Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Salsa minimalist rack

This weekend I got another piece of the puzzle in place for my bikepacking plans this year. I've been going back on forth on how to best carry gear on the back of the bike. Basically I was deliberating between the following two standard approaches:

  1. A bikepacking-style seat bag, e.g. what Revelate Designs offers (https://www.revelatedesigns.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=store.catalog&CategoryID=4&ProductID=1).
  2. The more touring-oriented approach of a rear rack, with panniers and/or strapping a bag on top of the rack.
I was definitely leaning towards option #1, it's light and it doesn't make the bike wide and less nimble like panniers would. Quieter too (panniers would likely rattle a lot on rougher terrain). Then I saw a new offering from Salsa, their so-called minimalist rack. As the name implies, it's a simple rack that doesn't support panniers but only allows a bag to be strapped on the top. It has strap loops to keep the load in place and attaches simply and reliably to the rear of a bike using a Salsa specific seat collar.

This idea looked worth trying so I pulled the trigger a while back, got it installed this weekend and got some good mileage on it to try it out. Compared to a seat bag, it is about as light, doesn't add width, but with a good dry bag it is completely waterproof and you have the potential for more capacity (I'm using a 15 L bag, whereas the large Revelate Designs seat bag is about 12 L). Need less capacity? Just use a smaller dry bag. Also I've been toying with the idea of trying a ThudBuster seat post, with this approach I don't have to worry about a seat bag being compatible with various posts.

Here's my Fargo with the rack installed:

And with a 15 L dry bag stuffed with random crap:

Pretty cool! I put the loop of the bag closure around the rack so in case it jostles off I won't run the chance of not hearing it and leaving it miles behind. Only problem is I have to figure out another place to attach a tail light. Maybe to a seat stay?

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