posted these pictures for you earlier.

Sorry you don't like the rack as much as I do.

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Old 09-16-16, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I mounted the rack to the mid fork 2 different ways. Whats shown in the pic was the 1st way. I changed it after i saw how wonky it was.
I say the fact that it was set up so wonkily is testament to the horrific directions. The total lack of guidence by the company on paper or their site resulted in what you see in that pic.

As for low mounting...i would love to know how to securely mount panniers with the hook atraching to the tip of a triangle pointing down. I couldnt figure it out, another cyclist couldnt figure it out, and an entire shop (with mechanics and 2 people who have ridden across the US) couldnt figure it out.

Even if its possible, it shouldnt be difficult to figure out. The fact that so many were stumped means it isnt intuitive. Get a tara rack and you know right where to mount the lower hook. Same with the surly front rack, the nitto front rack, etc etc.

I really would like to know how just for peace of mind.
Hi,

If you want, you can always get the clip-on accessories there for the hooks(robow's got the right idea). There are many low-riders without the hook attachment because they have side slider(e.g Ortlieb Panniers) in mind when manufactures design low riders.

Also when I said relatively new, I'm comparing this to Tubus racks. Tubus is industry leader in building racks IMO and there is a good reason for it. Time will tell if Outpost will last as long but it is pretty close.

Anyway, good luck.
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Old 09-16-16, 04:47 AM
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Complicated, over-engineered, one-size-fits-all = that mess

Simple, well-engineered, high-quality = Tubus

Last edited by BigAura; 09-16-16 at 05:08 AM.
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Old 09-16-16, 05:08 AM
  #14  
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I'm not first-hand familiar with the modern Blackburn racks but I still use my Jim Blackburn front-rack from the 1970s. Simple, well-engineered, and handmade. I used it for my tour July 2016. High mounting only, but works great.




Last edited by BigAura; 09-16-16 at 09:15 AM.
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Old 09-16-16, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Dream Cyclery View Post
Hi,

If you want, you can always get the clip-on accessories there for the hooks(robow's got the right idea). There are many low-riders without the hook attachment because they have side slider(e.g Ortlieb Panniers) in mind when manufactures design low riders.

Also when I said relatively new, I'm comparing this to Tubus racks. Tubus is industry leader in building racks IMO and there is a good reason for it. Time will tell if Outpost will last as long but it is pretty close.

Anyway, good luck.
With regards to the clip-on accessories...if that is how the rack was meant to be used for the 70% of panniers which have a hook to secure the lower part of the bag, then Blackburn failed in all ways as they do not mention this in the instructions, on their website, or via email to customer service. That, to me, is a kludge unless the company provides hooks or at least says they will be needed. When spending $100 for a rack, I expect to not have to kludge together a way for the rack to work. I expect the company to explain how the rack was intended to be used, if it isnt obvious(and it isnt).

Blackburn is missing the market if they require clip ons to use their rack as even though they dont provide said clip ons with the rack, they dont even provide them for sale in addition to the rack! My goodness, what a stupid decision- to sell only 85% of a product and have the consumer go elsewhere to spend money and make the product work. Again, this all assumes Blackburn intended for the rack to use the bottom clips. That may be giving them too much credit.





Here is what happened- I returned the Blackburn, ordered a Jandd Extreme front rack, waited a handful of days, and mounted the Jandd. I had to get a couple of spacers to fit it to my fork for less than $1.
The Jandd also came with 2 sets of different sized Pclamps for mounting, in case the fork didnt have mid or lower mounting points. Its almost as if Blackburn could have included clip on mounting points like Jandd provided Pclamps...or at least mentioned they would be needed.

Anyways, the rack mounted in about 3 minutes and my bags attached perfectly the first time to both the high and lower rails(and has hook stops welded on the bottom rail). Maybe I expect too much out of a $100-120 rack, but after seeing this Jandd, I dont think the issue is unreasonable expectations.
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Old 09-16-16, 10:55 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
I'm not first-hand familiar with the modern Blackburn racks but I still use my Jim Blackburn front-rack from the 1970s. Simple, well-engineered, and handmade. I used it for my tour July 2016. High mounting only, but works great.


I wish they still sold that rack.
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Old 09-16-16, 01:13 PM
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That's a bummer. Blackburn went through a lot of changes in the last couple of years, with their product line, branding, etc.

I almost signed up to be one of their product ambassadors but I was put off by the exclusivity agreement, it seemed like they were just looking for people to populate their instagram hashtags. But who isn't? #maxthecyclist


On the opposite end of the spectrum, I got an Old Man Mountain Phat Sherpa for my Pugsley for my recent Iceland trip. After one email, they found the correct mounting hardware for me and sent me an invoice, eliminating any hassle with a strange frame like a Pugsley.

Well, just last week, I emailed them asking if my rear rack will work as a front rack with different mounting hardware, and I agreed to an invoice the following day. Yesterday, the hardware arrived and it works perfectly with my fork. So, now I am using that same rack as a front rack.

Well-designed product, and more importantly, top-notch customer service. Good stuff!
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Old 09-16-16, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I wish they still sold that rack.
It's not handmade and not the same quality, but design-wise the Soma Lucas Mini Front Rack is a good supplement. And the price is definitely right.
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Old 09-16-16, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
With regards to the clip-on accessories...if that is how the rack was meant to be used for the 70% of panniers which have a hook to secure the lower part of the bag, then Blackburn failed in all ways as they do not mention this in the instructions, on their website, or via email to customer service. That, to me, is a kludge unless the company provides hooks or at least says they will be needed. When spending $100 for a rack, I expect to not have to kludge together a way for the rack to work. I expect the company to explain how the rack was intended to be used, if it isnt obvious(and it isnt).

Blackburn is missing the market if they require clip ons to use their rack as even though they dont provide said clip ons with the rack, they dont even provide them for sale in addition to the rack! My goodness, what a stupid decision- to sell only 85% of a product and have the consumer go elsewhere to spend money and make the product work. Again, this all assumes Blackburn intended for the rack to use the bottom clips. That may be giving them too much credit.





Here is what happened- I returned the Blackburn, ordered a Jandd Extreme front rack, waited a handful of days, and mounted the Jandd. I had to get a couple of spacers to fit it to my fork for less than $1.
The Jandd also came with 2 sets of different sized Pclamps for mounting, in case the fork didnt have mid or lower mounting points. Its almost as if Blackburn could have included clip on mounting points like Jandd provided Pclamps...or at least mentioned they would be needed.

Anyways, the rack mounted in about 3 minutes and my bags attached perfectly the first time to both the high and lower rails(and has hook stops welded on the bottom rail). Maybe I expect too much out of a $100-120 rack, but after seeing this Jandd, I dont think the issue is unreasonable expectations.
70%? I wonder where you got that number.

Yes it didn't work for you, but that's not because of faulty design. You just didn't do the home work.

Maybe it was a bit complicated for you, but that doesn't mean it's a bad product.

Anyway, good luck.
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Old 09-16-16, 07:50 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by Dream Cyclery View Post
70%? I wonder where you got that number.

Yes it didn't work for you, but that's not because of faulty design. You just didn't do the home work.

Maybe it was a bit complicated for you, but that doesn't mean it's a bad product.

Anyway, good luck.
70% came from what i have observed in stores and in use over the years. If there is a more official %, lemme know.

As for not doing my homework, its as if you either havent read the thread or are just trolling.
- I read as much as i could online and i have yet to see bags mounted low with hooks.
- i emailed the company asking for help and they said the rack isnt made for mounting low.
- i referenced the instructions and online site for help and there was no mention of how to mount hook bags(or any bags).
- a well respected shop with people who have toured couldnt figure out how to mount the bags they had in stock or my bags.


Seriously, the company said their own product cant do what they advertise it can do, but i didnt do my homework?
Come on, whether you are serious or trolling, you can do better.
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Old 09-17-16, 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
70% came from what i have observed in stores and in use over the years. If there is a more official %, lemme know.

As for not doing my homework, its as if you either havent read the thread or are just trolling.
- I read as much as i could online and i have yet to see bags mounted low with hooks.
- i emailed the company asking for help and they said the rack isnt made for mounting low.
- i referenced the instructions and online site for help and there was no mention of how to mount hook bags(or any bags).
- a well respected shop with people who have toured couldnt figure out how to mount the bags they had in stock or my bags.


Seriously, the company said their own product cant do what they advertise it can do, but i didnt do my homework?
Come on, whether you are serious or trolling, you can do better.
Good luck.
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Old 09-17-16, 02:29 AM
  #22  
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Looks like a good rack to me, would work well with Ortliebs.

Reckon I might buy one.
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Old 09-17-16, 07:57 AM
  #23  
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OP, looking at the other photos, I don't think you installed the Outpost rack properly. Therefore, your review is questionable.
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Old 09-17-16, 07:59 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
OP, looking at the other photos, I don't think you installed the Outpost rack properly. Therefore, your review is questionable.
Yup, as mentioned, ininstalled it 2 different ways. The pics show the first way and i changed it to a better way after that. Didnt take pics of the 2nd way.
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Old 09-17-16, 08:39 AM
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robow
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Yea, shame on Blackburn for not providing clearer instructions for mounting and not providing some form of a small retaining clip for a pannier hook on the very bottom. For the significant price charged, someone bungled that. Otherwise, looks like a solid rack that I would be willing to play with in order to make it work.
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