You’ve decided it’s time to increase the carrying capabilities of your bike, so you’d like to mount a rack to the back of your bike.
But what kind of rack should you buy?
What makes an aluminum rack different from a steel one?
How much can a rack carry?
What if your bike has disc brakes, is a rear rack still an option?
On this page, I’ll discuss the things you should know before buying a rear bike rack and share some of the popular models among commuters.
A Quick Glance : Our Favorite Rear Bike Racks
Rear Bike Racks Buying Guide & Tips
While rear bike racks look like a surprisingly simple bike component, you can’t just buy without knowing the minute details.
As with many things, there are many factors to consider to ensure that the rack you end up buying will be compatible with your needs and bike set up.
Let’s take a look at the 4 main factors to consider.
1. Rack Material
Rear bike racks are mainly made with either aluminum or steel. Each one has its pros and cons, so let’s take a deeper look.
- Aluminum. The biggest advantage of aluminum is its weight. Weight can be a significant factor when considering the overall weight of your bike plus your cargo. You don’t want to haul more than you have to.
- Steel racks are notably heavier than aluminum racks, but they’re also considerably stronger. If you’re planning on using your rack for heavier objects or as a mount for add-ons such as panniers, then you might consider going with a heavier steel rack.
2. Maximum Load
When it comes to bike racks, it’s important to consider their maximum load, which can vary significantly from one rack to another.
Most rear racks are rated to carry between 20 and 50 lbs.
Sometimes, you can find touring racks that can handle as much as 90 lbs. of weight. The Tubus Logo Evo Classic, for example, has a weight capacity of 88 lbs.
These higher load capacity racks typically have more support bars than lower capacity racks.
Consider what you plan on using the rack for and how much weight you’ll need it to handle. Overloading a rack is a recipe for disaster.
3. Bike Compatibility
Until recently, rear racks have been designed for bikes with standard wheel sizes and standard rim brakes. However, with the growing popularity of disc brakes and larger wheel sizes, the rear racks market has changed.
Disc brake bikes are not compatible with standard racks because the disc brake caliper sticks out, interfering with the support bars attached to the dropout mounts.
But don’t worry. A whole line of rear racks that work with disc brake bikes, such as the Topeak Super Tourist, is compatible with disc brakes bikes.
The proliferation of 29-er mountain bikes, which are not compatible with standard racks, and the growing popularity of off-road touring has created a market of rear bike racks, such as the Blackburn Outpost.
Just make sure that the rack you choose is compatible with your bike before making a purchase.
4. Mounting Type
You basically have two options to consider when deciding how you want to attach a rear rack to your bike; eyelets and seatpost.
- Eyelets. The standard rear rack attaches to four mounting points, also called eyelets. The eyelets are located on the left-hand and right-hand seat and above the rear-wheel dropouts on both the left and the right.
- Seatpost. What do you do if your bike’s frame doesn’t have eyelets? Just use a rear rack that clamps to your seat post. Lumintrail, for example, manufactures a rear rack that attaches to the seat post. And Thule’s Pack ‘N Pedal Tour Rack straps to your bike’s seat stays or fork. Although these are sturdy racks, they may not have the load capacity than traditional racks offer, so make sure to check the capacity.
Topeak Explorer Rack
Topeak specializes in affordable cycling accessories, offers a lightweight aluminum rack that will expand the storage options on your bike with very little monetary investment.
At just 1.38 lbs., you won’t notice the added weight of this rack, which offers an impressive weight capacity of 57 lbs.
The Topeak Explorer is a standard rear bike rack. It installs to the threaded eyelets on the seat stays and rear-wheel dropouts. This rack can also be purchased in a version that works with disc mount bikes. An optional extra-long mounting bracket arm is sold separately for bikes with smaller frames.
Additional features include a tail-light mount on the rear of the rack that allows for mountable rear lights with 80mm mounting holes. With a low price point, the Topeak Explorer Rack is one of the best values you can find for a rear rack.
Ibera Bike Rack
The Ibera may be one of the lowest-priced rear bike racks you can find, giving it a lot of bang for its buck.
It’s made of corrosion-resistant heat-anodized aluminum, weighs in at just 1.65 lbs. It’s 15” long and can carry up to 55 lbs. Adjustable bottom rods mean this rack can fit most 26” and 29” bike frames.
The wide top plate can also double up as a fender and splash guard in wet conditions. A mount is included in the back of the rack for reflectors and tail lights.
Planning on using this rack for touring?
The Ibera bike rack is designed to be compatible with Ibera’s trunk bags and bike panniers.
Planet Bike Eco
Planet Bike, founded in 1996, has a mission to get people riding bikes everywhere: work, school, grocery stores, coffee shops.
So, it makes sense that its products are focused on making bikes more capable of filling your transportation needs. That’s the case with the Planet Bike Eco Rack, which is designed to facilitate greater use of your bike.
This rack is 12.5” long and made of lightweight aluminum. It’s also compatible with just about any bike. In fact, Planet Bike boasts that the Eco will fit the majority of mountain, hybrid, and road bike frames.
It weighs just under 1.5 lbs. and is capable of carrying loads up to 55 lbs. Installation is via the seat stay and rear wheel drop out eyelets.
Wouldn’t you love to be able to haul more gear with your fat bike?
Well, now you can thank Blackburn’s Outpost Fat Bike Rack.
This innovative rack from a company that’s been designing bike accessories since the 1970s allows you to adjust its height and width to fit wheel sizes ranging from 26” to 29” and tire widths ranging from 1 to 4”. And, of course, it’s also disc wheel compatible.
High-grade aluminum adds strength to this rack, which has a weight capacity of 70 lbs. Installation is through rear wheel dropout eyelets or through quick axel release. The total weight of the Blackburn Outpost is just under 2.5 lbs.
Tubus Logo Evo Classic
Looking for a rack that can support heavy loads for long tours?
Look no further than the Logo Evo Classic from Tubus, a German company that specializes in bike carriers.
With a carrying capacity of a whopping 88 lbs., this is one of the strongest racks you can buy. Because it’s designed to carry so much weight, this rack is built for touring. As such, it offers several features for panniers.
A lower pannier mounting bar improves the stability of the bags by creating a lower center of gravity. This also frees up more space for storing gear on top of the rack.
Built for off-road use, the Tubus Logo Evo Classic is engineered for better impact absorption. Despite all of that rugged weight-carrying ability, this rack is still among the lightest racks on the market at 1.6 lbs.
Thule Pack 'N Pedal Tour Rack
Lacking mounting eyelets on your bike? Not to worry.
Bike rack giant Thule has you covered with its version of the mountable bike rack, the Pack ‘N Pedal Tour Rack. This rack can mount to the back or front of your bike and doesn’t use your frame’s eyelets. Instead, this rack uses locking straps that wrap around the seat stays or front fork of your bikes.
The straps include rubberized grips that prevent the racks from sliding while in use. This installation system makes this rack compatible with virtually any bike style. It also allows for an easy uninstall when not in use.
The Thule Pack ‘N Pedal Tour Rack is also one of the lighter duty racks on the market with a weight capacity of just 25 lbs. This makes it a better option for light touring, commuting, or a quick trip to the supermarket.
Lacking the proper mounting eyelets for a standard bike rack and looking for solutions?
Lumintrail, a company that manufactures a wide variety of biking accessories, has the answer. Its bike commuter carrier rack mounts to your seat post, making it compatible with virtually any bike.
This durable and lightweight carrier rack weighs just 1.5 lbs.
At 20 lbs. capacity, this rack may not be feasible for bike touring; however, it is a good option for commuters. It measures just over 11” long and features two elastic straps that help hold your gear in place. Installation is simple with a single quick-release bracket that tightens to your seat post.
The Lumintrail fits seatposts ranging in diameter from .85” to 1.3” and includes attachments for a reflector or light.
Topeak Super Tourist
Looking for an affordable rear bike rack option for your disc brake bike?
Topeak has the answer for you with its Super Tourist rack. It fits all bike frames with disc brakes. Installation is standard to your bike’s rear-wheel dropout eyelets and seat stay eyelets.
It weighs in at just over 1.5 lbs. and has a carrying capacity of 55 lbs.
Designed for serious touring, it features Topeak’s QuickTrack system, which allows for the quick attachment or removal of Topeak’s QuickTrack rear trunk bags, bike panniers, or baskets with the click of a button.
A second side-bar provides a lower pannier attachment, allowing you to store more on the top of the rack. A solid fender top shields your back from mud while mounts for a reflector or taillight keep you visible to traffic.
The Topeak Super Tourist is compatible with wheel sizes ranging from 26” to 29”.