My son joined a school orchestra which meant he had to transport his a viola (i.e. smaller violin) between home and school often.
Since he loved riding his bike to school wit his friends, I needed a way to mount his viola case to his 24″ Diamonback Mountain bike.
He was already lugging around a 19 pound backpack so carrying the viola case on his back was out of the question.
TRAY VS. TRAY + SIDE LEGS
There are two primary types of rear bike racks:
- Tray only (example) – attached to the seat post; limited carrying capacity
- Tray + Side legs (example) – same as above except it also has side support legs that gets attached to the bike frame;
I initially considered the tray model but found many complaints related to the bracket’s weld joint failure. I suspected that was happening due to constant flexing / jostling of the tray when the bike was in motion (remember that most mountain bikes do not have suspension in the rear).
I ended up choosing the tray + side leg model it did not have any joint failure complaints (probably because the cargo’s weight was also supported by the side legs).
TRAY (SEAT POST) VS. TRAY (BIKE FRAME)
To further complicate the choice selections, there are two different methods of attaching the cargo tray to the bike (in addition to the side legs). Two examples are:
- Lopez Rear Bike Rack – Tray is attached to seat post + side legs attached to the frame; or
- Iberia PakRak – Tray is attached to the bike frame + side legs attached to the frame
The primary advantage of the tray that gets attached to the bike frame (i.e. Iberia model) is that it can carry more weight. However, not many mountain bikes can accommodate its “fork” design without spending money on adapters (like this one or this one).
TRAY (BIKE FRAME) + SIDE LEGS: CHOICES
When looking at this top of cargo carrier, I found Amazon these models:
- Acomfort – 110 Lbs Capacity Adjustable Bike Luggage Cargo Rack Bicycle Accessories;
- BoG – Rear Bike Rack Heavy Duty Alloy Bicycle Carrier 110 Lb Capacity;
- ComingFit – 110 Lbs Capacity Aluminum Alloy Bicycle Rear Rack Adjustable Pannier Bike Luggage Cargo Rack Bicycle Carrier Racks;
- Lopez – Disc Brake Bicycle Bike Alloy Rear Rack Quick Release Bicycle Carrier Rack Luggage Protect Pannier;
- OuterDo – Bike Carrier Rack Bicycle Mount Racks Cycling Cargo Racks Black Alloy Seatpost Rear Pannier Luggage Carrier Height Adjustable;
- West Biking – Universal Adjustable Equipment Stand Footstock Bicycle Carrier Rack with Reflective Logo, 110 lb Capacity, Black
Frankly, other than few minor design differences (i.e. square vs triangular support beams) they all looked the same way (my guess is that all these products were sourced from a same Chinese manufacturer).
Although the review count was lower than other models, I chose Lopez because I felt it provided the simplest setup over other competitions (does anyone care about those keychain gift gimmicks?).
- LOPEZ rear bike rack
- 36″ x 2″ Hook & Loop Cinch Straps (a.k.a. Velcro straps) (I needed at least 2 straps to securely hold down the viola case; please note that each pack comes with 4 straps
- Black electrical tape (optional)
- Foam padding (optional) scrap (something like this)
LOPEZ bike rack came with these tools:
- Combo (open / closed) wrench (included in the package)
- Hex key (included in the package)
- Socket + Ratchet + Extension bar
STEP # 1 – The bike’s seat post was 1″ diameter (how do I figure this out?) so I had to add 2 rubber padding pieces (included) to mount the tray. You will need to adjust the quick disconnect screw the adjust the tightness around the seat post;
STEP # 2 – With the tray mounted, we need to install side support legs. Both legs are identical so it does not matter which side gets installed first. Each legs are made up of 2 parts: longer support leg (gets attached to the tray) and a mounting bracket (gets attached to the bike frame). I installed it so that the longer side legs are on the outside (see pix) to allow additional clearance.
STEP # 3 – With main parts installed, we now move on to trim work by first installing the tail reflector.
STEP # 4 – and Hook and Loop strap (a.k.a. Velcro straps)
By utilizing the included bungee cord and two wide Hook and Loop straps, my son’s viola can be transported with ease!
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