Tutorial: How to Use a Rear Bike Rack — Different Types

Do you want to run some errands and don’t have a viable transport to carry goods? The best option for you is to get a rear bike rack installed. You can carry any essentials that you want in your rear bike rack and make your life a little bit easier.

Here’s how to use different types of rear bike racks:

  • Use panniers and backpack racks to carry essentials like clothing
  • Use baskets on your rear bike rack if you plan to go grocery shopping
  • Use saddle racks to carry small items like multi-tools and spare tubes
  • Use a dog carrier if you want to take your dog out for a ride with you

A rear bike rack is very multipurpose and makes it convenient for you to commute as well as run small errands. In this article, I will discuss different ways you can use a rear bike rack.

So, read on and discover some amazing uses of rear bike racks!

How to Use a Rear Bike Rack?

A rear bike rack is a highly useful accessory that you can add to your bike. It would make it convenient for you to carry stuff and make your bike rides pleasant and fun.

I will now discuss all the different smart ways you can use your rear bike rack for.

#1 Panniers and Backpack Racks

One of the most common ways to use your rear bike racks is using them as panniers. A pannier is usually a large basket that can fit on the frame of your bike. You can use a pannier to carry a variety of things, such as your clothes, water bottles, camping gear, or other everyday essentials. 

To attach a pannier to your bike, you can use a spring-loaded hooks system or attach it with the help of bungee cords.

Adding a pannier to your bike would ensure that your bike is balanced and functioning well. If you wish, you can add a pannier in the front and rear parts of the bike.

If you feel like carrying your backpack while riding your bike gets difficult, you can also get a backpack rack installed and keep your bag over there.

This would allow you to move freely on your bike without the heavy bag pulling you back. 

#2 Baskets 

Are you out of groceries again and don’t have a car available at home? A bike with a basket installed on its rear rack is just exactly what you need. 

You can just conveniently take out your bike and go to the grocery stores to shop if your bike has a basket installed on its rear rack. You can put all of your bags in there and come back home easily.

You can install baskets on the front as well as on the back of your bike. Usually, a basket on the back is more convenient when it comes to steering and moving through crowded spaces. 

Moreover, you do not even have to worry about your groceries falling off from the rear basket because the basket is firmly fixed to the frame. 

Overall, a basket makes for pretty great usage of your rear bike rack, and you can carry almost anything in it, such as groceries, fruits, clothes, etc. 

» Read my blog post: How to Adjust V-Brakes?

#3 Saddle Packs

Do you want to know a cool way to carry small items while riding your bike? Saddle packs are the best way to do that. In a saddle pack, you basically carry small items like bike multitool, spare tubes, bike kits, and other bike repairing gear. 

You never know when your bike is going to have a flat tire or a punctured tube, and it is best always to be prepared for such situations beforehand.

By using a saddle pack, you can carry all the repair items with you and instantly fix any issues that arise with your bike. 

The saddle packs are usually installed under the bike seat. You can either install it by attaching it to the rails or by attaching it to the rear bike rack itself. 

The most useful saddle packs have strong straps and reliable fixed zips that make them safe to use.

Besides using a saddle pack for keeping repairing gear, you can also use it to keep your other important stuff, such as your mobile phone.

#4 Rack Trunk

If you want a classier, useful, and medium-sized bike carrier, you should opt for attaching a rack trunk to your bike.

Rack trunks are usually smaller than regular-sized panniers and way greater than any saddle bag. These rack trunks can be used to carry various important stuff.

Since the rack trunks are smaller than your regular-sized pannier, they look more aesthetically pleasing, and you can carry almost anything in them.

Rack trunks are useful for carrying clothing items, lunch, and other bike tools. 

One particular feature of a rack trunk is that it contains a plastic sheet to reinforce the base area to retain the shape of the bag.

Moreover, packing is also usually simplified by a pocket system or divided storage. With its many modifications, the rack trunks make for one of the most frequently used carriers on the rear bike rack.

» Read my blog post about: Steel vs. Aluminum Bike Frames

#5 Dog Carrier

It is quite easy to fall in love with a pet such as a dog. Taking your dog out for a bike ride could actually be an amazing idea simply because you will get to spend some fun time with your dog while biking.

You can go on a nice tour with your dog and explore as much as you can on your bike. 

Depending on the type of dog you have, your dog carrier attachment would differ. Usually, a dog carrier is used in the rear bike rack if the dog is of a huge breed and won’t easily fit in the front.

Similarly, smaller breed dogs like chihuahuas can easily fit on a dog carrier installed in front of the bike. 

If you plan on traveling long and exploring more, it is best to use the dog carrier installed on the rear part of the bike rather than the front.

If you want to explore the city along with your dog, you should definitely install a dog carrier on the rear rack and quickly take your bike out for a ride. 

#6 Child Seat

Every parent obviously loves their children and is trying to find new activities to engage them in constantly. Touring with your child on a bike ride can be a valuable addition to your everyday activities with your child. 

You can install a child seat in your rear bike rack, take up the safety measures and then take your bike out for a ride. You can install a rear-mounted child bike seat on the bike rack to enjoy touring with your child while cycling.

It makes for a comfortable and safe way to carry your child. To ensure your child’s safety, you can use 3-point safety rear rack straps, adjustable footwalls, a backrest, and a protective guard. 

Even though it is safe to carry your child in the children’s seat, it all boils down to how confident you are while riding the bike.

If you are careful enough and you have taken all the safety measures for your child, then there is no drawback to enjoying this creative activity with your child. 

» I have also written this post about: Are Walmart Bikes Good?

#7 Crates and Basket Rack

Sometimes you go to the farmer’s market or to the grocery store to get large quantities of any grocery or fruit, sometimes, the pannier or rack trunks won’t cut it, and you would have to use a crate of a rear bike rack.

You can attach a crate to the rear bike rack of your bike and use it for shopping. 

However, while carrying such heavy goods, you will have to be careful to drive slowly and provide support to the crate.

Please note that you do not have to ride with one hand and provide support from the other. Instead, you should use a crate of a material such as wood or metal that is strong enough to hold up by itself. 

You can also choose foldable crates. These crates can fold and add more space to your bike. Thus, it is important that you carefully choose the type of crate you want to get installed on your bike. 

What Are the Different Types of Rear Bike Racks?

If you plan to install a rear bike rack on your bike, there are various options you can choose from. All of these rear racks have various features that differentiate them from the others. I will discuss these racks below in detail. 

#1 Adjustable Aluminum Racks

Adjustable aluminum racks are among the more durable options. They owe their sturdiness to lightweight aluminum alloys that maintain their stiffness and strength. 

The main feature of these rear racks is that they don’t let you weigh down while maintaining resistance. Moreover, you can adjust the panniers according to your own height comfort in this rear rack.

They also have an allotted space to attach a light or reflector at the rear and can carry up to 50 pounds of gear on average.

Adjustable racks have a decent warranty and high compatibility with important components such as wheels, discs, and caliper brakes. 

#2 Expanded Carrier Racks

Expanded carrier racks come with a useful platform size that can accommodate even trunk bags and rear baskets. 

The extension arms have a bridged construction and can be bent to any shape without compromising the integrity and strength of the rack.

They also have a space for mounting a light or reflector and can hold weights up to 100 pounds on average.

Besides that, these racks have a strongly welded aluminum construction that makes them durable and light.

#3 Mountain Racks With FitKits

Mountain rear racks work on almost any bike and are highly reliable. They use a thru-axle fastening design and can carry weight up to 70lbs. These racks are specifically made from steel and have a beautiful design.

Another feature of these racks is that they have a FitKit included. The FitKit is basically a kit that includes all the pieces and components that you would require to install the rack on your bike frame.

FitKits normally include a thru-axle, pair of extenders, and a pair of dropouts.

» This could also be something for you: Disc Brakes vs. Rim Brakes in Cycling

How Does a Rear Rack Work On a Bike?

A rear rack basically provides a structural framework to hold your bike components together, such as the gears. Most of the time, you can directly strap many items to the rear bike rack without even requiring a cover.

However, for increased protection of your components and the feasibility of carrying various materials, you can use a variety of attachments on your rear bike rack, such as panniers, child seats, dog carriers, rack trunks, etc. 

Thus, the rear rack makes for a useful addition to your bike that can make it convenient for you to carry various materials once you modify it by the use of an attachment. 

Do All Rear Bike Racks Fit All Bikes?

No, all rear bike racks do not work with all bikes. They mostly depend on the type and model of the bike and the braking system it contains. For example, if your bike has a drum or a disc braking system, you need to find a model that fits those requirements specifically.

Another thing to check out is if your bike has eyelets or not. These eyelets are specifically designed to attach to the rear bike racks.

If your bike does not contain eyelets, you will have to buy bike racks specially built for them. These bike racks usually have clamps that make mounting easier. 

Can Someone Ride On the Rear Bike Rack?

It is most certainly not safe to ride on the rear bike rack. The rear bike rack has a limited capacity of holding weight (about 25kg), and people usually do not weigh that little. 

If you continue to sit on the rear bike rack for longer periods of time, then the rear bike rack will most probably collapse under you and potentially injure you.

You can use a child seat on the rear bike rack, but even that needs to be monitored and should be attached to a rear bike rack that has a higher weight capacity.

How Do You Use A Dual Bike Rack?

Dual bike parking racks have become highly common among the biking community. They have a higher density and strength which allow them to hold almost double the capacity of the weight. Here is how you can use a dual bike rack:

  • Step 1: Pull out the upper tier of the rack using rubber handles and then lower the rack
  • Step 2:Get the front wheel of your bike on the tray
  • Step 3: Push your bicycle all the way onto the rack
  • Step 4: Now lift the upper tier back up while supporting the weight of the bicycle
  • Step 5: Lift until the bike is horizontal, and finally push it all the way into the place

» You can also read my post: Flat Bar vs. Drop Bar in Cycling


It is understandable that you enjoy cycling, but it can be more than just fun. You can fully accessorize it and get out many uses from it. Using rear bike racks smartly is one of the ways to do that.

A rear bike rack can be a highly valuable addition to your bike and make everyday tasks easier for you. However, you should be careful to install a rear bike rack that is compatible with your bike.

Now that you have learned everything about a rear bike rack, it is finally time to put this knowledge to some good use.

Install a rear bike rack now and take another step to accessorize your bike and make it more useful for you.

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