Racks on Road Bikes

I saw something interesting the other day. It was a road bike out for a spin in the neighborhood, but he had one very distinctive feature on his bike: a rear rack.

Now, racks aren’t all that uncommon for long distance riders. Randonneurs, who are going to be on the road for a minimum of 125 miles (200Km), make a point of mounting racks on their bikes to carry larger loads than the typical rider. But this guy obviously wasn’t going to ride all day. Although I hadn’t seen him before, it was evident just from his appearance that he was going to stick close to home. So why the rack?

This bike is set up for randonneuring (Note the headlight and dynamo hub), but could be on a shorter ride here, since his rear rack is empty.

This bike is set up for randonneuring (Note the headlight and dynamo hub), but could be on a shorter ride here, since his rear rack is empty. (Click pictures to enlarge.)

Well, apparently some riders also want to carry a little more than just some flat fixing items. Commuters, for example, often use a second road bike and fit it with a rack to carry their work sundries.

The Surly Long Haul Trucker is a favorite of commuters, although it's designed as a light touring bike.

The Surly Long Haul Trucker is a favorite of commuters, although it’s designed as a light touring bike.

And one of the basic problems you might encounter if you decide to mount a rear rack to your road bike is how to attach it. Road bikes don’t have the braze-ons needed to screw in the rack mounts. With a little ingenuity, it’s possible to do a workaround to get the rack to fit.

A 2014 Orbea Avant with disc brakes and a rear rack.

A 2014 Orbea Avant with disc brakes and a rear rack.

So — would you put a rack on a sleek road bike? What are the advantages? If you’ve already done it, I’d love to hear your experiences.

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One thought on “Racks on Road Bikes

  1. My commuter is a 1988 Peugeot Versailles 12-speed. I added a rack so I could bring my clothes and personal items every day. I have a locker at work where I keep my shower items for the gym locker room. I store my u-lock and cable on the bike rack at work. I love using panniers especially, in summer … avoid excessive back sweating and keeps the load balanced. Plus the bike is light enough to ride the 16 miles each way without killing my quads. :)

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