TipsUrban Commuting

Bike Bags and Bike Racks: How to Choose

One of the best things about bikes as a form of transport is their versatility. Whether you’re weaving the city streets, running errands around town or adventuring in the mountains, you’re going to need somewhere to stash your stuff.

Smaller bags are great for shorter trips, but for longer rides or weekends on the road, you’ll benefit from something that fits onto the bike itself. In this blog, we give you a run-down of different types of racks, and the bags (and riders!) they suit best. 

Types of Bike Rack – and Bags to Pair them With

Bike racks are designed to provide stability for when you’re carrying heavier loads on your bike, and give riders more options when it comes to carrying bags and other items. Front racks and rear racks are the two most popular models.

Rear rack 

This is also known as a ‘pannier rack’, the rear rack adds a lot of versatility, and is probably the most popular type of bike rack. Saving your back from carrying heavy loads, rear racks allow you to carry much more cargo on the road with you. Lots of cyclists use rear racks when they’re bike commuting, touring or camping.

Usually rated to carry loads between 20 and 50 pounds, rear racks work well for most cycling uses. For serious touring cyclists, there are a few heavy-duty touring models which can accommodate up to 80 pounds, and typically have three supports per side, rather than two.

As with front racks, rear racks are designed to attach to the braze-on mounts on your bike. If your bike doesn’t have braze-on mounts, you can still mount a rack using metal C clips included with the mounting hardware of most racks. Just wrap them around your bike’s frame tubes and accept the lower mounting bolt.


Rear racks work best with:

Pannier / Bike Bag 

Fun fact! The term ‘pannier’ actually comes from the French word ‘pain’ for bread, and used to be known as a bread basket. These days, though, it’s one of the most popular bags for getting around by bike. 

Typically mounted beside your wheels (front, back or both), this type of bag is perfect for long-distance touring – including bikepacking – or to carry stuff around town. They’re also great for commuting, as certain models (like ours!) can safely store a laptop and other work materials.

Our Pannier Backpack Convertible transforms into a backpack in a quick clip and unbuckle, making it suitable for travel and commuting. You can also check out the brand new Pannier Duffel, which has extra storage for longer cycling trips, sports activities or weekends away.  :

Trunk Box Bag

A trunk box bag is a great fit for urban commuters as well as off-bike errands. Made to fit front and rear racks, we made our Dayliner Handlebar & Trunk Box Bag for busy city dwellers and slow food cycles alike. It’s perfect for carrying out errands about town and providing a true utility trunk of storage on your bike.

Strap it on your rack with a secure 4-point attachment, using two velcro straps and the side quick release buckles. 

Front rack

Popular for cyclists who carry a lot of gear, the front rack is a great secondary option to mount your bags or materials. However, putting a lot of weight on just one side of the front rack can affect your steering and balance, and even impact your ability to brake. For that reason, it’s best to use a top mounted bag like our Dayliner Box Bog that centers the load or use panniers on both sides of your front rack to even the load.

The three primary styles of front racks include:

  • A standard rack (also called a “top mount”). This maximizes gear capacity, as the load can be carried above the front wheel as well as hung off the sides.
  • A low rider rack, which accepts bags only on the sides but holds the weight closer to the ground for better balance.
  • A basket rack. Great for running errands, basket racks let you throw shopping bags in front of your handlebars without needing to strap anything down. Wald makes some great ones. 

As with rear racks, front racks are designed to attach to the braze-on mounts on your bike.

Check out‘s bike rack breakdown for some of the most highly rated models. The Ibera PakRak wins first place. 

Front racks work best with:

Trunk Box Bag

Trunk box bags work great on front and rear racks for total utility. A great choice for errand running, commuting and bike camping, we initially sized our Dayliner Handlebar & Trunk Box Bag as a bike share basket bag. As a result, it generally fits into any front basket or bike share system. Cycle Volta calls it the “King of Versatility.” 

Small Handlebar Bags

Throwing stuff in a handlebar bag is great for casual commutes, or if you’re running errands. The Dayliner Mini Messenger Bag secures to practically any handlebar setup, and is small enough not to interfere with your front rack setup. 


The beauty of a pannier lies in its adaptability, and they suit front racks as much as rear racks. If you want extra versatility, the clue’s in the name with our Pannier Backpack Convertible. Attach it to your front rack or rear rack. For the walking part of your commute, just unclip, unbuckle and throw it on as a backpack. 

Need a bike bag but not fussed by racks? Check out our blog post: Our Five Most Popular Bags (and Who They Are Designed For) to find out more about our different styles and models, and which best suits your lifestyle.

Remember, all of our bags come with a two year warranty and 30 day guarantee! For more information, check out the FAQs section of our website.

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