This article is from the Bicycles FAQ, by Mike Iglesias with numerous contributions by others.
There are many options to holding gear on the bike, I will describe two that I
The first method of carrying gear uses the Quix brand Max Contour Trunk rack an
bag in one. A small clamp slips onto the seatpost and the bag clicks into the
clamp. One restriction is that the seatpost must be round (i.e. non-aero) to
hold the clamp. Another restriction is that the bag must ride high enough to
clear the rear wheel by 2-3" as the bag may bounce a bit up and down. The Quix
bag is incredibly stable, it is easy to attach and detach and it does not
require a rack(just a small seat post clamp). It is a very nice system for
The Quix system is ideal for carrying about 550 cu. in. of gear, however severa
easy modifications to the bag should be made. First, I removed all the foam
insulation from the bag and replaced the two side pieces with .8mm ABS plastic
pieces cut to the same dimensions as the foam pieces they replaced(round off th
edges to prevent abnormal wear). Adding the side stays gives the bag some
integrity and allows it to stand up making it easier to pack. I purchased a
small tool bag shaped like a pack of cigarettes and added some velcro tabs whic
allowed it to be attached in front of the Quix bag, giving about an additional
50 cu. in. and bringing the total carrying capacity up to about 550 cu. in.
This is enough space for a multi-week tour, see my equipment list below for
One nice advantage of the Quix bag over the standard rear rack mounting systems
is that for rain protection you can slide a waterproof sack completely over the
For occasions where I needed to carry over 550 cu. in. of gear, I have used a
Blackburn SX-1 rack and rear trunk bag. I have a racing frame, so I had to use
the "eyelet mounts" which worked fine. I replaced the outer washer(black
neoprene) with a wider one, (get them at a plumbing supply store) and used a
piece of bicycle innertube as padding between the frame and the aluminum piece,
which worked well. I had to file off the protruding tongs on the bottom of the
rack so it would not contact my seatstays; I left enough of the tong so that a
bungee cord could still be hooked onto it.
The bag I use with the Blackburn rack is a Cannondale rear trunk bag. This is
one of the multitude of shoe box shaped bags that sits on top of the rack.
Unfortunately, most of these bags are foam lined(for 6-packs) and they do not
have the 800 cu in. minimum capacity that was necessary for my gear. I removed
the plastic liner and sewed nylon sleeves into the two sides(not front or back
side)of the bag. I made two 5"x12"rectangular pieces of 1/32" plexiglass (or
.8mm ABS plastic) that fit into the sleeves to hold the bag up and give it some
shape. I also sewed some lash points on top of the bag in case of overflow.
The Cannondale bag listed at 800 cu in., it had one big compartment, two side
pockets, a rear pocket(with reflector) and a top pocket. All my medical stuff
fit inside the rear pocket, eliminating the need for a toilet kit/stuff sack.
I put my long sleeve shirt, hat, gloves, leg warmers and jacket in the side
pockets so they were easily accessible. The camera, map(s) of the day, money,
road food go in the top pocket. I hit upon a great way to pack the tennis shoe
which takes up minimal space. Rather than crunch them together and lose the
dead air in between, pack them to each side and stuff clothes in between.
A friend has used a rack top bag made by Lone Peak of Salt Lake City. It was
a 1200 cu in. top loading bag and worked well.
I bought a plastic "rack top" that snaps onto the top of the Blackburn rack to
provide a flat surface for the pack and also, some rain protection. I made a
rain cover which fit over the entire bag, since panniers are notorious for
Another option for holding a rack top bag is the new rigid, aluminum racks whic
attach to the seatpost. Headlands is one popular brand. These racks weigh in
at about 1 lb. and offer an interesting alternative to a full rack. They
require an aforementioned rack top bag and a non-aero seatpost and may provide
a good alternative to the Quix system if more than 550 cu in. of gear is