Ortlieb Quick Rack review – the struggle of bikepacking is real…until it happens

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The struggle is real – well, that was until the Ortlieb Quick Rack arrived. This might be the perfect solution for anyone looking to outfit their bike with a decent bike pannier carrying system. (opens in a new tab) in the blink of an eye. It’s well made, affordable, and lives up to its “fast” name.

I’ve installed my fair share of racks on a variety of bikes. Some can be relatively intuitive and easy to use – 30 minutes to have it perfectly aligned, stable and secure is fine, but too often that’s not possible without a fight. If you only have one bike or need to transport it in a small car, removing the rack can be a major chore, still overshadowed by the difficulty of reattaching it at some point in the near future. .

Ortlieb Quick Rack and Quick Rack Light (opens in a new tab) were introduced earlier this year. Got my hands on the first one just in time for a three week tour from northern Spain to the UK – a great test to see how it performed.

Ortlieb Quick Rack: construction

The Ortlieb Quick Rack is made of 10mm aluminum tubing. The luggage rack supports a maximum load of 20 kilograms and is adjustable to different bikes thanks to the variable strut length. The whole thing has a claimed weight of 580 grams.

The Light version has no platform and therefore tips the scales at just 440g.

Ortlieb says the rack is compatible with full suspension bikes and can be used with carbon frames – assuming it comes with proper eyelets and doesn’t have a carbon seat post .

It can be used with 26 and 29 inch wheels. Maximum recommended tire width is 2.35 inches (approx. 59 mm)

The rack has a lightweight stand and comes with mountable QL3.1 adapters, plus all necessary bolts and washers.

Ortlieb Quick Rack in its box

(Image credit: Emma Silversides)

Additional accessories include mud flaps (opens in a new tab) (in three widths, see image below) and Ortlieb’s Quick Rack Seat Rack Adapter (opens in a new tab) for bicycles without eyelets. I haven’t tested either, but the fender is a huge plus in my opinion.

The rack comes with Ortlieb’s standard five-year warranty.

Mudguards on Quick Rack Lite

(Image credit: Ortlieb)

Assembly and performance

As with most Ortlieb products, in addition to the written instructions there is a video (opens in a new tab) which explains the product to you and includes complete installation instructions. In reality it is intuitive and very simple; a case of installing the strut that mounts to the seat post and screwing the provided hooks into the eyelets (M5 or M6).

Finding an optimal position for the rack is not difficult. Ortlieb offers two different strut lengths, your favorite will attach above or below the rack tube, then attach to either the seat post or the seat tube.

Compared to any other rack I’ve ever used, this initial “setup” process is a breeze. Subsequently, putting on the rack takes no more than 15 seconds, and removing it is even faster. The clamps are encouragingly stiff, they have become slightly easier to open and close with use. The bolted mounting points remain on the bike but are barely noticeable.

I’ve had the rack on and off the bike several times, once to put it in a VW Polo (with very limited space) and a few times for a ride without luggage on a ‘rest’ day. If you transport your bike often, you will appreciate the Quick Rack. Or if you just want to get into some light touring on a bike that’s otherwise rackless, this is a superb solution.

What can I say about performance? I was really a little nervous about something tightening with just two levers and a quick release, I shouldn’t have been. Naturally, I made sure I was within the 20kg payload. (For interest, it allowed me to go around with my usual clothes and my personal belongings, a stove, a sleeping bag, a treadmill and a tent, admittedly light). I could detect a very marginal ‘sway’ out of the saddle – it’s not the stiff setup that a rack bolted to a frame using 4 eyelets gives) but after a few days I got used to it. While mostly on the road, I also did many miles on gravel and rougher forest trails. Nothing was too much trouble for the rack.

Ortlieb Quick Rack with cargo on a bike against sunflowers

(Image credit: Emma Silversides)

Since the rig is pretty minimal in terms of tubing, attaching panniers isn’t an issue; there are plenty of rails available for the hooks.

Platform

(Image credit: Emma Silversides)

As if it wasn’t versatile enough, Ortlieb has already designed the rack with two suspension levels. This allows panniers and a rack bag to be carried at the same time without facing a battle to remove either one at any given time.

The convenience of taking it on and off in seconds was invaluable for transport and non-touring days. Now that I’m back home, I still like the fast option of having a rack for quick runs or going without for occasional laps. Yes, it’s been on more than one bike; the touring trip was on a Triban RC520, and since returning I’ve tested it on a Whyte Glencoe (see above) and a Dolan Preffisio

The rack itself shows some signs of wear, mainly where the panniers have rubbed against the tubes when riding over rougher terrain. You can definitely see it’s been well used, but those are abrasion marks rather than chips. Changing the rack from one bike to another will reveal further signs of wear on the strut if you move its position.

Overall, the only thing I would add to the Quick Rack package is a spare set of hooks for a potential second bike.

Value and conclusion

At £70 it’s not ‘cheap’; some racks i reviewed (opens in a new tab) cost in the region of £20. However, factor in the quality, a 5 year warranty and the Quick Rack’s unique versatility and it’s fair to say it’s probably the best value on the market. There are very few direct comparisons, the most obvious being Tailfin’s alloy rack. (opens in a new tab). It has an impressive 27kg payload but will set you back £219. Since I personally prefer to distribute the weight a bit (if I exceed 20 kg), I am not attracted to the upper weight limit. I can’t imagine that I am alone in this thought.

Of all the racks I’ve had the pleasure of testing to date, this one definitely comes out on top.

Features

  • Material: aluminum,
  • Weight: 580g | 20.5 oz.
  • Maximum payload: 20 kg
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