Bicycle luggage carriers may be mounted on the front or rear of a bicycle. The rear mount is more common. Racks on the front are mostly reserved for utility and freight bicycles. A special type of front rack is a low rider which is mainly used for bicycle touring.
Bicycles may have eyelets, tapped with a standard thread, at the dropouts on the rear chainstays, and on the front fork blades. Mounting a bike rack is possible without these eyelets, but requires additional hardware. A style of rack clamps only to the seatpost, does not require eyelets or additional hardware, but has a limited capacity.
Luggage carriers can be mounted on recumbents and on folding bicycles, but may require customization or additional hardware. Additionally, specialized or customized luggage carriers are often required on bicycles with (rear) disc brakes or full suspension.
A common type of child seat designed for carrying an infant on a bicycle mounts to a rear luggage carrier. Some models of child seat are not attached to a luggage carrier but are fixed to the seat tube.
Rear-mounted luggage carriers are typically designed and tested for a maximum load of 25 kg, some models even for up to 40 kg. For front-mounted carriers, a typical design load limit might be 2×10 kg. Most luggage carriers are not designed to withstand the weight of an adult person.
Luggage carriers are commonly constructed from aluminum, steel, or some combination of the two. Components may consist of tubing, extrusions, or castings. They may be welded, riveted, or bolted together.
Some bikes, depending on their intended use, may be built with an integrated luggage carrier. The Schwinn Phantom and many longtail bicycles, such as the Xtracycle incorporate a rear rack, and Porteur bicycles include a front platform rack.
Panniers may be mounted to front and rear luggage carriers. Removable panniers hook onto the top edge of the carrier and then are held in place by a spring or elastic cord that hooks near the wheel axle at the bottom. Some luggage carriers have an extra, lower, rail to hang panniers on, this provides better stability and more space on the platform.
- British Standard BS EN 14872: Bicycles – Accessories for bicycles – Luggage carriers, British Standards Institution, 2006.
- International Standard ISO 11243: Cycles – Luggage carriers for bicycles – Concepts, classification and testing, International Organization for Standardization, 1994. In this ISO carriers can be fastened an EN 14344 DMS child seat.
A Dutch utility bicycle with a rack attached over the rear wheel.
- Bicycle basket
- List of cycling topics
- Utility cycling
- Xtracycle (an extreme form of bicycle mounted luggage carrier)