Rear Rack & Bag

At some point I needed to put a rear rack on the bike to attach panniers.  Also, early on I decided that the ‘Big Bag‘, which attached to the seat did not work for my purposes (see Big Bag post under accessories.

I bought a Topeak Explorer rack, and Topeak Trunk Bag.  The dovetails in the rack and bag seemed like a nice idea; the bag was easily removed and just snapped in place.

Several people had recommended that I should try to mount the rack in such a manner that it was not attached to the rear seat tubes.  This would allow me to adjust the seat angle without having to mess with the rack attachment.  How to do this?

I decided to order a second set of mounting hardware from Topeak (TRK-R023), and a seat clamp from Bacchetta.  All of this cost ~$40, plus ~$5 for additional stainless steel screws, nuts, & hardware.

A caveat with this method:  I elected to go this route to minimize scratches and such on the frame paint.  Also, it was pretty straight forward and did not require substantial jury rigging to get it to work.  Plus, it allows for easy adjustment for the rear rack.  One of the big potential issues has to do with where the existing seat bracket is located.  If you have very long legs (I am 5′ 10 1/2″) and the seat is positioned further than mine is, you may not have room for a second seat bracket.  Take some measurements before ordering any accessory items.

First off, I mounted the rack to the bicycle rear drop out brackets.  After leveling the top of the rack I tightened the screws on either side to lock the rack in place.

I took two of the rack mounting straps and used a vice, pliers, and a hammer to straighten out the twists on the end.  Then I bent an approximate angle on the end of two brackets, drilled mounting holes in the brackets, and bolted them to the rack.

Rear Rack Installation

Next, I disassembled the seat bracket, placed the bracket on the bicycle, and reassembled it with the second pair of straps in place.  Then I adjusted the seat bracket so the two pair of straps could be bolted together, and tightened up all the bolts.  Where ever possible I used lock nuts or else I double nutted everything to minimize the chance of things coming loose.

Rear Rack Mounting

Rear Rack Mounting

Everything seems substantial, and there are no rattles or noises from the frame.

Added Note: I really like the Topeak Bag.  It seems to be well made and has quite a bit of room.  The top open easily, which is one item I didn’t like with the Big Bag.  Unfortunately, The mounting system tended to rattle when riding on rough roads.  The dove tail and locking clip on the bag is made from hard plastic and the rack is metal, and they seemed to make a clicking noise.  Also, there is a strap on the back of the bag to hold a rear light.  If you have a vertical shaped rear light, as I do, it banged against the light bracket on the rack.

Bottom line: Even though I thought the bag was very nice I just didn’t want to deal with trying to ‘sound insulate’ everything.  Sooooo, I returned the bag.  The dealer said that he had never had a complaint like mine, before.  Maybe the rack or bag was not made properly; don’t know.  Anyway, I am going to look for a bag that uses velcro straps like my other bags.

Added Note: I have put ~400 miles on the bike using this rack and mounting with no obvious problems.  I have carried things strapped to the rack with no problems.

Rear Light

Rear LightPlanet Bike Blinky Super Flash- This light clips onto the rear bag and offers both steady and flashing mode.  It is definitely visible from a distance at night.

One downside: It would be nice if the light came with an accessory screw mount that allowed you to bolt it to your frame or rear carrier rack.

Overall: This seems like a very good light for the money.

Update Note: At some point I may fabricate some type of bracket that will hold two lights at more eye level. Perhaps there is some way to attach the lights to the upper brace on the back of the recurved seat frame. On one blog I read where someone took the caps off of the vertical seat frame tubes and mounted some light there. The problem, as I see it, is that the mesh seat is held up by straps that go over the top of the tubes. Anyway, something to think about during the long cold days of winter.