Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rear Rack Frenzy

The other guys here at the Peninsula store known me as a bit of a cargo rack maniac. They say that I own more cargo racks than I have bikes to put them on. While that's not technically true, it's close. Regular readers of this blog may also know it from some of my past rack product reviews. So one day last week when I left the store carrying two more new racks, it's no surprise that their first thought was "He's at it again."

I had a good excuse this time, though, as my girlfriend had been asking me about what options were available to haul stuff on her bikes.

Here's her mountain bike, which has nothing unusual about it, except disc brakes (which isn't really unusual these days), and is a somewhat small 14-inch frame, both of which can sometimes present rack-mounting challenges.

You can see that I opted for the Topeak Explorer Disc Rack. It's got horizontal extensions on the lower supports that provide clearance for disc brakes calipers. The bike still needs to have rack mounting eyelets on the frame, and even if it does, depending on the frame shape and the caliper location, this rack still may not work 100% of the time. But when it does work, it's a great, solid choice that attaches without hassles, and is bomb-proof in all conditions. Here's a close-up of the lower supports near the disc brake:

My next project was for the evening was a rack on her other bike, which is the Salsa La Cruz cyclocross bike configured as a flat-bar road bike. The disc-brake-specific frame on this bike has very few eyelets for racks and other accessories. This was a job for the Axiom Streamliner Road Deluxe rack. It's made for road bikes or other bikes that don't have the usual mounting options. It has a single upper strut that is meant to attach to the bolt that holds the rear brake caliper in place. The La Cruz doesn't have the usual brake in this location, but fortunately, it does have the seat stay bridge with a mounting hole in the right place:

The lower supports on the Streamliner Road Deluxe rack are supposed to attach by threading the rear wheel's quick release through them. I tried this at first, but this left so little clearance between the tire and the top of the rack that the slightest flex of the frame while pedaling would have caused rubbing. I don't see how this rack would ever work the way it was intended; it needs to be about an inch taller.

Fortunately, the La Cruz does have a pair of rack/fender eyelets near the rear dropouts, so I attached the rack to those, which raised it up enough to give good tire clearance. The lower supports set the rack back a few inches, to clear the disc brake caliper, as well as provide extra heel clearance for bigger feet. (I should hasten to add, in case my girlfriend is reading this, that this would NOT have been a problem in her case.)

So here's a full view of the rack in action; it's available in either silver or black:

So, the moral of the story is, if you've got a bike and need to haul stuff on it, where there's a will there's a way. Whether you're touring, commuting, camping, collecting recyclables, or any other cargo needs, stop in and see us, and we'll help you find an option that works.


  1. With such a long extension from the rack to the seat stay bridge, have you ever had trouble with flexing or bending of the extension under load? I'm just about to order one of these. Any other general impressions now that it's been in use for about 2 months? Much appreciated.

  2. You're asking about the Axiom Streamliner Road Deluxe rack, correct? If so, then so far, the bike has not left the trainer since the rack was installed. Once in use on the road, it will mainly be used for commuting, light errands, and maybe light credit-card touring. But, Axiom says that it is rated to a maximum load capacity of 110 pounds.