Mark's Rack and camera bag

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I finally got to order something from Rivendell Bikes. I’ve been researching front racks and ways to center small to medium loads on the bike for many months now. One accessory I kept coming back to was Nitto’s Mark’s Rack design. It’s basically a front rack, but it’s a REALLY versatile design that ships with a variety of mounting struts that let you use it both in the front & the back, and attach it many ways. One reason I’ve had for wanting to put a load up front was taking the camera out with me when I go on rides. Having it in the saddlebag in the back, you have to stop, fully dismount, and undo the buckles on the bag if you see something you want to snap a picture of. Having the camera up front would allow me to just hop down off the pedals and reach over the bars. I’ve had an old backpack camera bag which was perfect in size and shape for the task. I just had to work on the mounting strategy for a while to give me a way to latch it securely, but make it easy to remove as well. Thinking about it for a bit led me to a bungie strap around the back, and a nylon strap to hold it down in the front. This leaves the top of the bag open to access without removal, and if I want to take the bag off the bike it only takes a few seconds to remove.

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My camera is a little hard to pull out of the back of the bag, but it’s a safer spot for it than right up in the ‘crumple zone’ at the front of the bag. Also got a Planet bike Protege 9.0 wired computer when I ordered the travel agent since it was the deal for $21. After enjoying the Cateye computers for many years, I have to admit I like this design better. Having a thermometer so you can tell everyone it’s 27° outside when you roll into work in the morning is pretty cool too.

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I haven’t had the camera out on the road yet, but I went around town a few times with a 3 pound dumbell, a bottle of mountain dew and some other random objects inside as test ballast to see how it would handle. Funny thing is, it’s not that different, just turns slower. Kind of feels like the LHT unloaded. I swerved around as much as I could and hopped up curbs a few times, then aimed for a few bad bumps in the road to try and launch it. Amazingly enough, I nailed the mounting on the first try. Works perfectly. The shoulder straps from the backpack are tied underneath which adds an extra layer of protection to camera equipment against road shock. I also got a small Wald basket at the same time for loads of loose and irregular items, but I haven’t tried it out yet.

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2 thoughts on “Mark's Rack and camera bag

  1. I always liked those racks, but I was looking at one more for the back than front. I think I’m going to put a rack on the front of my X bike, but I recently saw a setup where the guy just clamped on a rear rack backwards – not nearly as elegant as the Marks, but looked fine. I think that will work for my purposes.

  2. Yeah, one of the veins that runs through my thoughts about Rivendell, their bikes, accessories, brand and lifestyle is the conflict between necessity and aesthetics. I get a kick out of how they make fun of ‘wannabe racers’ who spend $1000’s on a bike to try and go fast only to offer an alternative that also cost $1000’s. Not that I wouldn’t buy one in an instant if I had money to burn… Riv won out on the Mark’s rack because I’m a huge sucker for modular designs that can fulfill multiple purposes elegantly. If you look at the big racks that Surly makes for the front of the bike, they basically ARE a reverse-mounted rear rack slightly modified to let you mount your panniers lower to the ground. If you’re just mounting a light load on top and center of gravity isn’t an issue, that should work fine and be about $70 cheaper to boot.

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