Boring but honest notes about bike racks
It's the best time in the history of the world to buy a luggage rack for your bicycle. The selection is huge and there are no lousy ones.
You can divide racks by category, and even make up your own categories, or just go by location or purpose.
- Front racks and rear racks (location).
- Side-carrying racks or top-carrying racks, or racks that are mainly saddlebag supports, or that double as saddlebag supports (purpose).
- Black or silver (color)
- Steel, aluminum, or titanium (material).
- Under $50 or over $100 (price).
- Tig-welded, fillet-brazed, or riveted together (joint type).
Nitto racks are tubular CrMo steel, nickel plated with a soft silver satin finish that lasts forever, and the joints are fillet-brazed by hand. The Nitto racks we offer are either our own designs from the get-go, or are modified from preexisting Nitto rack designs, to better fit on our bikes, or with our bags, and on bikes-in-America in general. They fit on almost every halfway normal bike.
Nitto racks cost a lot because they're hand-made and fillet-brazed and plated as opposed to welded and painted. You can get perfectly acceptable and even excellent racks for much less money, and we'd never discourage you from doing that. But if money is not a primary consideration, you cannot buy a better rack than a Nitto.
Our smaller racks, made for trunk bags and for use as saddlebag supports, are just lovely. They're strong, rigid, and mount easily. They also fit various bags we offer perfectly, but they'll work with other bags as well. Not all, but some.
And finally, there's the Pletscher, the best-selling rack of all time. Even though it is made in Switzerland, it gets little respect these days, mainly because it doesn't cost enough and fancy bike shops don't stock it. It lacks the fine finish of a Nitto, but it is a fantastic rack for daily use around neighborhood and town. You can use it for touring, too, although it isn't as easy to rig up with bags as are most modern racks. Still, Pletscher rates it to 55 pounds, and that's too much to carry on ANY rack. You can do it, but it's no fun, and you're taking too much junk. In any case, $32 for a Pletscher is a screaming deal. That's cheaper than four jumbo burritos, brother.
A rack should look good enough to keep on your bike even when it's empty, but don't do that. Put a bag on it and make it work for you.