Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack: First Ride Review

Just announced, the Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack is half the weight of its steel sibling and features a few upgrades, including a slightly different platform design and dynamo wire routing. We had the chance to admire this beauty, install it on a Stooge MK6, and give it a try before today’s launch. Find all the details in this first ride review…

At this point in my bikepacking and bike media tenure, I’ve tried a lot of parts and accessories made out of titanium: Ti cranks, a Ti seatpost, Ti handlebars, Ti bottle and cargo cages, Ti cookware, Ti multi-tools, Ti bells, Ti bolts, a Ti stem, and a Ti fork. However, until recently, I haven’t had the opportunity to use a titanium rack. Rounding out my Ti dossier, Tumbleweed Cycles sent their new Titanium Pannier Rack to test prior to today’s launch. Read on for details.

Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack Review
  • Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack Review
  • Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack Review

The main reason I haven’t tried a Ti rack is probably because there aren’t that many options. There are custom Ti racks, of course; the featherweight 360-gram Tubus Airy springs to mind. I’ve glanced at it from time to time, only to remind myself of its limited tire clearance. Tubus claims it fits tires up to 47mm in with with mudguards, which means you might be able to squeak in a 2.0” tire in there. They also came out with the titanium Liviano since I last studied their catalog, which clears tires from 2.0-3.1”. But, it’s got a lot going on, and at 500 grams, it’s about as heavy as the steel Tumbleweed racks. Even on paper, Tumbleweed’s new titanium iteration of their Pannier Rack (formerly called the Mini Pannier Rack) is the most compelling option I’ve seen.

What’s the Same; What’s Different

In summary, the Titanium Pannier Rack is almost identical to the steel version we reviewed. It can clear large tires up to 29 × 3.5″ or 26 x 4.75″, comes in two sizes (measuring 355 and 380mm tall from the center of the bottom mount to the platform), and has three-pack bosses on both uprights. It’s made out of 3-2.5 Grade 9 titanium with tubing that has the same 10mm outer diameter, although it has a slightly different set of wall thicknesses than the steel pannier rack to maintain the same strength. Both the steel and Titanium Pannier Racks are ISO tested and rated to carry 45 pounds (20.4 kilograms) of cargo.

Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack Review
  • Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack Review
  • Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack Review

Aside from the material, there was one significant change: instead of the full tubing loop platform on the previous version of the steel Mini Pannier Rack, the new model has a U-shaped 120 x 310mm platform like the T Rack. There are a couple reasons Tumbleweed went this direction—and changed it on the steel version, too. First, the open end of the rack reduces overall weight a little bit. Second, it allows for easier installation on larger bikes where the upper rack mounts are higher than the rack platform. Tumbleweed mentioned that some folks who had the steel pannier rack had to bend the rack struts around the end of the closed platform to reach their upper rack mounts. This new change solves that problem. Having the open ends of the platform also enables easy internal wire routing for dynamo lighting. Speaking of wiring, Tumbleweed also added a dynamo wire port near the light mounts on both the steel and Ti versions.

Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack Review

In addition, the included aluminum struts have been lengthened from 300mm. The Pannier Rack now comes with two sets of 350mm struts: one pair that’s straight and one that’s offset. The original rack included a long and short set of straight struts only. The mounting hardware was also completely redesigned with a concave washer to grip the strut and an M6 Nylock nut and split washer to help prevent the hardware from loosening up with use.

Why Titanium

When I asked Tumbleweed founder Daniel Molloy why he decided to make a titanium version of the Pannier Rack, he basically said it was because he wanted one. The reasons he listed were weight savings, the toughness of titanium, and the unpainted silver finish, but he also admitted that it’s kind of an experiment. After all, he’s not yet sure what the demand will be.

Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack Review
  • Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack Review
  • Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack Review
  • Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack Review
  • Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack Review
  • Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack Review

Back to that list of Ti parts and accessories I’ve tried. As a material, titanium is used in place of steel for three main reasons: corrosion resistance, weight savings (Ti is approximately half the weight of steel when constructed to the same strength standards), and ride quality (Ti has an unmistakable dampened feel). Out of all those components and accessories I listed above, only four really benefit from the latter. The remainder were made for the other reasons, but mostly to save weight. Racks are no exception. The 355mm Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack weighs 258 grams (without struts and hardware), which is slightly less than half the weight of the steel version (533 grams without hardware). In hand, it felt unlike any other rack I’ve picked up. It always blows my mind how light titanium components can be. Find weights from Tumbleweed below for all three of their racks; note that weights with hardware account for uncut 350mm struts.

  • Ti Pannier Rack: 258 grams
  • Ti Pannier Rack (+ struts/hardware): 437 grams
  • Steel Pannier Rack: 533 grams
  • Steel Pannier Rack (+ struts/hardware): 712 grams
  • Steel T Rack: 470 grams
  • Steel T Rack (+ struts/hardware): 649 grams

Corrosion resistance is a nice touch, as well. It’s pretty common for unplugged bolt holes (like the three-pack mounts) to rust, although it’s never really been a significant issue for me. Still, not having to worry about it on the Titanium Pannier Rack is nice.

What if it breaks?

Titanium is a very tough material that has an almost infinite fatigue life, but some long-distance bike tourists still might consider titanium to be a con for a rack. While it’s pretty rare that a steel rack breaks, I’ve heard of it happening. In the event of such an unusual circumstance, having a rack that can be welded in a far-off country might be a priority for some people. For me, that wouldn’t be a concern. Fedex, DHL, and UPS are available worldwide these days, and it’s a rare possibility. Daniel mentioned that Tumbleweed has sold many, many racks, and the failure rate under normal conditions and within their use guidelines is incredibly tiny. The titanium racks are fatigue and strength tested to the same standards as their steel racks.

  • Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack Review
  • Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack Review


One glaring downside to the Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack is the price. Its $400 cost is anything but chump change. That’s three times the price of the T Rack and more than two-and-a-half times the price of the steel Mini Pannier Rack. That being said, it’s priced similarly to other titanium racks. The Tubus Airy costs around $400-470 (although it seems to be cheaper in UK/EU). For what it’s worth, it’s not just the material that makes a Ti rack a high-ticket item; titanium is much more difficult material to work when compared to steel. It costs more to do little things compared to steel racks. For example, the six eyelets on the three pack mounts have to be individually welded instead of brazed, which drives up the cost.

Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack Review
  • Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack Review
  • Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack Review
  • Model/Size Tested: 355mm Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack
  • Weight: 258 grams (without struts/hardware)
  • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
  • Price: $400
  • Manufacturer’s Details: Tumbleweed.cc


  • Incredibly lightweight
  • Beautiful construction and finish
  • U-shaped platform is a nice improvement
  • Ticks a lot of boxes with the three-pack mounts, adequate load limit, and ability to run panniers and/or rack-top dry bag


  • Expensive!
  • Likely couldn’t repair in the field many places

Wrap Up

One thing’s for sure: it’s hard not to love the new Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack. I’ve become slightly obsessed with decking out bikes with silver parts over the last few years. Daniel made this rack because he wanted one, and he mentioned, “now I want one (or two) on every one of my bikes.” I admit, after using this one, I do too. However, based on the price, I definitely won’t have one on all my bikes.

So, who’s it for? The Tumbleweed Titanium Pannier Rack might be a worthy investment for folks who count grams within every aspect of their kit—those who cut off toothbrush handles and splurge on Dyneema tents, for example—or riders looking for ways to cut weight for a better and more unladen feel with a dropper post. As Cass and I were chatting about the value of this rack (and the fact that I was considering stealing our neighbors super-cool chihuahua who I’ve befriended), we jokingly came to the conclusion that the Titanium Pannier Rack is “great for people with bottomless wallets, or those wanting to offset the weight of their dogpacking Chihuahua.”

Further Reading

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