The Vavert Metro Lightweight Rack is aimed at commuters, club riders and weekend touring/audax rides, where you don't need to be hauling the kitchen sink or using expedition panniers. However, sleek profiles aside, I've used comparable models that are easier to fit and better finished for similar money.
Although 650g isn't particularly feathery, to Vavert's credit the main rack is reassuringly well made from hollow 10mm 6061 aluminium rod. TIG welding on our sample was neat and generally uniform, and the satin black powder coat finish looks classy – there's also a silver variant, should you prefer.
Either way, binding electrical tape along the rails will prevent mounting systems from munching through paintwork and eventually into the rods themselves.
From afar, it looks like a two-tier model, but the lower strut is actually there to bolster lateral stiffness, not for convenient access when small 14 litre panniers are paired with a trunk type bag or loads lashed to the top plate.
Bolt-on adjustable legs are a little Meccano-esque but accommodate most frame sizes, and small compact geometry designs in particular. Not so the arms, which are compatible with mono-stays but require some jiggling, especially where P clips were employed.
Stainless steel fasteners come supplied and are sensible lengths, which is good news if the rack has to share the same eyelets as a full length mudguard. I recommend a lick of medium thread lock to keep them done up tight.
Their lack of uniformity means that unless you have a really comprehensive pocket tool – there are a few with ring spanners – then you'll need to carry some in case the fasteners turn sloppy mid-ride. To be fair, this has only proved an issue once and with a 20kg payload.
The 10mm tubing is pretty standard and offers reliable tenure to most pannier brackets. Two 14 litre panniers and a smallish top bag are pretty much optimal, and arguably all you'd need for long club outings or weekend touring. A proper plate for dynamo/LED lighting is another welcome touch.
Depending on your trade and workplace culture, this sort of setup also favours well-organised commuters – a change of clothes one side; shoes, lock and sundries the other; tools, tubes and similar ride essentials occupying the trunk/rack bag.
However, at 26x10cm the top section is a poor proposition for a Carradice Super C Rackbag and similar day-ride staples – yes, they'll fit, but look slightly precarious hanging paunch-like over the sides.
Ultimately, there are some nice touches going on here, but the Metro faces some very stiff and often cheaper competition.
Sturdy rack with some nice touches but there are better examples for your money
road.cc test report
Make and model: Vavert Metro rack
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Vavert says: "The Metro Lightweight Road Rack is ideal for commuting and light-touring."
I would broadly agree.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
"Manufactured using aluminium 6061 alloy and high-quality welds, the structural integrity of this rack is second to none
- Features a rear light mount
- All fittings stainless steel"
Generally quite good.
Reasonably stiff and will manage quite a load without feeling blancmange like. However, the top plate limits rack bag compatibility.
Welds and standards of finish are good but not necessarily better than anyone else's.
Sensible given the design brief.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the Metro is a surprisingly sturdy rack for day rides and commuting with smaller panniers. Its sleek profiles are very befitting of lightweight tourers, winter/trainers and audax bikes. However, several competitors offer similarly attractive options with seatstay arms that have a slight bend and are easier to fit.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Neat welding, nice profiles and coped better than I'd expected with small but heavy cargoes.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Carrier arms made mounting to some (but especially smaller compact) framesets trickier than similarly priced competitors with a helpful bend, and you're limited to smaller rack bags. Need to carry 8mm ring spanners separately.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Not bad but there are better designs commanding similar cash.
Use this box to explain your score
With 6s scored across the board, it's a 6 overall for this above average but not as good as others example.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)