In my last post I weighed the ups and downs of using trailers versus racks and panniers. This time I wanted to set the partisanship aside and focus on one of my all-time favorite racks, the Tubus Cargo. What makes the Cargo my favorite rack, you ask. Its strength for one, its adjustability for another, oh, and its weight, too. It’s for these, and many other reasons, that I like it the mostest.
I learned early on in my touring career that not all racks are built alike. After bluffing my way into a job leading two- and three-week bike trips, with no touring experience, the first thing I noticed was just how quickly aluminum racks disintegrate. The racks we were buying for our rental fleet weren’t the cheapest available, but they were close, and forty-pound loads made short work of them. Usually, a brand new aluminum rack would last about three to four weeks. And, at the time I didn’t realize how difficult it was to find someone who can weld an aluminum rack back together. My solution: carry lots of hose clamps in the trip kit. You’d be surprised at the mileage you can get out of a broken rack with a strategically placed hose clamp.
The other thing I noticed about cheap racks was the seemingly universal extension adapter/seatstay connector you had to bend in multiple directions in order to attach it to the bike. For whatever reason, I was never entirely comfortable with these engineering marvels. Extras always went in said trip kit.
So how is the Tubus Cargo different? Let’s start with its strength. Instead of solid aluminum, Tubus uses tubular steel, so not only are their racks strong, they’re light. The 40kg (88lb) capacity of the Cargo is more than most tourists need, and definitely a reassuring number.
The other big advantage to a steel rack is that in every city, town, and village around the world, there is a guy with a welder and the ability to use it to put a steel rack back together. Should that rack fail, that is. And I have little suspicion that mine is going to fail anytime soon. Not only that, but Tubus puts a 10 year guarantee on all of its racks, and if yours breaks in the first three years, they’ll air mail you a new one, anywhere in the world.
Tubus has also managed to do away with that cheesy extension adapter/seatstay connector/strut thing. Instead, they use two (or just one) struts that connect to the rack via a nearly infinitely adjustable mount that allows the struts to be moved side to side, forward and backward, and up and down, all with no bending.
Oh, the Cargo comes in two sizes, as well: 700c and 26″, to fit your particular bike.
Are there things I don’t like about the Cargo? Well, let’s just say that I have a thing for lowriders, like the Tara, and sometimes wish the Cargo had a lower mounting point. Never fear, Tubus has an solution for this in the Logo.
For much more information about racks and fitting them to your bike, check this page out.
The Cargo, and Tubus in general, restored my faith in bike racks. Is there a rack that did the same for you?