Karen Voyer-Caravona is an admitted bicycle dilettante in Flagstaff, Arizona, who blogs about her adventures on two wheels, vÃ©lo envy, her husband’s cooking, and cross country skiing at www.sheridesabike.com. Visit her website for her endless opinions on the most stylish shoes for pedaling, critiques of bike parking, and the best bike date dining destinations.
The Xootr Crossrack was specially designed to mount vertically to the seat post over the rear wheel.
What first came to mind when I initially saw the rack was the bike touring blog, The Path Less Pedaled. The authors Russ and Laura are preparing to embark on their second long-distance tour, this time combining passenger rail and Brompton folding bikes.
Recent posts have been devoted to experiment in packing their small bikes for months of pedaling cross country. Newly inspired to hit the road myself, the vertical rack's cargo potential intrigued me.
Regardless of one's level of education, reading the mounting directions for a new bike product is almost always a time saver. The Xootr Crossrack's accompanying print materials referred me to the Xootr website for mounting directions but since attaching it to my seat post seemed fairly self-explanatory, I reached for my allen wrench and made a go of it.
Common sense did not prevail in this case since I attached the Crossrack upside down, essentially rending the rack useless.
On to the Xootr website . . . and all became clear to me.
Mounting the Crossrack to the seat post of my Dahon Eco3 was a cinch. The only tool required was an allen wrench. I was a bit worried that it would interfere with the traditional bike rack already mounted over the rear tire but it didn't prove to be a problem in the slightest.
When I experimented with putting my panniers on the rack I did find that the style of pannier determined how I could use the traditional horizontally positioned rack.
Hooking my large, wide Detours pannier to the Crossrack took up too much space over the traditional rack to allow for placement of items on top under a bungee cord. However, I could still hook bags on either side of the horizontal rack, allowing for quite a bit of carrying capacity when combined with the Xootr Crossrack.
Definitely some touring potential here.
Next, I attached the Crossrack to the front of the Eco3 handlebar riser. Although the Crossrack is designed to go on the seat post behind the cyclist, positioning cargo into the slipstream and minimize drag, I wanted to try the front mount because using two Xootr Crossracks could allow me to carry at least four panniers on my Eco3.
I tested the Crossrack everyday for about a week on my commute back and forth to work. Here's what I found:
Since the welded aluminum Crossrack only weighs 664 mg, I didn't notice any additional weight on my ride to and from work, other than what I would normally experience due to a well loaded pannier.
According to Xootr, the rack accommodates up to 25 pounds. Because of the type of hooks on one of my panniers, I did notice my bag moving back and forth a bit over the top bar of the Crossrack, but it wasn't enough to interfere with my ride.
The center load behind the saddle, in fact, results in very good balance when the bike is parked. When attached to the handlebar stem, however, my bike needed careful positioning when parked with a full pannier. I suspect a double pronged kickstand would solve this problem.
The Crossrack and the Fold
The Crossrack will interfere with the fold on a Dahon since the seat post is supposed to lower all the way to the ground. This creates only a minimal problem because the rack portion of the system detaches by releasing a locking pin.
I also realized that when I pack my Eco3 for air travel in my Dahon Airporter luggage I can simply remove the entire seat post from the bicycle and pack it and the detached rack portion to the side of the folded bike.
Unfortunately, the Dahon does not fold well with the Crossrack attached to the handlebar stem. Because the Crossrack is simple to install, however, if my husband and I ever do take fly to Northern California for a wine country tour by bike, I wouldn't hesitate to pack a pair of these in my Airporter to maximize my cargo capacity.
The Crossrack seems to be specifically designed for their Swift folding bike and Xootr MG Scooter. However, it fits most folding and standard frames with “at least 5 inches (125mm) of vertical height difference between the top of the rear tire and the top of the seat post" and comes with a 30-day, unconditional warranty.
The Xootr Crossrack retails for $43.95. Xootr also sells the accompanying CrossRack Cargo Bag for $30 when purchased with the rack on their website.
Bonus: The Crossrack on the Brompton
by Ted Johnson
This won’t make sense to people who aren’t familiar with Brompton folding bikes, so continue reading only if you speak Bromptonese.
The mounting bracket prevents the standard Brompton seatpost from being fully inserted into the frame. The frame will still lock, but the rubber foot at the bottom of the seatpost does not touch the ground–which Brompton owners sometimes use as a brake to keep the folded bike from rolling away. This would not be a problem with Brompton’s extended seatpost, which is 1 1/2 inches longer than the standard seatpost. With Brompton’s telescopic seat tube, the bracket could probably be mounted to the extended section, which would allow the extension, seat, rack and pannier to be removed all in one connected unit.