Bikes aren’t just great for personal transport – fit the right accessories and they also have impressive carrying potential. Here’s how to turn your steed into a packhorse

One of the best things about bicycles is that with the addition of some simple accessories, you can turn almost any bike into a machine that will carry everything from work essentials, to shopping to, well, you name it.

But what are these simple accessories? The first and probably best known is the rear rack, perfect for all sorts of bags and a requirement for many types of child seat. The second, which will really enhance your bike’s luggage carrying potential, is to fit a front rack. Or, for ultra-simple carrying, you can fit a basket. Let’s look at the options.

Rear racks

The traditional rear rack is a relatively simple metal tubed affair that mounts to points on the bike frame near the rear hub and at the top of the seat stay, just behind where the seat post enters the frame. Once fixed to your bike, your rack is then ready to have pannier bags attached to it, or rack-top bags, or you can simply bungee cord anything you need to carry to the top surface. Our ultra-lightweight B’Twin 900 rack can safely carry up to 18kg of kit, has extended side sections to protect to the rear wheel, and even comes with a mount for a VIOO Clip light . And rear racks are useful for more than just luggage carrying - many child seats, such as the Polisport Groovy, require a rack for fitting.


Specialist racks

Before you go ahead a buy a rear rack, though, there are a couple of things you need to consider. Many traditional rear racks are designed for bikes that roll on 700c wheels and don’t use disc brakes. So if your bike has smaller wheels or disc brakes, or both, you’ll have to find a compatible rack, such as our B’Twin B’Clip 500 Disc Ready rack, which comes with special spacers and shaped mounting arms. It also features our unique B’Clip system, which means you can simply and securely fix accessories such as child seats or baskets to it.


Seat post rack

Not all bikes will accept a traditional rear rack. More sports orientated road bikes and some mountain bike frames might not feature rack mounts, but their practical load-lugging potential can still be enhanced. Our B’Twin 500 Seat Post rack can be clamped to a bike’s seat post to carry pannier bags or even 10kg of rack-top kit.


Front racks

Keeping with the theme that a bike frame’s rear triangle isn’t the only place to fit racks, the front of the bike offers some options, too. Traditional front racks tend to sit above the front wheel and may be attached to the bike’s head tube. The advantage of designs such as our B’Twin 900 B’Clip Front Bike rack is that you can easily access whatever you need - and keep an eye on it!


Lowriders

Another option for front carrying, most popular with touring cyclists, are racks referred to as lowriders. These are normally straightforward flat metal frames that can be bolted to special mounting points on the bike fork’s leg, although some products – such as the B’Twin Front Fork carrier - can even be used on forks that don’t have dedicated mounts and will happily transport up to 9kg of luggage each side.


Front basket

Of course, you could avoid front racks altogether and fix a basket directly to your bike. Simple designs such as our B’Twin 100 Front Bike Pannier just hook onto your handlebar for super-easy fitting and removal. Alternatively, for a slightly more secure set-up, our excellent B’Twin 500 Front Bike Pannier uses a sturdy mounting bracket around the handlebar and a quick-release mechanism for fitting and removing the basket itself. As with many of our B’Twin carrying products, both baskets have dedicated mounting points for VIOO Clip lights.


Rear basket

Finally, we come to last carrying option – a rear basket. For these, you will still need a rear rack of some description, but having a basket makes for ultra-convenient carrying. The B’Twin Universal Rear Bike Basket can be clamped to most rear racks without tools and even has a handle for taking to the shops. Alternatively, our B’Twin 500 B’Clip Rear Bike Basket can be fitted to B’Clip-compatible racks even more quickly and efficiently. Again, both baskets can be enhanced with VIOO Clip lights.

So when it comes to transporting stuff by bike, there really is no end of options. From simple baskets for everyday items, to full front and rear racks that will handle serious cycle luggage, we’ve got the right kit for the job.