I love to use my mountain bike for commuting but carrying all of my stuff in a backpack is making me dread hitting the open road. So, I decided to install a rear cargo rack and I can once again enjoy mountain biking to work.
How to Install a Rear Cargo Rack on a Mountain Bike.
- Choose a cargo rack that will be compatible with your bike and cargo needs.
- Gather your bike, the rack, necessary tools (Allen or regular wrenches, etc.), and the instructions of the cargo rack.
- Attach both adjustable arms to the rack and any supports included.
- Mount to the bikes frame on the rear dropout eyelet and the center post of the frame.
Detailed Instructions For Installing a IBERA Mountain Bike Cargo Rack
I recently purchased the highly recommended IBERA Rear Cargo Bike Rack. Just a quick note I highly recommend the IBERA BIKE RACK (Link to Amazon if you’d like to check the price and reviews) When I opened the box I was happy to find that all the tools necessary to install the rack were included.
Steps to Install Rear Bike Rack
- Gather all of your materials. This should include: the main rack assembly, two side guards, two adjustable support arms, a fender, a reflector, six Allen head screws, six washers, six lock nuts, 2 large rubber spacers and 4 long rubber spacers. Additionally, a tool packet which has two different size Allen wrenches and a single double-sided wrench.
- Attach each of the two guards to the right-most and left-most mounting holes. This is done with an Allen screw and washer on the outwards facing side and a single lock nut on the inwards facing side. At the same time, you can install the adjustable support arms to the center mounting hole with the same screw then washer followed by a lock nut on the other side setup. Making sure to place the support arm on the inside of the guard.
- After removing the two Allen screws on the bottom center of the rack, attach the fender. Replace the screws to their original position.
- Place the two large rubber spacers on the inside of the main clamp on the rack and then attach to the seat support post. This will involve you tightening the main clamp screw until, when clamped, the connection is secure. Tightening of the main clamp screw in done by turning the clamp clockwise.
- Place the end of the adjustable arm into the sliding support and then find a point to clamp the arm to the frame. The closer to a 90-degree angle that is formed the better as this will provide the most amount of support to the rack.
- The most important part in finding a spot is finding a spot in which your clamps will not interfere with the transmission or brake lines in a way that cannot be circumvented by placing the line on the outside of the clamp or inside of the space above the clamp but below the Allen screw that attaches to the support arms.
- Place a single long rubber stopper into the clamp and then tighten down in a similar fashion to that of the main clamp installed in step 4. At this point it is important to ensure that the clamp does not interfere with any transmission or brake lines the bike may have. With the Rock Bros rear rack 4 long rubber stoppers are included, 2 extra in case your bikes frame is too thin for the clamp to make a secure fit.
- Tighten the Allen screw which controls the sliding function of the adjustable arm. Along with the Allen screw which connects the arm to the clamp.
- Complete the installation by sliding the included reflector to the rear of the rack. The small circle on the back of the reflector indicates the top side.
- The finished product should look similar to this.
If you’d like to upgrade your tool box for doing projects like this, read my article on Mountain Bike Tools – The Ultimate List https://www.diymountainbike.com/tools/
The main rack can be adjusted to be farther away from the seat or closer to the seat by loosening the two Allen screws on the bottom of the rack as well as the two Allen screws that control the sliding function of the adjustable arms.
I’ve really enjoyed using the IBERA Rack, it’s coming in handy for my almost daily commutes to the post office and store.
MTB Tools I Love and Recommend
I own each of these tools and only recommend things I own and use.
- Bike Hand Bike Repair Stand. Nice mountain bikes don’t have a kick stand so keeping your MTB safe but conveniently stored is essential. I keep my bike on my stand whenever I’m not riding it. This makes it easy to lube the chain, inflate the tires and adjust the derailleur. Highly recommended – Bike Hand Bike Repair Stand (👈 Link to Amazon to see what thousands of others have said)
- A basic MTB toolbox for replacing a chain, adjusting brakes and dialing in the fit. Bike Hand has a 37-piece box that has most of the specialty bike tools to keep your MTB properly maintained. The Bike Hand brand is value packed for the avid rider. Check out the competitive prices with this link to Amazon 👉 Bike Hand 37 pcs Bike Repair Tool Kit
- Get a good air pressure gauge, if you get just a tiny bit serious about MTBing you’re going to start playing with tire pressure. A couple psi can make your tires sticking or not. Get a good gauge, I highly recommend the Topeak Smartgauge D2, it’s accurate, flexible and easy to use. An Amazon best seller, here’s a link 👉 Topeak Smartgauge D2
- Carry a multitool with you on every ride. I’m serious, most of the time you can MacGyver something to get back to the trailhead if you have a multitool. I’ve got the Crank Brothers M19, it’s worn, rubbed and abused – but it still works. Thousands sold on Amazon – check it out with this link 👉 Crank Brothers M19
Installing a Bike Rack without Braze-Ons or Eyelets (If your rack doesn’t come included with quick release clamps)
What are Mountain Bike Braze-Ons?
They are any part of the bicycle that has been permanently attached to the frame. An example of this would be small tubular structures which are welded on to the frame of the bicycle as to route the brake cables neatly from the breaks to the handlebars.
Braze-Ons could be used to create a mounting point on your bicycles frame to attach the adjustable support arms or even the main structural connection to the center post. These can be added post manufacturing by the user or even as a part of mass production.
What are Bike Eyelets?
They are threaded portions of the bicycle frame found near either the front or rear axle. For mounting a rear cargo rack the eyelets in question would be the rear dropout eyelets found above the rear axle on your bike.
How do I get around not halving them? Well, as I already said some cargo racks (Like the IBERA) come included with quick release clamps. If your rack does not come with these clamps then there is a way to make a Braze-On like mounting point for not a lot of money. The solution is to use insulated P-clamps.
Attach the P-clamp to the frame and then tighten the screw through the clamp with a lock nut on the other side to create a secure mounting point. You will need to find a P-clamp with an internal diameter that is slightly smaller than that of the bikes frame as the tightening of the screw will clamp the support to the frame and therefore not allow any movement. This will prevent shaking or even worse a failure of the mounting point entirely.
DIY MTB Pro Tip: Want even more bike carrying ability? Check out a set of pannier bags. I’ve got a complete guide 👉 Can You Put Pannier Bags on an MTB?
What are Panniers? And do I need One?
Panniers are bags that attach directly to the frame of your bicycle or that hang from an already installed cargo rack. There are panniers that attach to your main seat support directly, there are also those which connect to the sides or either a rear or front cargo rack.
The main use of a pannier is when you either need to carry a lot of stuff or you need to carry stuff that has to be in a waterproof environment. Although, it is important to note that they are not all waterproof. They are much better than trying to carry a bag on your back in terms of keeping a low center of gravity to ensure good balance. They are also less strain on you due to the fact that you do not have to carry them.
If you’d like to check out a nice inexpensive pannier, I would recommend looking at the Ibera Bicycle Bag PakRak with Clip-On Quick Release. (links to Amazon to check out the price and 100’s of reviews) The neat thing with this Pannier is that it is a little more weather resistant than other bike bags.
You do not need a pannier if your backpack can already be strapped to a rear cargo rack or if you are not carrying that much stuff in the first place. However, if you plan to take any trips or any sort of long rides with your bike a pannier can be an extremely worthwhile investment by saving you time and energy.
I really recommend the IBERA Rack, I’ve put over 40 lbs of books and groceries in a milk crate and it has worked fantastic. Seriously check it out link 👉 Ibera Bike Rack (link goes to Amazon for prices and hundreds of reviews)
Want some more DIY Mountain Biking Articles?
Afraid of hitting the open road and getting lost? Or heck you just want to track where you’ve been. Read this article on The Best Mountain Bike GPS
To keep your Mountain Bike running smooth, you need to do a little maintenance. Read about the maintenance schedule I recommend here. DIY Mountain Bike Maintenance Schedule
Wnat to convert your mountain bike into a road machine. Read this article How to Make Your MTB More Road Friendly.