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Vintage blackburn rack and Ortlieb Back Rollers

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Vintage blackburn rack and Ortlieb Back Rollers

Old 02-25-12, 09:27 AM
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Vintage blackburn rack and Ortlieb Back Rollers

Hi Everyone -- I am just making sure this combo will work before making my pannier purchase. My rack looks like this one:

Also, is this a good touring rack? It came on my Trek 614 and I'd like to use it.

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Old 02-25-12, 09:59 AM
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I don't see any reason that rack wont work. Blackburn racks are pretty bombproof. That said give it a solid looking over. I would remove it from the bike and closely check each weld for any cracks. Assuming your rack connects to the frame above the brake boss like the one in the photo it should be plenty solid. Its the side to side motion that causes racks to fail with panniers on them. Also I would measure the width of the panniers hook to hook and be sure they will fit on the rack and still provide good heel clearance for you.
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Old 02-25-12, 12:01 PM
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I Believe the older Blackburn Rack will work fine. I have 2 similar racks, and have used them extensively for loaded touring. I also use the Ortlieb Classic Backrollers. While I have not used the blackrollers on the older racks, I have used them on the Blackburn EX-1 rack. I just went out and compared the older rack with the E X-1, and the shape is almost exactly the same. The EX-1 has a little heavier tubing, otherwise they are essentially the same rack. The vintage rack has 8mm rod and the EX-1 has 9mm. I also took one of my Ortlieb rear panniers and mounted it on the older rack. While I did not make all the fine adjustments, it seemed like they would go on just fine.


Same rack on vintage bike that I am restoring.

Same rack modified to fit on my mountain bike. I welded the two plates in so that I could use the rack mounting points on the seat stays. I did leave the center support for use on road type bikes. That set up has hauled a lot of groceries. Probably more weight than I tour with

PS After looking a little closer, you actually have a newer version of the Blackburn rack. Same shape, just a newer model. It will make a fine touring rig. Your rack looks like it might have the heavier tubing.

Last edited by Doug64; 02-25-12 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 02-25-12, 12:18 PM
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I can't answer the Ortlieb/ rack compatability issue but the Blackburn rack SS-1 (non adjustment type) is very solid. I bought one in 1988 and used it for ~20 years with no issues at all.
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Old 02-25-12, 04:21 PM
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i have an older blackburn rack and ortlieb back roller plus panniers and they work fine.
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Old 02-25-12, 07:33 PM
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It'll work.

You may need the 8mm shims or DIY shims to keep the Back Rollers from rattling on the smaller diameter Al rod used in Blackburn racks. Duct tape or similar is a good jury rig for this job.

Inexpensive Al racks will work as long as you load reasonably and stay on pavement. Heavy loads, especially when combined with off-road routes demand a stronger, more enduring steel tubing rack. Tubus is what you really want. Best deals I've found come from 20% off sales from wiggle.co.uk, purchased in $ (they cheat on the GBP conversion).

Last edited by seeker333; 02-25-12 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 02-25-12, 11:38 PM
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Thanks everyone for your responses!
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Old 02-26-12, 11:11 AM
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The 8mm inserts in the Ortlieb hooks are just the ticket,
every new bag comes with 2 sets of plastic inserts,
an 8 and an 11, without either, it's a 14mm hook..
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Old 02-27-12, 02:43 AM
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The Blackburn was once the gold standard in racks, but choices with steel have come on as people either carry more gear, or some do these multi year world tours. So I think the Blackburn is great for say a trans am which is only a few thousand, and the lighter end of loads. Light weight is back in vogue. Some world tourist types say that aluminum racks and 5mm bolts are sure to fail, in that kind of use. But few are doing that stuff.
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