The Bike List

Old Man Mountain Cold Springs rear rack £115

Tested by Jon Adams, tester for The Bike List

A quality rear rack is essential if you want to carry a lot of gear on your bike, but with many bikes eschewing braze-ons and threaded holes for mounting one, life isn’t quite so easy. Until of course you find Old Man Mountain racks. This Californian company makes top-notch aluminium racks, and its Cold Springs model doesn’t require any holes in your frame. The bottom of the rack is supported and mounted via your rear wheel’s hub on an extended-length quick-release skewer, and the other two mounting points use the brake posts.

On a rim-brake MTB or a crosser with cantilever brakes, you simply bolt the rack onto the brake posts along with the brake arms, but if you have a road bike or a disc-only MTB, you’ll need to use a couple of P clips on the seat stays. Heavy duty, nicely padded clips are supplied with the rack if you give your seat stay tubing diameter to the shop (www.carradice.co.uk in the UK), and the hub-and-stay mounting means you can even use this rack with some full suspension designs. Four-bar style linkages won’t work though, as the seat stays and chain stays pivot independently, but if you have a full susser with a single pivot design and a fixed rear triangle (like a Specialized FSR or similar) then the rack will go on just fine.

The Cold Springs rear comes in 26in and 29in/700c sizes, and there’s also a disc model with extra room and welded-in spacers to give sufficient clearance for the disc calipers. We used the disc version in our tests, and that’s the one to go for if you’re going to use it across multiple bikes, as it fits the whole gamut from a V-brake 26in hardtail to a disc-equipped 700c crosser.

Fitting is pretty straightforward once you’ve got your P-clip or brake boss mounting hardware sorted, and once you’ve sat the rack on the hub mount, and slipped the skewer through, you simply level it up by sliding the seat stay connecting arm to the appropriate length. Once it’s true, simply tighten up the hex bolts into their 10mm nuts.

The rack is really solid once your skewer’s tight and your bolts are nipped up, and the spec makes it good for a load of 50lb (23Kg), which is a fair amount to haul for any touring cyclist. We tested it on a hardtail and a crosser with variable loads from an Ortlieb Downtown bike briefcase to a pair of fully laden Ortlieb Classic panniers, and it didn’t let us down, even on rougher off-road sections.

The only real downside we found was the lack of opportunities to mount a rear light on the rack. An LED on your seatpost is fine, but this will be obscured if you have a tent or pack on top on the rack , and some kind of light bracket would be a good idea. To be fair, the Cold Springs is easy enough to customise with a drill and an adaptor bracket for your light, but it’d be nice to have this covered already, especially given the £115 price tag.

We haven’t marked it down for this non-light friendly issue though, as the rack is so versatile and useful that it’d be churlish to do so. Overall this is a really sound buy, and the lifetime guarantee offered by OMM against defects is a nice call, too. You do pay a premium for the Cold Springs, but as far as racks go, this is it!

Buy from www.carradice.co.uk

At a glance

Verdict Premium aluminium rack that fits most bikes and offers a great-looking, stable and light platform for touring luggage.
Value
Performance

Old Man Mountain says:

The Cold Springs Rear is our toughest no-eyelet compatible rack. It's laser-cut top plate is a single piece of 6061-T6 Aluminum that is folded at the rear for a unique look and added strength. This is OMM's original model, first designed in 1996.

Specification:

  • Load Capacity: 50 lbs.
  • Weight: 610g

  • Length x Width x Height
11.75" x 6.25" x 14.25"

  • Available in DISC/ROAD/29" and 26" sizes

For more info visit www.oldmanmountain.com