We just received the Tour-It rack and the Travel-It front and Travel-It rear panniers from Racktime for the Bike Touring News Store. Ortlieb, Tubus and Racktime all come from the same company with the Racktime products intended for those who don’t want to pay Ortlieb and Tubus prices.
Naturally, as with any new gear, I had to fiddle around with it and I mounted the rack on Norm, my Surly Cross Check bike and installed one of the rear panniers. I wanted to see what the hardware was like and how well the bags mounted and also I was eager to see how the bags differ from the Ortieb back and front rollers.
The Racktime racks are made of aluminum as opposed to the tubular chrome moly or stainless steel of the Tubus offerings. This rack actually weighed a few ounces more than the Tubus Cosmo stainless steel rack even though the two have nearly identical configurations. Overall the mounting of the rack was simple and straight forward. Screws attach through a hole in the welded plate on the bottom of either side of the rack and into the dropout eyelets on the bike. The spacing was perfect for the 135mm rear blades on the Surly and I didn’t need any shims and there was no prying or spreading of the rack legs either.
The braces which secure the upper platform to the bike are meant to be attached to eyelets on the seat stays, but could be attached to clamps if no eyelets are provided. The other end of the braces then thread through an eyebolt which in turn is bolted to the rack platform. Even though this is a versatile setup, if I was going to make this a permanent attachment I would bend the struts in order to achieve a better alignment. Or else I would cut them shorter. As it was, the vertical sides of the rack interfered and I was unable to tighten things down completely.
I like theminimal hardware on this rack since the fewer pieces and bolts to come loose the better when on the road. The top platform is wide enough to actually be used to carry a sleeping bag or tent and the lower set of rails allow for the attachment of panniers in such a way that they won’t interfere with a load on the top platform. The little pump pegs on the left leg of the rack are a cool idea, but I am unaware of any pumps that will fit on them. I was told that this rack is made as original equipment on some bikes for the European market, and they have their own proprietary pumps. The rack also will work with the Racktime SNAPit components. The rack is rated to carry up to 30 kilograms and the suggested retail is about $65.00.