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The Bontrager BackRack Disc MIK is a sturdy rear rack with a simple and effective design tweak to help it clear disc brakes, though its top strut design can make it fiddly to fit.
The BackRack Disc MIK has two tricks up its sleeve compared to regular rear racks. First, it's compatible with the MIK system that makes it very easy to fit and remove a top bag. (For more about the MIK system, see my review of the Bontrager MIK Utility Trunk Bag.) Second, its lower mounting points are designed to clear a disc brake.
Where the rack attaches to the eyelets on your dropouts there are small tubular extensions that step out the rack so it doesn't interfere with a seatstay-mounted disc brake calliper.
This is a bit of a niche application since most disc brakes have moved to the chainstays where they don't interfere with racks. There are still some seatstay-mounted callipers around, like the ones on the Carrera Subway I reviewed recently, but if you've got a bike with chainstay-mounted brakes and want a MIK-compatible rack, buy the Bontrager BackRack Deluxe MIK instead of this rack.
Why? Because, as with many MIK racks, the bag interferes with easily mounting and removing panniers. Some panniers get completely in the way and prevent a MIK bag from mounting at all, others leave room for a MIK bag, but you still have to take it off to mount them. I found that panniers with their hooks right at the top of the back board worked, but if the board extends above the hooks you're out of luck. The Deluxe rack has an extra bar for your panniers to get round these issues.
I didn't have quite the level of hassle fitting the BackRack MIK Disc to a bike that Matt Lamy did when he tested the Deluxe version, probably because the bikes I put it on had rack eyes right by the dropouts. Nevertheless, the clamps that the top struts pass through do make adjustment awkward. You have to assemble everything loosely, then wiggle the rack into place so the top's level, then tighten up the frame bolts and the strut clamps.
As you can see, I didn't bother to shorten the top struts. I always reason that leaving parts like this at their original length allows for changes later even if it doesn't look pretty.
Incidentally, there are two ways Matt could have made fitting that Deluxe rack easier. The first is to replace his seat clamp with one that incorporates rack mounts, such as this from M Part or this Avenir one. The second would have been to move the strut clamps to the rack's uprights so they work like those on the Blackburn Expedition 1 Disc (and the discontinued Central).
Matt found the coating on his rack wasn't very durable. I didn't have the same problem, but I do wonder why everything (racks, spokes, rims etc etc) has to be coated black. It's often just less hassle if things are left plain.
Once the rack is in place it's plenty sturdy thanks to its tubular aluminium construction. The plate out back for lights is a great feature. It'll take a standard dynamo-powered rear light or you can do what I did and improvise an angle bracket to take a mount. Either way, it's a lot less hassle than trying to clamp a light mount round a rack's tubing, which never seems to work very well.
Price-wise it's cheaper than the £55 Blackburn Expedition 1 Disc, which is arguably an overall better design but lacks MIK compatibility. The Bontrager Deluxe MIK rack is the same price but doesn't accommodate seatstay-mounted disc callipers; if you don't need that capability in a MIK rack, it's probably the one to go for. But if you want a MIK rack that clears seatstay-mounted callipers, this is pretty much your only choice.
Get this rack if you have seatstay-mounted disc brakes that foul standard racks, the patience to mess around with the top strut fitting system, and you want a MIK-compatible rack.
Solves the problem of carrying a MIK bag on a bike with seatstay-mounted disc callipers
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Bontrager BackRack Disc MIK
Size tested: One
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Bontrager says it's "an MIK-compatible rack that is easy to mount to disc brake-equipped bike frames". Yeah, more or less, though the top struts are a bit fiddly.
Bontrager also says:
Rack 'em up
Turn your bike into a trusty pack mule with this sturdy rear rack. The BackRack Disc is designed to mount to the eyelets already built into your frame, so installation is easy. It has MIK compatibility so you can mount compatible trunk bags or accessories securely and in seconds, plus integrated threaded accessory eyelets for added functionality and effortless light installation.
Quick-and-easy installation adds storage and utility to compatible bikes
MIK mounting system provides secure, integrated mounting with compatible bags
Integrated eyelets make it easy to mount lights or other accessories
Compatible with MIK, standard boot bags or panniers
Single-bolt strut mounts allow maximum adjustment and easy installation
Includes the required mounting hardware and spacer to fit most disc brake calipers
Max weight capacity 25kg (55 lb)
Not intended for use with child carriers
MIK: Mounting is Key
MIK racks and bags feature a keyed install system that secures your bags to your rack but still makes it easy to remove them when you need to.
How MIK works
Slide the MIK bag onto the MIK rack. Once you hear a click, the installation is complete. If you want to remove the bag, simply insert the key and press. Once pressed the bag can be removed.
Our bags and racks are designed as one complete system that's easy to install and remove and made keep to your precious cargo safe.
Integrated light mounting
You'll find a dedicated spot to mount your light on racks and bags for better all-hours visibility.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Compatible bike size: XS-M (13-18"/33-54 cm), M-XL (18-22"/54-62 cm)
Rack type: Rear
Adjustable feet: Yes
Disc compatible: Yes
Includes light mount: No
Weight capacity: 55 lb (25 kg)
One or two very minor bits of less-pretty welding, but nothing to worry about.
It's pretty much what you'd expect a decent-quality rack from a well-known brand to cost, and cheaper than the Blackburn Expedition 1 Disc.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. Panniers clip on and off easily and a MIK bag clicks right into place.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Being able to fit a MIK bag with no extra gubbins.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not being able to easily fit a pannier with a MIK top bag.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's cheaper than the £55 Blackburn Expedition 1 Disc, which is arguably an overall better design but lacks MIK compatibility. The Bontrager Deluxe MIK rack is the same price but doesn't accommodate seatstay-mounted disc callipers; if you don't need that capability in a MIK rack, it's probably the one to go for. But if you want a MIK rack that clears seatstay-mounted callipers, this is pretty much your only choice.
Did you enjoy using the product? Come on, it's a rack
Would you consider buying the product? No, I'd buy the Deluxe version instead and space it with washers if necessary.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they needed its rather niche use case.
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is a good rack if you need its combination of features, but the way a MIK bag interferes with some panniers is annoying.
About the tester
I usually ride: Scapin Style My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb,
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.