Another product against conventions, proposed by the Taiwanese Gearoop, indeed another well-known product, reinterpreted with imagination. And I did not expect less from somebody who mounts the kickstand to the crank and the lights to the QR (which we will see next time).
It is an aluminum and ergal rack, or an aluminum, ergal and carbon one for those bikes devoid of specific attacks, on which other solutions, for example using some clamps, are precluded. As is the case with carbon frames. What kind of bikes then? First of all the sport ones, both on the road and off-road, and the more extreme cyclocross/gravel.
It makes sense, you would ask, weighing a very well performing sport bike with a tourist accessory? It’s not a simple question to answer. We are bound to a sectional cyclism. Racing bikes for sport riding, tourist bikes for a comfortable riding and for the luggage, soft and easily accessorized for urban riding, and so on. But not everyone wants or can own more bikes, and there are some people who use their sport bike to go to work or for a sightseeing ride. Let’s not look only at our own backyard. It is not difficult, in some street of New York, to run into some clerk, wearing a suit and a tie, cycling on a sport bike, as well as in Sydney or London. In short, all over the world, many people don’t have so many whims: they own a bike, and they use it for training, travelling, going around in the city.
Then the possibility to mount a light rack comes in handy; it does not transform a racing bike in a mule to be excessively loaded: it makes it more usable when it’s needed.
And then I think to the many randonneurs who prefer sport bikes for their patents and do their best, in the most inventive ways, to carry what it’s necessary. With this creative rack, they would find a solution.
Mounting it for the first time requires some time, almost half an hour, working with precision, because it is fully adjustable to adapt to any kind of frames; but once you have given it the right form, removing it and putting it back only requires few seconds. Next Sunday, instead of a training riding, what about if I decide to enjoy a picnic, carrying some food, a camera and a book? Well, I mount the rack, attack a bag and go! In less than a minute I got rid of the hassle of the backpack and I don’t risk damaging my precious carbon seatpost, by exactly thightening a rack to the seatpost, that is the most frequent solution but not the best one.
The rack is available in three versions; two rear-racks and a front-rack, all three of them exploit the quick release as a low anchor point and have arms adjustable in extension and angle to fit to different styles of frames. The rear-racks are different because one uses a seat clamp with integrated attacks, the other one attaches to the cart seat.
I found the latter solution really smart, because now it is increasingly difficult to find some carbon racing bikes that have a standard size seat collar (for instance, as for the Rose X-Lite Team I used as a model), and it is the version we are going to see.
Unlike any luggage rack, our Luggage 2.0 can be fully dismantled and, in fact, we get iy dismantled. In my case, in the packaging of the version with the connection to collar, you can see the empty seats for the components, because it is a new version and, at the time of expedition, its original packing was not available.
The kit is composed of many pieces: the supporting structure, two pairs of arms of different lenghts and with articulated heads (inside a sphere allows its mobility), two junctions for the QR, the tube connecting to the saddle and the plate clamping to the latter.
The two longer tubes measure approximately 36,5 cm.
The two shorter ones vary from 22,5 to about 25 cm, thanks to the threaded joint; the measurement was made leaving about 1,5 cm of the threaded part inside the tube, which I think it is a good value for rigidity and safety.
The surface of the holding plate is about 30 cm. long, the exploitable a little shorter.
I liked in particular a supplied accessory: a pair of Led lights.
The final part of the luggage rack presents a working for their connection.
The clutch is a gun one, with a tough spring that guarantees its holding.
I cycled on my usual paved road, happily skipping, and they didn’t move an inch. They have not even turned in their seats; I was able to verify it from the Led orientation, because as we will see down below, in each spot there are two of them, that I mounted parallel to the ground.
Then we have the two attacks for QR, with the right and left position screen-printed.
They are widely adjustable by loosening the small 3 Allen; below the extreme position and the medium one. The adjustment is simple thanks to the small raised lines that serve as reference.
Then the holding plate with the support already in place to secure it to the rail of the saddle.
It uses a system with a tube adjustable in extension, thanks to the two threaded elements, and two plates, one of which is equipped with clamps for the seat cart: the whole is widely adjustable. Not only in length but also in inclination, and the ability to rotate them increases the mounting combinations.
The connection tube has an extension from 13 to 17,5 about.
In detail, the little clamps to secure the rack to the seat; they have M5 thread and are equipped with their flared Allen.
You can see the round notch to wrap the seat cart. But this caused some difficulties, because I use the Monolink system on the bike I choose for this test, and it has rhomboidal tracks. I resolved with the help of a seat and a seatpost I collected from the micro-workshop stock.
The first assembly is simple but long, let’s say that a good job requires about 30/45 minutes. Not because is difficult, on the contrary everything is really very simple, and the accuracy of manufacturing facilitates the operations. And because the almost infinite adjustment possibilities, you end up by trying and trying again, lowering, lifting, pushing away or pulling closer. In short, a nice toy…
The best way is to assemble the structure, without the tube connecting to the saddle, before installing it on the bike. The different tubes must be fixed but not tightned, to allow the necessary adaptations. With the structure assembled in this way it is possible “to place” the rack on the bike and realize measures and placement and intervene before the final installation. It is more practical even if requires a longer time. Because, for instance, if you want to vary the lenght of the QR attacks, you must remove everything each time, otherwise it is impossible to screw or unscrew them. At this stage it is important to always measure the length of the tubes, both right and left, and adjust them in a symmetric way. Losing few seconds now it’s better than dismantling everything because it came all wrong. And you must always remember that you must leave a margin so you can tighten the upper attacks, otherwise you have too much tension.
Once we have a rough idea on how we want to place it on the bike (for example, if we have wide lateral bags, it will be necessary to have a backward adjustment to avoid the impact with our heels), we can devote ourselves to the assembly.
Here below, as an example, I show the rack installed on the same bike but at two different heights/regressions.
I preferred to place straighaway the plate under the seat.
It is not the only way to secure it, the clamps seat on a base having, at its turn, some long slots; in fact, in this image given to me by the manufacturer, we have a different installation.
Then I fixed the rack to the QR, not thightening the threads of the structure and also those present in the two lower clamps.
After having levelled the supporting top, I fixed the connection tube and verified with the bubble level the mounting’s precision.
I hate crooked racks, they ruin the whole line of the bike, but the bubble level confirmed that I did everything right.
A general grip with the supplied wrench.
And finally the installation, very fast, of the two nice little lights.
They give off a good brightness; in an evening ride, the person who followed me confirmed their visibility even from a remarkable distance.
As whatever I get my hands on and it becomes a test object, this rack was tested too. The used bike was obviously the Rose X-lite Team, because we must not forget that this is not a rack for tourist bikes, with preset connections, but it is useful to make sport bikes more usable.
Speaking of usability, the Gearoop provides also some dedicated bags.
Single, with the right connections for the rack, and some pockets for small objects.
The maximum capacity of the rack is not high, the manufacturer declares 10 kgs. Which are however more than enough, considering its use.
Once everything was securely fastened, the rack did not move, even when I rode fast on the paved road. Some resonance is noticeable from the aluminum base plate, but other than this, no strange noises. This indicates that, despite all those many joints, all the working is accurate and there are no clearances in coupling of so many parts.
And now the difficult part: how do you test a rack? Well, you load it and check if it holds and stands the jolts. Which is exactly what I did, and it went through the test.
But here, as I wrote earlier, we are not looking at a normal rack. At each stop, it intrigued the cyclists I met and this is very strange, considering how little these accessories are valued. It’s undoubtedly beautiful, at least in the eyes of people like me, who appreciate the accuracy of the manufacturing. But it’s not enough. The beauty neither the load capacity or the strength are sufficient to understand this strange object. It’s the idea that struck me, and which I found brilliant.
By choosing to use the saddle and the QR as points of connection (it’s true that racks for QR already exist, but not for the saddle), the Gearoop expanded the use of the sport bikes, those ones where you cannot place a rack at all. I found myself using the X-lite Team as it never happened before, thanks to this rack and two little bags of mine. It did not transform a plucky and aggressive racing bike into a peaceful touring one: it broadened the spectrum of use of this plucky and aggressive racing bike. Let’s suppose I had only this bike and I would like to spend a day on the saddle, like those days I allow myself with the Ellesar, bringing the camera, a note pad and many other little and big things that I will use or maybe not, in the stops, but that I want with me. The only solution would have been a backpack, because I always advise against the rack on the seatpost, if you have a carbon fiber seatpost. Then, even if there are people who mount it anyway, I never changed my opinion. In order to have it a little stable, you must tighten it very well (that’s why I advise against carbon), otherwise, also because the luggage’s weight, after a while it will start the typical pendulum movement right/left, forcing you to stop in order to tighten again. And so several times during the day.
Not here, with this rack the problem is solved.
It’s not the rack for some cycling holydays or for long trips, but neither are the bikes for which it is intended. It’s the perfect accessory for those who use their sport bike in different ways, alternating training rides and leisure ones. Or for the sport randonneurs, who prefer use their sport bike in their patents (let’s never call them competitions) and often don’t know where firmly securing their baggage. And those two little lights will be not decisive, but they will sure be a welcome plus in the nocturnal hours.
And if is true that the first assembly takes time, it is equally true that once you gave it a “shape”, you only need few seconds to take it off or to put it back. You pull off the QR and unscrew the Allen clamping the seatpost junction, leaving the plate in its place. Which, among other things, it is shaped to accommodate an actioncam with standard Gopro, so letting there those few grams is not completely useless.
This blog was created out of a passion, and with a passion comes alive. I do not care to keep a cool indifference, if I don’t like something I say it. If I found out that I like it but it doesn’t work, I say that too, as it happened with a bike I was disappointed with. And I liked this rack, in all its aspects. Style and manufacture, yes; but more than everything the idea, the fantasy to create it. For my cycling, far away from the dogmas and the religion wars, it is a perfect accessory, because I am not horrified to cycle a racing bike for a moderately tourist use. Something that, among other things, was absolutely normal some years ago, before that thousands of different bikes categories arrived in the market, each and every one for a specific use. But for people like me, who believe that the real use of a bike is just having fun pedaling, every accessory helping to enjoy your strolls is very welcome.
It’s not cheap but neither expensive, it cost a hundred US dollars, to which you must add the shipping and the customs. If you surf the net you can find it, the website doesn’t have an online shop. A traditional rack costs more or less the same price, those winking at the “vintage” are much, much more expensive. But they still are racks for bikes with mounts (except for some exceptions), whereas the “plus” is right in its specificity, the fact you can mount it where you can’t or it’s very difficult with other racks.
After I took some pictures and I went out several times to test it, I did not completely dismantle it. I left it at my X-lite Team “size”, included saddle and seatpost, ready to be remounted n few seconds. What about if I would be in the mood…