In preparation for our multi-day tour, I brought my new Topeak Beam Rack and Trunk Bag to test it out last Sunday in our Batangas Trip. I knew it was going to be a trail ride so I told myself to take it easy. I didn't fill it with a lot of stuff. For its maiden voyage, I brought my wife's Canon SLR camera, my Flip video camera, a foldable jacket and several trail mix bars.
Installing the Beam Rack was so easy - just put the correct rubber spacers (the package comes with four spacers) in the clamp, tighten it down using the quick release or a hey key wrench, and you're ready to go. True to what other online reviewers said, the trunk bag and the MTX beam rack is a perfect match. All you have to do to secure it is to slide down the trunk bag to the rack's rails until the lock snaps into place. Wonderful! No more bungee cords! And it was stable the whole time. I thought I would be doing some adjustments with the rack during the ride, but I didn't need to. It stayed in place.
I have to be honest with you, though. Putting this set-up (including the stuff that I brought) to my 22-pound hardtail probably increased the bike's total weight to about 27 to 28 pounds. You can really feel it, especially on uphills. It feels like I got fatter! I had to do some balance relearning with my bike to compensate for this. When you stand on your pedals and start rocking your bike from side to side, you will really feel your bike pushing from side to side. Going downhill is awesome because of the weight at the back, but you need to do more body language with climbs.
Overall though, I'm very pleased with it. I think it's going to be my best friend for Mindoro.