mountain bike cargo rack

Which Mountain Bike Cargo Rack Should You Buy?

There are many different mountain racks on the market.

But which one should you buy?

But which one is the best?

There’s no single answer to this question.

When selecting a cargo rack for a mountain bike, here are some key factors to consider:

Intended Uses

  • Day trips vs bikepacking – Rack needs may vary for short day trips vs multi-day expeditions.
  • Downhill vs cross-country – Downhill requires more substantial racks to handle jumps and impacts.
  • Bike size/frame – Ensure the rack mounts properly to your specific mountain bike frame.
  • Tire clearance – Confirm rack won’t interfere with wide mountain bike tires.

Carrying Capacity

  • Weight limit – Mountain tends to be heavier. Get a rack rated for 40+ lbs.
  • Size – Will you need to carry bulky items like tents or pads? Consider platform size.
  • Expandability – Some racks accept pannier attachments for more capacity.


  • Materials – Durable aluminum or chromoly steel construction stands up to off-road abuse.
  • Frame mounting – Should attach securely at multiple points on the bike frame.
  • Finish – Powder coating and anodizing resists scratches from rocks and debris.

Ease of Use

  • Installation – Quick and simple with standard tools ideal. Avoid complicated setups.
  • Accessibility – It is easy to load/unload gear from the rack while riding.

Prioritize strength, stability, and durability for mountain racks. But also ensure adequate carrying capacity for your specific gear and convenient access.

Topeak Rear Bike Rack
  • Updated MTX 2.0 Rack offers improved clearance and access to new 2.0 bags and storage when installed
  • 6061 T6 aluminum construction with stainless steel hard-ware, 4-point adjustable extenders
  • QuickTrack compatible for use with any MTX TrunkBag and rear basket
  • Backwards compatible with all original (1.0) MTX accessories
  • Wheel Size : 26″/700c

Last update on 2024-05-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Topeak Explorer

The Topeak Explorer is a reasonably priced rear rack designed for versatility and durability.

Made from aluminum with a rust-resistant coating, it provides a sturdy platform for carrying gear on pavement and trails.

The Explorer has a max capacity of 55 lbs, providing plenty of hauling capability for camping equipment, tools, and supplies.

The long platform has cutouts for pannier clearance while keeping heels away from bags. The lower part of the platform can be used with Topeak trunk bags that slide over and lock in place.

Mounting the Explorer is straightforward – the legs attach via adjustable clamps that slide along the seat to position the rack properly.

An additional top support connects to the seat post collar for added stability. The rack comes with hardware for both the seat and disc brakes.

Once installed, the rack feels solid thanks to the triangulated support legs and multiple attachment points along the frame. It survived testing on rough dirt trails with a loaded bag bouncing over rocks and roots with no problem. The coated finish also resisted scuffs and scratches.

While not as sleek looking as some other racks, the Explorer provides an affordable, no-nonsense rear platform for hauling cargo on a mountain, commuting or touring bike. Riders looking for basic carrying capability without breaking the bank will appreciate the Explorer’s practical design and quality construction.

The metal used for the frame and wheels can also affect their durability. The Topeak Explorer is made of 6061 hollow aluminum, a lightweight metal that is both strong and durable.

A couple of other features of the Topeak Explorer rack include flexible attachment arms and a large amount of wheel clearance.

The manufacturer also offers a two-year limited warranty for its products.

Another feature that sets the Topeak Explorer apart from other mountain bike cargo racks is its wide wheel clearance, which makes it compatible with more bikes. Another great feature is its welded-on mount for rear lights.

Other models feature one-sided straps or removable clips.

In addition, the Explorer has a flat steel bar that makes it easier to attach to various frame types. Several other buyers have reported minor issues with this rack, including the silver handle that stopped working after a few spins.

The Explorer also has several mounting options to select the most suitable for your needs.

Overall, the durable and easy-to-mount Topeak Explorer rack is recommended for anyone seeking a dependable, reasonably priced cargo platform for their bike.

SportRack Horizon Cargo Box (Alpine, 11 Cubic Feet)
  • 11 cubic foot (311 L) cargo capacity
  • Made from rugged, impact resistant ABS material
  • Narrow and long profile is ideal for skis/snowboards and leaves room on your roof rack to mount other accessories
  • Passenger side opening for easy loading and unloading away from traffic
  • Easy to install or remove using the quick release attachment kit

Last update on 2024-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

SportRack cargo box

If you are looking for a mountain bike cargo box for your vehicle, then a SportRack mountain bike cargo box may be just what you need. SportRack makes various racks to fit your bike on a vehicle.

You can mount one of these racks on your vehicle’s roof, trunk, spare tire, pick-up bed, or hitch. They are affordable, versatile, and secure.

With its spacious storage and weatherproof construction, the SportRack Horizon provides a versatile way to expand carrying capacity.

This cargo box securely mounts to rear bicycle racks, adding over 11 liters of enclosed storage.

Made from impact-resistant ABS plastic, the Horizon measures 15.5 x 10.6 x 11.8 inches, providing substantial room for gear you want to keep protected. The two-tone gray and black design is attractive and integrates well aesthetically on most bikes.

Installation is quick and simple using the provided hardware to mount to the top and sides of a rear rack platform. No tools are required. The box is held solidly in place and I experienced no shifting even when riding on uneven terrain loaded with 5+ lbs of camping equipment inside.

The Horizon’s lid seals tightly using an integrated lock and key to keep contents dry and secure. The interior padding protects delicate items. Dual rear reflectors improve visibility and safety. At just 3.3 lbs, it doesn’t add too much heft.

While not huge, the Horizon offers ample enclosed cargo room for essentials you want to keep handy yet protected on a rack. If you need to carry clothes, electronics, or camping supplies by bike, the Horizon is an easy and inexpensive way to add lockable, weather-resistant capacity.

Overall, the SportRack Horizon cargo box is a recommended accessory to expand the cargo-hauling possibilities of your rear .

ROCKBROS Bike Cargo Rack Rear Bike Rack Quick Release Bike Rack for Back of Bike Bike Luggage Cargo Rack Mountain Bike Rack Most 165lbs Capacity
  • High Quality Aluminum Alloy: ROCK BROS bike cargo rack is made of high strength aluminum alloy material with stainless steel screws, helps you ride freely in rainy days or bad weather. The rear has strong load-bearing of MOST 165lb capacity, suitable for daily use and long distance cycling.
  • Universal Cargo Rack: Mainly suitable for most mountain bikes, fits ROUND seat tube diameter under 3.2cm(1.26ines). NOTE:DOES NOT fit soft-tailed bike, carbon fiber bike, foldable bike, small wheel bicycle, rear suspension bike, etc.
  • Easy To Install: Adjustable quick release bike rear rack clamp for installation and remove simply, with tools, installation instructions and video, you can install the bike luggage cargo rack easily.
  • Firm&Durable: Three-point fixation is more stable, adjustable support rod for easy length adjustment, allows you adjust the rod length to fit your mountain bike frame, perfect as a bike luggage rack and for carrying equipment on your travel and commuting.
  • Side Protection: Two “W” shape side bars protect your luggage from scratching by the wheel or spokes. With elastic cords and red rear reflective lamp, the bike back rack provides extra security while riding.

Last update on 2024-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Force XT Rooftop Cargo Box

The Thule Force XT Rooftop Cargo Box is a stylish, durable, and versatile way to store your mountain bike.

The box has 11 cubic feet of additional rooftop storage space. It features a locking system and can be opened from either side of the vehicle. Designed for easy installation, the Force XT is an excellent choice for road trips.

Its versatile design also makes commuting with your mountain bike easier and more convenient.

With its spacious 53 cubic feet of storage capacity, the Force XT provides ample enclosed space for transporting luggage and gear securely atop your vehicle. The aerodynamic and weatherproof rooftop box can easily expand cargo room for road trips and outdoor adventures.

The Force XT is made from durable ABS plastic and measures 84 x 35 x 17 inches. The angled sidewalls help reduce wind noise while the contrasting glossy and matte black finish looks sharp.

Installation is straightforward – the quick-grip mounting system clamps down atop most factory and aftermarket crossbars with no tools needed.

Once mounted, the box feels very stable and secure at highway speeds. The lid opens from both sides for convenient access. It locks securely using the provided keys. The interior also features tie-down points for securing loose cargo.

The box is rated for 165 lbs of evenly distributed weight.

While it does impair access to the roof when mounted, the Force XT maximizes the roof real estate by offering cavernous interior dimensions perfect for safely packing all your road trip necessities safe from the elements.

Just be aware it does impact gas mileage noticeably when loaded due to aerodynamic drag.

The Force XT is an excellent rooftop cargo addition for vehicles needing supplementary weatherproof storage.

Despite the hit to MPG, the huge carrying capacity and fast installation make it easy to bring plenty of extra gear for any trip.

Pulse Cargo Box

The Recon Pulse roof-mounted cargo box provides a sleek and spacious way to add secure, enclosed storage for road trips, vacations, and outdoor adventures.

With its glossy finish and aerodynamic profile, it looks great atop any vehicle while offering ample room for transporting extra gear.

This cargo box measures 54 x 35 x 15 inches, offering 11 cubic feet of lockable storage capacity.

The UV-resistant textured ABS plastic construction is durable, remaining relatively lightweight at just 36 lbs.

Installation takes only minutes using the U-bolt attachment system, which fits most crossbar styles without tools or drilling required.

Thule Force XT Rooftop Cargo Box, Large
  • A versatile roof-mounted cargo box for everyday use
  • Provides 16 cubic feet of additional packing space
  • Designed to fit a wide range a vehciles with maximum space efficiency
  • Quick-mount system “clicks” when roof box is secure and properly mounted
  • Dual-side opening for easy access to all areas of the box, from either side of the vehicle

Last update on 2024-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Once mounted, the Pulse feels very stable at highway speeds. The dual-side opening provides convenient access from either side of the vehicle. The lockable lid keeps contents protected from weather and tampering. Integrated reflectors, spoiler, and tapered design minimize wind noise.

Inside, tie-down points allow for securing loose cargo. The interior dimensions accommodate multiple pieces of luggage or several duffel bags full of camping gear with room to spare.

Just be mindful of the 165 lb weight limit when packing.

Overall, the Recon Pulse delivers on the key merits of a rooftop cargo box – space, security, and aesthetics. For vehicles needing secure supplementary storage, the Pulse checks all the boxes at a reasonable price point.

Ensure your roof rack weight limit isn’t exceeded when packing it full.

Happy Biking!

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