A guide to choosing a bicycle pannier rack

A guide to choosing a bicycle pannier rack

To mount panniers to your bike you will need to first attach a special rack – called a pannier rack, naturally enough. The are available for both front and rear with most manufacturers offering an attachment system that enables the bags to be easily clipped on and off.

Choosing a pannier rack for your bicycle is as about as fun (for most people) as being hit on the head with a wet fish. The parting of hard earned cash for what is basically a wire contraption is depressing. HOWEVER, having a pannier rack on your bicycle WILL change your life. The reasons it will change your life include:

😀 No longer weighed down by a heavy backpack whilst riding
😀 No sweaty back in summer from wearing a backpack
😀 The feeling of lightness when riding
😀 Increased capacity of luggage you lug around
😀 You will be able to adorn your lovely bike with a cool pannier bag for example ours at Goodordering
😀 No swinging or lob-sided messenger bag to contend with whilst riding and feeling the wind in your hair

Key things to look out for when buying a rack for your bike are essentially

- the material it is made from (strength and durability)
- whether it fits aesthetically with your bike
- whether it fits mechanically onto your bike
- price related to your budget

This article will run through these things and then hopefully by the time you finish reading it you can make an informed decision making this unglamorous but life-changing purchase of a bicycle luggage rack somewhat enjoyable.

State bicycle rear pannier rack

There are different options for materials that pannier racks are normally made from these include:
Aluminum racks : lighter, less durable, and can’t be fixed if they break.
Cromoly racks: (a steel that contains carbon) lightweight, durable, and strong.
Steel racks: heavy but more durable, can be fixed 
Titanium: lightweight, doesn't corrode but more expensive

seat post mounted pannier rack
Frequently asked questions

What price range am i looking at to buy a pannier rack?

You can get a decent rack for between £20 and £100. You generally get what you pay for in terms of the strength for carrying pannier bags and other loads but if you are on a budget its good to know that you can find a bicycle pannier bag to suit a range of budgets.

How much should a pannier rack weigh?

You should expect a pannier rack to weight around 1kg in itself, although some of the really light ones made from Titanium can weigh as little as 300grams.

Do i need to get it professionally fitted?

No, you can do it yourself if you watch a few you tube videos, the important thing is that you have the right bicycle with the eyelet fixings in order to attach it, if you are not sure ask at your local bike shop. 

What if i have a vintage style bicycle, what rack would work with it?

You can find vintage original pannier racks on places like ebay, (like this one for example) however the other option to go with a vintage bicycle is minimalist style rack that fits in with the colours and style of your bicycle.

tokyobike WALD rear rack £35

If you would like to buy a vintage rack you can find them on auction sites such as ebay. These days as more people are opting to fix up bikes and breath new life into vintage bicycles rather than buy new, there are many spare parts that you can find such as this steel rack for a vintage Raleigh bicycle below. One thing to watch out for is the condition and wear and tear on the parts that can happen over time.

vintage raleigh pannier rack


Simple: Tortec Silver or Black: £25 - WIGGLE

Simple: Tokyobike 'Wald' rear rack: £35 - Tokyobike UK

Seat Mounted: Can take up to 10kg weight: £24 <LINK>

Top of the range: Titanium rack ultra lightweight £250 - WIGGLE

Narrow: Tortec narrow style : £22 Mango Bikes

Read on at Goodordering:

9 Un-useless bike accessories

Decorating your bicycle

100 Cycling Tips

Bike storage for your home

Goodordering x Brompton

References & Further reading

E-Bicycles.com Front and Rear bicycle racks 

Road.cc Pannier Rack Buyers Guide

Cycling Weekly - Best panniers and pannier racks


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