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Tubus bike racks, rust?

Old 05-23-22, 05:44 AM
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maartendc
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Tubus bike racks, rust?

Hello all,

I am in the market for a bike rack for my gravel bike, and came across the Tubus brand as one of the most (apparently) renowned brands.

I am about to pull the trigger on a Tubus Grand Tour rack, but the only thing that gives me pause is the fact that it is made of steel. That, combined with the fact that many reviews mention the paint rubbing off where the panniers sit on the rack, rust seems to be an issue. Check out the photo on this review: https://tomsbiketrip.com/tubus-logo-...r-rack-review/ With the rack marred with rust. I would shudder to think that a rack costing around $150 would rust and wear so poorly?

These racks are SUPER expensive, compared to the competition, so I am dumbfounded as to why they are made out of steel? Why not aluminium (corrosion resistant) like most other racks seem to be.

Is this a non-issue, am I overthinking it? I might have to go instead with the Ortlieb Rack Three https://www.ortlieb.com/en_us/rack-three which is aluminium. If the paint rubs off, at least it will just be bare aluminium, not rust.

Thanks!
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Old 05-23-22, 07:15 AM
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Tubus racks are great racks, I got a front and rear for a bike to be used for long trips, and am glad I did---but now we come to the "but"

but, I have also used good quality aluminum racks for decades and decades, and commute nearly daily using these reasonably priced, but well built enough racks, and yes the paint rubs off a bit, but they work perfectly fine.

in both my opinion and experience, a good quality alu rack is perfectly good--especially if you aren't loading the heck out of it, which on your gravel bike, is probably not the case.

but for your specific question, yes tubus racks can have paint scuffed off and surface rust happen--but I put tape on the contact points to minimize this, and have touched up tiny spots with regular old black metal paint I have around for doing my house porch railings.

do you need a steel Tubus rack, most likely not.
just know that good alu racks work fine, at easily half the cost or less.

oh, the aluminum "Racktime" racks are well made, we used one for a while and it is a good solid rack, but there are many well established similar alu rack brands out there. Don't go for a cheapie imo.

Last edited by djb; 05-23-22 at 07:19 AM.
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Old 05-23-22, 08:13 AM
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My panniers rubbing an aluminum rack wore about a third of the way through a strut in some 5-6 years' of commuting.

Since I'm saving two tanks of gas every month commuting by bike, I spent the money and replaced that rack with a Tubus rack. That was eight or ten years ago. My rack now has a bit of surface rust. At the rate it's deteriorating, I figure my grandson can inherit the rack when I retire, and use it should he decide to bicycle commute. He might want to replace it before he does a cross-country trip after he retires. Or he might decide to carry less than 50 pounds on the rear rack on that trip...
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Old 05-23-22, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Tubus racks are great racks, I got a front and rear for a bike to be used for long trips, and am glad I did---but now we come to the "but"

but, I have also used good quality aluminum racks for decades and decades, and commute nearly daily using these reasonably priced, but well built enough racks, and yes the paint rubs off a bit, but they work perfectly fine.

in both my opinion and experience, a good quality alu rack is perfectly good--especially if you aren't loading the heck out of it, which on your gravel bike, is probably not the case.

but for your specific question, yes tubus racks can have paint scuffed off and surface rust happen--but I put tape on the contact points to minimize this, and have touched up tiny spots with regular old black metal paint I have around for doing my house porch railings.

do you need a steel Tubus rack, most likely not.
just know that good alu racks work fine, at easily half the cost or less.

oh, the aluminum "Racktime" racks are well made, we used one for a while and it is a good solid rack, but there are many well established similar alu rack brands out there. Don't go for a cheapie imo.
Thanks for the response. I am just taken aback by the cost of the Tubus racks, although I do like the design. It just seems weird to me that something so expensive would rub off paint and rust so easily. That is a design flaw in my opinion. Not worthy of a "premium product".

The advice of "use electrical or duct tape" on it, is like WTF. I shouldn't have to do that.

I have commuted using a simple triangular $25 aluminium rack for years, also with heavy panniers. Yes, the paint rubbed off. But since it was aluminium, it just showed the bare aluminium underneath, and no rust ever formed. The aluminium itself never wore through or weakened, with daily pannier use for 4+ years.

I have read Tubus and Racktime are actually the same company. Which to me makes it even weirder why Tubus doesn't make aluminium racks...

I think I'll stick to aluminium. Thanks for your honest feedback.

Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
My panniers rubbing an aluminum rack wore about a third of the way through a strut in some 5-6 years' of commuting.

Since I'm saving two tanks of gas every month commuting by bike, I spent the money and replaced that rack with a Tubus rack. That was eight or ten years ago. My rack now has a bit of surface rust. At the rate it's deteriorating, I figure my grandson can inherit the rack when I retire, and use it should he decide to bicycle commute. He might want to replace it before he does a cross-country trip after he retires. Or he might decide to carry less than 50 pounds on the rear rack on that trip...
I get your point on spending more for a quality product, I am the same way. I don't mind paying more if it lasts longer.

But a rusted rack is just unsightly, and not something I want to deal with. Plenty of quality brands like Ortlieb and Bontrager make aluminium racks, so I don't necessarily see this as a choice between "cheap junk" and Tubus.
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Old 05-23-22, 08:38 AM
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I have a aluminum rack that is worn quite a bit, but it is about 25 years old and has been used a lot.
I have another alu rack, probably cost $30 , has been used for ten years, hardly any wear marks, just putting some electric tape on contact points helps a great deal.

re steel vs alu, its about repairability I guess, if there wasnt an advantage, they wouldnt make them.

but in the end, you have options, lots of them, and you've made a decision, so all's good.
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Old 05-23-22, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
I get your point on spending more for a quality product, I am the same way. I don't mind paying more if it lasts longer.

But a rusted rack is just unsightly, and not something I want to deal with. Plenty of quality brands like Ortlieb and Bontrager make aluminium racks, so I don't necessarily see this as a choice between "cheap junk" and Tubus.
I actually agree with you, there are other good racks on the market so you don't need to make a choice between cheap junk and Tubus. My choice was to buy what I perceive as the best mass-produced racks, rather that a "good enough" or "better" level rack. The surface rust doesn't impact its function, so when I do something stupid like load it up with a bushel of apples to bring home from the orchard, I don't have to worry about the rack when I'm surprised by a pothole in the shadow.

If you're more concerned with appearance than load carrying capability -- which is a valid personal choice, albeit not mine -- you might take a look at the stainless Tubus racks. Those are priced high enough to trigger my personal "too much!" flag, but I'll still stop and drool when I see one. They look so classy!
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Old 05-23-22, 09:12 AM
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I use a bit of black nail polish to touch up my Tubus if it gets a wear spot on it. If you buy silver, I do not know if there is a nail polish color for that.

Nail polish is great, has a tiny little brush in the lid, durable, and only takes a few minutes to touch up wear spots. But do that outside in case of drips.

I also bought some clear plastic tubing at the hardware store, slit it lengthwise, put that over the tubing where the chaffing is worst, that is held on with electric tape and small zip ties (zip ties were added after photo). I think it had an ID of 3/8 inch, wall thickness of 1/16 inch.

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Old 05-23-22, 09:15 AM
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I am happy with fairly inexpensive aluminum models, but steel is fine. Steel bike frames look fine, How many nice $$$ lugged steel frames have you seen that were unsightly rust buckets? I personally won't spring for Tubus, but they hold up fine. The finish is durable and where it rubs off it probably continues to get rubbed so it likely stays shiny. A little wax on any surface rust would make it enough of a non issue for me if I even bothered with that. Some folks are fussier though. Personally I'd never bother putting on tape or whatever.

If you want the strongest most durable, they are probably it. Me, I figure good enough is good enough so I have blackburn, axiom, and even nashbar stuff.
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Old 05-23-22, 09:15 AM
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I have a question for others here, I have bought several Tubus racks, it is my recollection that they came with some thick tape to apply to wear spots but I never used it. Is my recollection correct, do they come with some thick tape to apply?

ADDENDUM:

Found it:
https://www.tubus.com/en/products/ac...ctive-foil-set

But maybe it was not included with the racks? I bought my Logo EVO and Ergo (discontinued) a decade ago, if it came with it I do not recall.

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Old 05-23-22, 09:48 AM
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My Tubus Tara front rack did not come with any tape that I remember. I've seen a lot of Tubus racks on the road but not sure I've seen any that had rusted much at all. If it happened, a little light sand paper and a quick spray of Rustoleum in flat black would cure that every few years. I have Axiom aluminum rear panniers and been very happy with their durability though they do show areas of discoloration where the panniers attach.
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Old 05-23-22, 10:21 AM
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I have used my Tubus racks for about 15 years. They have seen a lot of use. I have not got around to painting areas where the finish rubbed off. I just coat the rubbed areas with a coat of auto wax periodically, and that is enough to keep them shining without rust. However, touch up paining, as robow suggested, is probably the best way to go.

This is my Tubus Tara front rack. This spot started showing about 10 years ago.

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Old 05-23-22, 11:03 AM
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Tubus racks are powder coated, not painted. If you use panniers with plastic attachment points it'll likely take a long time before they wear through the powder coat. If you want to protect the rack at all costs, you can apply some frame protection stickers or other protective tapes just the way you'd protect your driveside chainstay on your bike frame.

I believe Tubus is considered the gold standard because their weight to carrying capacity is better than the equivalent aluminum rack. The Old Man Mountain Classic Rack (aluminum) weighs 1134g and can carry up to 70lbs. The Tubus Cargo Evo (steel) weighs 780g and can carry up to 88lbs. The Blackburn EX-1 (aluminum) weighs 535g and can carry up to 45lbs.

Despite being susceptible to rust, steel racks often last longer because they have a much longer fatigue life than aluminum racks. If your rack does crack on tour, both metals can be welded together, but the aluminum weld will be much much weaker unless the rack is heat treated afterwards.

Either material is fine for making racks but I'd personally stick with steel for piece of mind.
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Old 05-23-22, 11:19 AM
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Steel is a very general term. Not all steel is created equal. Tubus racks are cromoly. Wipe off a little surface rust once or twice a year and touch up with paint if the scuffs bother you. Last forever.
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Old 05-23-22, 12:18 PM
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Yes steel can rust, alum8num can oxidize and rain makes mud. I had extra rails brazed onto a Tubus Cargo and it rusts a bit at the brazing a few years after I painted it so I dabbed some Ospho on it.

Oh, you can get sunburn from too much sun also.

If the use is touring itís not exactly an environment for pristine shiny equipment.

Btw if anyone knows where I can get a Tubus Logo Classic 29Ē I sure woukd appreciate it. Canít find one anywhere.

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Old 05-23-22, 12:44 PM
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Or spend a tad more on a stainless-steel Tubus Cosmo. Here's ours after roughly 10,000 miles, including a 3,800-mile fully loaded crosscountry last summer on the tandem. Spotless.
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Old 05-23-22, 01:48 PM
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Cha ching.......$tainless for the win
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Old 05-23-22, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by sapporoguy View Post
Or spend a tad more on a stainless-steel Tubus Cosmo. Here's ours after roughly 10,000 miles, including a 3,800-mile fully loaded crosscountry last summer on the tandem. Spotless.
and just think, for only 50 cents a mile, it's a bargain!

I Know, I know, slight exaggeration....
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Old 05-23-22, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
I have used my Tubus racks for about 15 years. They have seen a lot of use. I have not got around to painting areas where the finish rubbed off. I just coat the rubbed areas with a coat of auto wax periodically, and that is enough to keep them shining without rust. However, touch up paining, as robow suggested, is probably the best way to go.

This is my Tubus Tara front rack. This spot started showing about 10 years ago.
That illustrates my point pretty well. I don't get why anyone would lose sleep over that as long term wear.
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Old 05-23-22, 02:26 PM
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And we know that particular rack of Doug's has seen more than its share of rain and wet weather
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Old 05-23-22, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I have a question for others here, I have bought several Tubus racks, it is my recollection that they came with some thick tape to apply to wear spots but I never used it. Is my recollection correct, do they come with some thick tape to apply?
I seem to remember my Ortlieb bags (also expensive -- and worth it!) came with plastic or rubber bushings to go over skinny steel rails. As one of my bikes has an anodized fat aluminum rack that fit the bags just fine and the other has the skinny Tubus steel rack, I ignored it and have been riding with "naked" bag hooks and no problems.
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Old 05-23-22, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
and just think, for only 50 cents a mile, it's a bargain!
I Know, I know, slight exaggeration....
Ha, yes, slight! I paid roughly $180 with tax. That comes out to 1.8 cents a mile for the first 10,000 miles, and it will last many more. I'm a cheapskate--except for stuff I don't want breaking on tour, especially if I expect it to last the life of the bike.
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Old 05-23-22, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by sapporoguy View Post
Ha, yes, slight! I paid roughly $180 with tax. That comes out to 1.8 cents a mile for the first 10,000 miles, and it will last many more. I'm a cheapskate--except for stuff I don't want breaking on tour, especially if I expect it to last the life of the bike.
I haven't broken any of my "cheap" racks. Some certainly have well over 10k miles, but I don't keep track. I have run a variety of racks because they have been on a variety of bikes and carried a variety of loads. If they were all tubus I'd easily have spent $1000 in racks by now. Rat wouldn't be the end of the world, but on the other hand, all of the racks I have used have served well and none have failed. I especially liked the axiom streamliner, but it hasn't suited the bike and load on recent trips so it hasn't been used in ages.

My usage case probably isn't typical though. If I had bought one set of racks for a standard touring bike and toured with regular panniers from then on a set of tubus racks would have not been that big of an investment. Not a necessity, but not crazy over the top either.
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Old 05-23-22, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
I seem to remember my Ortlieb bags (also expensive -- and worth it!) came with plastic or rubber bushings to go over skinny steel rails. As one of my bikes has an anodized fat aluminum rack that fit the bags just fine and the other has the skinny Tubus steel rack, I ignored it and have been riding with "naked" bag hooks and no problems.
Those are not what I was thinking, a couple different bushings that adjust the hooks to different size pannier tubing. In my photo above where I have one Ortlieb on my Logo EVO with the plastic tubing on the rail, it fits nicely without any bushings on that plastic tubing and a few inches of electric tape.
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Old 05-23-22, 04:22 PM
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That's kind of why I recommended not buying no name brand aluminum racks, but my good quality ones have been fine--but I did drink the kool-aid and got tubus ones for my longer, tougher trips.

Re the stainless steel ones, seems to I've seen bonkers high prices in Canadian for them, like $350 for a rear one. Ouch, that's a lot for mostly an aesthetic look.
Pretty certain my two level rear was 125-150 , and the front Tara was on sale for about 75, but this was 6 years ago now I think.
Glad I got them though, for the trips I did and hopefully will do in future
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Old 05-23-22, 04:30 PM
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If you want aluminum to avoid any fear of some rust, the Racktime racks are well built. I bought the Racktime Addit for my Lynskey.



Yes, I know it is not quite horizontal, I was making some adjustments to lower the rack a bit, put some clear plastic tubing to protect the paint, etc., and was rushed to get a couple photos before the sun set. The angle was adjusted soon after the photo.
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