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A lovely idea hopelessly (or cynically?) executed...
on 11 January 2013
I purchased the V-fit MTX beam rack as I have a Tern 26" folding mountain bike; I needed something that could be quickly released if necessary and something to keep the clueless bunch in Evans' quiet with their insistence that a rack couldn't be fitted to my bike.
The construction quality of the rack is excellent, and it comes with numerous shims and fittings. It also comes with an integrated bungee that forms two cords for securing loads. In turn, the bungee features three bulges to allow it to lock into place, also allowing quick adjustment of the tightness dependent on the load. It all sits very neatly around the seatpost and can be tightened or loosened as necessary, making it universal. Much as with many saddles these days, the screw that tightens also doubles as a lever clamp, securing the rack for good... or so you'd think.
Here's where it all goes downhill. No matter how tightly you fix the rack, it swings out of place with the slightest provocation, especially if you have no suspension or are carrying a wider load; and while we're on the subject, it is hopeless at carrying anything with a little bit of weight or bulk. As an example, a shoebox with a pair of shoes proved too much, with the bungees being completely ineffective at holding the box securely in place and pinging out of place as the bike cornered. A bag containing a ringbinder was right out, and yet with smaller loads there is too much slack to hold items down. My best experience with this has been using it to carry a small satchel containing a shirt and a pair of jeans. Even then, the rattle, no matter how tightly fitted the rack is, can be unbearable.
Yes, side pannier racks, fitted bags that slide and lock into the proprietary Topeak slot and a cargo net are available, but, forgive me for being a bit cycnical, is that why the bungee included here is so useless? I had hoped to be able to carry something a bit more substantial than jeans and a shirt with this rack, and it doesn't deliver, or at least, probably won't without hefty outlay on a number of Topeak's other bits and pieces...