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Review: touring with Tubus front and rear bike racks

Alia Parker's picture
Clamont touring bicycle with Tubus rear and front racks. Cycle Traveller

Great quality parts and gear can make a world of difference to the enjoyment of a long-distance bicycle trip and the racks on your bike are no exception. Racks need to carry the brunt of the heavy kilos of essential junk we load them with; they need to stay stiff, strong and secure over thousands of killometres of whatever bumps, jolts and shakes we submit them to.

This is where German company Tubus excels. Their racks have earnt a reputation in the industry for holding up under extreme touring conditions, so naturally, I chose to fit Tubus racks to our bikes before setting out on our latest tour around Australia.

There are a number of Tubus models available, but the two we are using are the Logo Classic rear rack and the Tara front rack. We've so far tested these over 2,500km of loaded touring on two separate bikes – carrying an average total of about 45kg per bike – over both sealed, unsealed and rocky dirt roads. The performance of both has been superb with not the slightest sign of fatigue. Importantly, when combined with our Ortlieb panniers, our gear remains firmly in place. The only sign of use is a slight, but expected, wearing on the paint work where the rack comes into contact with the panniers.

Strength and stiffness

Tubus Logo rear rack. Cycle TravellerThe first factor that sets these Tubus racks apart from the majority of others on the market is the material they are made from. Both the Logo Classic and Tara models are made of chromoly steel, which is extremely strong and stiff while maintaining an ability to flex slightly to absorb shocks. By flex, I don't mean you will physically see it wobbling about, but rather that the metal isn't brittle, which means it won't snap when subjected to regular pressure. Weight wise, while chromoly steel isn't a super-light metal, it also isn't all that heavy either, so it won't weigh you down. And lastly, steel can be welded, and hence repaired if necessary, which is a bonus if riding through very remote regions with little access to new parts; but having said that,  I don't expect these Tubus racks to be needing the welding treatment.

Most standard racks available on the market are made of aluminium, which is also light weight, but not quite as strong. There are some sturdy aluminium racks out there, and many will hold up on bicycle tours for some time, but when it comes to strength under pressure and durability, aluminium racks pale in comparison with a product made of chromoly steel. Under heavy loads, many long-distance tourers have reported failures when using aluminium racks.


Tubus has put a great deal of logical engineering into the design of their products. The racks taper upwards, creating a stronger all round design, and the rack arms that extend out to the seat stays are made of the same strong chromoly steel material and the rest of the rack. Many other racks use relatively flimsy rack arms which increase the chance of the rack moving or breaking. The tubing is also a little thicker than the average rack, making it harder to bend and damage the structure. The Logo and the Tara also have some unique design features that set them apart from others in the market.

Tubus Logo Classic rear rack

The Logo Classic weighs 775 gramms and can carry a load of up to 40kg (88 pounds), punching well above the average maximum load of 25kg for many other racks. It is designed with two positions to which you can mount your panniers – a normal 'high' position, and a low mounting position. I actually prefer to use the higher position as I like a higher centre of gravity of weight on the rear of the bike and better clearance above the rear derailleur. However, the option to mount the panners lower is very clever as it creates more room for placing bags across the top of the rack. The lower mounting position also sits further back, which is wonderful for those looking for extra heel clearance, which can be an issue on small frames or some mountain bikes. And some riders also prefer the feel of riding with a lower centre of gravity as it can create more stability. Other neat design features on the Logo are a rear light or reflector bracket and an extra eyelet on the mounting plate to make it easy to fit a mud guard, two very handy additions. The rack is rather versaile in fitting both 26 inch or 700c wheels and it also mounts perfectly over our disc brakes.

Tubus Tara front bicycle rack. Cycle Traveller

Tubus Tara front rack

The Tara weighs 525 gramms and carries a load of up to 15kg (33 pounds) and fits over both 26 inch and 700c wheels. It's lowrider design – where the pannier mounts half-way down the fork rather than above the wheel – is ideal for touring and research shows bicycles perform better when the weight at the front end of the bike has a low centre of gravity. The rack has a simple but amazingly sturdy design in which a thick main frame arches over the wheel to provide stability while a mounting arm with three eyelet positions reaches across to the fork for versatile positioning. The mounting plate of the rack frame also features two positions, making it easier to fit on different frames, or as with the Logo, providing an option for mounting a front mud guard. Once again, it fits neatly over our disc brakes.


These racks have lived up to their well deserved reputation for reliability under stress. They have been rock solid, even on extremely corrugated roads. They have held their position firmly and make for comfortable loaded cycling with no shakes or sway. I have been suitably impressed and am very confident in their ability to continue to hold up for years of heavy-duty use. Tubus racks are a little more expensive than aluminium racks, but the old adage "you get what you pay for" holds true in this regard. The only maintenance the racks will need is the odd check that all the bolts remain tight, which should be done as part of your regular overall bike safety check as vibrations do tend to loosen parts over time.

Other models

The Logo and the Tara are perfect options for cycle touring, but Tubus also make a number of other racks that are worth a mention. The Cargo rear rack, which also carries up to 40kg, is another very popular option for touring, while the Duo front rack, with a max load of 15kg, it a rather cool looking rack that doesn't compromise on strength. If opting for the Duo, you'll need to make sure your bicycle fork can take a bolt that goes in one side and out the other. Other great options are Tubus's range of Titanium racks, which are ultralight and strong. These racks are lovely, but they are a high-end product with a high-end price tag to suit.

Images: 1. Alia's custom Geoff Scott built Clamont touring bicycle with Tubus Logo rear rack and Tara front rack. 2. Tubus Logo rear rack. 3. Tubus Tara front lowrider rack.


Phew. I am carrying less than the max load for each rack. Haha. I am using the same racks and am happy with them. They feel really solid. Great review

I agree whole heartedly with the idea of Tubus being the perfect touring rack. Ran a rear rack on my latest trip and it worked well as always. I did one thing that I now know not to do again. On occasions I had to lift my bike over kerbs, through fences and other obstacles , on one of these (or more) I had gripped the horizontal stays attached to my bike to assist in lifting. One stay got bent out of shape, easily fixed, but the bolt to my seat clamp/ rack clamp stripped the thread and floated. Only noticed it when the rear got a dose of the death wobbles at speed and cornering.Again an easy fix whipped out the Loctite , inserted a new screw and let the lot set.Replaced the two bolts (5mm) with 6mm bolts after tapping new threads when back home.

They just work very very well.
Well built.
Well priced.
Easy to install and uninstall when touring.
Just perfect.

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