Rear Racks for Fat Bikes, List and Guide

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Rear racks may not be the first thing that comes to mind for those converted to bikepacking, but in the case of fat biking, they can play an important role in how (and where) we carry our gear for extended trips. Don’t underestimate the simplicity and practicality of a well-made rear rack designed for big tires. Here’s our Low Down guide to racks compatible with fat bikes…

We already dove deep into the differences between panniers and bikepacking bags and looked at some of the potential benefits that can come with the switch. Weight was one of the main focuses of the comparison, and a lot of that heft comes from the burly racks designed for touring with panniers. Although panniers and rear racks aren’t our first choice for riding singletrack-heavy routes or technical trails, when it comes to fat bikes they unquestionably serve a purpose if hauling extra gear, food, or water is necessary. However, not all rear racks with clearances for fat tires are compatible with all bikes, and choosing the right one for you isn’t always as straightforward as you may think.

Fat Bike Rear Rack Options

Sorry, Weight Weenies!

For just a moment, imagine weight isn’t your only concern when it comes to choosing what gear to use for your next big bikepacking trip. Perhaps the goal is to ride some incredibly remote trails in Peru or tackle a mid-winter tour. In both of these situations, there’s a strong likelihood that having the ability to carry extra gear and provisions will be necessary. Perhaps, dare we say it, traditional bikepacking handlebar bags and seatpacks won’t be enough to haul the 6+ litres of water, five days of food, and bulky cold weather camping gear that you need. There’s still a place for racks and panniers, particularly when weight isn’t a key consideration, and they open up the door for larger and more remote expeditions. We should also point out that those riders of shorter stature may have no choice; if you don’t have room for a seatpack and have minimal framebag space (many fat bike frames are made from carbon or aluminum, often featuring large diameter tubes), a rear rack and panniers may be your only option for this kind of riding.

Fat bikes are inherently heavier than their mountain biking counterparts. The tires alone can add a decent amount of weight, especially when running tubes. For example, Surly’s Lou and Bud 26×4.8” tires come in at around 1,500g (3+ lbs) each, while WTB’s popular Ranger line (even the 29×3.0” version) will save you at least 500g (almost a pound) on each end. You’d expect this to mean saving every last gram is all the more important! But weight isn’t necessarily a bad thing when it comes to fatbiking in the snow. Positioning weight at the back, with a rack and a couple of panniers, can actually help offer more traction.

Also related to winter riding, it’s worth noting that whilst seatpacks are relatively easy to access on the fly, nothing beats the simplicity of packing and unpacking a small pannier mounted to a rack, especially with gloved hands. Above all else, riding with a rear rack will give you an extra platform to strap down some kindling or a box of wine, both of which will help keep you toasty and warm.

Choosing a Fat Bike Rack

For those considering going with a rear rack, we recommend taking some time to figure out exactly which one will work best. Different dropout spacing due to larger hubs, limited or oddly spaced mounting points, and big tires that get in the way can all make things a little confusing. Although the only way to be entirely sure is to try to get your hands on a rack to do a test fit, here are a few key things to consider when deciding which rack is best for you.

Fat Bike Rear Rack List and Guide, Bikepacking, Fatbike, Rear Racks

Wheel Size

One of the first, and easiest, ways to narrow down the list is to decide which wheel and tire size you plan on using with your rack. The good thing is that almost all rear racks will have wheel size compatibility clearly listed on their websites, and will often read something like, “fits 24 inch and 26 inch fat tires” or “26 inch up to 5 inch wide.” Plus sized tire compatibility will likely fall into this category of racks as well, and can quickly be used a gauge to see whether or not the rack will have the vertical and horizontal clearance for your larger than average rubber. Some racks, like the Blackburn Outpost, are adjustable to accommodate a wide range of wheel sizes, and some other manufacturers will offer different models designed for standard, plus, or fat tires.

Fat Bike Rear Rack List and Guide, Bikepacking, Fatbike, Rear Racks

  • Fat Bike Rear Rack List and Guide, Bikepacking, Fatbike, Rear Racks
  • Fat Bike Rear Rack List and Guide, Bikepacking, Fatbike, Rear Racks

Rear Dropout Spacing & Mounting Points

Not all fat bikes are created equal. It’s important to nail the lower mounting point of the rack, because this is where the majority of the weight will end up. The rear dropout spacing often determines the width of this attachment, although there are always exceptions. Many racks out there can mount directly to your quick release axle, which means the rear dropout spacing will directly reflect what kind of rack you’ll look for. Other racks will mount to the various braze-ons on the seat stays of the fat bike, and if these are lacking, most supply flexible seat stay clamps to make things work. There isn’t really one definitive way to be sure of fit, and some racks might require a little imagination to make them work. If you have no clue where to start, contact your bike’s manufacturer for some advice.

  • Fat Bike Rear Rack List and Guide, Bikepacking, Fatbike, Rear Racks
  • Fat Bike Rear Rack List and Guide, Bikepacking, Fatbike, Rear Racks
  • Fat Bike Rear Rack List and Guide, Bikepacking, Fatbike, Rear Racks

Weight Capacity & Purpose

Lastly, think about what you’ll be using the rack for and what features are important to you. For example, Blackburn’s Outpost Fat Bike Rack has a high 70lb weight limit, the ability to adjust its width and height, offers lower pannier mounting points, and has rear light mounts. It’s got a lot going on, and some or all of these features might be important to you. On the other side of the spectrum are the Old Man Mountain racks that come in several different styles to work with all the different types of bikes out there. They’re clean and simple, but maybe not as adaptable as the Outpost. It’s not a bad idea to figure out what kind of cargo or panniers you plan on hauling, and to make sure the upper and lower attachment points line up. Most modern panniers should work with pretty much any racks out there, but some will work better than others. The materials used and overall quality of the rack will also dictate what terrain is suitable (and what is not). A well made steel rack will have little impact on what you can and can’t ride, while some lighter aluminum racks may be better suited for more mild-mannered snowmobile trails or doubletrack.

Fat Bike Rear Rack Options

Fat Bike Rear Racks

Here is our full list of rear racks designed around fitting fat tires.

Old Man Mountain Phat Sherpa Rack
Old Man Mountain Phat Sherpa Rack
Old Man Mountain Phat Sherpa Rack
Old Man Mountain Phat Sherpa Rack
Old Man Mountain Phat Sherpa Rack

Old Man Mountain Phat Sherpa

Of the few that are handmade in the USA, Old Man Mountain racks have a strong following and are known for their exceptional quality. The Phat Sherpa comes in more variations than we can rhyme out. From asymmetrical frames to seat stays with no eyelets, quick releases, and thru-axles, it’s actually a bit overwhelming looking at all of the potential options. Thankfully, Old Man Mountain’s excellent customer service will make sure you get the most efficient and ideal rack for your bike, no matter the configuration. OMM has partnered with The Robert Axle Project for use of their Pioneer and Sherpa racks with 12mm thru-axles, making for a clean and sturdy lower mounting option.

The Phat Sherpa rack was clearly designed with minimalism in mind, offering only what your specific setup requires, nothing more. Compared to other options, it’s significantly more slim and less bulky, which is ideal for riding singletrack and will lessen the chance of snagging up on branches or rocks. The only downside is the limited weight capacity, but we think 48.5 lbs (22kg) is still going to give most bikepackers enough to work with.

  • Weight 510g
  • Capacity 48.5 lbs (22kg)
  • Tire Clearance Almost Unlimited
  • Compatible Dropout Spacing Almost Unlimited
  • Price $170.96 to $247.96
  • Manufacturer’s Details Link
Tubus Fat Bike Rack Review
Tubus Fat Bike Rack Review
Tubus Fat Bike Rack Review
Tubus Fat Bike Rack Review

Tubus Fat Rack

The chromoly Tubus Fat rack is solid and sturdy, with a weight capacity of 66 lbs (30kg). From the side, it’s an elegant near parallelogram attached by V-shaped supports to the dropout. The forward stays that reach to the seat tube cluster achieve adjustability by sliding apart or close together and by angling as radically as is needed to meet the mount. They are aluminum, so can be shortened or bent to up to 45 degree angles to address unusual geometries. The design is simple, ingenious, and durable. Installing the rack takes mere minutes.

Tubus touts the Fat as “nearly indestructible,” and that strikes us as credible given its quality construction and beefy tubes. With stainless bolts at the bosses, it’s hard to imagine any reasonable load presenting a challenge to this rack, and Tubus offers a 30-year guarantee. The downside of this robustness, of course, is that the rack is notably heavy. For just strapping a stuff sack behind the saddle and mounting a few bottle cages, this would be complete overkill. On the other hand, for expeditions where one needs to carry panniers with weeks of food, this could be just the solution.

The Fat rack has clearance for up to 26×4.8” tires. One feature we like is that panniers can be mounted in a high or low position, corresponding to the main two horizontal rack tubes. The low position might be the default to keep a low center of gravity, while the high position will be useful for very big panniers to maintain clearance for fording rivers or while riding in deep ruts. It also features a mount in back to attach a light.

  • Weight 1188g
  • Capacity 66lbs (30kg)
  • Tire Clearance 26×4.8”
  • Compatible Dropout Spacing 205mm – 235mm
  • Price $150
  • Manufacturer’s Details Link
surly rear disc rack
surly rear disc rack
surly rear disc rack

Surly Rear Disc Rack

Surly’s Rear Disc Rack offers the same high quality CroMoly Steel build as their other racks, and is offered in a standard or wide size to fit a good assortment of wheel sizes. There is a good amount of vertical adjustment, and a large top platform for a stable packing spot. It’s no surprise to see the Rear Disc Rack as one of the heaviest racks available, but like other products from Surly, it will likely last a lifetime.

The current Rear Disc Rack comes in black, unlike the model shown here, and extends slightly further back with the added vertical and horizontal supports for carrying heavier loads.

  • Weight Standard: 1606g, Wide: 1699g
  • Capacity 66 lbs (30kg)
  • Tire Clearance 650b / 700c to 26×5”
  • Compatible Dropout Spacing Standard: 135mm, Wide: 177mm
  • Price $160
  • Manufacturer’s Details Link
Blackburn Outpost Rack
Blackburn Outpost Rack
Blackburn Outpost Rack
Blackburn Outpost Rack
Blackburn Outpost Rack

Blackburn Outpost Fat Bike Rack

Blackburn’s Outpost Fat Bike Rack, although designed for fat bikes, also works for a wide range of bikes, including mountain bikes and even road bikes. This is accomplished via its adjustable width and height, which definitely sets the Outpost rack apart from the rest. It’s disc brake compatible, mounts to braze-ons, can use an extra-long quick release skewer, or the included seat stay clamps. Blackburn claims the Outpost Fat Bike Rack can fit any wheel size from 26×1” to 29×4”, which is really quite impressive. The rack is made of lightweight aluminum and has several tie down points as well as a mount for a rear light. Blackburn mixed things up a bit with some added colour, a welcome sight in a sea of black bike racks.

  • Weight 1110 grams
  • Capacity 70 lbs (31.7kg)
  • Tire Clearance 26×1” to 29×4”
  • Compatible Dropout Spacing 130mm – 330mm
  • Price $120
  • Manufacturer’s Details Link
TOPEAK UNI SUPER TOURIST FAT RACK
TOPEAK UNI SUPER TOURIST FAT RACK
TOPEAK UNI SUPER TOURIST FAT RACK
TOPEAK UNI SUPER TOURIST FAT RACK
TOPEAK UNI SUPER TOURIST FAT RACK

Topeak UNI Super Tourist Fat Rack

Topeak’s UNI Super Tourist Fat rack offers vertical adjustment to fit 24” and 26” fat bike wheels, and the lower legs of the rack have a few different positions to work with, depending on the location of the lower braze-ons. The legs can be mounted at an angle to send the entire rack further back, as pictured, when heel clearance is an issue. The UNI Super Tourist Fat rack is also compatible with Topeak MTX TrunkBags and rear baskets for added storage space. Topeak uses hollow 6061 T-6 aluminum in a sturdy and compact package, designed to hold some pretty hefty loads. The one limitation is that the rack is not compatible with asymmetrical rear stay fat bike frames, like the Surly Pugsley.

  • Weight 1265 grams
  • Capacity 66 lbs (29.9kg)
  • Tire Clearance 24” and 26” fat tires
  • Compatible Dropout Spacing 190mm (not compatible with asymmetrical rearstay)
  • Price $99
  • Manufacturer’s Details Link
Axiom Fatliner Rack
Axiom Fatliner Rack
Axiom Fatliner Rack
Axiom Fatliner Rack
Axiom Fatliner Rack

Axiom Fatliner Rack

In 2015, Axiom added the Fatliner and 29er DLX racks to their popular Streamliner Rack series to offer a rear rack solution for fat bikes and 29ers. The Fatliner stands out due to its impressive carrying capacity of 110lbs, the most capacity we’ve come across. Adjustability is limited, with no real vertical or horizontal adjustment, but Axiom includes two different styles of upper seat stay arms to work with bikes with or without upper eyelets. Axiom claims the Fatliner is compatible with 26” wheels up to 5” wide and 170-190mm dropouts. The Fatliner’s large top deck means there is plenty of room to tie down a dry bag, and the entire rack is constructed from double hand-welded tubular 6061 T6 aluminum.

  • Weight 982 grams
  • Capacity 110 lbs (49.8kg)
  • Tire Clearance 26” up to 5.0”
  • Compatible Dropout Spacing 170mm – 190mm
  • Price $65
  • Manufacturer’s Details Link
Salsa Alternator Rack
Salsa Alternator Rack
Salsa Alternator Rack

Salsa Alternator Rack

Specifically designed for use with Salsa’s Alternator dropouts, the Alternator Rack is available in a few different widths to work with various rear dropout spacings. The 190 / 197 model will work with, you guessed it, 190 / 197mm spaced Salsa frames with Alternator dropouts. The rack is made from rugged 6061-T6 aluminum and is designed to keep loads super stable and as low as possible.

  • Weight 765g
  • Capacity 59.5 lbs (27kg)
  • Tire Clearance Up to 5″
  • Compatible Dropout Spacing 135, 170, 190mm
  • Price $120
  • Manufacturer’s Details Link

Wrap Up

The inherent stability that fat bikes offer works well with the bulkier loads that riding with a rack and panniers allows. And the very nature of fat bikes, and where they allow us to bikepack – whether on snowmobile trails during winter or across deserts in remote parts of the world – means we may well need that extra hauling space for warm layers, water, or extra food. Thankfully, there are enough rear rack options out there that everyone should be able to find something that will work for their fat biking setup, which in turn will help simplify packing, unpacking, and planning for expedition-style adventures and winter commuting alike.

Have other racks or solutions you’ve used on a fat bike? Leave a comment below…

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