Drive My Bike


Mounting a Rear Rack on a Schwinn Midtown

Wow, there has been a huge response to the article I posted a few days ago about my Costco Schwinn Midtown bike! Some of you have asked about the accessories I’ve added to my bike, so I’m going to start a series of posts highlighting each of these things.

I’m going to start with the Rear Rack and how I mounted it, because that was somewhat of a challenge, and I almost took my bike back to Costco because I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make it work. Reader Bill commented that he took his bike to a local bike shop and they told him that it was not possible to mount a rack on his Midtown. Well, it certainly is possible, and here’s how I did it…

The rack that I use is an Avenir like this. When I bought this rack I didn’t have a clue what I wanted or needed, I just told the guy at the shop that I was going to start commuting and needed a rack. He only carried this basic Avenir rack but said it would probably work. Now that I’m a bit more experienced I would probably purchase a rack that is a bit beefier like this, but I’ve carried a good bit of weight in my panniers when doing grocery runs, and haven’t had any problems. Here is a good side shot…Side View of Avenir Rack on Schwin Midtown

The difficulty in mounting this rack on the Midtown is that the bike has rear suspension, and no mount points, so there isn’t a “standard” place to attach the rack braces. You can’t attach the braces to the seat post, because the rear suspension lets the back end move up and down, separate from the seat post, so the braces would be unstable and would probably even bend with normal riding.Schwin Midtown Rack Brace Side Detail

The Avenir rack came with mounting screws and some clamps that had some rubber insulation on them, but they were too small to fit around the frame tubes, which at that point in the frame are approximately 1″ in diameter. I took the clamps to my local Home Depot and asked if they had anything like that. The first guy I talked to didn’t have a clue, but the second guy took me right over and showed me some insulated clamps like this. I tried those, and the first set I bought were too small, so I went back and got the next size up, which I believe were 1 3/8″ inner diameter. I honestly don’t remember the exact size, so if you want to save a trip back to Home Depot, buy a couple sizes and then take back the ones you don’t use. Also, I thought those clamps were in the plumbing department, but Bill commented that he found them in the electrical department. Here is a photo detailing the clamps…Schwinn Midtown Rack Brace Clamps When attaching the braces to the clamps I did have to bend the braces a good bit. The braces are made of aluminum and are not difficult to bend, and the instructions actually say that it is normal to have to bend and adapt them to different frames. The main part of the bending was removing some of the twist that the braces came with, so that the ends of the braces would match the angle of the clamps on the frame.

The bottom support legs of the rack are screwed directly into the frame, using the topmost of two holes adjacent to the rear wheel mount. I used the mounting screws that were included with the Avenir rack, and the frame holes are threaded, so I did not need to add a nut on the back. BE SURE TO CHECK THESE SCREWS REGULARLY! When I took this picture this screw had backed itself about halfway out, and was quite loose! I had actually been thinking that I should check them for tightness, but had not made it a priority, so I’m glad I had to take this shot or I’m sure the rack brace would have come loose in the middle of my commute. I will probably add a lock washer or some Loc-Tite to make things a bit more permanent.Schwinn Midtown Rear Rack Foot Mount

That’s pretty much all there is to it. I spent most of my time figuring this out and getting the right clamps, so the time spent actually doing the mounting was less than an hour. Hopefully this will help those of you that have purchased a Schwinn Midtown and need a rear rack. If this article is helpful then I’d love to hear about it, so please leave me a comment, and if you have problems or come up with better ideas then I’d love to hear that too.

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18 Comments so far
Leave a comment

to mount the front on my bike rack, I’d extended the left and right metal extensions to reach the bolt under the spring, although the original holes on the metal strips had to be enlarged.

Comment by victor

Hey there. Would you happen to know how to safely and properly clean the cogs and the chain? Sorry if it’s off-topic.

Comment by Will

Hey Will, thanks for stopping by. I believe the BicycleTutor.com site has a video about cleaning and lubricating your chain. That guy makes some great video tutorials!

Comment by Scott

Thanks for you blog. Very helpful. My G/F would like a front basket; did you consider this?

Comment by Tom

Hi Tom, I don’t use a front basket, but it shouldn’t be very difficult to mount one. I would take a look at the basket you are interested in and take some measurements to make sure it will fit before you buy it. I would think your local bike shop would be glad to help you with this.

Comment by Scott

This was very helpful. We have a Midtown and where hoping someone out there had figured this out. Perfect!

Comment by Alene

Kudos for figuring this out. I just installed a Topeak explorer rack so I could by one of there slick trunk bags that snap into place on this rack. I don’t know if I would trust it installed this way with a lot of weight but is is funtional. Upon close inspection it looks a bit Mickey Moused but hey… it works.

Comment by Steve

This is an excellent decription with perfect photography. But, where on Earth do you get an Avenir bike rack, or any bike rack which is so well suited to “comfort bikes” and others?

Comment by David

I got my rack at a local bike shop. You certainly don’t have to find an Avenir rack, as most rear racks are very similar. They have two lower struts that fasten to the frame near the rear axle, and then they have some bendable aluminum brackets that fasten to the rack and the frame near the seat post. I just added the clamps to the frame to make mine work. With a little creativity almost any rack can fit on almost any bike.

Comment by Scott

Hey Scott, great site!

Noticed that you don’t have a rear fender with this design. Is it possible to install both? I currently have the beaver tail fender because it was simply easier to install, but now I fear that I will have to chose between a fender and rear rack.\

Comment by Aaron

Nope, no rear fender. The rack helps deflect some of the road gunk, but not as well as a rear fender would.

Comment by Scott

Thanks so much! I have an old Schwinn that didn’t have threaded mounts anywhere, so i’ll have to do something like this to mount it. it didn’t come with instructions so I was really confused. Now I think I can get it!

Comment by Jen

INTERNET STUFF IS FOREVER! Thank God!
I printed this page out some time ago and now when I needed it, I just couldn’t remember where I put it! So here I am only this time I won’t lose it!
Anyways….I just got my Beautiful Midtown Mt bike worked on and was going to put the Coke tray rack on it for my back pack. Whoever wrote this article….THANK YOU! Beautiful Well Written and with photos! Gawd! I needed this article!
Hard Tymes ~~ hardtymes@goatmail.com

Comment by Hard Tymes

P/S! Anytime you do an article to explain how to do something, Believe me when I tell you….photos are a big help! And I really wish folks on Craigslist.com would understand that about writing an ad! Thank You.
Hard Tymes ~~ HardTymes@GoatMail.Com

Comment by Hard Tymes

Great write up, however when doing mine I noticed you can attach the upper monts to the quick release seatpost bolt rather than buying extra parts… hope this helps!

Comment by Matt

Hi Mat, I have a Kent Sierra Madre with the same frame suspension component. Because this bike has this setup, the challenge is that the distance from the drop out brackets (where the rear wheel is attached along with the bottom of the pannier) and the quick release seat post (where the pannier braces would attach as you suggested, would constantly change with the spring action of the shock. Thus, the pannier can only be attached to the frame behind the shock. And yes…a great write up!

Comment by Tony

4 years later …. great article, thanks for the help!!!

Comment by margie

Brilliant! Thank you!

Comment by Kit




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