Step 1: Lay Out Your Tools!
So, I looked for a little while for a good deal on a rear rack for my bike and I found this guy at Eastern Mountain Sports. It’s the Topeak One Fits All Rear Rack and it will fit on non-disc and disc mounts. It ran me about $35 which was quite a bit cheaper than anything I saw at my local bike shop, and if you wanted, you could find something online at an even better deal.
To install, you’ll need everything that comes in the kit, along with a good pair of pliers and a hexagonal screw driver. That should be enough to get you all set up!
Step 2: Connect The Mounting Bracket Arms To The Rack
Attach the two mounting bracket arms to your rear rack. You should leave the screws a bit loose so that you could adjust them later on in the set up. The mounting brackets that came with my rear rack had three sections that you could place the screws into, and I used the last section for the best fit. Any other section and the brackets will not be able to properly reach your bikes seat stays.
Step 3: Attach The Rack to The Rear Drop Out
I decided to attach the rack to the rear dropout first. The rear dropout is the small flat piece where your bikes rear wheel is connected to the bike frame. You should find a screw hole that you can use to attach the bottom of the rear rack to on both sides of the bike. Placing the rack onto your bicycle, loosely insert the screws to hold the rack in place and then tightly secure the bike rack to the rear drop out on both sides.
Step 4: Attach Mounting Brackets To Seat Stays
Next, find the screw holes at the top of your bikes seat stays near where they meet the bike seat post. When I found mine there was already a screw in the frame, all you need to do is remove it before attaching the mounting brackets to the frame.
As you can see there is a slight bend in the mounting brackets. Adjust the length of the brackets and angle to best suite your bike, and then tighten the mounting bracket arms to the rear rack(remember we left them loose in Step 2). A slight angle is suggested in the installation–it is not meant to be completely straight.
Step 5:Use Bungee Cords To Secure Milk Crate To Bike Rack
After Installing the rack, I found an old milk crate in my garage and centered it on the rear rack. I found three bungee cords and tightly bungeed(is that a word?) the milk crate to the rear rack. You might need to take a few tries to see what works best for you. After setting up the three bungees, I was lucky and found the crate(my new bike basket) fully secure.
Three bungees should be enough, but play around with it and see what works best–if you can do it with less, or need to do it with more, give all the options a whirl.
If you’re always riding, you’ll need to consider waterproofing. Whether you choose to attach a nice set of waterproof panniers like you might find from Ortlieb, or you ride with a rugged waterproof bike bag like something from Chrome Bags, keeping your stuff dry when you ride can be very important.
The night that I first placed this on my bike, it was raining, the roads were slippery, and I was carrying some precious cargo: beer. (Disclaimer: I don’t condone drinking and biking. Do them separately.) Don’t worry, those babies stayed dry, and so did my backpack I threw in the basket there instead of on my back. So how did I waterproof it?
On the bottom of the basket I laid down an old poncho to keep any water that might splash up from underneath–it worked like a charm. On top I used what you see in the picture above, a rain cover from a backpacking back pack I used on a recent trip–it’s from an Osprey Kestrel 48. If you’re an outdoorsy person, or a traveler, you may already have on of these laying around and they work great!
Because these rain covers have an elastic band, they tightly secure around the basket keeping water out from the top and sides, and even wrapping around the bottom for extra protection. If you don’t have one, you can either pick one up pretty inexpensively online, or use a second poncho for the top.
Either will work out fine!
When using your bike for transportation, taking things from A to B can be the most difficult part. Make your ride easier with a new rack and basket. If you have any questions just let me know and I’ll be happy to answer them.
A word of advice: just take your time getting used to a new center of balance for your bike. If you’re like me and you usually wear a backpack on your ride, having the weight behind you and attached to your bike will change the way the bike rides a lot–be safe while you ride.