Ready to '86' the backpack and start hauling like a boss? Then it’s time to get racked! Whether you want to be able to grab the week’s groceries on your commute, or you’re just tired of leaving behind all that garage sale-gold because you can’t carry it – a rack will have you toting it all easily. In today’s post, we’ll walk through the process of installing an adjustable rack so you can bring it all! Let’s get to it!
First, let’s see what we’re working with.
Take a second to familiarize yourself with the hardware and gather your materials. Besides the stuff included with your rack, you'll also want to grab your allen keys, a screwdriver, and a 6mm wrench to help you get everything tightened up.
Alright, let’s get started!
Attach Adjustable Arms
Begin by attaching the two sliding arms to the underside of the rack.
They don’t need to be tightened all the way. You still want them to move in and out so we can get everything lined up correctly when we mount the rack on the bike. Just give ‘em enough twistin’ so that they don't rattle all over the place.
Install at Dropouts
Next, we’ll mount the rack to the rear dropout eyelets.
The size bolt you’ll need here will depend on your bike, but luckily most frames use the same size bolts for their water bottle braze-ons, seat stay mounts, and eyelets! That means it’s easy to cannibalize one of your unused water mounts to attach the rack!
I’ll usually steal the bolts from my least convenient bottle mount, but you can always ask your local bike shop if they have any spares that’ll fit too. A lot of riders pull ‘em out for aesthetics/aero/etc… and they have a tendency to pile up in the parts bin, at least here at HQ.
Tighten the eyelet bolts on both sides until they’re just shy of seizing. We still want the rack loose enough to adjust and level, but we don’t want it to flop all over the place while we get the rest dialed in.
Now let’s level this puppy out. A slanted rack looks junky, makes hauling harder, and just isn’t your style. Pivot the rack at the eyelets until it’s nice and parallel with the ground.
If you’re a perfectionist, pop out your phone or a real-life level and you’ll be able to get it right on the dot.
Then tighten up the eyelet bolts to lock the rack into position.
Bend Adjustable Arms
Now we need to make the adjustable arms reach our seat-stay mounts, so slide them in or out of the rack until the length looks good to reach the bolts. Then, bend the adjustable arms down until the hole at the end is aligned with the seat stay bolts.
If your bike doesn’t have mounting points up there, use the included p-clamps and bolts to “add your own”! Just wrap one onto each seat stay and align the adjustable arms with the hole on the p-clamps instead.
Install at Seat Stay
Now that the arms are in position, tighten them onto the mounts or p-clamps to secure the rack.
This is also a good opportunity to tighten the adjustable arms to the rack since we won’t need them to be able to slide in or out anymore.
Add Reflector/Light Mount
This step’s optional, but when you add a rear rack you want to be aware of the effect it’ll have on any lights and reflectors that you rely on for visibility. If you’ve been using your seat-post as a light mount, there’s a good chance your loaded rack will block the view from people coming up behind you. That’s where this little guy comes in.
Bolt the L-shaped bracket under the rear of the rack and you’ll give yourself a new place to mount lights or reflectors that’ll stay visible, even when you’re fully loaded.
And that’s it! Go around and give everything a final tighten to make sure it’s secure and then you’re ready to ride!
You can give yourself some extra carrying capacity with a bag, basket, or box and don’t forget to tie down your loose loads with cargo straps to keep it all together. Now get out there and show us what you pick up!