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ISO Sturdy Rack

I couldn't find a recent, relevant thread about this, so here goes: I need to replace the rear rack on my touring bike and I am looking for advice/recommendations. The bike came with a stock mystery metal rack that worked well enough for the first year, but I managed to destroy the mounting hardware completely by loading it up to and beyond the recommended limit (I think it was rated in the neighborhood of 20 kg). So, where can I find the best deal? I'd like a rack that will hold upwards of 50 lbs and last for the lifetime of the bike, but I'm also hoping to pay less than three figures for it. So far, I'm thinking the Topeak supertourist with sidebar, but I'd appreciate some recommendations.
2014-01-06 11:41:54
I have a Surly rack on my Redline that comes well recommended. Colin and Steph, care to weigh in? You know more about it than I do. I haven't tried anything heavy, but it's built like an anvil, and accommodated anything I've hooked to it, from a pannier to a kayak paddle to a high chair.
2014-01-06 14:00:56
What I'd want in a rear rack is a separate bar for the pannier top clips - just like what your Topeak Supertourist w/SideBar has. The top deck for the trunk bag, and then the additional side bars for the panniers. I have an Expedition Rack from Jandd, and it's promise is preventing pannier heel strikes for the big-footed (euro47) by moving everything further back than normal. It's solid and sturdy, and moves the panniers and load well aft, but boy I wish it had that additional bar to side-mount the panniers.
2014-01-06 14:22:32
Jay - I have that rack and I love it, especially if you have MTX bags I'd probably get it. It's not often I use both but it's nice to have that option. I didn't weigh all the crap I took with me on the GAPCANDO but it was no problem (there's another equally stuffed pannier on the other side): . I'm guessing Stu is referring to the Surly "Nice Rack" (apparently they've now dropped the "nice" but the rack looks the same). It has a higher capacity than the Topeak rack (80lb vs 55)... it's also a pound heavier and $100 more expensive, but definitely "sturdy".
2014-01-06 14:22:56
V - I wear a 46 and had heel strike problems (especially on my crosscheck), which is part of why I went with the MTX bags initially. But, the mounts on the Ortliebs I have (Bike Packer Plus, I know they have a few different mounting systems) allow them to slide way back and it's never been an issue with those. I was able to move them up some when I got the Trucker, and they can probably move even further forward. Derailing the thread another notch, I cannot recommend that Ortlieb handlebar bag enough. That was a last minute purchase from Thick on a whim, but I can't imagine what I would have done without it - it was so useful for snacks, maps, wallet, camera, etc. The only issue (which you can see) is it blocks the light. But, it comes with a shoulder strap so at least I was able to remove it and be able to see in the tunnels (that worked way better than my first plan of "hold the light in my hand").
2014-01-06 14:37:57
I've used the super-tourist and it's a good rack. I found the fit of the Bontrager BackRack Delux to be slightly better. It comes with the double bars, in silver or black, and two sizes. The "S" model shifts the pannier back a bit further away from the heel for use with smaller frames. L model on 54cm frame with long chain-stays (450cm) It's essentially a Tubus Logo knock-off in large diameter aluminum.
2014-01-06 16:42:29
I had the VO Campeur on my old Bianchi...really liked that rack. Solid as a rock, and, for those of us who get pathologically annoyed by rattling components, permits fenders to be bolted firmly to it as well.
2014-01-06 17:09:53
Yep. VO Campeur is as solid as a rock. Never even a hint of a rattle. I don't know what the upper weight limits are for it though.
2014-01-06 19:13:15
I hate to say it, but if you want something that will handle 50#+ and last as long as a bike it's going to have to be one of the pricier options be it the VO, the Tubus, or OldManMountain.
2014-01-06 21:29:27
Just as an aside, regarding the Old Man Mountain racks, I'm pretty sure that the gentleman who builds them, Channing Hammond, also designed the body on his father Seth Hammond's no. 77 "lakester"-style land speed car. I also recall that the father, son, mother and daughter are all 300-mile per hour club members from driving the car at the Bonneville Salt Flats. I'd have to assume that those bike racks are well-designed.
2014-01-07 12:16:51
Thanks for all the advice. After some shopping around I settled on a rack from Portland Design Works. It seemed like a nice balance between price, load capacity, and design aesthetics. The rack is installed on my steel horse and will be subjected to the same abuse that killed my last rack shortly...
2014-01-10 11:05:52
Definitely wins the aesthetics prize... let us know how it works out!
2014-01-10 14:37:03