The Tubus Vega for the Surly ECR + Rack Mods for Extra H20

Does the Tubus Vega fit the ECR, with 29+ Knards? Well, the answer is… kind of. A few people have asked and commented about the compatibility of the Vega with the ECR. Here are my thoughts.

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Traditionally a rear rack is used to carry panniers, but another potential applications are to support a saddlebag (Nick uses a Nitto rack for this and Cass also uses the Vega), as well as lash other peripheral items to the platform. I needed something to bear the weight of a hefty long flap saddlebag (similar in size to the Carradice Camper). I also wanted to modify the rack to utilize the space where panniers would typically hang for the purpose of carrying water and/or stove fuel. The Vega is perfect for this application; it is one of the lightest racks on the market and has a triangle that is ideal for adding a bottle mount structure.

Tubus Vega - Rack for Surly ECR

Plenty of space with the Knards under the platform…

There are 2 versions of the Vega, the Vega Evo—I purchased mine through—and the Vega 29er, which is not currently available in the US. Due to the expedited timeframe for building the ECR before departure, compatibility surprises were not an option, so I bought one of each. The Vega 29er would have offered more wiggle room for the bulky Knard tires, but I have a 33” inseam and due to the height of the 29er version (from tread to top), and using the Carradice Bagman QR mechanism it may have been slightly tight for my saddlebag to fit between the seat and rack top. The Evo version is about an inch less high and allows the exact amount of space for the saddlebag to fit comfortably.

Tubus Vega - Rack for Surly ECR

… and to the rear of the rack, there is plenty of room on the sides…

I am currently using the Evo on tour and so far it is working well. However, I am also running Blunt 35 wheels which keep the Knards slightly more narrow than when mounted on the Surly Rabbit Holes. However, the space is still pretty tight. Although I haven’t tested it, I think the 29er version would fit the ECR with Rabbit Hole wheels and Knards. If anybody has tried this, let me know. Here are a few shots and specs of how it all fits together.

Tubus Vega - Rack for Surly ECR

… the interior toward the front rack risers are where it gets tight; with Blunt 35s, there is about 1/4″ on each side.

Tubus Vega Water Bottle Modification

The addition of cage mounts to the Vega was pretty simple using parts and materials from a local hardware store, save the Rivnut setter. I actually designed them to hold the bottles in a straight up position, however, this proved problematic as access would be limited to instances when the saddlebag was off of the bike—the wide bag would block the bottles from being pulled out in an upwards motion. So luckily the laws of geometry made it possible to reverse them and the cages would be angled towards the back to allow unblocked removal of the bottles. Here are some details on the fabrication:

Tubus Vega Rack - Adding Water Bottle Cages

TO make the supports, I first added the rivnuts to the aluminum stock and cut them roughly the length of the triangle space where they would be mounted. The cages were attached to the rough-cut stock, I then traced the exact angles and made the final cuts.

Tubus Vega Rack - Adding Water Bottle Cages

I found these 1/2″ plumbing supports that when are carefully bent, are just slightly larger in circumference than the Vega riser tubes.

Tubus Vega Rack - Adding Water Bottle Cages

A tack-weld on the rivnuts, some primer and paint finished off the supports.

Tubus Vega - Rack for Surly ECR

I also coated the plumbing supports and added a couple wraps of gorilla tape to protect the finish and fit the slightly larger supports.

Tubus Vega - Rack for Surly ECR

Although I originally designed them to hold the bottles in a straight up position, the laws of geometry allowed them to be reversed and point slightly toward the rear.

Tubus Vega - Rack for Surly ECR

A bit of loctite on the M6 bolts was needed to avoid them loosening over rocky and bumpy terrain.

Surly ECR - Tubus Vega Rack - Touring in South Africa

A full report and build list on the ECR coming next week…
  • Cass

    Great stuff! If you get the chance, can you measure the length of the legs (eyelet to top), and the rear of the Vega? I’ve come across one that’s unmarked as to whether it’s the Evo/29er etc… so trying to figure out what it is. Thanks!

    How are you enjoying the 6D?

  • The bike looks great, especially that saddlebag. Looks to be good clearance all around with the rack.

  • Thanks! Clearance is close, but about perfect. The Knards grew over the firt couple hundred KMs, but now after about 1,000, it looks like I have about 1/4″ on either side… plenty of room as far as I’m concerned. Will get interesting in mud though.

  • Thanks! I will next time I cross paths with a tape or ruler… we’ve been stating on plenty of farms, so it shouldn’t be long. Farmers are super nice here. I am loving the 6D; The kit is quite heavy and I can feel it, especially when I am feeling playful offroad, but worth it I think. We were on some single track the other day, during a race no less, and I definitely felt it then. I might have changed to a 24, 50 and 135mm prime lens selection in hindsight. Although the 24-70 is nice for a lot of shots…

  • Cass

    Well, you’re certainly getting great results with the 24-70. I’ve ended up with the 24, 40 (my favourite) and the 70-200 f4 – which is big, but great for long shots. I hadn’t considered the 135mm. I miss a super wide (I have the 17-40 f4) but the 24/40 works for bike touring.

    I’m still undecided about what to buy in replacement of my Mk2. An EM-1 makes great sense for travel… I just really like the Canon/40mm combo, and have a bunch of Canon lenses. Anyway, I’m back to Peru in a week, so a decision will have to be made soon…

    All the best with the ongoing adventures. And Happy New Year!

  • Tough decision. I love my 135 f/2. That lens is amazing for a semi long lens… and lengthy portraits; pretty hefty though. The 6d is a good option; light compared to most FF DSLR bodies. I am sure whatever you get, you’ll take amazing shots with! Cheers, and Happy New Year to you…

  • Pari Kemmick

    Hey there. Do you think the vega rack would work with ortlieb saddle bags? I have the ECR and I am ordering racks and bags right now, thinking about maybe using this rack.

  • Yes, I don’t see why not. Big bags or fronts? My wife is now using fronts on the rear rack of her Troll and it’s a nice small package that carries more than you’d expect…

  • Pari Kemmick

    Thanks Logan, good point. I think I would be doing the front on the rear like her, plus the sweet roll from revelate (Love that roll so much) We will see. We leave in a month for our mexico-bolivia trip. I think ortliebs will work well and I like this rack set up so far!

  • That’s the set up she has… Front Roller Plus on the rear and the Sweet Roll on the front. If you added a framebag in there, that would be more than enough room as long as you pack light. Send me your blog (if you have one) for the trip! Safe travels!

  • Pari Kemmick

    Thanks! We have a facebook/indiegogo right now but we plan to have an actual blog/website up here soon. We leave march 20th, so I’ll get it posted before then!

  • Pari Kemmick

    Hey Logan, thanks again for the advice. I ended up talking to the guys at surly and was too late In ordering a rack and ended up getting a Topeka rack. I don’t love it and I was terrified it’d break on me on our first day but it’s been holding strong. Looks like your Africa adventure is amazing! Here is our website/ blog we’ve got going now. Links to blog and photos. Dying over how much I love my ECR, it’s perfect!

  • Rob Frye

    Hey Logan, where did you find the Vega 29er in the States? I’ve got the rabbit hole rims on my ECR, and by your photo it looks like I might want to go that direction (I think the fit would be too close on the Evo)


    We tryed the ECR Rabbit Hole Vega combination – it does not work.


    We tried the ECR – Vega, Vega29 – Rabbithole combination and it does not work, the tire touches the rack.

  • I kind of figured it would be too tight… thanks for the update. I guess that’s another plus for the Blunt 35s on tour…

  • Hi Rob, Sorry, must have missed this comment a few days ago. I actually got it from a British website, SJS I think. However, I ended up using the Evo version as the 29er is an inch or so higher and it made my saddlebag a little tight. But, as that comment above mentions, the Evo doesn’t work for the Rabbit Holes. I will probably be running the 29er version next time.

  • Ben

    Hi Logan, I know this is an old post, but am wondering what front rack you used on your ECR? Is it the Salsa Minimalist? If so, what were your thoughts on it? I’d like a featherweight front rack to carry a tent on my Krampus, but have heard mixed reviews on the Salsa Minimalist, seeing as how it was recalled. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  • Hi Ben. I actually love the Minimalist. I’ve used it on 2 big trips (once on the Troll) with no issues. With the Knards you have to angle it up slightly (you can see it in that photo above). The only issue with the Krampus is there are no bosses on the fork. You may be be able to rig it with pipe-clamps or something like that though. Other than that you’d have to run an ECR fork, or drill the Krampus for for mounts…

  • Todd

    Hi Logan. I just got my new ECR and its everything I expected, thanks for all the info you have posted. I am beginning to outfit it and was wondering if you where to find the Salsa Minimalist rack, all of the US and online shops seem to have discontinued it.

  • Good to know… thanks! (sorry for the delayed response… must’ve missed this one)

  • Hi Todd, About a year ago I bought the last two that I could find. They were supposed to release a version 2, but I haven’t heard anything about it. I will let you know if I hear anything.

  • Well, I just heard from Salsa and they said they pretty much abandoned plans for a Minimalist V2:

  • Mike D

    Hi Logan – … I have scanned through this thread and have found no mention of the front rack setup. Would you be able to describe what you are using here? I would really appreciate it. thanks, Mike

  • Ruben

    Realy nice bike. I’m going on a trip next month but I still need a new rear rack. I’m planning on buying the Tubus Vega.
    After Summer I’m going to buy a surly ogre… EPICNESS awaits !!
    Are you using the 28″ version or the 29″ verstion of the tubus vega?
    I don’t want to buy another new rear rack for my surly ogre.



  • Bryan K Young

    I had order my Tubus Vega Classic 29er from Germany, including shipping it totaled $84. It took two weeks to arrive, since it was coming from Germany.

    It fits with Rabbit Hole/Maxxis Chronicle combination, clearance is small and probably will suck in the mud! The 240mm round stays used to secure rack to the seat stays are just slightly too short, you could tilt the rack forward to make them work… but then the rack would not be level. I ordered 350mm round stays from Ortlieb USA for $18 with shipping; the 350mm stays are sold out everywhere else!! Once I receive the stays and finish assembly I will post some photos.

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