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Full suspension MTB racks: an overview

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The world of bike travel is increasingly expanding and with it also the types of vehicles that are used for this purpose. Traveling by mountain bike has great advantages and allows you to explore an area in more depth but if your MTB is a full bike, until a few years ago it was very difficult to load luggage on it. Today, in addition to bikepacking bags, there are also luggage racks suitable for installing on these bikes. Let's see how they are used and discover the most popular models.

 

If you are reading this article it is because you are looking for a rack for full suspension bikes and therefore you have already overcome the phase of: "But it makes no sense to mount a rack on a full bike!" which I often hear around when I say that there are also luggage racks to overcome the many problems of backpacks or bikepacking bags mounted on Full bikes .

If, however, you are one of those who still believe that there is no point in using a luggage rack if you have a full suspension bike, I am not here to convince anyone but just to try to shed light on a lesser-known reality but with great potential.

portapacchi per mtb aeroe

Can I mount a rack on a full suspension bike?

Mounting a rack on a full suspension bike is a great idea to increase the load capacity of your bike and carry everything you need for your cycling adventures without having to strain your back. If until a few years ago it was practically impossible to find a luggage rack adaptable to this type of bike, today there are many companies on the market that have worked hard and found solutions, even very different from each other, to overcome the problem. So the short answer to your question is:

Yes, you can mount a rack on a full MTB!

What are the problems of mounting a luggage rack on a full MTB?

But let's try to argue in a little more detail: which problem was I referring to before? Well, it's all the rear suspensions's fault logically! Yes, because the rear stay on these bikes is no longer integral with the rest of the frame as happens on rigid bikes and this means that the luggage rack installed on the rear stay will have excursions equal to those of the rear wheel. This "inconvenience" prevents the use of most classic rear racks which are rigid elements and consequently would not copy the movement between the rear stay and the rest of the frame.

Furthermore, more often than not, a full MTB is not designed for traveling and does not have any anchoring eyelets for the luggage rack: even in this case the solutions that can be adopted to overcome this problem exist and are different.

aeroe spider rack

Finally, another large and useful innovation that comes into conflict with classic rear racks but even more so with under-seat bikepacking bags is the telescopic seat post : when lowering the saddle you often hit the bag possibly installed on top of the rack while with the saddle bag during bikepacking you will touch the wheel, ruining it.

So let's delve deeper into the alternatives on the market for using a luggage rack on a full MTB.

Systems for fixing a luggage rack to a full suspension bike

Full MTB racks attach to the frame in several ways. The main anchoring points, single or in pairs, are the following:

  • to the seatpost,
  • to the rear stays
  • to the rear thru axle

Let's see the various types of roof racks before giving some examples.

What types of full bike racks are there?

There are, as mentioned, different solutions on the market to the same problem. Your task is to evaluate the one best suited to you and for this I will try to help you.

Types of roof racks:

Seatpost rack

They are suspended luggage racks that are installed, usually with an easy quick release system, to the seat post tube of the bike to house the bag at a certain distance from the saddle.

portapacchi suspended reggisella

They are solutions designed more for the city but in some rare cases they could also be suitable for full bikes even if they are not suitable for uneven terrain and cannot withstand stress. However, if you only have a full bike and use it, for example, for the home/work commute and would like a rear bag to carry objects to take to the office, this could be a good solution because there are also very cheap ones

  • Advantages: easy to install, economical;
  • Disadvantages:less robust, limited load capacity (usually up to 10 kg), not suitable for uneven terrain, not suitable for installation on seat posts telescopic

Seater-mounted luggage rack

They are excellent solutions because they remain completely integral with the rear triangle of the bike and therefore do not have any problems with the shock absorber.

They are usually equipped with two or four jaws, different from model to model, with which they are secured to the two vertical stays. For this reason there are often doubts about installation on carbon bikes but by being careful to follow the anchoring instructions of the manufacturers and not loading the bags too much, with the material used today I would say that these racks can be also used on carbon bikes.

rack-rack seatstays

The big advantage of this type of roof rack is that it can be used on any terrain, without any limitations.

  • Advantages: robust, good load capacity (up to 15-20 kg), suitable for uneven terrain;
  • Disadvantages: more complex installation, generally more expensive

Thru-axle mounting rack

These are the luggage racks most similar to the classic ones rear luggage racks for traveling but instead of being anchored to the eyelets which are often absent on full-suspension MTBs, they are hooked to the thru axle. Furthermore, these models require another anchoring point which can vary between the two previous ones (seat post with a collar or seat stays with jaws).

The ability to work with the rear shock absorber is guaranteed by the system of movable hinges with which they are made and which allow the luggage rack to absorb the excursion of the movement of the rear chassis.

Divide in Lava 11

When purchasing these products you will have to pay attention above all to the compatibility with your thru axle (often on full MTBs it is boost and therefore check the measurements!).

  • Advantages: more robust, greater load capacity (up to 25 kg), suitable for uneven terrain
  • Disadvantages: more complex installation, generally more expensive, not always compatible with the telescopic seat post

General considerations for choosing a full bike rack

The following are general considerations which are valid for all types of luggage racks but which are also a good idea for those for full bikes. If you already know a little about the topic, these paragraphs may seem trivial. If this is the case, do not hesitate to scroll down to discover the list of racks that are compatible with full suspended bikes.

Compatibility

  • Make sure the luggage rack is compatible with the model of your bike
  • Check that your bike has eyelets or space to anchor the luggage rack in the various required points
  • If in doubt, consult the manual for your bike, rack or contact the manufacturer

Load capacity:

  • Choose a roof rack with a load capacity suited to your needs
  • Consider the weight of your equipment and the type of terrain you will be riding
  • A roof rack with a higher load capacity is more versatile and safe

 

Other factors to consider:

  • Weight of the luggage rack: if possible, choose a light luggage rack so as not to weigh down your bike
  • Material: the roof racks are available in aluminium, steel and carbon. Aluminum is a good compromise between weight and strength, while steel is sturdier but heavier. Carbon is the lightest material but also the most expensive.
  • Price: Prices of roof racks vary depending on the type, brand and material. Set a budget before starting your search.

Additional information:

  • There are also front racks for full suspension bikes. These roof racks are useful for carrying bags or other light objects but perhaps we will talk about them in more detail in future insights
  • If you have a bike with a carbon frame, it is important to choose a rack with plastic clamps or protected by rubber to avoid damaging the frame li>

Which racks for full bikes exist? 6 valid models

After having seen the characteristics and types of full MTB luggage racks, we come to the list of some products on the market that are suitable for these types of bikes. I have not considered cantilevered seat post racks in this list because I do not consider them suitable for use on a full MTB for traveling on uneven terrain. Some of the companies listed below also make these types of roof racks, models of which can also be found in abundance on specialized sites or on Amazon.

Roof rack

Fixing

Material

Load

Cost

Aeroe Spider Rear Rack
Seat stays
Aluminium/Steel/Nylon
16 kg
€135
Topeak Tetra Rack M2
Seat stays
Aluminium/Nylon
12 kg
€109
OMM Divide Bike Rack
Seat stays and axle
Aluminum
31.75 kg
$168 (+ $80 kit)
Thule Tour Rack
Seat stays
Aluminium, plastic and nylon
11.3 kg
€113
Elburro rack
Seatpost and axle
Aluminium, stainless steel
25 kg
€240
Tailfin Aeropack
Seatpost and axle
Aluminum or carbon
25 kg
from €260 to €450

Aero Spider Rear Rack

I won't go into too much detail about this luggage rack because we've had it for a few years and we've already written about it an in-depth review (italian) which I recommend you read if you are interested in purchasing it. The luggage rack is the basis of a system that the New Zealand company has designed to be able to transport luggage on a bike with full or without eyelets.

The luggage rack alone consists of an aluminum arch suitable for wheels up to 3.8" (there is also a version for fat bikes) which is hooked to the vertical stays of the rear stay via plastic housings protected by rubber and rubber buckles nylon tightened very simply using 5mm hex wrenches. The system is very stable and cages or shells produced by the same company and compatible with the bags of the same company can be anchored on the rack even if any dry bag can be housed on their shell.  ;

Recently Aeroe has also introduced a system for anchoring pannier bags to the same luggage rack. The possibility of varying the position and alignment of the bags guarantees extreme versatility of the system which is designed for a load of up to 16kg. For more information and to see all compatible products you can access the aeroe.com website

aeroe spider rear rack

Topeak TetraRack M2

The M2 model of the TetraRack series is one of many from the Taiwanese company that adapt to MTBs with full or without eyelets. For me, this company is one of the best in terms of quality/price and in fact I use their SuperTourist DX disc luggage rack. The peculiarity of the TetraRack series lies precisely in the presence of four clamps with which to anchor the luggage rack to the vertical stays of the bike.

In this case the quick assembly is connected to the MTB seat stays with clamps which are then also tightened with hexagonal screws. The upper plate is adjustable along the entire length of the luggage rack arc to be able to be anchored in a parallel position to the ground on any bike as you can see from this assembly video:

The integrated QuickTrack® system makes the roof rack compatible with Topeak TrunkBags but they can also easily be used with trunk bags from other companies as it is also compatible with bags equipped with the KLICKfix® / RackTime® Snapit 1.0 or Vario system . Among the accessories there are also side barriers to be able to mount panniers bags. In addition to the M2 model, there are various other models that can be adapted to the size of the wheels or the front fork.

The material with which the Topeak Tetraracks are made is aluminum with nylon straps, the maximum load suggested in this case is 12kg and use with carbon frames is not recommended. For more information you can access the dedicated section of topeak.com site 

topeak tetrarackM2

Old Man Mountain Divide

The American company OMM has always been at the forefront in the creation of solid and innovative bike racks. Their Divide (but also the Elkhorn model) makes versatility its strong point. With a series of accessories it is a luggage rack adaptable to all bikes, both on the rear and on the front.

Divide With All Parts labeled

The solution, for full suspension MTBs, is to use the dropouts to hook the lower part of the luggage rack to the thru axle and the discs to be anchored with clamps to the seat stays: on the official website there is a configurator that allows you to find the right kit for each bike. The Divide bike rack is compatible with telescopic seat posts, made of aluminum and has a load capacity, when attached to the thru axle, of more than 30 kg!

omm Divide

Thule Tour Rack

One of the first full bike racks to come out on the market is that of the well-known Swedish company. The project was carried out by the same designers who later gave life to the Aeroe company and involves installing the system once again on the seat stays of the bike. The attachment is actually very or more similar to that of Topeak with four clamps, two on each side, which are inserted onto the bike tubes and allow the luggage rack to be integral with the rear triangle.

In this case the tolerance reaches up to thicknesses of 2.5" for 29" wheels. The luggage rack can be installed both on the rear axle and on the front fork of the bike, it has an adjustable platform to allow it to always be horizontal and the materials with which it is made are aluminium, plastic and nylon ties . The maximum load is 11.3 kg on the rear and 10 kg when installed on the fork.

To be able to anchor you better than the side panniers, two additional side panels are also available. On the Thule website you will find all the details with the possibility of also purchasing the package with the side bags from the same company.

thule tour rack

Elburro Rack

In Spain thebutter is the donkey. This luggage rack compatible with any bike is designed to carry large weights (25kg of load), just like the pack animal.

The basic concept is completely similar to the Old Man Mountain Divide with differentiated dropouts to anchor the lower part to the thru axle. The second anchor in this case is the seat post with a quick release collar and an articulated arm which therefore allows it to absorb the vertical movement of the shock absorber.

portabultos elburro

It is also adaptable to dropper posts (which have enough space to house the collar) and the construction materials are of high quality, from 7075 aeronautical aluminum to the stainless steel of the dropouts. It can be used both with classic panniers and with trunk bags or dry bags from any company. On the elburro website I couldn't find the tolerance but from the images it seems to be wide enough to accommodate 29" wheels "up to at least 2.8-3". Product made and designed in Spain.

Tailfin Aeropack

One of the most popular companies of the moment and perhaps one of those that has best interpreted the bikepackers' need for a light but effective product. TheTailfin Aeropackis a minimalist roof rack made of both carbon and aluminumso and on which both thetrunk bag and the side bags from the same company can be mounted. The width of the rack guarantees space for wheels up to 29"x2.9" and the numerous kits to adapt to almost all types of thru axle allow you to install this rack on practically any bike. The anchors are the same as the Burro: thru axle and seat post collar.

To be able to install panniers that are not Tailfin it is necessary to purchase extra adapters and this is somewhat the limit of this product, in my opinion, although in reality in the eyes of most (a bit like Apple, for example a technological comparison) their "closed system" is their great strength on the market, with many products adaptable only to each other. The cost is truly considerable but few of those who use these roof racks seem not to be extremely satisfied with them. On the Tailfin website you will find all the details and many other bikepacking products.

tailfin aerorack

With a little care and research, you can find the perfect rack for your full suspension bike and enjoy your cycling adventures to the fullest. If you know of others, other than those listed above, do not hesitate to let us know in the comments.

 
 
Read 584 times Last modified on Tuesday, 05 March 2024 14:10
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Leo

ITA - Cicloviaggiatore lento con il pallino per la scrittura e la fotografia. Se non è in viaggio ama perdersi lungo i mille sentieri che solcano le splendide montagne del suo Trentino e dei dintorni del lago d'Iseo dove abita. Sia a piedi che in mountain bike. Eterno Peter Pan che ama realizzare i propri sogni senza lasciarli per troppo tempo nel cassetto, ha dedicato e dedica gran parte della vita al cicloturismo viaggiando in Europa, Asia, Sud America e Africa con Vero, compagna di viaggio e di vita e Nala.

EN - Slow cycle traveler with a passion for writing and photography. If he is not traveling, he loves to get lost along the thousands of paths that cross the splendid mountains of his Trentino and the surroundings of Lake Iseo where he lives. Both on foot and by mountain bike. Eternal Peter Pan who loves realizing his dreams without leaving them in the drawer for too long, has dedicated and dedicates a large part of his life to bicycle touring in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa with Vero, travel and life partner and Nala.