Ortlieb are famous for making some of the world’s best bike packing bags, but the German firm have always been innovators with bag attachment systems too. Once you’ve installed the simple seatstay mounts, their Quick Rack fits in seconds but is secure and stable enough to carry loaded panniers off-road. You need bolt holes on the seatstays though and they need to be high enough to clear whatever wheels you run which meant some combinations I tried didn’t work.
The Quick Rack itself is a relatively simple tubular alloy construction in classic triangulated style. There’s no solid deck across the top, just a ladder of tubes and there’s no lights tab on the back either. The clever bit are the ‘dropouts’ (for want of a better word) that slot onto plastic tubes bolted into the rack/fender mounts of the rear stays. These are then closed with a cam hook that complete the dropout circle when you soft click them into place. Because the system can rotate freely you can even mount the rack on a full-suspension bike in theory (more on that later).
The upper mounting point is created with a single tube shaft (two lengths are supplied with the rack) held in an adjustable clamp on the rack. The far end of the strap then uses an adjustable ratchet strap that loops around the seatpost, hooking over another cam hook when it’s in the forward position. Flipping the lever (and the eccentric cam behind it) round tightens the strap around the seatpost and secures the rack. To remove the rack you simply open the ‘dropout' latches, flip the top strap and lift it off.
Handling the rack off the bike lets you appreciate how light the hollow aluminium construction is, but there’s an 140g lighter Quick Rack Light with side rails rather than a top ladder if you’re really watching grams. Both are bendable enough that if you need to splay the legs apart slightly for a broad mountain bike back end that’s no issue. The hoops/top of rack only allow for clearance of a 2.35in tire though so they’re not an option if you run fat rubber on big wheels.
Otherwise, the installation of the lower bolts and mounts is very simple. There’s a seatstay adapter kit for bikes that don’t have bolt holes or where they’re too low to clear the top of the tire. That meant the rack didn’t fit the first couple of bikes I tried where the bolts were on the dropouts. Work out what vertical height you need to clear and reference that against the 34cm ‘dropout’ to deck length to check whether you need the adapters – or just buy them in case and send them back if you don’t need them.
There’s no such fuss with the seat tube strap, although you might need a couple of trial and error attempts to get the ratchet locked in at the right point for a secure fit. Once that’s sorted though leveling the rack by sliding the shaft through the clamp is very easy and once tightened you’re good to go. Once everything is mounted and adjusted you can literally get the rack on and off in seconds so it’s zero hassle to use or remove.
The hollow rails give a good snug fit on pannier hooks and both designs of rack are rated up to a 20kg overall load. That’s not as much as some permanently fixed racks, but it’s a substantial payload to be carrying around and easily enough for most trips/commutes. The rack stayed totally solid and secure however much I rattled and battered it around off-road too taking rocky bridleways, rutted tractor tracks and even occasional flights of steps in it’s stride. Fitting panniers also stabilises the handling of bikes and there’s less wag and wobble out of the saddle than when using a seat pack.
You will get more thump and bump over rough terrain from bags solidly fixed to the bike though. Also while in theory it will work with a full-suspension bike, sitting the bags on the unsuspended part of the bike will dramatically reduce plushness and efficiency. That makes it a ‘you can, but we probably wouldn’t’ situation.
Racks always throw up some weirdness with fit and wider MTB tires are a no with the Ortlieb Quick Rack. Otherwise, the designers have done a remarkably good job of creating a reassuringly secure but instant fit/removal rack system for most road, gravel or XC MTB bikes.
Tech Specs: Ortlieb Quick Rack
- Price: £90.00 / €90.00
- Size: One size fits most
- Options: Seat stay adapters and Quick Rack Light also available
- Weight: 570g (not including frame mount studs)