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I'd like to get a rack for my bike (Haibike Land). The problem is that the bottom screws are blocked by the disc brake:

Rear wheel

(If it is not obvious from the photo, the brake and its mounting screws are in the way of the rack.)

Are there any solutions for this problem? In my LBS they just told me that bikes with disc brakes are not meant to have racks (although they've told me this after telling me it should fit fine and ordering it). But I'm sure I'm not the only one with this issue.

I've thought I could put some washer or spacer there but I'm a bit worried about the torque caused by such solution.


EDIT

To clear things up, here is the side photo (from bottom in the direction of the saddle):

Side view

  • 1
    This is indeed a common issue. If you use spacers, I suggest staying away from washers; there are hard plastic spacers that are made for the task. I've used them for touring loads, and never had a problem. – Neil Fein Apr 13 '11 at 20:26
  • I must say I'm not familiar with the english hardware nomenclature. What is exactly the difference between a washer and a spacer? – Czechnology Apr 14 '11 at 11:33
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    A washer is typically much much wider than it is thick, and is used to spread the squeezing force of the fastener over a wider area. A spacer is typically much longer than it is wide, and is used to add space between the two objects being fastened. – whatsisname Apr 14 '11 at 15:38
  • Same terminology as I'm used to here in the states. – Neil Fein Apr 14 '11 at 18:10
  • yes i use their touring rack with panniers and works very very well.....A+ – user2143 Aug 16 '11 at 8:20
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2019 Update

Racks specifically designed for bikes with Disc brakes have become much more common. It shouldn't be hard to find something now.

Original 2011 answer

I think the LBS is partially correct, that bikes with disc brakes aren't generally designed to hold a rack. That said, I think there's a few solutions (other than getting a bike built to have disc brakes and a rack):

  1. Get a seat-post (or similar) mounted rack. Downsides: very low weight limit, often not good at holding panniers, and probably prone to spinning around.
  2. Use "p-clamps" instead of the built-in holes. These are rubber-covered clamps that would go around the seat stays to give you a hole for a rack up above the problematic disc brake stuff. This is more usually done on bikes that simply don't have a place to bolt anything on. Downsides: may put the rack too far up, may put the rack too far forward, may slide, may not be as strong.
  3. Spacers and a longer bolt with a somewhat wide rack. So that the rack's stays run to the outside of the brake hardware. It seems to me that too much weight would tend to try to bend the bolts down and the holes up. Would be much better if you could find a rack that could use both holes.
  4. I don't know the right term, but it might be possible to find a metal piece that screws into both of those holes and gives you a new hole behind that location. I've seen some racks mounted like that to get the rack back further for more heel clearance.
  5. There are racks made to go on bikes with disc brakes. The one I found first ( http://www.topeak.com/products/Racks/ExplorerTubularRack_discMount ) basically has the spacer I suggest in #3 built in. The second one I found ( http://www.tubus.com/en/rear-carriers/disco ) basically comes into the holes from behind instead of directly above, like I suggest in #4.

A rack specifically designed to mount on a bike with disc brakes would be best, of course. The other options might be cheaper.

  • A disc specific rack is probably the best option. I have the TopPeak Super Tourist disc model on my Genesis Day one. The down arms are wider and have long plastic spacers to give clearance around the brakes. – Qwerky Jan 7 at 12:18
  • @Qwerky Yeah, they weren't so common back in 2011; I updated the answer to reflect that it's easier to get disc specific racks now. – freiheit Jan 7 at 17:10
4

Get a disc-compatible rack. Two excellent options are the Old Man Mountain racks and the Tubus Disco.

A long bolt with spacers can also be made to work, but you'll want to use a high-quality stainless bolt, keep the weight minimal (less than 15kg) and probably carry a spare bolt along as well.

  • I've used the Old Man Mountain racks and been very happy. I still have a front platform rack. The built in spacer approach they use works really wekk because the spacer is built in and beefy enough to take quite a load without applying a bending moment to the bolt (or the frame). They come with extra-long steel QR skewers to suit. Which makes it somewhat annoying to take the wheel off, but it's the (second) least awful solution. The best solution is proper rack mounts on the bike. I mean, the frame is designed for disk brakes, right? So it should have mounting points that work with disks. – Мסž Apr 13 '11 at 21:42
  • As seen in the photo I've editted in my answer, the spacer would only have to be about 5mm. The Old Man Mountain rack adds a space of almost 3cm. I'd rather use a solution with the spacer instead of using the wheel axle to mount the rack. – Czechnology Apr 14 '11 at 13:01
  • I gotta say, the OMM racks are pretty expensive, are they worth it? – Czechnology Apr 14 '11 at 13:01
  • Your new pictures help quite a bit. With that small of an offset needed I'd just use a spacer. – lantius Apr 14 '11 at 21:33
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    If you can safely mount a 500-700 pound engine to an engine stand using just three 3/8 inch bolts, then putting in a 5mm spacer is totally fine, as long as the spacer is wide enough to fully support the bolt. Most people underestimate the shear strength of a bolt. If the included bolt is too flimsy, get a stronger one that's the same size. (I recognise that this is an old answer, just adding my input.) – user23374 Sep 20 '16 at 0:01
3

One interesting solution I've found (haven't tested it though):

Freeload rack

Freeload

Bracket detail

Installation

Should be able to hold up to 25 kg according to the manufacturer.

Has anybody seen this in action?

  • 2
    No, and despite their claims I wouldn't be mountain biking with my touring panniers on those things. It just looks like an invitation to disaster. But as a way to carry the bare minimum survival gear for MTB rides, they look great. (too many people forget that a couple of hours ride in can be more than a days walk back out if there's a problem). – Мסž May 1 '11 at 22:35
  • I haven't been on a full off-road tour with these, but I've done about 1000 km of commuting with them carrying about 10-15kg, trying them on the front and rear. They are great! I've had Old Man Mountain, and Topeak racks for disc brakes. These feel just as good. You can mount them front or rear, even to suspension fork! or if you have no mount points on rear triangle. Get the side mounts though if you're running panniers. Can't agree with @Moz here. These feel solid. – Jason S Nov 18 '11 at 2:07
2

You can get some spacers, but you wouldn't be able to safely put much weight on it. Probably not much more weight than you could using a seatpost mounted rack. You're pretty much out of luck.

What the LBS guys said is correct concerning most disc braked bikes. There are bicycles that have disc brakes that are intended to have racks. For example, I have a salsa fargo, which is such a bike. However, the Fargo, and other similar bikes, mount the disc brake caliper in the rear triangle. enter image description here

  • Do you think that the solution with spacers is so bad? At least the right side could be fastened without spacers (the slight asymetric disproportion shouldn't be a problem) and overall it wouldn't swing so much as a seatpost-mounted rack. imho. – Czechnology Apr 13 '11 at 18:47
  • It's hard to say. It might be fine. It also might not and will wait until you go over a bump at high speed to decide to fail. – whatsisname Apr 13 '11 at 19:33
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    Spacers would only add a bending load in the bolt. A couple of 5mm steel bolts are reasonably strong. – mgb Apr 13 '11 at 19:53
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    I disagree, unless we're talking about very long spacers (say, a half inch or longer) and very heavy loads (more than a touring load). I'd be hesitant to use long spacers on, for example, a delivery bike. – Neil Fein Apr 13 '11 at 20:30
  • I have seen racks that come with spacers, and I have seen them fail. The "good" failures are when the bolt shears, the bad ones are when the bolt bends, deforms the hole and rips out of the frame. The latter wrecks both the rack and mounting hole in the frame. – Мסž Apr 13 '11 at 21:39

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