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My friend recently came to me with something of an issue. He needed to carry stuff on his bike and was planning to get himself a pannier rack. All well and good. Unfortunately, his bike didn’t have the eyelets necessary to fit any of the standard bike racks that he’d seen. What could he do?
I did some research to find out what his options were and I found three great options for him: one for a standard bike rack, and two other specialist racks that are designed for bikes without eyelets. Shall we take a look?
Quick Answer: M-Wave Rack Mount Seat post clamp
How to use a rear bike rack?
First up, let’s check out what the issue is.
If you take a close look at this great rack below from Ibera, you’ll see that it fixes on to the bike at two points: (1) there are a pair of bolts connecting the rack arms to the frame just below the saddle, and (2) there are another pair of bolts that connect the bottoms of the rack sides to a spot just above the rear hub.
If you have a bike that has these two pairs of eyelets, then it’s a fairly easy job to attach the rack and get it adjusted correctly.
If you don’t have these eyelets, then you either have to be creative with attaching a standard rack or choose a different type of rack. I’ll go through each in a moment, but my suggestion is that you go for the second option and don’t have panniers with side bags. Why? Well, a bike that is designed to carry full panniers, and therefore comes with fitting eyelets, will often have a longer chainstay (this is the part of the frame that goes from the pedals back to the rear hub). A longer chainstay will cause the panniers to sit further away from the pedals and stop your heels from bashing them as you pedal. A touring-style bike is a good example of this. Having gone on a 3-day bikepacking tour with my heels hitting the panniers on every revolution, I can tell you that the sound of repeated heel bashing becomes quite irritating fairly rapidly…
How to carry stuff on a bike
Okay, let’s take a look at the three options for mounting a bicycle rack without eyelets.
1) Mounting a standard rack without eyelets
M-Wave Rack Mount Seat post clamp
This option requires a little more DIY-handiness than the next two options. It’s also a slightly more permanent fixing –it can still be removed, it just takes a bit longer.
If there are no eyelets on your bike then you need to add them to fit a standard bike rack. The best way to go about this is by using a seat post clamp with fixings for a bike rack. If you haven’t seen these before, then they are a metal band that fits around the seat post, with eyelets protruding from it to add fixings to. They’re measured according to the diameter of the tube, so measure carefully and choose the right one. A quick tip is that the diameter of your seat post is often engraved onto the lower part of the post.
Bear in mind the issue of heel-strike that I mentioned above. This arrangement will only work with bikes that have longer chainstays to keep the side pannier bags away from your feet. If you already have a standard rack, then it’s worth trying a clamp like this. If you haven’t bought a rack yet, then I’d suggest you buy one of the following options, rather than try a make a standard rack fit.
2. Seatpost pannier rack
Comingfit Quick-release Seatpost Rear Bike Rack
This is my absolute favorite type of rear bike rack. As you’ll see it mounts to the seatpost and seatstays, so there’s no eyelets needed at all. For the seatpost there’s a quick-release fitting and Allen bolts are used for the seatstay fittings. I’ve been using a seatpost rack without the seatstay arms (like this one) for some time now and it’s been fantastic. Mine has a bit of a tendency to wobble slightly from side to side with a full load, but the seatstay arms on the Comingfit stop this and give a very firm hold to your cargo. Bear in mind that the Comingfit won’t work with full-suspension bikes (because the back wheel moves up and down relative to the seat post), however, if you like this rack style then you can use the type above that I’ve got.
3. Seatstays pannier rack
Thule Pack ‘N’ Pedal Tour Rack – a clever way to install rear bike rack without braze ons
Thule are renowned for their quality products and this one certainly doesn’t disappoint. This is a totally different style of rack that fixes directly to your seatstays only.
That means it works for most styles and geometries of bike, including full-suspension frame mountain bikes.
What’s also great about it is that you can fix it to the rear of your bike and also to the front – a position that many people find more comfortable for riding with.