Any rack offering clean aesthetics, a decent payload, quality construction and finish and a five-year warranty is certainly worth paying for. Ortlieb’s Quick Rack offers all these things and more. Thanks to a clever design, it can be mounted in less than 15 seconds and removed even quicker. Initial set-up is no hassle. Any tourer, shopper or commuter who also regularly cycles for pleasure will appreciate the versatility of this rack.
Easy to install
Quick to put on and take off
Nothing to note
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The struggle is real - well, it was until the Ortlieb Quick Rack arrived. It's possibly the perfect solution for anyone looking to equip their bike with a decent bike pannier carrying system at the drop of a hat. It’s well made, affordable and certainly lives up to its ‘quick’ name.
I’ve fitted my fair share of racks to a variety of bikes. Some can be relatively intuitive and easy to work with - 30 minutes to have it perfectly aligned, stable and secure is good going but all too often this isn’t possible without a fight. If you only have one bike, or need to transport it in a small car, removing the rack might be an essential chore, further overshadowed by the faff of re-attaching it again at some point in the near future.
The Ortlieb Quick Rack and Quick Rack Light were introduced last year. I got my hands on the former just in time for a three-week tour from northern Spain to the UK - a super test to see how it performed and compared to the best bike pannier racks.
Ortlieb Quick Rack: construction
The Ortlieb Quick Rack is made of 10mm aluminium tubing and can handle 'a maximum load of 20 kilograms'. It's adjustable to different bikes via the variable strut length. The whole thing has a claimed weight of 580 grams and a 5 year warrranty is offered.
The Light version doesn’t have a platform and consequently tips the scales at just 440g.
Fitting the rack to a range of bikes is possible: Ortlieb claim full-suspension bikes and carbon frames - assuming the frame has eyelets and no carbon seat post should be no problem. It can be used with both 26” - 28” wheels (limited suitability for 29” wheels – up to max. 2.35” tire width).
The rack has a bike light mount and comes with mountable QL3.1 adapters, plus all necessary bolts and washers.
Additional accessories include mudguards (in three widths, see picture below) and Ortlieb's Quick Rack Seat Stay Adapter for bikes without eyelets. I haven’t tested either of these but the mudguard is a massive plus in my opinion.
Ortlieb Quick Rack: mounting and performance
As with most Ortlieb products, in addition to written instructions, there’s a video that talks you through the product and includes full guidance for installing. In reality it’s intuitive and very simple; a case of setting-up the strut that mounts to the seat post and screwing the supplied hooks into (M5 or M6) eyelets.
Finding an optimal position for the rack isn't hard. Ortlieb provides two different lengths of strut, your preferred will attach above or below the rack tube and then clamp to either the seatpost, or seat tube.
In comparison to any other rack I’ve ever used, this initial ‘installation’ process is child's play. Thereafter, putting the rack on takes no more than 15 seconds, and getting it off is even quicker. The clamps are encouragingly stiff, they've become marginally easier to open and close with use. The bolted attachment points can remain on the bike and are pretty inconspicuous.
I had the rack on and off the bike several times, once to put it in a VW Polo (with very limited space) and a few times for a luggage free spin on a 'rest' day. If you happen to transport your bike a lot, you'll appreciate the Quick Rack. Or if you simply want to dabble in some lightweight touring on a bike that’s otherwise rack-free, this is a superb solution.
What can I say about performance? I was genuinely a little nervous about something that clamped with just two levers and a quick-release, I shouldn’t have been. Naturally I ensured I was within the 20kg payload. (Out of interest, this enabled me to tour with my usual clothing and personal belongings, a stove, sleeping bag, roll mat and tent, admittedly all lightweight). I could detect a very marginal ‘sway’ when out of the saddle - it’s not the rigid set-up that a rack bolted to a frame using 4 eyelets gives) but after a couple of days I’d got used to this. While I was primarily on the road I also covered plenty of kilometers on gravel and rougher forest trails. Nothing posed problematic for the rack.
Since the platform is rather minimal in terms of tubing, attaching panniers is no issue; there is plenty of rail available for the hooks to sit on.
As if it’s not versatile enough already Ortlieb has designed the rack with two hanging levels. This makes it possible to carry panniers and a rack bag at the same time without facing a battle to remove either at any one time.
The convenience of taking it on and off within seconds was priceless for transportation and non-touring days. Now I’m back home, I am still loving the speedy option of having a rack for quick shopping trips, or going without for casual spins. Yes, it's been on more than just one bike; the touring trip was on a Triban RC520, and since getting back I've tested it on a Whyte Glencoe (see above) and a Dolan Preffisio.
The rack itself is showing a few signs of wear, primarily where the panniers have rubbed against tubing while riding on rougher terrains. You can certainly see it’s been well-used but these are abrasion marks rather than chips. Changing the rack from one bike to another will reveal further signs of wear on the strut if you move its position.
Overall, the only thing I'd 'add' to the Quick Rack package is a spare set of hooks for a potential second bike.
Ortlieb Quick Rack: value and conclusion
At $99.99 / £70, this is not a ‘cheap’; some racks I’ve reviewed cost in the region of $30 / £20. However, take into account quality, a 5 year warranty and the unique versatility of the Quick Rack and it’s fair to say that it’s possibly the best value-for-money rack on the market. There are very few direct comparisons out there, the most obvious being Tailfin’s Alloy Rack. It boasts an impressive 27kg payload but will set you back $300 / £219. Since I’d personally rather spread the weight a little (if I'm exceeding 20kg), I’m not lured by the higher weight limit. I can't image I'm alone in this thinking.
Ortlieb Quick Rack: specs
- Material: Aluminium
- Weight: 580 g | 20.5 oz.
- Max payload: 20kg