Best Front Bike Rack

Best front bike rack for bicycle touring

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This is a gear review about the best front bike racks for bicycle touring in 2024.

If you plan to cycle tour around the world, across the country, or on a short weekend trip you may find that you need a front bike rack to assist in carrying your gear. When used in combination with a rear bike rack and bike panniers you will be able to carry quite a lot of gear on your next bike trip.

I have cycled 1000s of miles using front bike racks and panniers and know the difference between good ones and average ones. Keep reading to learn more.

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How We Tested

All the Front Pannier Racks in this review have been extensively evaluated and researched by the expert author who has many years of experience in Bike Touring and Bikepacking. Some of the Front Racks were purchased by the author for this review. They have been rigorously tested by the author for more than 30,000 miles of cycling through more than 20 countries around the world. The research, testing, and experience of the author have combined to come up with the best Front Racks for Bike Touring 2024. Read the Review Policy for further details.

Best Front Bike Rack 2024

The Best Front Bike Rack in 2024 are:

Front Bike Rack Comparison Table

BrandMaterialWeightCarrying Capacity
Tubus Tara LowriderChromoly Steel13 oz40 lb
Tubus Duo Chromoly Steel1 lb. 3.8 oz33 lb
Surly Front RackChromoly Steel3 lb.70 lb
Thorn Steel Low Loader RacksChromoly Steel1 lb. 3.5 oz80 lb
Blackburn Outpost Front World Touring Rack6061 aluminum2 lb.45 lb
Source: Manufacturers

Best Front Bike Rack 2024 – Overall

Tubus Tara Lowrider

Tubus Tara Lowrider

> Heavy Load capacity up to 35 lb / 16kg
> Comes with a mounting kit if your bike doesn’t have mid-eyelets on the front forks
> Very strong rack
> Can take a while for some people to fit the rack to the bike

The Tubus Tara Lowrider is one of the most popular front bike racks that you will find, especially among long-distance bike tourers.

This rack has been around for over 25 years, with small improvements being made along the way. The front bike rack is strong, stable, and just works.

This is a lightweight rack that can hold up to 35 lb / 16 kg in weight. It is easy to install and mount onto your bike for most people, some may find it takes a while to get it adjusted correctly.

This front bike rack works for bikes with disc brakes or rim brakes and a kit is included to help you attach the rack to the forks if your bike doesn’t have any mid-eyelets.

Overall, this is very strong and stable and one of the best front bike racks on the market in 2024. It is best suited to cycle touring and people wanting a very strong front bike rack.

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Best Front Bike Rack 2024 – Runner Up

Tubus Duo

Tubus Duo Front Bike rack

> Very strong
> Lightweight
> Heavy Load capacity up to 33 lb / 15kg
> Can take a while for some people to fit the rack to the bike

The Tubus Duo front rack is a lightweight and sturdy rack that will last you for years to come. This is another front bicycle rack that is super strong and very popular for bike touring. It can handle a heavy weight load, but mounting it on the bike can take a little bit of time for some people.

The Tubus Duo is perfect for someone whose front fork has outside and inside eyelets.

Like most of the front racks in this gear review, it shouldn’t be fitted onto spring or carbon forks that don’t have any eyelets. The eyelets are how this rack is mounted onto your bike.

Overall, this is a very strong and very popular front bike rack for bike touring. Whether you are out on a weekend cycle tour or cycling around the world this front pannier rack will work well for you.

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Best Heavy Duty Front Pannier Rack

Surly Front Rack

Surly Front Rack

> Adjustable
> Chromoly Steel
> Repairable if something breaks
> This is a heavy front bike rack

The Surly Front Rack is made from Chromoly steel and is height adjustable. This means it can fit a wide range of wheel sizes, which then allows you to keep your center of gravity as low as possible for a smooth ride.

This rack can be adjusted to fit 26 to 29-inch wheels with and without fenders.

It is designed to mount onto forks with mid-eyelets. Most forks on touring bikes should have these especially top quality touring bikes.

You can hang this rack in two different levels. Most people use the lower tubing, but there is the option to move the rack up higher as you adapt to trail or road conditions that you are dealing with.

The Surly Front Rack is incredibly durable, and if it does break, it can be easily fixed. This rack can carry up to 70lbs in weight.

Overall, this is one of the best expedition-style front touring racks best suited for heavier loads. Planning on cycling around the world and need to carry a heavy load then this might be the front bike rack for you.

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Thorn Steel Low Loader Racks

Thorn Low Loader front bike rack

> Very strong Chromoly steel
> Lightweight
> Can carry heavy loads up to 40 lb / 18kg per side
> Will fit most bike bikes, as long as there is 165mm between the top and lower fork bosses
> Like a lot of low loaders, the assembly can be a bit fiddly and take a bit of effort

The Thorn, steel low loader racks are the perfect all-rounder. They are ideal for whatever you need them to do, whether that is carrying your groceries or cycling around the world on your touring bike.

Thorn racks are perfect to use in the most extreme conditions and can carry heavy loads up to 80 lb / 36 kg in total. I have been using these racks for well over 10 years without problems but I am yet to carry the full capacity of 36kg. The most I’ve carried for any extended period is 20kg and they worked without issue.

These racks are made with aerospace Chromoly steel which has been heat treated to increase their strength and durability.

These racks can be fitted on a wide range of bikes, as long as there is 165mm on the fork between the top and lower fork bosses. But you are most likely to see these on the front of Thorn Nomad Touring bikes.

Overall, these are a well made heavy duty front bike rack best suited to bike touring with a heavy load. These are the front forks I use on my Thorn Nomad Touring bike when I use a front bicycle rack.

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Blackburn Outpost Front World Touring Rack

Blackburn Outpost Front World Touring Rack

> Removable top shelf
> Made from aircraft grade 6061 aluminum
> This rack comes with a packet of brackets that allows you various fitting options depending on the make of your bike
> Aluminium is not as easy to repair if it breaks

The Blackburn Outpost Front World Touring Rack is made from aircraft grade 6061 aluminum, which makes this rack strong and really lightweight. But it will be more difficult to repair if you have problems.

This rack is compatible with most brakes and frame mounts. Also any mounting material that you might need to provide as well.

The top shelf of this rack is completely removable, so it is up to you whether you keep it on or off. By keeping it on, it does provide you with more space to carry your possessions around on.

You can carry up to 45 lb / 20 kg with this front bike rack which is more than most people will ever carry on the front of their bike.

Overall, the Blackburn touring rack is a durable and versatile rack that is best suited to a touring bicycle that will be carrying a heavy load.

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testing front bike rack for bike touring while in Europe
The Author Testing Front bike racks when cycle touring in Europe

Type of front bike racks

There are quite a lot of different types of front bike racks and in this article, I have only touched upon a couple of them. Each type of front bike rack is very different from each other. The different types of bike racks to choose from include:

  • Lowrider
  • Porteur
  • Basket
  • Suspension
  • Randonneur

Lowrider racks are very common for touring bikes, as they keep your weight as low as possible to the ground. This makes your bike feel stable at high and low speeds. They are best suited for heavy panniers and long-distance bike touring with a heavy load and lots of equipment.

Whilst Porteur racks have been to stabilize your medium-weight load above the wheel. The shape of this rack is ideal for carrying boxes or other awkward-shaped items.

A basket rack is like a porteur rack, except there is a cage around the outside, which reduces the need for strapping everything down.

While a suspension rack has been designed to connect to your bike’s front suspension fork. I am in the process of evaluating the best front bike racks for suspension forks and will add the best ones to the review soon.

Finally, a randonneur rack is a very small rack. This is better suited for small bags.

All these different racks have different uses, but low rider racks and front suspension racks are the only ones worth considering for bike touring, in fact, low riders are the only ones worth considering for their strength and ability to carry a heavy bulky load when needed.

Lowrider or standard front rack?

If you are planning to have a quick ride to the grocery store or have a ride around town then a standard front bike rack is going to be more suitable for you.

However, if you plan on bike touring then you need to think about a lowrider front bike rack. This is due to the fact that a lowrider rack sits very low on your bike’s fork and this gives the rider a much better and more comfortable ride.

The difference between them is where they disturb the weight. For bike touring you want the weight as low to the ground as possible as it makes moving and handling the bike so much easier.


Front bike racks can be made from aluminum, stainless steel, Chromoly steel, or titanium.

Any racks made out of these materials are going to be strong, but you also want a rack that is going to be durable.

When it comes to looking into buying a rack you want to have one that is made from steel. This is because steel is extremely strong and durable. Almost as important if you damage your front pannier rack it can be repaired in most small towns anywhere in the world. Aluminum can only be repaired in specialist locations.

All racks have a good life but steel should outlast them all over time. You must do your research into what your bike rack is made from, as you don’t want a rack that will break while you are out riding.


It is always worth noting how your desired front bike rack needs to be assembled before you purchase it. Otherwise, you’ll have a rack that you may not be able to fit onto your bike.

Most of the racks we have mentioned above can be fitted onto most types of bike forks, however, this is something worth checking out. Check that your front forks have eyelets on the forks that will allow racks to be mounted.

Some types of racks can’t be fitted onto particular forks, as we saw with the Tubus racks. However, a lot of companies will send you assembly parts in case you don’t have the eyelets that they would normally require for you to mount the rack.

There are other ways to be able to mount certain racks but this is something you must check out. You don’t want to buy a rack that you don’t mount onto your bike.


Whether you are going on a bike tour, bike camping or just cycling to the grocery store, a front bike rack is a really useful thing to have. I have completed long-distance cycling trips both with and without front bike forks and both have their pros and cons. But that is something I will talk about in another blog post in the future.

Front pannier racks give you space on your bike to carry more things. Important items that you need to hand in are just in front of you.

In this article, I have given you the best front bike racks that you can find on the market right now. I have also given all the information that you need to buy the best front bike rack for you. Now you know all this, it’s time to get that bike rack and plan your next bike touring trip.

The Best Front Bike Rack for panniers in 2024 are:

Another one of the Best Bike Touring Gear Reviews from BikeHikeSafari.
gear testing a front bike rack in France
Gear testing front bike racks in France on a cycle tour in Europe

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can Any Bike Have A Rack?

Unfortunately, not every bike rack is compatible with every bike. This is something you need to be careful about when you are looking into buying a new bike rack.

If your bike has disc brakes you must make sure that the bike rack you are buying can work with disc brakes. It’s all about doing your research, so you can get a bike rack that is compatible with your bike.

How Do You Install A Front Rack Without Any Eyelets?

If your bike doesn’t have any eyelets, then in this case depending on the model of your bike rack, you could see cushioned metal loop straps (P Clamps). They are very easy to use and can be found in most hardware stores. They are a great alternative to mounting your bike rack if you don’t have any eyelets.

What Is A Rack On A Bike Called?

A rack on a bike has a couple of different names. They are commonly called racks, but they are also known as luggage carriers or pannier racks. They are a device that is attached to your bike where you can carry items, cargo and panniers. It is a way to carry items easily and conveniently while you are riding on your bike.

front bike rack for bike touring

BikeHikeSafari Gear Review Process

The author, Brad McCartney from BikeHikeSafari is a small independent adventurer and outdoor gear tester who owns and runs

BikeHikeSafari is not part of a large blog network and is proudly independent. All reviews on this site are independent and honest gear reviews of outdoor products by the author.

The author, Brad McCartney is a very experienced triple crown thru-hiker, adventurer, and bike tourer having spent 1000s of nights sleeping in a tent and sleeping bag (Read more). He was a manager of an outdoor retail store and is very experienced in what is important when using and testing gear for reviews like this.

BikeHikeSafari will never receive any money for reviews and they do not accept sponsored reviews on this website. All the comments about the gear reviews are from the author based on his years of experience. Hope this independent review was helpful for you.

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Photo of author
About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Chile.

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