Friday, January 21, 2011

Small racks are nice too.

Bicycle rear mini-rack -  a Rando hack

This relentless cold weather and a touch of cabin fever motivate me to "fine-tune" my ride. Esmeralda, my Surly LHT, used to have a full size rear rack. It had way more carrying capacity than I needed for randonneuring, especially since I started using a Velo Orange Campagne handlebar bag, so I took it off.

But I still wanted a way to carry a small bag on the rear to hold those things I find particularly good to carry on the back of my bike like spare tubes, a tool kit and the extra thing I might pick up at a controle to save for later. A saddle bag was an option, but I wasn't looking to go the big saddle bag route and using a small bag meant losing  the option of having a place to carry that extra item.

No rear rack
I decided that what I wanted was a rear mini-rack, similar to the Nitto rack I run up front, that would be easy to swap out when I wanted to do traditional tours with the full sized rack but less pricey than the Nitto since the change might be temporary. 

After some internet searching I found the Sunlite Gold Tec Front Rack. A light 6061 aluminum mini-rack meant to mount to front brake bosses. And it was less than $20 bucks shipped to the front door. The rack's advertised weight limit is 40lbs, but I have no intention of carrying anything close to that weight that on a brevet, so this should work fine. I got one in silver to match my fenders and front rack.

Installation was a breeze. The only modification involved bending the rack's metal attachment bracket so that it reach would the fender mounting hole on the chainstays. After that, it was just a matter of attaching the rack to the brake bosses, lining it up and torquing it down.

Mini Rear Rack
Looking forward to testing this out. I will post updates if needed . . .

March 2012 update

The Sunlite Gold Tec Front Rack continues to serve as a rear rack; however i switched it to my Raleigh One-Way. The swap took minutes and it makes great bag support for my seat bag.


  1. Hi, I am just building out a new Rando bike for the upcoming season, and have opted for a Nitto Front rack, and was also thinking of going with a Velo Campagne bag. How did you like it, enough room to carry basics up front? I too seem to have come to the same conclusion in respect to a Rear Rack, I think I will wait and see how everything feels up front, before deciding to add anything to the rear of the bike, other than perhaps a small saddle bag? Thanks, Tim

  2. The campagne is a very nice bag with lots of room for basics. Waxed cotton with leather trim - its basically a lower cost alternative to a Gilles Berthoud. Its nice to be able to access supplies on the fly. Its designed for use with a decaleur but with a little creativity, it works well on Nitto mini.

  3. Weight - 10 oz.
    Platform length - 8.5 inches
    Platform width 5.75 inches.