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Rear Bike Racks: Lightweight Options for Bikepacking (List & Guide)

Rear bike racks have had a resurgence in popularity over the last few years, and they're now giving fabric seat packs a run for their money. Lightweight racks are inherently stable and can significantly expand your cargo-carrying capacity when needed. Our latest Gear Index features a comprehensive list of lightweight rear bike racks and some of our favorite rack accessories. Check it out here...

For most of us, traveling by bike started out with a rear rack and a pair of panniers. This simple and timeless setup is at the core of traditional bike touring setups and is still one of the most versatile options. With a growing number of high-quality small panniers, a lightweight rear bike rack can be the cornerstone of a versatile bikepacking setup. This is especially true when extra packing space is needed or for bikes that don’t have enough saddle-to-tire clearance for a seat bag. Just like a trusty minimal front rack, a lightweight rear bike rack is a worthwhile accessory for bikepacking, commuting to work, and running errands around town.

  • Tumbleweed Stargazer, Rigs of the Eastern Divide Trail

Uses for a Rear Bike Rack

Although there are certainly more, here are the three main uses for a rear bike rack in a bikepacking set up…

Mini Panniers

Mini Panniers

Adding a pair of small panniers to a front or rear rack is a useful option when extra packing space is needed. Not everyone likes the feeling of a heavily weighted front end, which is a good reason to choose a rear rack over a front loader. And when riding any type of technical or uneven terrain, it’s arguably better to have the load positioned at the rear to keep your front end nimble—and it’s also nice to be able to see what your front wheel is up to.

Dry Bag on rear Bike Rack

Dry Bag, etc.

Rear bike racks are also a great rear gear carrying platform even if the extra capacity of panniers isn’t needed. This is especially advantageous when running a long-travel dropper post—on singletrack-heavy bikepacking trips, for example. And when the volume of a normal seat bag won’t cut it, we find that a drybag strapped directly onto the platform of a rear rack works great. Not only does this allow for uninterrupted dropper post movement, but it’s a cinch to pack up and as stable as it gets.

Bottle/Cargo Cages

Some racks, including the Tumbleweed T-Rack and OMM Elkhorn, are outfitted with threaded bosses that can accept bottle and cargo cages for even more carrying capacity. We see the added versatility as a huge benefit as it allows you to carry extra gear or water as needed. It’s also a great option for riders who don’t have enough heel clearance to run panniers but still need some extra room for gear.

Rear Bike Rack Benefits

Virginia's Why Cycles Wayward

Clearance and Space

As mentioned above, spacial limitations are a major reason to consider a rear bike rack. Small frames with restricted frame bag space and not much room between the saddle and rear tire—or handlebar and front tire—limit packing space and justify the need for such a setup. Saddle-to-tire clearance becomes even more precious commodity for bikepackers who rely on a dropper post. Oftentimes, it’s hard to avoid tire contact with even the smallest of dropper post compatible seat bags. Removing gear from your saddle and putting that weight on a rear rack allows for smooth dropper post function, full use of its travel, and positions the weight closer toward the ground for a more stable system.

Jones Spaceframe Review

Expandability

Unlike most seat bags, which have a limited maximum capacity, rear bike racks have the ability to expand their versatility depending on your needs. On shorter trips, we find strapping a dry bag directly to the top platform to be a simple and functional way to carry bulky gear. When more space is needed, a small set of panniers can be added in. Racks with threaded bosses are also great for carrying additional water, stove fuel, or other gear on longer rides, providing an excellent expandable packing system.

List of Lightweight Rear Bike Racks

In this gear index, we’ve gathered some of our favorite and most popular rear bike racks together. We’ve either personally tested or heard good things about all of the following options. Almost every rack we’ve included weighs under 1,000 grams (2.2 pounds) and is suited for bikepacking. We’ve included key specs to help you make comparisons among them. As always, items marked with the “T” icon are ones we’ve tested. Find the list below and scroll down a little further for some pointers on choosing a rear bike rack as well as a list of some of our favorite accessories.

  • $129
    Aeroe Spider Rack

    Aeroe Spider Rack

    • Weight: 2.2lbs (996g)
    • Load Limit: 35lbs (15.8kg)
    • Tire Clearance: 29 x 3.8"

    The Aeroe Spider Rear Rack is a modular rear rack system that can be used alongside the included cradle to hold any dry bag or tent, or integrated into a more complex system using Aeroe’s quick-release gear pods. The quick-release mounting brackets can swivel and flex to accommodate different seatstay angles and widths, then the rack’s main tubing can also slide up and down to make room above the rear tire via four bolts on each side.

    The Spider Rear Rack kit comes with a single cradle, which can be mounted to the top or on either side of the rack. You can mount additional cradles or Aeroe’s quick-release gear pods when more storage is needed. When mounted in the top position, the cradle can be tilted and positioned front-to-back or side-to-side, which may be useful for those carrying a big load and running a dropper post. Read the full review here.

    • Aeroe Spider Rear Rack Review
    • Aeroe Spider Rear Rack Review
    • Aeroe Spider Rear Rack Review

    From Miles’ review: In my experience, the design has been well-executed and the rack remains sturdy and stable on the roughest of trails. Although it isn’t an ultralight option by any means, its strap-on attachment and modular design are pretty much as universal as it gets—ideal for bikes without rack mounts or smaller frames with limited saddle bag clearance. I’ve been happy to have the extra packing space on the Esker Japhy I’m currently testing, as a wet and cold winter on the coast certainly requires it.

    • Price: $129
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • helpWe highly encourage you to buy from a local shop when possible, but if you're going to buy online, you can use our affiliate links. We'll get a very small kickback that will help support this site. Available at:  Aeroe  Amazon
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $168
    Old Man Mountain Divide

    Old Man Mountain Divide

    • Weight: 2.1lbs (960g)
    • Load Limit: 55-70lbs (25-31kg)
    • Tire Clearance: 27.5x2.8” / 29x3.25”
    • Platform Size: 120 x 267mm

    The Old Man Mountain Divide comes complete with a full complement of mounting hardware – including short stays and long stays – depending on whether you’re mounting it to the frame or fork, and the geometry of the bike in question. As pictured above, it also uses adjustable extenders that allow it to be tailored to the height required – depending on wheel size and rack placement. OMM offers two versions of the rack. Both are called the Divide, but one is made in Taiwan and costs $168 and the other in California, USA, and will set you back $228. Although described on the Old Man Mountain website as largely the same, the top deck of the Made in the USA Divide is actually 60mm (2.4 inches) longer.

    From Cass’ review: If you’re looking for a rack that’s compatible with almost any bike, right up to the diameter and width of 29+ wheels, it’s hard to better the Old Man Mountain Divide – and I applaud all the options OMM offers to facilitate this versatility, especially given the confusing ‘standards’ in the bike world.

    • Price: $168 (Taiwan-made)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan or USA
    • helpWe highly encourage you to buy from a local shop when possible, but if you're going to buy online, you can use our affiliate links. We'll get a very small kickback that will help support this site. Available at:  Campfire
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $148
    Old Man Mountain Elkhorn

    Old Man Mountain Elkhorn

    • Weight: 1.4lbs (638g)
    • Load Limit: 25lbs (11.34kg)
    • Tire Clearance: 29 x 3.25" / 27.5 x 3.0"
    • Platform Size: 100 x 266mm

    While many other popular racks are made of steel, the Elkhorn is constructed using Old Man Mountain’s signature welded aluminum construction, flat platform, and charcoal powder coated finish. The Elkhorn’s main structural components feature oversized 1/2″ (13mm) diameter 6061 aluminum tubing in three main pieces—the platform and two risers. It also includes two pairs of additional slotted flat stock struts for mounting to the front or rear and plenty of bolts and hardware. Similar to the Tumbleweed T-rack, the Elkhorn features three-pack mounts on each upright to mount a cargo cage, bag, or extra water bottles.

    • Old Man Mountain Elkhorn Rack Review
    • Old Man Mountain Elkhorn Review
    • Old Man Mountain Elkhorn Review

    The Elkhorn comes in two sizes: Short and Tall. The Short measures 390mm from lower eyelet to platform and is designed for 27.5″ tires up to 3″ wide and 700c x 38mm tires. The Tall (430mm) is made for maximum mud clearance and bikes with 29″ tires up to 29 x 3.25″ wide. The brilliant part of the Elkhorn is its versatility. It can mount to standard bosses or directly to the axle using the optional fit kits available for thru-axle or QR mounting. That with the two pairs of struts and “flippable” design make it about as universal as they come. Read our complete review here.

    • Price: $148
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • helpWe highly encourage you to buy from a local shop when possible, but if you're going to buy online, you can use our affiliate links. We'll get a very small kickback that will help support this site. Available at:  Campfire
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $120
    Salsa Alternator Rack

    Salsa Alternator Rack

    • Weight: 1.6lbs (765g)
    • Load Limit: 59.5lbs (27kg)
    • Tire Clearance: 29 x 3.0"
    • Platform Size: 135 x 325mm

    Specifically designed for Salsa’s bike lineup, but equally suited for others, the Alternator rack features a tubular AL-6061-T6 construction, both straight and kinked extra-long struts, large pannier hook straps, and a glossy black powder coat finish. The Alternator Rack comes in several variations that correspond to Salsa’s dropout spacing, from 135-148mm bikes all the way up to 190/197mm fat bikes.

    • Salsa Alternator Rack
    • Salsa Alternator Rack
    • 2021 Salsa Timberjack Review
    • Weight: 765 grams (27 oz)
    • Price: $120 (Alternator Plus)
    • helpWe highly encourage you to buy from a local shop when possible, but if you're going to buy online, you can use our affiliate links. We'll get a very small kickback that will help support this site. Available at:  Jenson USA
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $305
    Tailfin AeroPack

    Tailfin AeroPack

    • Weight: 1.7lbs (780g)
    • Load Limit: 59lbs (26.7kg)
    • Tire Clearance: 26 x 4.0” / 29 x 3.0”

    The AeroPack Carbon and the Aeropack Alloy offer a completely unique design. Both consist of an integrated bag and a purpose-built rack which is permanently connected to the bag (for improved weight reduction, according to TailFin). Each features a parabolic arch with the sole purpose of supporting and stabilizing the seat pack. As you might assume, the AeroPack Carbon’s rack body is made of carbon, while the AeroPack Alloy is constructed from 6061-T6 aluminium.

    Tailfin has been very busy, adding a number of accessories to their range, along with making a series of incremental improvements. First, they incorporated eyelets to all of their alloy arches, ushering in the brand’s own cargo cages – as well as releasing the AP Mount, an additional storage bracket below the rear of the AeroPack. Then came a Universal Thru Axle, to simplify life for those without rack eyelets on their bikes, no matter the width and pitch thread of their framesets. They also added 5L and 10L Mini Panniers to their lineup, baby brothers to their original 22L model, aimed squarely at bikepackers. Find Cass’ detailed review of the AeroPack here.

    • Bombtrack Hook EXT Tailfin Aeropack
    • Price: $305 (Alloy AeroPack)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $300
    Tailfin Alloy Rack

    Tailfin Alloy Rack

    • Weight: 1.2lbs (572g)
    • Load Limit: 60lbs (27kg)
    • Tire Clearance: 29 x 2.9"
    • Platform Size: 90 x 300mm

    For those who don’t need Tailfin’s trunk bag, their basic alloy rack is available on it’s own, which can be used with bolt-on mini panniers, cargo cages, or Tailfin’s line of panniers and other accessories. The Alloy Rack makes a great option for those on smaller bikes or frames without rack mounts. The two rails on top can also be used to support a small dry bag, for a simple yet secure, packing option.

    • Tailfin Alloy Rack
    • Tailfin Alloy Rack
    • Price: $300 (Alloy w/ Pannier Mounts)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $150
    Tubus Vega Rear Bike Rack

    Tubus Vega Rear Bike Rack

    • Weight: 1.2lbs (540g)
    • Load Limit: 55lbs (25kg)
    • Tire Clearance: 29 x 2.4"
    • Platform Size: 100 x 285mm

    The Vega is one of sixteen rear rack options from Germany-based rack manufacturer Tubus. They’ve been making racks for bikes for over 30 years and have a reputation for offering durable and functional products that are suited for heavy loads and big trips. The Vega Classic and Vega Evo are simple rear racks that shed weight by forgoing a second mounting beam, but are still both rated for loads up to 55lbs (25kg). It has clearance for 29×2.4″ tires, the rack itself is 370mm tall, and the lower mounting points can fit dropouts spaced 150mm to 180mm wide.

    Both Logan and Cass have used the Vega Classic extensively in the past and speak highly of it. Logan modified his to be able to hold extra water back when he was riding a Surly ECR and Cass used one on his Jones while scouting the Caucasus Crossing route in Georgia.

    • Tubus Vega - Rack for Surly ECR
    • Tubus Vega Jones Plus saddlebag support
    • Tubus Vega - Rack for Surly ECR
    • Price: $150
    • Place of Manufacture: Germany
    • helpWe highly encourage you to buy from a local shop when possible, but if you're going to buy online, you can use our affiliate links. We'll get a very small kickback that will help support this site. Available at:  Campfire - Classic  Campfire - EVO
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $140
    Tumbleweed Mini-Pannier Rack

    Tumbleweed Mini-Pannier Rack

    • Weight: 1.6lbs (746g)
    • Load Limit: 45lbs (20.4kg)
    • Tire Clearance: 29 x 3.5” / 26 x 4.75”
    • Platform Size: 120 x 300mm

    Like the T Rack, the Mini Pannier Rack has a 120mm x 300mm bag support platform and three-pack bottle mounts. However, it also gets an extra pair of side struts and a small horizontal tube connecting them to provide stability for small or micro panniers. It works with a variety of panniers with adjustable hardware or an elastic lower hook attachment. We’ve tried it with the Porcelain Rocket Microwave Panniers, as shown here. The Mini Pannier Rack also comes in 355mm and 385mm platform heights and two sets of upper mounting struts—100mm and 300mm—which can be cut to length to fit your bike.

    • Tumbleweed Mini Pannier Rack Review
    • Tumbleweed Mini Pannier Rack Review
    • Price: $140
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $130
    Tumbleweed T-Rack

    Tumbleweed T-Rack

    • Weight: 1.3lbs (627g)
    • Load Limit: 30lbs (13.6kg)
    • Tire Clearance: 29 x 3.5” / 26 x 4.75”
    • Platform Size: 120 x 300mm

    The T Rack is a simple Chromoly steel rack that features a set of “three-pack” triple bottle mounts on each main strut and a 120mm wide by 300mm long top platform that can be used to support a large saddlebag, or to secure a drybag in lieu of a seat pack. With the option of using cargo cages or bottle cages on the struts, it’s a fairly unique rack that offers a few different options for carrying extra gear and water. The T Rack can clear large tires (up to 29 × 3.5″ or 26 x 4.75”), making it perfectly suited for dirt-road touring or bikepacking. Read out complete review here.

    • Tumbleweed T-Rack Review
    • Tumbleweed T-Rack Review
    • Tumbleweed T-Rack Review
    • Price: $130
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $72
    Axiom Streamliner

    Axiom Streamliner

    • Weight: 1.6lbs (760g)
    • Load Limit: 110lbs (50kg)
    • Tire Clearance: 29 x 2.6" / 26 x 5.0"
    • Platform Size: 100 x 355mm

    The Axiom Streamliner rack is a popular option for long-distance tourers and bikepackers. Each rack is made from hand-welded, tubular 10.2mm 6061 T6 aluminum, modular steel feet, and can be mounted directly to a standard quick-release skewer or lower rack mounts. Axiom also offers a “nutted axle kit” for bikes with 10mm bolt-on axles. The Streamliner comes in four variations: the standard Disc DLX, a narrower Road DLX, the 29er DLX for 29″ mountain bikes, and the Fatliner for 26″ fat bike wheels up to 5″ wide.

    • Price: $72 (29er DLX)
    • helpWe highly encourage you to buy from a local shop when possible, but if you're going to buy online, you can use our affiliate links. We'll get a very small kickback that will help support this site. Available at:  REI
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  • $50
    Blackburn Design EX-1

    Blackburn Design EX-1

    • Weight: 1.2lbs (535g)
    • Load Limit: 45lbs (20.5kg)
    • Tire Clearance: TBD
    • Platform Size: 120 x 330mm

    Designed by Jim Blackburn in 1975, the Blackburn EX-1 is a simple and rugged rear rack made from aircraft-grade aluminum, fits most 29″ tires, and there’s a disc brake compatible version for those on modern bikes. It also comes with a lifetime warranty!

    • Weight: 535 grams (18.9 oz)
    • Price: $50
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $140
    Blackburn Design Outpost Rear Rack

    Blackburn Design Outpost Rear Rack

    • Weight: 1.8lbs (820g)
    • Load Limit: 55lbs (25kg)
    • Tire Clearance: 29 x 3.0"
    • Platform Size: TBD

    The Blackburn Design Outpost is a burly and adjustable rear rack that’s designed to be versatile enough for most bikes and setups. It has an adjustable height, low rider pannier mounts, light mounts, and can mount directly to quick-release axles or rear rack mounts. We’ve used the wider fat bike compatible version and have been impressed by its durability.

    • Price: $140
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • helpWe highly encourage you to buy from a local shop when possible, but if you're going to buy online, you can use our affiliate links. We'll get a very small kickback that will help support this site. Available at:  Jenson USA  Amazon
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $25
    Free-fly Bike Cargo Rack

    Free-fly Bike Cargo Rack

    • Weight: 1.54lbs (700g)
    • Load Limit: 55lbs (25kg)
    • Tire Clearance: 29 x 2.8"
    • Platform Size: 280 x 128mm

    The Free-fly Bike Cargo Rack is another budget option in the mix. While none of our editors have personally tested it, Logan rode with a friend who used it on the San José del Pacifico grant Dirt Tour carrying a significant load. There were no issues to speak of and the rack worked as expected, with plenty of tire clearance, to boot.

    • Weight: 700 grams (24.7 oz)
    • Price: $25
    • Place of Manufacture: TBD
    • helpWe highly encourage you to buy from a local shop when possible, but if you're going to buy online, you can use our affiliate links. We'll get a very small kickback that will help support this site. Available at:  AMZN
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  • $160
    Hyacinth Blue Sunday Rack

    Hyacinth Blue Sunday Rack

    • Weight: 1.1lbs (500g)
    • Load Limit: TBD
    • Tire Clearance: TBD

    Ukraine-based Hyacinth Racks specializes in steel and stainless steel racks, and all appear to be well-designed and built to last. The Blue Sunday is a lightweight and versatile front or rear rack that is made from 186% stainless steel, polymer paint, and stainless steel hardware. It comes in a black or silver finish, but can be purchased raw as well.

    • Price: $160
    • Place of Manufacture: Ukraine
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $300
    Lynskey Titanium Rear Cargo Rack

    Lynskey Titanium Rear Cargo Rack

    • Weight: 0.9lbs (420g)
    • Load Limit: 170lbs (77kg)
    • Tire Clearance: TBD
    • Platform Size: 114 x 380mm

    From Lynskey: This versatile rack works with just about every bike out there and is ideal for the daily commutes and full blown touring adventures. With the daily grind in mind, we built this rack to take abuse with maximize support and balance to carry all of your gear with zero worry of rust. If you are looking for a simple, reliable, and durable rack – look no further than the Lynskey Titanium Rear Cargo Rack. The 2022 Lynskey cargo rack has been redesigned for simplicity and durability – Made of 100% handcrafted titanium in Chattanooga, TN!

    • Price: $300
    • Place of Manufacture: USA
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • €70
    Ortlieb Quick Rack

    Ortlieb Quick Rack

    • Weight: 1.2lbs (580g)
    • Load Limit: 44.1lbs (20kg)
    • Tire Clearance: 29 x 2.35"
    • Platform Size: 100mm Wide

    The Ortlieb Quick Rack is made of aluminum tubing and was built for commuting and touring. It features a universal design that’s adjustable to different bikes via a variable strut length. It does require lower rack mounts, but uses a quick-release mechanism that attaches to included rack pegs. Each threads onto standard mounts on the dropout. According to Ortlieb, the Quick Rack features a stable platform and a flexible hinged design that can even be used on full-suspension bikes. The Quick Rack Light has all the same specs as the Quick Rack, but lacks a platform, making it specific for use with panniers.

    • Weight: 580 grams (20.5 oz)
    • Price: €70
    • helpWe highly encourage you to buy from a local shop when possible, but if you're going to buy online, you can use our affiliate links. We'll get a very small kickback that will help support this site. Available at:  Ortlieb
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $110
    Ortlieb Rack Three

    Ortlieb Rack Three

    • Weight: 1.5lbs (700g)
    • Load Limit: 66lbs (33kg)
    • Tire Clearance: TBD
    • Platform Size: 100mm wide

    Designed to be versatile enough for commuting and long distance touring alike, the Ortlieb Rack Three in a unique rear rack that’s compatible with all of Ortlieb’s attachment systems. It has mounting elements for their QL3, QL3.1, QL2.1, QL2, and QL1 bags, plus its double rail design leaves room for multiple bags and gear on the top platform, even when running panniers.

    • Weight: 700 grams (24.7 oz)
    • Price: $110
    • helpWe highly encourage you to buy from a local shop when possible, but if you're going to buy online, you can use our affiliate links. We'll get a very small kickback that will help support this site. Available at:  Ortlieb
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $40
    Planet Bike Eco bike rack

    Planet Bike Eco bike rack

    • Weight: 1.4lbs (648g)
    • Load Limit: 55lbs (25kg)
    • Tire Clearance: TBD
    • Platform Size: 318 x 140mm

    Built from strong 6061 tubular aluminum with stainless steel parts, the Planet Bike Eco bike rack is another budget option we’ve heard of people using with success. The Eco Rack has a 12.5 x 5.5″ platform and a length of 15″ from the lower rack mount to the platform.

    • Weight: 648 grams (22.9 oz)
    • Price: $40
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • helpWe highly encourage you to buy from a local shop when possible, but if you're going to buy online, you can use our affiliate links. We'll get a very small kickback that will help support this site. Available at:  AMZN
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  • $185
    Protostudia Y-Rack

    Protostudia Y-Rack

    • Weight: 0.8lbs (370g)
    • Load Limit: 30lbs (14kg)
    • Tire Clearance: 29 x 3.0"
    • Platform Size: 130 x 340mm

    Suspiciously similar to the Tumbleweed T-Rack, the Protostudia Y-Rack is a premium titanium rear rack and the lightest weight rack in their lineup. Unlike most of the racks in this list, it’s offered in a wide range of sizes, including a wider fat bike compatible version as well. It’s as close as you’ll get to a custom rear rack without going full custom. Like the T-Rack, the Y-Rack has triple pack mounts along the legs for cargo cages.

    • Price: $185
    • Place of Manufacture: Russia
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • £50
    Roswheel Tour Lightweight Rear Rack

    Roswheel Tour Lightweight Rear Rack

    • Weight: 1.2lbs (550g)
    • Load Limit: 44lbs (20kg)
    • Tire Clearance: 29 x 2.0"

    Designed specifically for lightweight touring or inner city use, with some little helpful features to help fitting to any bike, and increase options for rider safety and visibility. Closely compatible with any of their Pannier bags. This rack is light but capable of hauling a large load.

    • Price: £50
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $27
    Schwinn Adjustable Rear Bike Rack

    Schwinn Adjustable Rear Bike Rack

    • Weight: 1.6lbs (725g)
    • Load Limit: 26lbs (11.8kg)
    • Tire Clearance: 29er (TBD)
    • Platform Size: 280 x 110mm

    While the Schwinn Adjustable Rear Bike Rack might not be the most robust option for a long tour, we’ve heard of a couple people using it without issues. If you’re looking for a budget option for strapping on a lightweight dry bag, this might make a valid option.

    • Weight: 725 grams (25.6 oz)
    • Price: $27
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • helpWe highly encourage you to buy from a local shop when possible, but if you're going to buy online, you can use our affiliate links. We'll get a very small kickback that will help support this site. Available at:  AMZN
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  • $60
    Specialized Elite Rear Rack

    Specialized Elite Rear Rack

    • Weight: TBD
    • Load Limit: 55lbs (25kg)

    The Elite Rear Rack is a versatile rack that allows you to carry your gear wherever you go. It features a 25kg (+/- 55lbs) max load capacity, lightweight 6061 alloy construction, and fast, easy installation.

    • Price: $60
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • helpWe highly encourage you to buy from a local shop when possible, but if you're going to buy online, you can use our affiliate links. We'll get a very small kickback that will help support this site. Available at:  Jenson USA
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $150
    Surly Rear Bike Rack

    Surly Rear Bike Rack

    • Weight: 2.7lbs (1260g)
    • Load Limit: 80lbs (36kg)
    • Tire Clearance: 29 x 3.0"
    • Platform Size: 160 x 324mm

    From Surly: “Our burly line of tubular Chromoly steel racks have been used on expeditions all over this planet for years. This version here fits on the rear of many of our frames (and some other frames as well!). It features all the stainless-steel mounting hardware you need for installation, handily housed in a reusable Surly Tool Bag. It’s both height adjustable and can fit a wide selection of wheel sizes, allowing you to keep the center of gravity as low as possible for a stable ride.” There are several versions of the Surly Rear Rack available, including standard width, a wide version for fat bikes, and a disc-brake compatible model.

    • Weight: 1.26 kg (2.78 lbs)
    • Price: $150
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • helpWe highly encourage you to buy from a local shop when possible, but if you're going to buy online, you can use our affiliate links. We'll get a very small kickback that will help support this site. Available at:  Jenson USA  Campfire Cycling
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $65
    Topeak Explorer Rack

    Topeak Explorer Rack

    • Weight: 1.5lbs (680g)
    • Load Limit: 57lbs (26kg)
    • Tire Clearance: TBD
    • Platform Size: TBD

    The Topeak Explorer is a tough, tubular aluminum rear rack that is offered in a number of different variations, depending on wheel size, whether you have disc brakes or not, and options with or without an integrated spring clip for smaller loads. The Explorer 29 Disc model weighs 680g and is rated for 26kg (57lbs), although how wide of a tire it can fit is not clear.

    • Weight: 680 grams (24 oz)
    • Price: $65 (Explorer 29er Disc)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • helpWe highly encourage you to buy from a local shop when possible, but if you're going to buy online, you can use our affiliate links. We'll get a very small kickback that will help support this site. Available at:  REI
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $140
    Topeak Tetrarack M2 / M2L

    Topeak Tetrarack M2 / M2L

    • Weight: 2.12lbs (960g)
    • Load Limit: 26lbs (12kg)
    • Tire Clearance: 29 x 2.8"
    • Platform Size: TBD

    Similar to the Aeroe Spider Rack, the Topeak Tetrarack M2 requires no mounting points or bosses to attach to your bike, making it ideal for hardtails without rack mounts or even full-suspension mountain bikes. It’s a one-size-fits-all rear rack with a top platform that adjusts independently from the seat stay angles, where the hook-and-loop straps secure it in place. The rack is compatible with Topeak’s KLICKfix / RackTime Snapit or Vario system bags, and QuickTrack trunk bags. There is a narrower version for road bikes, a version for front suspension forks, and the M2L for wider hubs and bigger tires. The Tetrarack is not recommended for bikes with carbon seat stays.

    • Price: $140
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $260
    Tubus Airy Rear Bike Rack

    Tubus Airy Rear Bike Rack

    • Weight: 0.8lbs (360g)
    • Load Limit: 57.3lbs (26kg)
    • Tire Clearance: 29 x 1.8"
    • Platform Size: 66 x 293mm

    The Tubus Airy was the first non-custom titanium rack, and is extremely lightweight and impressively strong because of this. According to Tubus, the Airy is nearly indestructible.

    • Weight: 360 grams (12.7 oz)
    • Price: $260
    • Place of Manufacture: Germany
    • helpWe highly encourage you to buy from a local shop when possible, but if you're going to buy online, you can use our affiliate links. We'll get a very small kickback that will help support this site. Available at:  Campfire Cycling
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $140
    Tubus Fly Classic

    Tubus Fly Classic

    • Weight: 0.9lbs (420g)
    • Load Limit: 39.7lbs (18kg)
    • Tire Clearance: 29 x 2.0"
    • Platform Size: 80 x 275mm

    The German-made Tubus Fly Classic is about as simple as it gets for a rear rack. It’s designed to be minimal and functional, relying on just two Chromoly steel tube segments and minimal welds that look pretty appealing for bikepacking. There’s also a stainless steel version available for around $240.

    • Weight: 420 grams (14.8 oz)
    • Price: $140
    • Place of Manufacture: Germany
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $99
    Wren OneRack

    Wren OneRack

    • Weight: 1.6lbs (748g)
    • Load Limit: 60lbs (27kg)
    • Tire Clearance: 29 x 5.0"
    • Platform Size: 155 x 368mm

    The Wren OneRack is a highly adjustable rear rack that can expanded to fit fat bikes or shortened for smaller wheels, it’s one of very few racks with an adjustable width. From Wren: “The Wren OneRack adjusts to fit tires 1.0″ to 5″ and wheels 20″ to 29″. From roadbikes to fatbikes to kid’s bikes, this is the only rack you’ll ever need. To adjust the width of OneRack, simply loosen compression bolts on the sides of the rack and expand or contract the rack accordion style. Utilizing our unique adjustable rack ensures a clean and precise fit on any rig. To adjust the height to fit 20″ to 29″ wheels, simply adjust the length of the vertical legs. Simple!”

    • Price: $99
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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Chances are, we missed some good options that are available in the marketplace. If you have a lightweight rear bike rack that falls under one kilogram (2.2 pounds) and you can recommend, please drop us a note in the conversation below. Likewise, if you have experience with any of the racks we listed above and haven’t yet reviewed, please let us know how you’re getting along with them.

How to Choose a Rear Bike Rack

Deciding which rack will work best for you and your bike will depend on a few things. First, it’s important to understand how you’ll be using it and with what gear. Some racks aren’t compatible with some panniers. Others have weight limits and are best suited for light drybags or small loads. Further, it’s worth thinking about whether carrying extra water might be of interest—for routes such as the Baja Divide. In that case, choose a rack with cargo cage expendability, such as the Tumbleweed T Rack, the Old Man Mountain Elkhorn, or the Tailfin Aeropack system.

  • Tubus Vega - Rack for Surly ECR
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Then there’s the issue of compatibility, which in most cases is best left to your local bike shop or the rack manufacturer to help you figure out. However, here are a few specs to consider and measure:

Tire Clearance

Tire clearance is the most obvious. Some rack manufacturers are more cryptic when it comes to this specification, but you can sometimes figure it out based on the platform size. Others, such as Tubus, offer schematic drawings.

Rack Height

The second most important measurement is the distance between the platform and the lower mounting bolt hole, aka rack height. Rear bike rack mounts aren’t placed consistently on bike frames, so it’s crucial to figure out where yours are and measure the vertical space between the lower mount and the top of the tire. We generally like to have at least a couple of centimeters of extra wiggle room for mud clearance, as well as have the rack platform not too high, which affects the ride quality. There’s a fine line. Some racks are adjustable, such as the Old Man Mountain Divide. Others offer different sizes—like the offerings from Tumbleweed.

Generally speaking, dropout/hub width, and the location of your frame’s rack mounts (if you have them) will influence what racks you can and can’t use. Some may require adapters or different strut kits to work, and others have axle kits, which allows you to run a rear rack with no mounts at all. With that, it should be possible to find some kind of rear rack that works with nearly any type of bike out there.

Custom Rear Bike Racks

If finding a compatible rack is challenging or you’re after something very specific, it might be worth turning to your local frame builder for a custom rack. We’ve seen some brilliant designs from makers like Manivelle in France, Canada’s Daam Built, and Myth Cycles in Colorado, just to name a few. A custom rack ensures a perfect fit for both your bags and your bike, and can usually be painted to match your frame, if you’re after a specific look.

  • Skyler's DaamBuilt Custom Bikepacking Rig
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  • Manivelle Unirack

Our Favorite Rack Add-ons and Accessories

We’ve gathered some of our favorite accessories and add-ons that are helpful for setting up and using your rear bike rack. Find a handful below, including some components that are useful for bikes without rear rack mounts. Let us know if you have any favorites in the conversation section below, and we’ll add them in.

  • salsa rack lock mount

    Salsa Rack-Lock Mount

    The Salsa Rack-Lock is a two-in-one seat post clamp and rear mount for the upper struts on rear racks. It’s a simple workaround for frames that lack upper rear rack mounts or have them in a position that won’t work for you. They are available in 30.0, 32.0, 35.0, and 35.4mm sizes, are made from AL-6061 aluminum, and weigh just 45 grams. Axiom also has the Trekk Seat Collar mount at $15.

    Made in Taiwan / 45 grams / $32 at Campfire Cycling

  • Voile Rack Straps

    Voile Rack Straps

    The Voile Rack Strap features one anchor hook and a floating adjustable hook, both optimized for the 10mm tubing that’s common to most bikepacking racks, baskets, and cargo systems. The Rack Strap is made from the same tough UV-Resistant Polyurethane as the original Voile Strap, making it non-marring, non-conductive, anti-slip, super strong, and able to hold tight in all types of weather. As Voile puts it, it’s “like an adjustable bungee cord, but infinitely better.”

    Made in UT, USA / ~50 grams / $17-$18 at REI

  • ROCKGEIST ARMADILLO DRY BAG PROTECTOR

    Rockgeist Armadillo Dry Bag Protector

    The Rockgeist Armadillo Dry Bag Protector is a useful little accessory for folks running a rack and drybag setup or for anyone who wants to add some extra protection to their favourite lightweight drybag. The Armadillo Dry Bag Protector is made from Hypalon rubber and offers enough flexibility to wrap around any drybag, protecting it from the contact points between it and the rack or frame. Dirt and gunk from the trail can cause a lot of abrasions, and Rockgeist is so confident in the Armadillo Dry Bag Protector that if you manage to wear a hole in it, they’ll replace it for free.

    Made in NC, USA / 88 grams / $30 at Rockgeist

  • Austere Buckles

    Austere Buckles

    Austere’s buckles are CNC machined in the USA from solid billet aluminum and are designed to be lighter, stronger, and easier on the eyes than the alternatives. They come in 3/4″ and 1″ variations, with or without webbing attached, and are great for lashing gear onto racks or into cargo cages.

    Made in WA, USA / 8.2 grams / $25 at Austere Manufacturing

  • Forager Cycles Link Wrench Review

    Forager Cycles Link Wrench

    The Link Wrench is an ultralight grade 5 titanium wrench that has an 8, 9, and 10mm spanners built in, as well as an emergency master link tool, as its name suggests. It’s perfectly suited for reaching awkward nuts found on most fenders, racks, and other bags and components.

    Made in WA, USA / 21 grams / $29 at Forager Cycles

  • old man mountain cargo axle

    Old Man Mountain Cargo Axle

    Part of Old Man Mountain’s Fit Kits for their Elkhorn and Divide racks, their Cargo Axles are a nifty solution for bikes without traditional lower rack mounts. They work by replacing a standard thru-axle with a threaded version for racks to mount directly to. The Cargo Axles are great for bikes without mounts but are also much stronger than attaching directly to the frame, and they increase the load capacity of their racks.

    Made in OR, USA / ~150 grams / $65-$80 at Old Man Mountain

  • p-clamps

    P-Clamps

    While they aren’t our first solution for bikes without rack mounts, department store P-clamps can work in a pinch to attach racks and other gear to bikes with limited options. We’ve found the ones with the rubber bumpers work best, and when sized correctly, they can provide a fairly solid mounting point for light loads.

    ~10 grams / $1.50 at Velo Orange

  • tubus clamp set

    Tubus Clamp Set

    The Tubus Clamp Set is a more sophisticated version of hardware store p-clamps, providing a mounting point for frames without rack mounts. They come in five different sizes which correspond with the seat stay diameter, and is fixed in place with bolts for a secure setup.

    40 grams / $17 at Ortlieb