How to Choose Bike Bags & Racks

How to Choose Bike Bags & Racks
Choosing the right bike bag or rack is important for many practical reasons that you may not have considered--wind resistance being one of them. Bags and racks come in different models and sizes, so before you buy you'll want to research these accessories and decide which ones most meet your biking needs.


Difficulty: Moderate

Selecting Bike Bags

Step 1
Use a saddlebag to store small items like tire levers, keys and a small flashlight. Bags fit directly under your saddle and create low wind resistance.
Step 2
Use a handlebar bag. Ideal for carrying small items like canteens, tour guides and a small lunch, handlebar bags rest high on your steering column. Overloading can lead to instability and reduced control of your bike. Choose a small model to minimize interference with shifting and braking.
Step 3
Opt for a pannier or basket as it is also called. Panniers are used in connection with a bike rack and are attached to the rack on the sides to carry a large storage capacity. Sizes range from 800 to 3200 cubic inches. Panniers are available for rear and front racks. Both models sit low over your bicycle wheels to ensure easy riding and stability.

Selecting Bike Racks

Step 1
Choose a rear bike rack for moderate to large storage needs including gear and clothing. The rack is positioned low over the rear wheel and holds your storage load out and away from the bike. Ideal for touring, rear bike racks do not place pressure on the front of the bike; which can hinder steering and balance.
Step 2
Choose between a standard front bike rack and a "low-rider" front bike rack. Go with a standard front rack if you require a large amount of storage space. The standard front bike rack provides storage on top of the rack as well as on the sides. As the name suggests, a low-rider rack is positioned lower to the front wheel of your bike. Opt for a low-rider style if control is a concern and you have fewer bags and equipment to store. Combine a low-rider rack with a rear rack to increase your level of stability. Doing so will allow you to spread out the weight of your bags across the front and rear of the bike.
Step 3
Opt for a rack trunk. Use a rack trunk if you want to carry large or awkwardly shaped gear on your bike. Rack trunks do not increase wind resistance; which means they will not slow travel speeds.

Tips & Warnings

Strap down all bags and secure them tightly to the bike to avoid injury.
Never attempt to open or use any type of rack while riding.

Article Written By Charlie Gaston

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

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