Oct 23 2010
The inexpensive Bor Yueh rack on my Surly LHT has served me well. It’s been hauling loads of up to 50 pounds for some 6,000 miles now, and I seldom leave the house without first mounting either a pair of Nashbar Townie shopping panniers or my Louis Garneau RR-16 rack trunk. And here it is, photographed on a rare occasion when it wasn’t loaded down:
But nothing’s perfect, is it? And the Bor Yueh has a few shortcomings. In particular, the rack’s somewhat eccentric architecture makes engaging the Posi-Lock on my new Axiom Champlain panniers an extremely fussy business.
I could have kludged a fix, of course, but I decided to take the easy way out, instead, replacing the Bor Yueh with a rack of more conventional design. (The Bor Yueh won’t languish in a closet, by the way. It’s going on my utility bike.) So when I spied an ad for the Planet Bike K.O.K.O., I took a closer look. And I liked what I saw. The K.O.—I’m going to abbreviate the name from now on—is sturdy, well thought out, and reasonably priced. It’s not a trophy rack, of course, but that’s not a problem. I’m more interested in performance than bling. Which isn’t to say that it isn’t good-looking:
The K.O. is on the left; my old Bor Yueh, on the right. (Right-click to see a larger image in a new window.) You’ll note that there’s a strong family resemblance, especially in the way the adjustable stays are secured. In fact, I suspect that the K.O. is a rebadged Bor Yueh product. Which doesn’t matter a bit. I like my Bor Yueh. But the differences between my old rack and the K.O., while small, are important. The K.O. has a level platform, with a wider gap between struts. And the light mount is a solid plate that easily accommodates a centered taillight. The lower anchor point also accepts larger pannier hooks without complaint. The bottom line? It will be easier for me to attach and remove loaded touring panniers.
Mounting the K.O. is simple and straightforward. It took me no more than 15 minutes, and it probably won’t take you any longer. All the hardware you’ll need is included, too, though it pays to take inventory before you reach for your Allen keys—one securing bolt, a 6M x 12mm cap screw, was missing from my rack. (I replaced it from my parts stock.) Now here’s what the K.O. looks like on the bike:
And here’s a view from above:
The rack has a pronounced taper from back to front. This might yield some minor aerodynamic advantage when carrying loaded panniers, I suppose, but I doubt that I’ll ever go fast enough to put it to the test, and it seems an unnecessary stylistic flourish in an otherwise well-designed rack. I also wondered if the taper might cause problems mounting my rack trunk or the Champlain panniers. It didn’t, though:
Best of all, the Posi-Lock now rotates easily to the locking position, and I have plenty of latitude in positioning the panniers fore and aft. A subsequent road-test confirmed that all was indeed well. My Champlain panniers were easy to mount and remove, and I had no problems with heelstrike under way. Will the K.O. keep on keeping on? I can’t be certain—the next 6,000 miles will tell the tale—but things are looking good so far!