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Whether you are commuting to the office, touring across the country or cycling to the grocery store, a front cargo rack adds versatility to any bike.
On a touring bike a front rack offers extra space when the rear racks are full to the brim.
When cycling back from the store, a front rack is a convenient place to carry your groceries.
If you are used to commuting with a rucksack, a front rack is a back and sweat saving revelation.
With so many options available, this article will help you decide on the best front rack for your bike.
Here’s the top picks in short:
- Tubus Tara’s Lowrider
- Origin8 Classique Cargo
- Blackburn Local Basket
- Axiom Journey Low-rider
- Nitto M18 front rack
- Thule Pack ‘n Pedal Tour Rack
- Wald 135 Deep Size Edible Front Basket
- Rambo R151 Front Luggage Rack
- State Bicycle Co. Front Porteur
More info on these below…
Top 9 Best Front Bike Racks
1. Tubus Tara’s Lowrider (best lowrider)
It is easy to see why the Tubus Tara’s Lowrider is one of the most popular racks amongst long distance tourers. Compared to other similar racks it is lightweight yet can still carry a load of 35lbs which is impressive for a front rack.
A neat feature of this rack is that it can fold flat for easier packing on the way to start your cycling adventure.
This rack is suitable for touring bikes with disc brakes as it clears the eyelets.
Mounting the rack is straightforward and the rack comes with a kit for attaching to the forks if your bike doesn’t have mid-eyelets.
- High load capacity for a front rack (35lbs)
- Suitable for bikes with disc brakes
- Includes mount for bikes without mid-eyelets on the front fork
2. Origin8 Classique Cargo (best classic “Porteur”)
The Origin8 Classique blends functionality and style with great results. The one piece construction can carry a whopping 55lbs and the matte black paint job looks great on any bike.
What you can carry on this rack is only limited by your imagination. You don’t need specific bags for this rack as items can be carried loose with a cargo net holding everything in place.
The height can be adjusted to your bike set-up and to help improve stability.
The high center of gravity of Porteur racks means that they are not the best option for long distance cycling. But they are great for carrying stuff around town on short journeys.
- Versatile front rack
- Great looking rack
- Huge load capacity of 55lbs
3. Blackburn Local Basket Front or Rear Bike Rack (best basket rack)
The Blackburn Local Basket rack can be fitted to the front or rear of the bike and is a versatile and robust basket rack.
The height can be easily adjusted to suit the rider, making it easier to grab things on the go.
- Height and width adjustable to work with most hub and tire widths
- Comes with a handy u-lock and light holder
- The rack comes with a bungy net for securing loose items
4. Axiom Journey Suspension and Disc Low-rider (best suspension/ disc)
The Axiom Journey low-rider rack mounts below the suspension forks and through the wheel axle using a quick-release skewer. The rack itself is lightweight and tough.
The rack provides excellent ground clearance to make sure that the panniers do not hit the ground when cornering.
Nobody wants loads shifting weight on the bike as you ride and so the built-in safety tabs of the Axiom Journey offer peace of mind. These tabs prevent the pannier bags moving forwards or backwards.
The Axiom Journey front rack is a solid construction of hand welded tubular alloy that is rated to carry 33lbs on each side.
- Low-rider rack designed for suspension forks
- Rated to carry 33lbs on each side
- Good ground clearance
5. Nitto M18 front rack (best randonneur)
Nitto makes great products with excellent workmanship and the M18 front rack is no exception. Adding this rack will make any vintage touring bike look better.
The rack weighs 0.77lbs and has a load capacity of 17.6lbs
The shiny chromoly steel gives the rack an elegant look.
- Elegant randonneur rack designed to fit any frame using adjustable struts
- Load capacity of 17.6lbs
- Excellent workmanship
6. Thule Pack ‘n Pedal Tour Rack (best if no frame eyelets)
If you want to get a taste of cycle touring but don’t own a touring bike, the Thule Pack ‘n Pedal rack is ideal. This rack mounts on to the bike using ratchet straps so your bike doesn’t require eyelets.
It can be fitted on the front or rear of the bike. The load capacity is generous – 39lbs hang-off weight in panniers or 55lbs on top of the rack.
The rack comes with an innovative safety key that stops thieves taking the rack off your bike at a stop. Just make sure that you don’t lose the supplied security key or the rack will become a permanent feature on your bike.
There is a little more side play than there would be with a traditional rack but in general the stability is better than you would expect with this mounting system. Despite first appearances, the ratchet strap mounting system is better than it looks.
Panniers are held in place using a strong magnet and are easy to attach and remove, particularly if you use Thule bags.
This is a really great design that is solid on almost any bike, including bikes with full suspension.
- Great rack for bikes without braze-ons
- Ideal rack for mid-weight touring and commuting
- Security key provides extra security
7. Wald 135 Deep Size Edible Front Basket
The Wald 135 Deep Size is exactly that. A simple, deep basket front rack that is ideal for carrying groceries without worrying that they will spill out on the journey home.
The mounts through the front axle provide extra support to the basket.
Since it is a deep basket rack you should check that it will clear your front wheel when installed.
- Capacity of 11 pounds
- Easy installation
- Ideal for running daily errands
8. Rambo R151 Front Luggage Rack
The Rambo R151 is a well-made, lightweight aluminum alloy rack that provides extra storage space if you have a compatible Rambo electric bike with solid front forks.
Compatible models are the 750 G2 and G3.
- Front rack designed specifically for Rambo electric bikes (750 G2 and G3)
- Luggage capacity of 20lbs
- Lightweight rack
9. State Bicycle Co. Front Porteur (best budget rack)
The State Bicycle Company Front Porteur rack is a solid, no-frills rack that does what it says on the tin without breaking the bank.
The rack has mounting points to the front brake and eyelets on the front forks to keep it secure.
This is a great budget rack if you want something that does the job.
- Competes with racks four times the price
- Clean looks
- The rack has some sharp edges
Buyers Guide: The Best Front Rack For Your Journey
Why Use A Bike Rack At The Front?
Cycling to the grocery store is a great way to stay active and help the environment at the same time. Cycling back laden with groceries dangling from the handlebars is not so great.
Fitting a front rack provides a safe and convenient way to carry items on your bike.
Or if you have drastically underestimated how much equipment you need to carry on a bike packing trip and the rear pannier racks can’t take anymore, a front rack offers more storage options.
Rack designs that sit above the front wheel are also great for holding items that you want close at hand on a long bike tour. Things like maps and waterproofs that you will take in and out often on the journey.
Some people prefer front racks for the purely physiological reason of always being able to keep an eye on your stuff as you cycle. This is particularly true if you like to cycle with your purse or handbag in a basket.
There are a variety of designs for front racks, each built for a different need. Let’s look at the main types and what they are most suitable for.
Types Of Front Bike Racks
Lowrider Front Racks
Lowrider Front Racks are designed to carry a set of panniers at the front of the bike in the same way as you would at the back wheel. They are ideal for longer cycling trips where self-sufficiency is key.
As the name suggests, the lowrider style racks hang the luggage such that the weight is kept low to the ground. A low center of gravity means better stability and they have less impact on the bike handling.
They are designed with plenty of ground clearance for turning and bumpy terrain.
You will find lowrider front racks predominantly on touring bikes.
Most lowrider racks are mounted using the eyelets at the front fork dropouts and a mid-mount on the fork itself.
Porteur (Classic) Front Racks
The same reasons that made Porteur racks famous for delivering newspapers in 1950’s France are why they are still popular today.
The design has not evolved much since then and consists of an open rack above the front wheel. Think of a basket without any sides.
Because of their simplistic design they are highly versatile racks and especially good for carrying boxes and items with weird and wonderful shapes.
One of the main drawbacks of Porteur racks is that they can add considerable width to the bike. On the open road this is obviously not an issue but may be when using bike storage racks and when getting on public transport.
Basket Front Racks
Basket front racks take everything that is great about the Porteur racks and adds sides to keep the loads secure. This reduces the need to strap items down and can be more convenient for regular trips to the grocery store.
Basket front racks combine the strength of Porteur racks and the convenience of a basket.
As with Porteur racks, basket front racks will add to the width of your bike.
Suspension Front Racks
If you have a bike with front suspension forks then you need to make sure that the rack you use doesn’t interfere with the suspension.
To get around the suspension forks, some suspension front racks are mounted above the suspension and some are mounted below.
To get the most out of your suspension forks it is better to mount any weight above the suspension rather than become part of the unsprung weight below the forks. Mounting below will ultimately reduce the performance of the suspension.
This may not be too much of an issue if you are planning to stick to good quality roads but would be a concern if you wanted to go off-road.
Randonneur Front Racks
So called since they are designed specifically to provide a platform for a randonneur handlebar bag.
Randonneuring is a unique long-distance cycling discipline where the rider more or less cycles continuously without any real pause for rest. Balancing self-sufficiency and speed, these racks are minimal and lightweight.
Because of the all hours nature of randonneuring these racks usually come with integrated light mounts at the front.
Decaleur Front Racks
The decaleur front rack is designed to stabilise randonneur bags and to stop them swaying under load using a special mount.
Although part of the rack system, decaleurs do not take any of the weight themselves. That is the job of the rack itself. Their main function is to support the top of the randonneur bag and to stop it oscillating side-to-side.
Decaleurs come in two sections; the receiver and the mount. The receiver is typically attached directly to the headset and the mount is bolted to the back of the bag. Having the mount separate means that the bag can be quickly released from the bike.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Mount A Front Bike Rack?
Front racks come in various styles, each with their own mounting system. Some rely on eyelets on the bike itself and some have their own fixings which are great for bikes without any eyelets.
Whatever the rack, the mounting system is usually straightforward and can be done at home without any specialist tools.
Does Wheel Size Matter?
Compatibility with your wheels should always be confirmed with the manufacturer but in general the racks are designed to work with standard 700C cycling wheels.
Are Front Bike Racks Good For Dogs?
For small dogs a front bike rack can be a great way to save tired legs. There are specific baskets available for dogs that will keep them safe and secure as they enjoy the ride with you.
Some come with their own rack and some are sold separately so you should always check compatibility with whatever is already on your bike.
For everyone’s safety make sure that your dog is given time to get used to riding with you on the bike.
Should I Get A Rear Rack Instead Of A Front One?
Rear racks are popular for touring as they can carry a lot and, because of the low center of gravity, are more stable. If you are planning to do multi-day cycle trips, then a rear rack offers a lot of advantages.
A front rack is great for adding extra storage but they really come into their own in terms of versatility and convenience.
There is a front rack design for everyone, from hardcore tourers to those just popping to the grocery store.
It is hard to look past the Tubus Tara’s Lowrider as the best front lowrider rack.
It is hugely popular amongst serious touring cyclists and they know a sturdy and functional rack when they see one. It has been stress tested over thousands of miles.
There is a generous luggage capacity but subtle details like being able to fold make it the pick of the front racks.
If you have a more traditional road bike but want to dip your toe into the world of touring, the Thule Pack ‘n Pedal Tour Rack is a great rack. It fits to any frame and doesn’t require any specific mounting points.
The Origin8 Classique Cargo HD Front Rack porteur rack adds versatility to any bike. With a generous weight limit, what you carry is limited only by your imagination.
A front rack transforms your bike from mere transportation to workhorse.