I've heard people talk a lot about Old Man Mountain racks. What other options are there? Roughly speaking, in your experience, how do they compare?

I'm specifically interested in this for touring but that probably goes without saying given the product.

I have a set of ortlieb front runner bags. so i just need the racks to attach them over mount bike suspension forks.

  • i wound up with the thule bike pack n pedal tour rack. had them for a year now. did one 400k trip w them and they've been on my bike ever since. they're still going strong. would highly recommend – very adaptable and reasonably priced.
    – jon
    Apr 17, 2015 at 10:41

4 Answers 4


Get the rack first or get them together. You need the panniers to attach solid. Not all racks have the same places to attach. I have Surly Ortleib combo but that is like $200.

An over the top design like this gives you more storage. And you could lash some stuff and maybe skip the panniers. Those two little tabs on the bottom are nice for lashing. enter image description here

SurlyRack Give yourself an hour or two to install. Lots spacers and lots of positions.

And on a fork look for threads at the bottom of the fork and mid fork. That bike also has threads on the inside for another attachment point but don't worry about that. Go to the gallery. Vaya

  • my apologies. i meant to say that im looking for racks only. i actually have the pannier bags already – a set of orliebs that i got for a song on ebay (2 front and 2 back. So really im wondering about which brands to research for the front racks.
    – jon
    Jun 21, 2014 at 14:39
  • 1
    For me the Orlieb works great with this rack.
    – paparazzo
    Jun 21, 2014 at 14:40
  • so "surly" is the name of the company that makes these racks? what is the model you use?
    – jon
    Jun 21, 2014 at 14:41
  • so does this rack work w/ suspension forks? just double checking cause their description makes it sound like they might not work w/ suspension forks.
    – jon
    Jun 21, 2014 at 18:25
  • 1
    A am reading does and the kit came with some big clamps. But same bet is to check with them.
    – paparazzo
    Jun 21, 2014 at 21:14


Fits pretty much any bike, front or rear, with or without suspension. Adding the side rails gives you lower center of gravity.


Racks specific for front suspension are not so common and there are questions often raised about the handling effects. Personally I have a Tubus Swing rack on my Giant XTC 2 and have found that works well, but then I am not a technical off road rider :).

On the downside I believe that Tubus have stopped making the Swing so it may be harder to find. That said it is still listed on their website so the rumours maybe incorrect. If it is true I think this leaves you with the option only of the Old Man Mountain offerings.

Tubus Swing fitted to a Giant XTC 2

Tubus Swing in action on the Munda Biddi Trail

Regards Andrew


Edit: Front pannier rack for suspension fork

Load on wheel or on frame:

  1. Front rack mounted on the suspension fork
  2. Front rack mounted on the frame

I'm not sure if there is a preference between the two. Anyway, the latest recommendation for loaded touring is to have wide balloon tyres, research shows they give better comfort vs. suspension forks.

Vertical position:

  1. Mid and high rider
  2. Low rider


I have a Cannondale Fifty-Fifty, it has a front suspension fork (Fatty Headschock). After a lot of investigation, I decided to get an Old Man Mountain Pioneer. It needed a bit of fiddling at the beginning, but afterwards it mounted well. Ortlieb Front Roller Plus panniers are hanging on the lower bars of the rack. This was the main reason to get the Pioneer, so the center of gravity can be a bit lower. The rack is rock solid, works excellent. I have been on several long tours with it, works well.

The only difficulty I have is that there are three bottle cages+bottles mounted on my frame. The bottle on the downside of the downtube is kicked by the panniers when the wheel flips over.

With a usually "wheel centered" pannier mounting this wouldn't happen, or with a safety latch found on the headtube of Idworx or Tout Terrain bikes.

Cannondale HeadShock Fatty suspension forks with Old Man Mountain Pioneer front rack

Suspension Fork specific racks:

In case you don't have mid-fork eyelets, and it is needed:

Tubus says it's not good for suspension forks, because you need to be careful not to overtighten these (you can damage the fork).

Other brands and makes to consider, depending on your forks mounting possibilities:

  • Nitto M12
  • Nitto M18
  • Racktime Top-it
  • Sella-Berolinum mini-porteur
  • Surly Front Rack
  • VO Porteur Front-Rack
  • Basil Memories Front Gepäckträger
  • Copenhagen Parts Bike Porter
  • HEBIE Low Rider
  • Tubus Nova
  • Tubus Smarti
  • Tubus Tara

A video and article about the Freeload Touring Front rack: Video Article

The Giant Expedition AT has suspension forks, and factory supplied racks:

Giant Expedition AT

Tubus Montagesets:

Tubus LM-1 Tubus LM-BF

  • 1
    Headshok's are a bit different in shape than a normal suspension fork, so im not sure it will necessarily carry over.
    – Batman
    Jun 29, 2014 at 17:26
  • They do, as the racks mount to: Axe + Brake screws. If there are no brake screws, there are metal bands to mount directly to the fork. The mounting positions can be adjusted accordingly to the fork. I think these OMM racks can mount on any type of forks, including suspension forks. The Tubus Low rider and similar however can mount only to forks that have eyelets.
    – olee22
    Jun 30, 2014 at 12:03
  • 1
    I've added a picture of my rack.
    – olee22
    Jun 30, 2014 at 14:19

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