How to Install a Rear Bike Rack in 5 Steps and More Hacks

Here, we give step-by-step rear bike rack installation instructions, as well as share some tips on how you can use it.
Gloria Bussey
Gloria Bussey
Product Research and Writer
Gloria is a talented writer based in Chattanooga, TN and enjoys kayaking and mountain biking. She graduated with a business degree in 2007 and is now working on a master's i read more
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Steven Martin
Steven Martin
Vehicle Fit Expert and Consultant
Steven is a skilled car mechanic based in Denver, CO. He's a passionate hiker, devoted backcountry camper and his mechanic expertise allows him to maximize space in any vehi read more
Last updated: September 12, 2023
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As a minivan rear bike rack is for carrying items (bikes in most cases), be it a rear, rooftop, or spare tire model, so also is a rear luggage bicycle rack. In case you feel the need to transport objects, place baskets at the rear of your bicycle or even have a passenger, then you have to mount a rear bike rack. 

You don’t need a degree to do it but there are certain steps to follow and features to ensure are in place. Each bicycle is different and the criteria to be taken into account are many. Therefore, the best thing to do is to go to your dealer or check for product reviews of these items online and buy one. If you finally have one, then we can now see together how to install a rear bike rack. It takes no time or rocket science. 

How Does a Rear Bike Rack Work?

On the market, there are many models of bicycle luggage racks. In particular, two types are widely used by urban and sports cyclists: in the first place of course we find the classic fixed bicycle rack. It is a model that is fixed to the bike using various screws and cannot be disassembled quickly. In general, they are perfect for those who have a city bike. 

For the type of cyclist who does not want to change the aesthetic look of his MTB (or city bike) bike, you can opt for the second model which is a bike rack on the seat post. These types of luggage racks are fixed to the saddle holder of the bike with a lever mechanism that makes them defined as quick release.

You can find steel or aluminum bike racks (certainly lighter) on the market. The aluminum bike rack is usually categorized into three types: bike rack with sidebars, without bars, and fixed bike rack.

The luggage racks with sidebars (both at the seat post and fixed) are useful to protect the wheel of your bike from loads that could end up between the spokes, certainly causing damage.

The bike rack to the seat post is also used on those bike models that do not have the holes to fix the normally fixed luggage racks, such as medium/high range MTB bikes or racing bikes.

Apart from the more expensive models, the luggage racks on the market are normally supplied without fixing screws. This is no problem, however. There are normal threaded screws that can be found in your trusted hardware store.

We know that the assembly of these bike accessories for those who are not very experienced may seem difficult. But it is easier than you think. Just buy the correct bike accessory such as the luggage rack suitable for the size of the bike wheel and everything will be very simple and intuitive.

Rear Bike Rack Installation

How to Install a Rear Bike Rack in 5 Steps and More Hacks
Installing a rear bike rack is a breeze even though it may seem more difficult than installing a front rack. In this section, we’ll tell you what comes with a rear bike rack kit and the steps to mounting it. 

What Usually Comes with a Rear Bike Rack

Some of the items which come with a rear bike rack are the integrated top plate, a hollow tube, an aluminum fitting bracket, quick track trunk bags, and an integrated fender. 

Other things you’ll need for a successful installation of the rack are the:

  • The bicycle
  • Screwdriver
  • Wrench

Installing the Rack Step By Step

Installing a rack on your bike is an easy task. You just need a little know-how. By following the next steps, you’ll have your bike rack ready to go in no time.

Before you get started, ensure your bike can accept a rack; meaning it needs to have braised ons or threaded eyelets. Also, make sure you have the correct rack; for example, if your bike has disc brakes, you may need a disc-specific rack. 

Step 1

Lay out all the parts of your rack making sure you have all the nuts, bolts, washers and rack stays. If you’re yet to get a bike rack, one of the models we can recommend is the Ibera Bike Rack. Made for 26 to 29-inch frames, this is the number 1 best-selling bike cargo rack online. 

Step 2

Start by putting four bolts through the top of the rack. Then place the stays underneath so the bolts go through the slots. 

Step 3

Hand tighten the nut onto each bolt. Now bolt the lower legs of the rack into the threaded eyelet at the rear of your bike frame, again, just tightening these bolts by hand. This is because you still need to adjust the final position of the rack. 

Step 4

Next, attach the end of the stays to the braze-ons on the frame below the saddle. You might need to bend the stays a little bit. To get the perfect fit when the rack is level and parallel to the ground, tighten all the bolts starting with a four on the top of the rack. 

Step 5

When you tighten the bolts on the lower legs, make sure the bolt on the drivetrain side doesn’t interfere with the chain. If it does, use extra washers or a shorter bolt. 

Step 6

Ensure that the rack doesn’t interfere with the braking and the shifting capabilities of your bike. Make sure you don’t exceed the rack’s weight limit and that anything that you put on your rack won’t get tangled in your rear wheel.

How to Add a Reflector or Light Mount

A reflector is particularly useful when driving at night. It allows greater visibility of the cyclist in shady, dark, and dangerous roads. 

However, if your bicycle has no reflector, you can buy and add one yourself. Recommended by experts, the Planet Bike Red bike tail light meets federal law requirements and also doubles as a reflector. You can add a reflector by following the steps below.

How to Install a Rear Bike Rack in 5 Steps and More Hacks

Step 1 

Familiarize yourself with bike safety laws. You should have a clear reflector on the front of your bike, a red reflector on the rear, and clear or amber reflectors recessed on the front and rear of the pedals. Also, you should have a reflective wheel 

Step 2

Research state laws to see if your state has specific requirements for reflectors, headlights, or taillights. Make sure you comply with these regulations.

Step 3 

If the bike does not currently have a reflector on the rear, place a red, three-panel reflector on the seat post. Three-panel models are designed to be illuminated from a variety of angles. Make sure it is mounted parallel to the ground and pointed directly behind you so that cars coming from behind will be illuminated with their headlights.

Step 4

Place a reflector on each wheel, if you do not have white reflective tires. Wheel reflectors are typically designed to be mounted on their spokes.

How You Can Use a Rear Bike Rack

How to Install a Rear Bike Rack in 5 Steps and More Hacks

You can use your rear bike racks to secure your baskets, bags, panniers, bungees, and other luggage up to 110 lbs. Meanwhile, there are models which can accommodate up to 115 lbs or more. One of such sturdy racks is the DIRZA Rear Bike Rack. The bicycle cargo rack is adjustable and it has a quick release for ease of assembly and disassembly. 

Many riders also use their luggage bike rack for carrying an extra passenger. However, as bicycles are only a one-man rider tool, we don’t recommend this. Having a passenger reduces the stability and safety.


Final Thoughts

Having a rear rack gives you the freedom to load your lunch or pack for a long-distance ride. Finally, it should be specified that there are different types of rear racks on the market. A rack that fits wheels with a diameter of twenty-six inches often does not fit a bicycle that has wheels with a diameter of twenty-four, or twenty-five inches. Another very important thing to communicate to the retailer is the presence or not of specific attachments for the luggage rack on the wheels of the bike. If you are just starting and want to use your bike, the good news is that you too will find the right rack for the occasion. For example, there are frames and forks prepared and designed for travel, equipped with all the bushings necessary to attach the front and rear luggage racks. And by following the steps on how to install a rear bike rack, you should have no problem mounting the bicycle accessory.

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