A Front Rack for the Surly Krampus (It’s Harder to Find than you Might Think)

The Surly Krampus wears many hats, from sand-duning, to snow-traipsing, to mountain traversing, and beyond; however, one hat that I was finding particularly hard to fit on the Krampus lately was an adequate front rack. Now before anyone goes all purist about putting a rack on a Krampus, let me spare you the trouble: Yes, a rack will make the bike slightly heavier; and yes, it also looks slightly dorkier; but for the Krampus to be my truly do-anything bike (as mentioned above), it needs to adequately hold all my gear; and to fit my more cumbersome multi-day riding gear, i.e. a tent and sleeping pad, I needed a rack that was lightweight and small. So I followed my nose through the various scents left by bloggers, shoppers, and B.S.ers on the interwebs to try and find the right one.

I’ll spare the details of the search. Just know that it was long. Painfully long. I did some pretty ridiculous google searches, which led me pretty much nowhere. There was a company in Taiwan making lightweight aluminum front racks, but they were not fat-bike compatible as far as I could tell (I don’t speak Taiwanese). There was also a nice looking rack from a company called Nitto, from Great Britain, but again, I couldn’t tell whether their rack was going to work with my Krampus. The only rack that seemed truly made for a Krampus was the discontinued Salsa Minimalist rack, which is no longer sold. I’d already been to the bike shops in Salem a month ago, but I decided to give them one more shot before making the trek to Portland to get things settled.

And that’s when I found it: the Sunlite Gold Tec Front Rack.

014Okay, time for a little honesty. I had to look up the name of this rack. It’s a cheap no-name model that only costs $15, but it’s super light, has a 40 pound capacity (or so it claims), and doesn’t look as tacky as some of the full-length front racks made by the more popular brands, i.e. Tubus, Blackburn, and Old Man Mountain.

As you might notice from some of the pictures, this rack does take a bit of jerry-rigging. It just won’t work with the metal connectors provided in the kit. My local bike shop lent me some metal connectors, which bent their way onto the various eyelets and braze-ons on the front fork.




018But it worked, and my days of looking for a small, inconspicuous rack to dork out my Krampus are over.


Categories: Bikes and Gear

6 replies »

  1. Glad that you finally found one and sorry that I couldn’t help you more than I did. I’ll keep that rack in mind but for now I’m getting along fine with a handlebar harness, seat pack and some anything cages. Who knows what the future will hold! Happy racking and riding 🙂

    • Thanks Neil. I think your setup works great for the kind of riding and camping you do. For those of us that are accustomed to the luxuries of a spacious tent and cushy sleeping pad, some extra hauling space is nice. Look forward to seeing a new post from you soon.

  2. Great write up and I found it for the same reason you wrote it. I’ve been looking for a nice front rack for my ECR. I can’t for the life of me understand why, if the need for the Salsa Minimalist recall was necessary, they could not improve the product to make it more sturdy. It looks like a better design than any other simple flat front rack I’ve been able to find. About to start scouring eBay I guess.

    How has yours been working out for you?

    • Thanks Michael! My front rack has been great so far. It’s really lightweight, which is nice, but I can’t say whether it could hold its claim of 40 pounds; I have my doubts. It only carries a sleeping bag and pad in my setup, well under 4 pounds. So I don’t vouch for it with any more weight than that.

      Additionally, I bent it a bit on a recent mountain bike excursion, but it still functions just fine. I think it’s about as good as it gets for racks at the moment.

      I agree wholeheartedly with your comment about the Salsa Minimalist rack. I’m guessing that since the world of minimalist bikepackers is such a niche market still, they decided that redesigning it wasn’t worth their time. You could always give the company a call and see if they have anything in the works; just a thought. Good luck with the search!

    • Honestly, I can’t remember Dan. It’s been forever ago since I owned this sweet bike (seller’s remorse is real) and I can’t remember that rabbit hole of research I did until finding the above mentioned rack. With a million amazing racks to choose from now, this is kind of a moot point, but I can’t remember which specific Nitto rack wouldn’t work. My guess is that it would have worked fine but the price scared me away at the time.

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