Beam racks like this Topeak RX are a handy compromise for bicycles that can't take a proper rack, enabling you to carry a modest load on your road bike for an audax or credit card tour.
The Topeak RX comes with the beam jutting horizontally from the seatpost (E-type) or dog-legging down from it (V-type). Each type is available with or without screw-on pannier supports. As I discovered when testing the RX Trunkbag EXP the side supports aren't necessary. You may as well save yourself the extra £12 they cost and buy the rack without them.
The rack has Topeak's proprietary QuickTrack bag mount system. The mount, which consists of two rails that the bag slides onto and a click-lock fitting at the end, is very secure, with no chance of your bag slipping off, but it also limits the range of luggage you can use. You could fit your own pack by simply strapping it to the deck, but as the deck is very short, only 21cm, you’ll need to measure up before you buy.
In use the rack is sturdy and reliable. You get a selection of shims to account for differing seatpost widths and I had no trouble fitting it to my vintage Carlton. Annoyingly the mount isn't QR, unlike the mountain bike beam racks that Topeak make, so fitting and removing means fiddling with two Allen bolts (on the other hand it does mean that if you are fitting it to a commuter/round town bike rather than your "sleek road bike" you're not going to feel the need to take the rack off every time you park up somewhere). The E-type rack sits quite high, unless you’ve got a small frame, so you need to be careful when swinging a leg over; it's all too easy to hit the rack.
The rack comes with assorted fixtures for extra (Topeak-specific) bits, such as mudguards and lights. You also get a rather weedy-looking bungee cord built in. Handy if you need to strap down some books or a laptop but I'd be inclined to use a stronger strap to secure them. The weight limit is 7kg, which is pretty generous and equates to quite a lot of luggage. If you use one of Topeak's own bags (max capacity 7.3l) you'd have to fill it to the brim with sand to get close to the limit.
A beam rack would never be my first choice for small loads – I prefer to dangle a bag from my saddle rails – but this is well made and practical enough to be worth considering.
Well made, but expensive if you buy it with the side supports. Could do with a QR mount to make it more practical.
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Make and model: Topeak RX BeamRack w/side frame
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?
Topeak say:- "Specifically designed for sleek road bikes. Turn your road racer into a weekend tourer with this lightweight rack. It mounts to your seat post with ease. 15lb carrying capacity. AL-6061 T-6 aluminium construction. Use with RX-type Trunk Bags only."
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Only if I really wanted a beam rack.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they needed it - it does the job if there isn't a better option available
Age: 40 Height: 5\' 8 Weight: er....86kg
I usually ride: GT Rave - singlespeed conversion My best bike is: Guess SC1 scandium
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, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,