I'm planning a 5 day trip on my Trek Madone 4.5. We are planning on staying motels so don't need to carry camping equipment. I need to find some type of rack that is compatible with my carbon frame - I would prefer a rack that could carry more than a seat post rack ( seat post is carbon)

I would welcome any suggestions - since this is a one off trip I would prefer not to buy a new bike.

  • 1
    Do you know if frame has eyelets to mount the rack? If so I'd use it no question. If not, there are frame bags and "bike packing" type bags that you can mount without extra hardware. Carrying cargo on your back is not ideal as it gets hot and uncomfortable. But that's always an option too. You might consider renting a bike with racks/panniers already mounted if your cannot accommodate the hardware. Can you post some pictures of your frame?
    – ebrohman
    Mar 27, 2016 at 14:24
  • You might be stuck with a backpack. If your frame hasn't got mountings then it shouldn't have something strapped on the carbon fibre at all.
    – Criggie
    Mar 28, 2016 at 7:04
  • This may now be a duplicate of attach bike trailer to carbon frame
    – Móż
    Mar 28, 2016 at 23:26

2 Answers 2


The safest way to carry luggage on a carbon frame is to use a trailer, like the BOB trailers.

enter image description here

Carbon frames are very strong, but each area of the frame is designed and tested for the loads it expects from a given direction. Adding luggage to a frame not designed for it, i.e. Without braze-one or threaded mounts, is generally a bad idea.

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    Be aware that some trailer mounts clamp onto your chainstay (mine does, and its dreadful!) This would be a bad thing on a carbon fibre frame. Some trailers have seatpost mounts, this would be just as bad for you. Your best option for trailer towing is an axle mount-hopefully your skewer is long enough.
    – Criggie
    Mar 28, 2016 at 7:08
  • 1
    A trailer is the usual solution. And a longer skewer is easy to find, much easier than modifying the frame. Questions like "One vs Two Wheeled Trailer" might help too.
    – Móż
    Mar 28, 2016 at 23:19

After some thought, your only options are

1) Backpack - hot and sweaty, not particularly large and affects your posture. I've ridden with a tramping (hiking) pack to move my toolkit about, and its not ideal. A smaller day pack would work better, or even a hydration pack if your load is smallish. Some people like sling-style messenger bags.

2) A fanny pack / bum bag / waist bag / hip bag. Not very large in capacity. enter image description here

3) Frame bag - These fill in your main triangle and fasten on with Velcro/hook-and-loop. The loops shouldn't damage your carbon because there is no bolt clamping force. Downsides they block your bottle cages, and in side winds they can be sails. enter image description here

4) trailer - as mentioned in another answer.

5) Freight - At each place you're staying, ship yourself a largish courier bag with clothes and whatever, with the expectation of picking it up on arrival. You can shove your dirty clothes in and ship it back home. This has a fairly high cost, but means you travel light. Plus you have to plan ahead for what you'll need. Not a complete replacement for the others, but may allow you to get away with the fanny pack alone.

6) Go ultra-light - take as little as possible. Wash your stuff in the motel overnight. Wear your oldest most ratty clothes, and chuck them out after a couple days, after you buy new clothes (note: order is important here)

7) Thanks OJS for this one - a saddle bag which hangs most of its weight on the saddle rails, and only an anti-wobble strap around the seat post. Downside, they may interfere with the back of your thighs while pedalling.

enter image description here

Any other suggestions?

  • 1
    Saddle pack. Not the small ones, but Carradice of Nelson style.
    – ojs
    Mar 28, 2016 at 9:37
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    +1 for the frame bag mention. They are seriously awesome (I've done a fair amount of distance racing with them). If you are touring, bottles may be not enough fluids anyway. I recommend a light camelbak and a frame bag. Mar 28, 2016 at 17:23
  • @ojs Good point - added.
    – Criggie
    Mar 28, 2016 at 22:32
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    Thanks for your advice - has anyone any thoughts on one of these radonneur racks which are designed to attach to a carbon seatpost arkel-od.com/en/arkel-randonneur-rack.html
    – Jo S
    Mar 28, 2016 at 23:23
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    @joS personally I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole. If you do go that way, make sure your frame and seatpost warranties are not voided by this attachment.
    – Criggie
    Mar 29, 2016 at 0:28

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