At £39.99 the Blackburn EX2 rack is a sturdy, good value piece of kit for commuting and touring alike. Made of aircraft quality aluminium with 4 supporting stays, the rack represents a stable and durable platform on which to carry either pannier bags or a child seat. The black anodised finish has shown to be neat and hard-wearing and, despite a good deal of bashing about and load carrying in some pretty bad weather, the rack has endured well this winter. A silver finish is also available for those that prefer it.
For longer and truly heavy-duty tours you might want to consider more expensive steel racks for their ease of repair and strength, however, for most applications other than this extreme the EX2 should tick all the boxes. The rack coped easily with fully loaded panniers or a child seat plus five-year-old child, showing no noticeable signs of flex.
The EX2 is a bit heavier than the preceding EX1 model and features an additional vertical stay that helps to prevent heavier pannier bags from swinging into your rear wheel. I noticed that the bags themselves could also be fitted slightly further back than on the EX1, providing extra heel clearance. The vertical stay also proved to be a good point to attach an extra rear light without getting in the way of either pannier bags or a child seat.
The EX2 is both quick and easy to fit with the supplied attachment bolts, although from past experience the 3mm Allen key bolts supplied ought to be replaced with larger ones, to avoid stripping the heads as they get corroded and more difficult to remove. The overall build quality seems fine with neat welds throughout, and the rack has felt stiff under load throughout the test period. In any event, a no quibble lifetime warranty gives you security against any issues that might arise. The rack should easily fit a wide variety of frames and is compatible with most pannier bag attachment systems. It was tested aboard a dedicated touring frame, which it was compatible with straight from the box and without any difficulty.
After many years of using the older Blackburn EX1 daily, I would be confident to rely on the EX2 for general load-carrying duties, touring and commuting. The additional stay on the new model gives the EX2 the edge over the earlier EX1, in my opinion, and is worth the negligible weight penalty and slightly higher price tag.
A sturdy and no-nonsense rack that will cope with the demands of touring and commuting for a very reasonable price.
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Make and model: Blackburn EX2 rack
Size tested: n/a
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 35 Height: 1.78m Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Surly Long Haul Trucker My best bike is: Cannondale Slice
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: time trialling, commuting, touring, Triathlon