Stopping off at the supermarket recently I noticed something. Every bike around me had a rear rack for panniers. A strange feeling came over me. It wasn’t jealousy as I’ve always considered bike panniers an ugly addition to a bike and more the realm of bicycle tourists. It was intrigue.
In the quest to avoid tube journeys and car ownership the bike has to become an all purpose vehicle. One of the tasks the bike is needed for is the weekly supermarket trip. Up until now I’ve thrown a big gym bag over my shoulder and cycled off to the supermarket. However, perhaps my bike snobbery has been preventing me from seeing the light. Perhaps all those other cyclists at the supermarket with their rear pannier racks are onto something.
The hope is the rack will make shopping trips easier and longer 2-3 day cycling trips more tempting. At the same time I’m hoping to avoid a big extra weight on my bike that would make it harder to speed around London.
The Topeak Super Tourist DX was an obvious choice as it is a good price, it’s not particularly heavy at 739g and fits both normal and disc brake bikes (you never know when you might make the switch).
|Topeak Super Tourist DX F/Disc||£31.99 – fits both disc and non-disc. Provides extra clearance from the brake callipers. 739g|
|Topeak Super Tourist DX||£29.99 – comes in both black and silver. Slightly smaller. 700g|
|Topeak Super Tourist DX with spring||£31.99 – comes with a spring on the top for holding bag|
This is usually when I say installation was easy. However, I found it a little tough. Bike racks generally fit most common bike sizes and types as long as you have room for a braze on attachment. These are the holes you see on your frame. For me, with my Marin hybrid bike, it was tough to bend the metal up and over the brake callipers. For a long time I thought I was doing something wrong, so the whole process took an embarrassing two hours. Of course, now I know what I’m doing, I can have the Topeak bike rack off in 3 minutes and back on in 10.
Combining the Topeak Super Tourist DX rack with the Abus Dryve pannier bag I set off to the supermarket on my first test run. Initially, I felt a little strange riding a bike which has just had its bum enlarged. I couldn’t help but look behind me all the time checking the bag had not flown off. However, everything was fine and I arrived at the supermarket and unclipped the bag.
Something worth noting about the Topeak Super Tourist DX rack is that it is compatible with the Topeak pannier bag range. This is a special range of bags that you can “slide, click and go” for very quick operation and ease.
I loaded up the pannier with all the shopping and clipped it back onto the bike. It immediately leant to one side and I learned my first bike pannier lesson: one bag on each side is much more effective.
Riding back up the hill towards home it felt good to finally be without the big gym bag on my back.
The Topeak Super Tourist DX rack is a good entry level rack which is well recommended by its users. If you choose to spend more then you can get slightly less weight perhaps with the popular Tubus racks. However, this doesn’t offer a big advantage.
The only downside I can see to this rack is that the black paint seems to chip easily. Whilst the initial installation was tough, afterwards it’s easy enough to remove the rack with an Allen key. The rack is designed to carry a total of 25kgs. As a comparison, this is more than you can check in on an EasyJet flight.
The Topeak Super Tourist DX has definitely made shopping trips easier and also I’m sure it will be helpful for longer rides. For now I’m still deciding whether to leave the rack on permanently or just attach it when needed.
What I like about the Topeak Super Tourist DX
- Good price
- Fits both disc and normal brakes
- Quick and easy to remove – just undo 4 bolts
What I don’t like about the Topeak Super Tourist DX
- Black paint already starting to chip
- Initial installation a little tough
Where you can get the Topeak
Very quick 1 minute video review
You may also be interested in:
- Hopping onboard the bike pannier bandwagon
- The ultimate guide to bicycle maintenance review
- Making your bike touring escape in 2010
- Cycle superhighways – have you tried them?
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.