Aeroe Spider Rear Rack Review: Look Mom, No Mounts!
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The Aeroe Spider Rear Rack is a modular rear rack system that can be used alongside the included cradle to hold any dry bag or tent, or integrated into a more complex system using Aeroe’s quick-release gear pods. We’ve been testing the entire system to see if it’s as durable and convenient as they claim. Find the full review here…
Initially, I’ll admit I wasn’t sold on Aeroe’s 2018 Kickstarter campaign, which focused more on their quick-release gear pods than the rack they attached to. The Quick Mount Pods looked a little goofy in my opinion, and overshadowed the real star of the show: the Aeroe Spider Rack. Since that initial campaign, Aeroe has redirected their focus to the Spider Rear Rack, which they say can easily attach to any bike, is designed for off-road use, and the included cradle can be used to carry a dry bag or tent. It wasn’t until recently that Aeroe’s co-founder and CEO, Mike Maguire, reached out to tell us a bit more about their story, their rack system, and had their entire rack system sent my way for a closer look.
Installing the Spider Rack
Installing the Spider Rear Rack is a straightforward process. The quick-release mounting brackets can swivel and flex to accommodate different chainstay angles and widths, then the rack’s main tubing can also slide up and down to make room above the rear tire via four bolts on each side. Silicone-coated straps attach onto the brackets and the chainstays before tightening down with a 5mm hex key. I had plenty of clearance when mounting over a 29+ tire and I confirmed with Aeroe that cutting down the legs of the main structure to position the load closer to the tire is also an option. At its highest position, there is 315mm (12.4″) of clearance from the chainstays to the top of the rack. The rubberized brackets that come in contact with the seat stays should work on most rounded tubes out there, but for shaped stays like those found on Emily’s Kona Hei Hei, the brackets weren’t quite wide enough at 25mm. I ran into the same issue with the 2021 Kona Hei Hei I just got in for a test.
Once the various bolts are tightened down, the setup is rock solid and hasn’t moved on me during over a month of regular use. I did notice the rubber bumpers on the chainstay brackets have a tendency to fall out a little too easily and have done so a few times during installation and removal—and I’ve actually misplaced one. The same goes for the straps, which have two different mounting positions depending on how thick your chainstays are, and usually pop off when removing the rack. To reduce the chance of losing any of these parts while on a trip, I wish one side stayed attached to the rack or there was a retention pin for extra security. I’m splitting hairs here, as the initial installation takes all of a few minutes, and removing it takes seconds, but it’s important to keep track of all the components.
The design is meant to be universal and I think Aeroe has done a great job with this. It requires no mounting holes or bosses, will fit a wide assortment of chainstays, and doesn’t mark up the paint on your bike in the process. When mounting to carbon frames, Aeroe recommends putting a layer of silicon tape down for extra protection (which is good advice when strapping anything directly to an expensive frame). Below, you’ll find a breakdown of the various components that Aeroe offers and their prices in USD. I think the Spider Rear Rack, which includes one cradle, is priced quite reasonably, but the additional components would add up considerably for anyone looking to go all out. Even an additional Spider Cradle is quite pricey at $95 USD, so for anyone looking to save some cash, I’d recommend buying the Spider Rear Rack and using your own dry bag or strapping a tent directly to the included cradle.
Aeroe Spider Rack Pricing and Actual Weights
- Aeroe Spider Rear Rack w/ one cradle: $147 USD / 996g
- Additional Spider Cradle: $95 USD / 355g
- Quick Mount Pod + Mount: $132 USD / 913g
- Heavy Duty Dry Bag 12L: $81 USD / 308g
- Heavy Duty Dry Bag 8L: $66 USD / 233g
The Spider Rear Rack kit comes with a single cradle, which can be mounted to the top or on either side of the rack. You can mount additional cradles or Aeroe’s quick-release gear pods when more storage is needed. When mounted in the top position, the cradle can be tilted and positioned front-to-back or side-to-side, which may be useful for those carrying a big load and running a dropper post. For the most part, I’ve kept the cradle mounted lengthwise to keep the setup streamline and more suited for riding singletrack.
All of the different cradles and accessories bolt directly onto the rack using a clamping design and four bolts. I was skeptical that the top cradle would stay in place while riding down the bumpy roots and rocks around Powell River, but I’m pleasantly surprised to report that the entire setup is much more stable than it looks. I’m not sure it’s recommended, but I’ve gone as far as using the rack as a handle to lift the rear end of my bike over fallen trees on several occasions. It’s impressively sturdy, considering the lack of upper supports or struts.
As expected, all of the extra mounting hardware adds some weight to the system. The rack and a single cradle weigh 996 grams (2.2 pounds), and are noticeable when mounted onto the bike. Is it worth it? Well, for those lacking any rack mounts, with limited saddle bag clearance, or who want to carry a large load, I think so. It’s certainly a well-executed design, and as I mentioned earlier, I’ve been quite surprised by how well it’s held up on some seriously rough terrain.
Aeroe Quick Mount Pod & Uni-Mount
The Quick Mount Pod is Aeroe’s take on a type of mini pannier that’s designed to work with their Spider Rear Rack. Similar to the cradles, it uses a rack-specific mounting bracket and a quick-release design that provides a waterproof and sturdy 11L storage pod, which can be mounted on the sides or top of the rack. They have a burly waterproof zipper, some reflective details, and due to their design, can be mounted in a number of different orientations depending on where you need clearance and personal preference.
The Quick Mount Pod locks into the Uni-Mount using a 1/3 turn mounting system and is released using a fabric pull tab on the top of the pod. The release tab is connected to a plastic pin on the backside of the pod and the mounting bracket has 15 notches that provide the various positions the pod can be mounted in. There’s approximately a 15° difference between each notch. The backside of the pod is made from hard plastic and the main storage area is constructed from frequency welded 600D Nylon with a TPU coating. The inside has two velcro straps to lash down its contents and has a travel luggage vibe that some people will be familiar with. The zippered opening allows the pod to swing wide open, which means packing is less about stuffing and more about a neatly organized little vessel.
Although I actually enjoyed packing up the pod, which reminded me of a tiny suitcase, and the mounting system was almost completely rattle-free during an overnighter this week, it’s not perfect. The zippers are the burly, waterproof variety, which is good in theory, but they are tight and awkward to use. In the morning, while struggling to close the pod, the zipper’s teeth separated and I wasn’t able to get the slider fully back on track (even with some tricks I learned from working at MEC). I’ve since attempted to fix the pod at home and it’s not looking good. I’d like to see a roll-top style dry bag with the same unique mounting system, as it seems the latter is actually much more reliable than I would have imagined.
- Modular design can be as minimal or loaded as you’d like
- No rack mounts required
- Stable enough for rough roads and singletrack
- Five-year warranty on rack, cradles, and quick mount pod
- Expensive when compared to traditional rack options
- A few smaller parts are easy to misplace
- Heavy at 996g (2.2 pounds) for the rack and single cradle
- Quick mount pod could be better
- Capacity: 8.8 pounds per cradle
- Material: Aluminum / Plastic
- Rack Weight: 641 grams
- Rack + Cradle Weight: 996 grams
- Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
- Spider Rack Price: $147 USD
- Manufacturer’s Details: Aeroe.com
As I mentioned in my intro, I was quite skeptical of the entire Aeroe system when I first saw their Kickstarter campaign back in 2018. Truthfully, I’m still not entirely sold on the Quick Mount Pod, especially with its $132 price tag, additional 932g of weight, and my zipper experience. But the Spider Rear Rack is an entirely different story. In my experience, the design has been well-executed and the rack remains sturdy and stable on the roughest of trails. Although it isn’t an ultralight option by any means, its strap-on attachment and modular design are pretty much as universal as it gets—ideal for bikes without rack mounts or smaller frames with limited saddle bag clearance. I’ve been happy to have the extra packing space on the Esker Japhy I’m currently testing, as a wet and cold winter on the coast certainly requires it.
Aeroe also makes a handlebar / fork cradle that utilizes a similar mounting system and silicone-coated straps, but we haven’t gotten around to trying it out yet. Considering how solid the rack mount has been, we expect good things. Stay tuned for more on that.
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