Most bags and boxes will take a standard drop-bar road bike or hardtail mountain bike with ease, but things get a little more difficult when it comes to time trial/triathlon machines and full-suspension rigs. For this reason, we used a Specialized Shiv with 335mm straight bar extensions for our testing.

There are several cycling situations that warrant the use of bike racks and bags. If you commute to work, school or other destinations, some form of on-bike storage is often a must. Touring–traversing long distances by bicycle over multiple days–requires a relatively large carrying capacity. The type of riding you do as well as the style of bike you have helps dictate your selection of racks and bags.

1、Consider your needs. Most commuters and casual cyclists require little more than a rear rack. Rear racks sit above your bike’s back wheel. The best ones screw into pre-drilled holes on the portion of the frame that extends from the seat post down to the rear wheel. It’s known as the seat stays. John Schubert of the Adventure Cycling Association advises against using rear racks that mount to your bike’s seatpost. They wobble annoyingly and can carry just a few pounds.

2、Determine if you need panniers. Panniers are bags that typically come in pairs, notes the late Sheldon Brown. Panniers hang over a rear rack–attaching to the top of it with hooks–alongside your wheels. Rear racks can only handle so much weight, such as a couple of books, a briefcase or a relatively thin messenger bag. You can store overflow items, including clothing, a well-protected laptop or other items in panniers.

3、Use a storage solution for the front of your bike in certain scenarios. As Schubert points out, if you are touring or doing another form of riding while carrying more than 15 pounds on the rear of your bike, an additional set of panniers for the front of your bike is a must. You need to distribute weight between the front and back of your bike evenly or it will be difficult to handle. Front panniers, loaded with some gear, usually do the trick.

4、Select a front basket or rack by itself if you own a beach cruiser or a bike that you will use to run small errands. For example, a front basket is ideal for carrying a light bag or two of groceries. Too much weight in the front, however, is just as bad as an uneven load in the back. It can make your bike swerve somewhat unpredictably.

5、Assess features. Racks tend to be straightforward. Panniers, however, come with various pocket and zipper configurations. Some are waterproof, some are not. The best front baskets are removable so you can take them on and off of your bike when you go into a store, for instance.

This is one of the more extreme aero frames around so if this fits then whatever you’re riding should too – although we’d always advise checking the measurements (wheelbase, etc) to make sure. We also tried the bags with a standard 56cm road bike.

Bike Bags are small-capacity bags that attach under your saddle. They are great for out-of-the-way key storage, a small repair kit, spare tube, energy bar, or wallet.

Hydration packs are most often used by mountain bikers. Worn like backpacks, they hold water on your back so you can drink without taking your hands off the handlebars. Some models offer storage capacity for tools, spare clothes, and snacks.

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