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Panniers are a great way to lug stuff about, but what do you do if you can't fit a rack? This QR carrier fits in seconds to your seatpost and it's an effective way of quickly adding carrying capacity to your steed, that you can just as easily remove.
The rack is a sturdy affair, with a solid-looking central beam attaching the rack to the quick release, which comes with a couple of different diameter rubber shims that'll enable it to fit most 'posts. There's a bit of fore/aft adjustment of the rack available, and at the back you get a plate to mount your LED light to. Do the QR up nice and tight and the rack stays where it's put pretty well, even when loaded.
The rack rides about 6" higher than a standard pannier rack which can affect handling a bit, but only when it's carrying loads heavier than it's really supposed to - it's not really designed for fully loaded touring. The rack isn't as deep as a frame-mounted one, but it's deep enough that it allowed the stabilising hook to engage on all three of the panniers we tried. If your pannier uses a traditional hook right at the very bottom of the back plate, though, it won't be long enough.
The frame just about stops the panniers from falling into the wheel on cornering or over rough ground, although if your bags are big and floppy you might get a bit of contact. The top rails were fine with all the three bags we tried, each of which had a slightly different mounting system.
So what are the benefits of a QR rack over a frame mounted one? Well, obviously there's plenty of bikes that don't have mounting points. If you were doing a fast tour on your non-eyeleted road bike and wanted to carry a bit of luggage, this rack would be a good option, as it would be for an MTB expedition; you could fit your panniers to your full susser and head off into the hills with a tent in tow.
Mostly though it'll be good for commuting bikes that don't have mounting points, or there's another reason you can't fit a full-time rack: I use a child seat which interferes with a rack when it's fitted, but this QR unit means I can use my panniers when I'm not lugging kids about, without having to spend ages removing and re-fitting a standard rack.
If you can fit a frame mounted rack then that's still the best option, but there's plenty of people who can't and for them the something like the ETC QR rack is probably the best bet. At £23.99 it's a good value, well made bit of kit.
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Make and model: ETC seatpost mounted QR pannier rack
Size tested: n/a
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they couldn't fit a standard rack
Age: 36 Height: 190cm Weight: 98kg
I usually ride: Schwinn Moab, urbanised with 700cs My best bike is: Trek 1.5 with upgrades
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.