Blackburn’s Ex-1 Luggage Rack has been around for years, in fact it was designed by Jim Blackburn in 1975. Although there have been one or two refinements to the design, the core functionality of this one remains the same, for good reason. The extended quick-release skewer makes this arguably the easiest rack to mount on the market.
Blackburn does not give detailed details of the rack material on its site, simply that it is “aircraft grade aluminum”. It tips the scales at 540g, a modest weight compared to something like Topeak’s 820g Super Uni Tourist Rack, which we tested alongside this Blackburn in a group test.
The welding is neat and the powder coat finish looks smooth.
The rack comes with an extra-long skewer, two 1/2″ seat stay clips and two 9/16″ seat stay clips.
The Ex-1 is the simplest and fastest rack I have personally ever installed. The quick-release skewer replaces your wheel’s existing skewer, with its extended length accommodating racks’ disc brake adapters. The skewer should be tight; any play could cause it to sag under a load, so compromise the rack.
There are various options for attaching frame extenders, the supplied P-clips or a suitable seatpost clamp.
I’ve actually only had the rack on one bike – a Triban RC520. My other disc brake road bikes use 12mm thru axles so the QR mechanism is redundant. However, the clearance and adjustability I have on the Triban makes me think the rack should fit the vast majority of 29er and 700C wheels, even with wider tires. The only thing that could be a problem is the length of the quick release, make sure it’s long enough before you invest.
That said, the rack is not limited to mounting (with the QR) at the dropout, it can also be frame mounted. Its versatility is definitely a selling point.
Once on the bike, the rack is strong and secure. I had no problem getting any of the panniers I tested on it; platform construction provides plenty of positioning options for saddlebag hooks.
The adapters, used to make the Expedition 1 proud of the disc, make the rack much wider than most. Although I noticed that the panniers sat farther back, it didn’t bother me at all, or noticeably affect the handling in any way.
Value and conclusion
At £54.99/$54.95, the Blackburn Expedition 1 Disc compares well to other brands with a similar reputation for quality. Topeak’s Uni Super Tourist is £44.99/$73.49 and Tubus’ Disco has an RRP of £135.99/$135.99, although that might not be a perfect comparison; it is made of steel, so it is likely to last longer and is also repairable. It should be noted that the Expedition 1 comes with a lifetime warranty.
The versatility of direct frame mounting or quick and easy attachment, coupled with the fact that it will fit the vast majority of quick release disc brake bikes with 700C wheels, makes it easy to recommend the Expedition 1. This is a competitively priced option for anyone who wants a reliable, well-made rack.
- Capacity: up to 45 lbs / 20.5 kg
- Country of origin: China
- Compatible with frame mounting
- Rear dropout compatible
- Product weight: 535 grams