Ortlieb's Quick Rack is an affordable and versatile luggage system for bikes with eyelets, and even frames without as long as they're not made out of carbon. The rack is super quick to mount and take off, making it an excellent, temporary option for carrying a decent amount of cargo.
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Ortlieb Quick Rack - Technical details
Ortlieb has responded to the resurgence of pannier racks with the Quick Rack. At first glance it might look just like a regular, old-school rack but it takes just 15 seconds to put on and five seconds to take off - a nod to its Project 15-5 codename. This is made possible by the hook system that attaches the rack to pegs attached to the M5 or M6 eyelets.
The rack has a maximum load of 20kg and its 10mm diameter tubing is constructed of aluminium. Weightwise, this one comes in at 580g but Ortlieb also offers a light version that weighs 440g. The only difference is the platform - the light version doesn't have one.
Ortlieb says the rack is compatible with full-suspension bikes and it can be used with carbon frames - assuming it comes with suitable eyelets and doesn’t have a carbon seat post. It can be used with both 26- and 29-inch wheels and the maximum recommended tyre width is 2.35in (c. 59mm). To carry luggage, you can attach almost any pannier bag with hooks or other bags with straps. Additional accessories include mudguards in three widths and the Ortlieb's Quick Rack Seat Stay Adapter for bikes without eyelets.
The rack comes with Ortlieb's standard five-year warranty.
Ortlieb Quick Rack - Performance
This rack has impressed me in the way it offers a lot of functionality at a low price. I am not someone who favours a large saddle bag over a pannier rack but this rack has changed my mind.
The rack comes with great instructions, but with enough nuts and bolts that it did take me a while to get the hang of what goes where. In the end, the only thing you really need to do is attach the hook mounts on your M5 or M6 eyelets, then choose the right rod length (two options) for the seatpost attachment, and connect and tighten them in place. It's worth mentioning that I found the hook levers quite stiff in the beginning, and really needed two hands to tighten them. They have loosened in use though.
There are a few things to consider with this system. If you don't have the eyelets, you can still use the rack but you need Ortlieb's Quick Rack Seat Stay Adapter, which sets you back £15. This adapter is not compatible with carbon frames so that rules out some users. And speaking of carbon; the Quick Rack is not compatible with carbon seatposts. You can get around this, of course, by purchasing an alloy post instead, but that would impact your overall bike comfort, which won't be too appealing for some.
After the initial installation came the opportunity to test the 15-5 name that Ortlieb has given this product. The rack does go on easily in 15 seconds and it comes off in just about five seconds. This feature, making it literally a quick rack, is definitely my favourite. It allowed me to have the rack on only for the times when I needed to carry cargo and otherwise, I had my bike looking very clean. The mounts in the rear eyelets are barely noticeable (especially if you’re not specifically looking for them).
This rack can take 20kg which is plenty and, personally, if I had any more loaded on my bike it would be too back-heavy for me to do any trips with - especially without front panniers/fork bags as well.
When riding, this rack is really stable. It does not move once you’ve got it set up - not even when it has the 10kg pannier on each side. The only small movement I noticed is on the mounts where the hooks can have a little play. However, I never noticed this during my rides. The pannier bags themselves can rattle a little on the rack but the overall feel is solid and perfectly up to the task.
Obviously, having the amount of weight at the back of the bike affects the handling a little, and makes a headwind feel even more of a struggle, but these are not specific downsides for this system - but rather an issue for all pannier systems. Having quick-lock pannier bags on the rack meant that, for example, when boarding a train I could take the bags off quickly and carry them separately to the bike. Putting them back on takes literally a second, compared to a saddle bag solution. The 20kg allowance is plenty, and I found myself using the rack one particular destination trip, where I unloaded the bike at my accommodation (taking off the rack off) and completed several rides without any luggage on my bike.
The rack comes with a rear light mount accessory, and you can also purchase a mudguard (within tyre width limitations) for £20. I had one on test and it was installed in seconds and very effectively kept my bum dry.
Ortlieb Quick Rack - Value and verdict
At £70, this rack represents excellent value for money. When comparing it to the Tailfin Alloy Rack, which retails for £219, it is clear that the Quick Rack is very reasonably priced and doesn’t lack in terms of performance.
While Quick Rack loses out to the Taifin's 27kg payload, its standard 10mm side struts make it compatible with almost any pannier bag - and you can load any kind of dry bag on top of the rack. This is a huge advantage over the Tailfin, which limits you to its system.
The Tailfin weighs 543g, making it marginally lighter than the Quick Rack. But then again, Ortlieb offers the light version of the Quick Rack that only weighs 440g.
In conclusion, this is an excellent rack for anyone wanting to carry their stuff in the 'old school' way - it is a sturdy, relatively lightweight, and versatile product that will make a bikepacking, shopping, or commuting trip a breeze. And once you’re done, it’s super simple to take off so it’s not slowing you down.