THE CONVENIENT CYCLIST

Do CHANGE bikes require custom MTB racks?

A couple of weeks ago, we looked at the best racks for the CHANGE 702 commuter bike, finally settling on the M-Wave Arrow, available from Amazon.com for under $30.  But for CHANGE bikes with disc brakes, we’ve recommended and stocked the custom MTB rack that the frame manufacturer recommends.

Is this custom rack really needed? Or will another rack from Amazon work just as well? That’s what we’re exploring this week.

What’s unique about the CHANGE MTB rack?

Rear racks for disc-brake bikes need to be slightly wider and are usually notated as disc-brake compatible if they are. So what, besides this, makes the CHANGE rack different?

First, it packs smaller because more is disassembled. The side rods need to be assembled along with everything else. While this might be beneficial for mailing, the 38-part count increases the assembly time, so this isn’t particularly an advantage. It’s also why we assemble these in advance when customers order racks with their bikes–so you don’t have to!

The second feature is more interesting. The custom MTB rack from CHANGE includes a custom adapter that fits beneath the seat clamp. We already include these automatically with all CHANGE commuter bike shipments. But if an off-the-shelf rack fits on disc-brake bikes, then we’ll start to include these with all CHANGE bikes shipped.

Rack adapter
If you want a rack, you’ll need this. If you don’t, you can remove it with no consequences.

Finally, part of the CHANGE rack assembly is a set of spacers designed to move the lower rack rods away from obstacles like the rear disc brake.

spacer
This spacer moves the supporting rod out and away from the brake.

Testing the Axiom Uni-fit bike rack.

The Axiom Uni-fit MK3 ALU is a good candidate for testing because it is set back on the bike. This simultaneously moves the lower support rods behind the disc brake while providing more room for large panniers without kicking them on each pedal revolution. But does it fit?

MTB rack on bike
Absolutely. And it’s perfect for panniers.

The lack of spacers also pulls the legs in a couple of centimeters, which is good news for folding. Let’s try it.

folded MTB with rack
It folds perfectly, just as if the rack weren’t there.

So as long as you have the custom CHANGE bike rack adapter, this rack from Amazon is a good option. We’ll include that adapter with all CHANGE bikes from here on.

rack close-up
At $66, it’s pricier than than the CHANGE MTB rack, but more widely available.

And the final decision is…

It depends.

If you want to save $25, the CHANGE rack is a fine option. And the extra assembly isn’t an issue, since it’s done for free at Flatbike before shipment.

But if you want a more elegant solution, think you might be using large panniers, or simply want to add a rack later, then you can’t go wrong with the Axiom Uni-fit. (And if you want to use this but have a CHANGE bike that shipped without the rack adapter, just let us know–we’ll ship you one free of charge.)

Happy riding!

Bob Forgrave,
President, Flatbike

Biking made easier.

425-985-6219

 

 

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