Adding a rear rack to a carbon fiber road bike

OK…I admit it, I let the radar scare me off this morning.  I’ve got a committment early this afternoon, but I hoped I could get a 20 mile ride in this morning before the forecasted rain hit.  I looked at the radar, and frankly, it looked like I might have a 50/50 chance of getting home dry so I backed out.  Three and a half hours later, the radar still looks like we’re about to get pounded, but it still hasn’t started raining.  That’s what I get for trying to make an informed decision! 

In the mean time, I’ve moved my rack over to the road bike and I’ll start commuting on it next week.  At this point, it’s an easy process, but the first time I did it required a little thought and research.  My Giant OCR-C road bike is similar to all the carbon fiber road bike’s I’ve seen, in that it doesn’t have braze-on’s for attaching a rack.  In order to do so requires something of a specialty rack.

I found the TUBUS FLY last year and really like it a lot.  It’s a “minimalistic” rack that looks like it belongs on a road bike because it has fairly clean lines and not a lot of bulk.  More importantly, you can buy lots of attachment options that will allow this little rack to be mounted on just about anything. 

At the top, there is a single supporting arm that I’ve attached between the frame and the rear brake.  This takes a little “customization” of the bendable aluminum arm, but it’s designed for that very purpose.  I’ve always thought it could probably be mounted in place of the existing spacer on the brake, but haven’t tried that yet.  Because the rear brake is now sicking out a little further from the frame I make sure I periodically check it for tightness.   

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Rack strut attached behind the rear brake

At the bottom,  the rack attaches to the bike via an extra long quick release skewer and extensions to the rack legs that allow them to be threaded onto that quick release skewer.  The downside of this arrangement is that when I have a flat on the rear (and that’s where it always occurs!) I have to completely remove the skewer and unhook the rack at the bottom in order to get the wheel off to change it.  Hopefully, that’s a rare occurrence.

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Bottom of rack attached via the QR skewer

The addition of this little rack let’s me use either my trunk rack or panniers with my road bike, which greatly adds to the utility of that machine.  I prefer riding it over the Marin mountain bike because it’s just a lot more efficient and faster to ride.  With the rack back on it, I’m looking forward to a little different experience on my daily commutes!

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The Tubus Fly

Now, if this rain would just go away!

God bless…

TW

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9 Comments on “Adding a rear rack to a carbon fiber road bike”

  1. David Says:

    Gday mate, how did you find the rack? Any issues with on the carbon etc? I am buying roadie this week and worrying as to whether or not I can mount a rack on the carbon rear stays.
    Dave

  2. tracywilkins Says:

    There is a link to the Touring Cyclist in the post. The guy runs it out of his home, but he’s very knowledgable and quite helpful. As I’ve got it mounted, there isn’t really a lot of pressure on any of the carbon components. As far as I can tell, the bulk of the weight is going to be carried by the wheel itself because the rack is actually threaded onto the quick release skewers. The top mounting point at the brake may carry a little weight, but I don’t think it’s much. I’ve been using the rack this way for a couple of years, and not experienced any problems. I wouldn’t want to carry a lot of weight on it, but for the commuting I do, it’s a nice solution. The bulk of the time I just carry one pannier with clothes and lunch for the day in it.

  3. Mark Says:

    I like the set up. However, you might want to check in with Wayne at the Touring Store. I showed him this photo because I was looking for a rack my road bike and he commented there were several mounting/adapting issues that might eventually cause rack instability or failure.

  4. tracywilkins Says:

    Remember, adding a rack to a carbon fiber road bike is in itself a workaround, at best. There could be a couple more bolts holding the extensions to the rack legs (one on each side). I used them the first time I had the rack on and when I put it on the second time, I simply didn’t bother. I couldn’t tell any difference in stability between the two times I used it.

    Just to clarify, this is not an option for serious touring. I used it to haul a single pannier with a change of clothes and a lunch while commuting to work. It worked fine for that, but I would be the first to admit I wouldn’t have wanted to put a heavier load than that on it.

  5. Phil Says:

    Really interesting to see this, as it’s the exact solution I am looking at to allow me to use a more sporty road bike as a commuter/light tourer.

    I am very worried about heel clearance however, so it would be very helpful to know your chainstay length, as it certainly looks like you have a bit more distance to play with judging by the length of the arm attached to the caliper. Mine are 405mm with 175 cranks and size 10 shoes (uk).

    On a side note, I don’t suppose you know if the fly is compatible with the Ortlieb trunk bag (or any trunk bag), as the fly does seem very narrow at the front.

    Many thanks

  6. Robert Wheaton Says:

    Are you still using this setup? Any problems long term? Anyone else having any problem with this setup?


  7. No. I eventually got a dedicated commuter bike, so that’s no longer necessary. In all, I think I commuted two summer and most of a winter using this rack setup and didn’t have any problems.

    Granted, it’s not a touring solution, but for commuting where you need to haul a change of clothes and maybe a lunch, it worked fine for me.

  8. Robert Wheaton Says:

    That’s what I needed to hear. Thank you!

  9. joseph Says:

    I dont think that there is any reason you can’t carry a light touring load on a rack attached to carbon fiber bike that way. Lets say something like 25lbs for lightweight touring.


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