Being able to get any type of load off your body and onto the bike will make your riding experience comfortable. There are solutions out there for your gear carrying problems and when the gear is lightweight the solution shouldn’t be too complicated. What is lightweight? Some examples are
- round town errands and you need a place for your handbag/wallet
- simple one bag food shopping, takeaways, milk etc
- commuting to work
- taking the kids for a bike path adventure and you want to pack a lunch or have a place for jackets/jerseys
- multi day back country trail riding where the lighter the load the easier the ride will be
So if you want to be able to do this type of riding… what are the best front or rear bike carriers for lightweight loads?
Single side panniers on a rear bike carrier
You will discover as you use your bike to ride more places, more often that the need for carrying stuff with you can interfere with how you enjoy the ride. To stop any barriers getting in the way when you are choosing to ride your bike or not, use a bike carrier.
When attaching a bike carrier to a bike you have 2 options – front or rear. Rear carriers are traditionally more popular as having weight at the back of your bike doesn’t interfere with your ability to steer, which front loads can do. In saying that if you are a competent rider and your loads are going to be light, using a front carrier can be a simple, easy to use option.
We like to split bike carriers into 3 categories according to there strength and therefore there ability to carry weight. World/long distance/across country touring requires the heavy duty, carry lots type of carrier capacity. Mid weight carriers will see you through most reasonable carrying situations in both the town and 2 to 3 day touring environments (see The Best Rear Carrier for Town/Commute Riding). Lightweight carriers are for simple loads and give you a great alternative to carrying things in a backpack.
Blackburn Deluxe $99 – Fully adjustable, front or rear lightweight bike carrier
Blackburn Deluxe attached to front of bike
Blackburn Deluxe attached to rear of bike
Our first choice for around town riding when you want to carry simple lightweight loads is the Blackburn Deluxe. It’s load capacity is up to 20.5kg. The carrier is fully adjustable – not only do the top bracket or mounting arms pivot but the width of the carrier can be changed. This carrier can be fitted to the front or rear of your bike and it is compatible with disc or non-disc brakes. The Blackburn team believe their carrier will fit the front or rear of most bikes up to a 29″ x 2.5″ wheel circumference and width (see the sidewall of your tyre to get your wheel measurements).
One of the most important features of the Blackburn is that it comes with everything you would possibly need to attach it to a bike. This includes P-Clamps for bike frames that do not have eyelets (screw holes in the frame that let you mount extra things like carriers, mudguards, drink bottle holders).
When carrying lightweight loads on a carrier you have a range of options. These include double panniers (watch your weight limit), single side panniers, a trunk bag that sits on top of the carrier or even attaching baskets. Or simply using a bungy cord to secure a bag of your own – just make sure nothing is hanging down.
Thule Tour Rack $199 – unique clamping attachment to front or rear, ideal for bike packing, lightweight tour/multi-day riding
Thule Tour Rack attached to rear of bike
Compatible with full suspension mountain bikes
The Thule Tour Rack is another lightweight front or rear carrier option that can be used for any type of riding but is really well matched to back country bike packing on mountain bikes. This carrier is compatible with full suspension mountain bikes because of its unique clamping attachment system. These clamps are tightened to the rear seat stays or the front forks of your bike.
The weight limit of 11kg on the rear and 10kg on the front is all you need when exploring remote country trails or for simple day rides.
The Tour Rack is a New Zealand designed product that was brought by Thule in 2017. Since them Thule has designed a range of pannier bags to be used with the rack. These panniers have a 7kg limit on the rear, 6kg on the front and are a great addition to widen the ways to use this carrier. However, for backcountry mountain biking, you simply need a dry bag attached with bungy cords/straps and you will have a secure, dry way of carrying minimal gear.
This carrier can be fully removed in a quick amount of time by simply unlocking the tightened clamps. Another feature of this locking mechanism is that it makes the carrier impossible to remove from your bike without the key. This gives you security when leaving the bike unattended.
Using a Lightweight Bike Carrier – Safety
When you have a loaded bike you must ride within your capabilities and consider the effect of extra weight e.g. brake earlier to stop. Also the distribution of this weight should be as even as possible so that your balance is not greatly affected.
Riding causes vibration up through your bike with some surfaces providing more vibration than others. Vibration can loosen screws on your bike. Please check all attachment points of your carrier regularly for any loosening.
get Inspired and goRide – The Best Front & Rear Bike Carriers for Lightweight Loads
Thanks for reading. Used together our stories, resources & products support you to achieve and develop as a rider.
Bike Carrier Buying Guide
The Best Rear Carrier for Town/Commute Riding – Mid Weight Loads
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