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Is there a rear rack that has a long platform (over 16in/40cm) where there's a flat space to set things on top (as opposed to just tubes)? With a two-leg kickstand to position the bike relatively level, the rear would serve as a tiny table.

There used to be a commercial option:

Several others aren't quite right:

So what options do I have to get my hands on a rear rack with a long flat platform that would be suitable for touring?

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  • 1
    As written, this is a bit of a shopping question, but I could see a non-shopping answer
    – Chris H
    Jan 6 at 14:55
  • 1
    @AndyP I'm hoping the OP will re-write; if not I might get around to it
    – Chris H
    Jan 6 at 15:10
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    @CarlSam you may need to shift other stuff forwards , in the worst case, but it's not too bad. I extended my rear rack to hang off the back behind a child seat with no real problems. The child seat was directly over the back axle and a pannier (usually adult+child swimming stuff) behind it. My D lock has lived on the fork ever since, and loading a handlebar bag with the heavier stuff was useful if carrying even more than normal. I'm quite heavy and tall myself though, giving me a slight advantage
    – Chris H
    Jan 6 at 22:02
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    Close vote retracted. It's borderline but a good non shopping related answer is worth preserving
    – Andy P
    Jan 7 at 12:30
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    @AndyP and now we've got another answer (buy but modify, fairly generic) from Renaud - as I hoped we would. But nothing from the OP.
    – Chris H
    Jan 7 at 13:40

3 Answers 3

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There's the Wald Woody for example, with a plywood top, and I've seen a few similar ones, but I suggest you get a rack that suits you and DIY the top plate.

I'd probably use 6mm plywood, well varnished after drilling the mounting holes, or 3-4mm aluminium sheet, with the edge nicely smoothed. If you're feeling fancy, 2mm aluminium sheet and a sheet metal bender (try to borrow one) would allow you to fold the edges over for extra stiffness and protection. If there's a lot of overhang, you might want to go slightly thicker, or reinforce the deck. Wood is rather hard-wearing, while aluminium will fail through flexing due to vibrations (I've had a custom mudguard bracket snap on the first day of a long trip and that was aluminium)

To fix it down:

  • If you can handle protrusions use U bolts sized to fit the top rails of the rack. U bolts with 8 and 10mm gaps are sold for clamping wires, with a backing plate you'd omit. Example with a fairly stable website but you can find them for far less.
  • If you want it easy, just use heavy duty cable ties.
  • Fixing dead flat is a bit trickier but pairs of countersunk machine screws in the top deck with either aluminium plates and nuts forming a bridge under each rail you're attaching to, or the backing plates from the U-bolts I linked above, again with nuts.

If you want it long only when stopped, halve the length and put a hinge forwards of the rearmost support, so it unfolds, like this (click for full size):

Hinged rack

DIY has the advantage that you can really customise it to fit your load, use, and bike. You could, for example, make it fairly wide and drill holes near the edge for tie-downs, or add a recessed cup holder as in the arms of folding camping chairs - it's really up to you. Just make sure everything is rock-solid and no one will walk into the bike if you want to put a stove on there (or better, cook on the ground).

If you use rather box-like panniers, resting across the top of those may work with a hinge running along the length, but forget that if you use roll-top panniers.

This all assumes bulk rather than really heavy weight, for which you might need to use a stronger construction - but you'd also need a heavy-duty rack in that case.

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  • Nice find, but a bit short. I updated the question to include a more specific length. It would be for touring, so wood/DIY probably wouldn't last the trip. Attaching an aluminum sheet to a rack without a tombstone would do the trick with the right hands and tools.
    – Laoshi
    Jan 7 at 15:48
  • Well-varnished wood would resist water well, and wood is tough so good for handling loads and vibration. It's better in many ways than aluminium, but would be heavier. Aluminium might actually need some stiffening sticking out that far beyond the rack frame. Not too hard - either some more tube (perhaps square-section) or bend the edges down 90°. That's quite an overhang over the back wheel so you'd need to check viewing angles for your rear light, and perhaps make a new mount for it
    – Chris H
    Jan 7 at 15:57
  • Slightly silly idea - start from a small skateboard deck
    – Chris H
    Jan 7 at 15:59
  • While aluminum plate is easy to bend, the material suffers significantly. If there's any force transmitted through the bend, that's where the part will fail. And it'll fail quickly. This is especially true for thick material like 2mm plate. 5mm aluminum simply breaks before you get it into a 90° angle. Better use stainless steel if you want to use bending, or avoid bending and use aluminum square tubes or L-beams from your local hardware store. Jan 7 at 18:57
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    @MaplePanda it would look good too. Too cool for me
    – Chris H
    Jan 7 at 19:30
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If your goal is to carry reasonably long but light items, another DIY way would be to take an adapter for a known attachment system and screw a plywood plate on it — or you can also go more custom.

The picture below shows the example for a RackTime Snap-It rack, but there are other systems (for example, KlickFix — if someone knows another one, just write it in the comments).

The advantage of this approach is that it's super easy to remove your attachment when you don't need it. But you may need to change your rack to have something with the system you've chosen.

Note that there are many available attachments for these systems, maybe there's one that could fit your needs.

But for very long or heavy items, there's a risk of going too far off design specifications. A (longtail) cargo bike might be a better solution.

Racktime SnapIt adapter

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I extended a rear rack I had by popping off the aft-most plastic part, and fitting some scrap metal tubes of a suitable ID. Worked well enough, photos below. I also "decked" the carrier with some tough plastic, forming a serviceable mudguard up to about the seat stays.

One problem with widening a rack is that you may suffer from thigh strike if the platform is wide enough too soon.

Lengthening a rack can put any "clamp" mechanism in an oddly "forward" position, as pictured. Some modern racks have fancy proprietary clamp/rail systems which may get in the way or not work.

Another option is to fit a front rack/basket to your bike as well, and carry loads there where you can see them.

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