Steel Front Rack Provides Mountain Bike for Bicycle Touring
When I received the Minoura MT 4000-SF front Pannier Rack as a gift I was pleasantly surprised at my first assessment of the quality, even if all of the instructions were in Japanese. I have provided a PDF instruction manual for download at the end of this post. First of all it is a steel rack, which I really appreciate just in case I should somehow bang it around while touring. So many other bike touring folks recognize and have an appreciation for steel if only because it is so easy to repair should welds break or come loose. Having said that looking over welds, design and even the paint this front rack from Minoura is unique in quality to price comparison it's unbeatable. At about half the price of Old Man Mountain Racks , which I consider to be the best, Minoura's front rack also includes all the mounting hardware at no extra charge. Includes mounting brackets for canti brake post mounts or clamps for front suspension fork mount. This rack is also disc brake compatible and will fit all mountain bikes including twenty niner. Similar to Old Man Mountain racks a rack specific front wheel skewer is supplied for axle mount.
Most notable unique aspect of Minoura's design is the rack comes in two pieces that must be bolted together as shown in photo at right with the supplied stainless steel hardware shown in item number (1). I wasn't too certain of this element of Minoura's design until I assembled it. I was pleasantly surprised at how rigid and stiff the rack immediately became after tightening in place.
The only hardware not included for this installation was brake mounting bolts item (2) for cantilever post installation and using the supplied "L" shaped brackets previously attached to rack shown in photo. For suspension fork installation the rubber lined round clamps are included and are of very good quality shown in item (3). And finally the front rack skewer for attaching to fork and front wheel.
In concept the idea of attaching directly to brake posts and skewer is a good one and is why Old Man Mountain Racks are so distinctly popular.
After getting this front rack installed I test road it on some single track around our shop with my dog. He's good for test riding things like this, particularly while checking out the handling with the added weight and feel of maneuvering. So far I am quite pleased with how this rack fits, looks and should perform well for my intended use of mountain bike trail touring and camping. With a weight of three pounds and capacity of 40 lbs. it will suffice, though I am certain that with the type of installation described here that rating is increased.
Other than the instructions being in Japanese the only other issue when I went to install this rack was the groove in the "L" shaped canti mount brackets were a hair too large and wanted to slip over the brake mount post when the mountain bolts were tightened. I remedied this with some ovalized washers found on linear type brake pads. This also added some distance to help get the rack level without creating a weak spot for this installation as shown in photo at left.
The supplied "L" shaped mounting brackets are a fairly versatile piece of hardware and well thought on the part of Minoura. Depending on width of fork, distance between cantilever posts the brackets can be mounted inside our outside of the rack mounting surface. With our Kona P2 fork I installed the brackets on the outside of the rack and fits nicely. Depending on the fork you are using and tire width the brackets may interfere with tire removal. In this article we see a Kenda Nevegal 2.125 being used without issue. This rack weighs 3 lbs. or a bit less as shown. I'm very pleased with it.