Empowering The Bicycle Traveler

Salsa Wanderlust Rear Bicycle Rack

Recently I experienced some discomfiture when I realized the Salsa Wanderlust rear rack would not fit on a Surly Long Haul Trucker. Because the top platform was so long and extended so far forward it actually came into contact with the seat stays, making it impossible to mount the rack so that the top platform was level. Apparently the rack was designed to fit certain Salsa bicycles; those with pronounced top tube slope, short seat stays and lots of seat post showing. This implied a positive short sightedness on the part of Salsa. The expression of my discombobulation to the good folks at Salsa seemed to go unheeded.

More recently we restocked our Salsa Wanderlust racks and brought in one of the new Heavy Duty versions of the rack. Turns out somebody was listening! Both versions of the rack have been redesigned and now fit beautifully on the LHT and Disc Truckers as well as the Cross Check and, I imagine, most other bikes. (as of 12/9/2013 the Salsa site still says-“NOTE: Designed as a rear rack solution for Salsa Fargo and Vaya frames. This rack may not work well with traditional touring frames that feature level toptubes.”)

rear rack on surly bike

When mounted on the 700c Disc Trucker there is plenty of clearance to the seat stays. Notice how far rearward the top platform sits.

rear rack on bike

The H.D. version of the Wanderlust sits a little lower than the standard version, but still clears a 700c wheel

pannier bags on rear rack

Panniers are back and down on the Wanderlust racks; good for bikes with shorter chain stays, such as cross bikes. (Your heels won’t hit the bags)

The new Wanderlust racks place the top platform well behind the seat stays, lower than most other racks. The middle pannier carrying rail is lower too. This means you can get your panniers low and out of the way of your heels if you have relatively short chain stays. (touring bikes will have chain stays in the 44 to 46 cm range, measured from the center of the crank to the center of the rear dropouts). The other thought that occurred to me is that there might even still be space for a capacious saddlebag; say the Frost River Caribou Trail for example, in addition to a bag on top of the rack.
two racks

The wanderlust H.D. on the left has a slightly narrower top.

racks side by side

The H.D. version in the foreground is wider at the bottom.

Salsa rack hardware

Simple, robust hardware.

wanderlust and logo

With the lower attachment points more or less aligned it is apparent the top platform of the Salsa Wanderlust (in front) will be well aft of that on the Tubus Logo. (rear)

This didn’t start out as comparison between these racks and the Tubus Logo but one is inevitable since the new heavy duty Wanderlust is in the same price range; $140 for the Salsa Wanderlust H.D. and $150 for the Tubus Logo. Both racks are made of steel but the Logo is lighter by almost half a pound or 195 grams. I weighed the Logo at 1 lb. 13 oz. (840 grams). The Logo also has a greater rated load capacity at 40 kilograms or 88 pounds, whereas the H.D Wanderlust has a rated capacity of 25 kilograms or 55 pounds. The standard Wanderlust is made of aluminum and weighs in at 800 grams or 1 lb. 12 oz.; close to the weight of the Tubus Logo, but it has less rated capacity at 15 kilograms or 33 pounds. In fairness it also costs $55 less than the Logo.

These new Salsa racks get the Bike Hermit™ Seal of Approval. For those who have bikes with shorter chain stays but still want to carry a pretty significant load, the Wanderlust H.D. is a good alternative. And the standard Wanderlust is a sturdy, well designed rack that should handle most bicycle touring duties with equanimity.

3 comments… add one
  • jay July 1, 2015, 10:29 pm

    Thank you for this comparison!

  • Kyle Bradley September 4, 2015, 3:51 pm

    Will any of these racks fit a salsa Fargo? 2014/2015?

    have you guys had any experience trying to fit a front rack onto a Fargo?

    • Bike Hermit™ September 8, 2015, 10:19 am

      The Wanderlust should fit fine on the Fargo. Salsa made the Minimalist rack for the front of the Fargo but it has now discontinued. If you want a lowrider rack take a look at the Down Under from Salsa or the Tubus Duo.


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