When you think of bike racks, you probably think of the rear racks commonly found on touring and utility bikes. In recent years, however, front racks have found renewed popularity among a wide range of cyclists and disciplines. For riders seeking an alternative to the ubiquitous rear carrier, Racktime offers the Top-It front rack.
The Top-It is constructed from 10mm diameter alloy tubing, and features a sturdy powdercoat finish. Weight is a respectable 485 grams, and the maximum carrying capacity is 10kg (22 pounds). Like the company’s other carriers, the Top-It is compatible with bags and accessories that use the Snap-It mounting system.
Unlike other front racks that attach to the fork’s dropouts, the Top-It mounts to mid-fork (aka, low-rider) braze-ons (adapters are available for forks that lack such braze-ons). A steel bracket secures the rack to the fork crown/steerer. Installation was straightforward, and the rack didn’t interfere with my fender or disc brake caliper. Once in place, I was impressed with the system’s rigidity.
Racktime’s Snap-It mounting system blends convenience and security in a single, easy-to-use format. Our sample QubeIt bag could be quickly and easily removed, but remained securely attached even when ridden over bumpy dirt roads and trails. Because of the Top-It’s height (compared to low-riders or a small rando-style rack), I did notice that very heavy loads affected my bike’s handling–producing a noticeable “wheel-flop” at slow speeds. When paired with small panniers, however, the bike’s steering felt more natural.
I found the QubeIt’s 18-litre capacity spacious enough for daily winter commuting. On the rare occasions that I needed a little more room, the bag expansion straps easily accommodated larger, bulkier items. For off-the-bike use, a padded shoulder strap is included, and a high-viz rain cover keeps the bag’s contents dry.
The Top-It is available in black or silver, and retails for $54.95. Racktime offers the QubeIt in black, red, blue, silver, grey, or brown ($76.00 MSRP).
Disclosure: Ortlieb USA provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation for this review.