Because the front of the bike is better suited for carrying weight than the back of the bike. Think about it.
1. The rear wheel is inherently weaker than the front wheel due to its asymmetrical build and offset hub.
2. The rear part of the frame is where almost all frames break. The thin chain and seat stays are notorious weak spots.
3. Carrying weight on a rear rack makes the entire bike feel unstable and top-heavy. Put a heavy box on a rear rack and try to ride down the street. The entire frame flexes, and the bike tries to lay down. Come to a stop and it gets downright scary. Transporting that box becomes a precarious balancing act.
4. Rear-loaded freight remains behind you while you ride, and you can't see if it's shifting or about to fall. It's easy to keep an eye on it when it's right in front of you.
Freight up front makes better sense because that's where your hands are, that's where the stronger wheel is, that's where the stronger part of the frame is, and it's where you can see it.
"Won't it hinder my steering?"
I don't know. Ask these guys.
These are French newspaper couriers. The picture on the left was taken around 1930.The second one is from 1927. The third and fourth are from 1956 and 1960. See any rear racks? These four pictures are provided courtesy of Joel Metz, original keeper of Messengers.org. Check out his current site to see the full-size version of these pictures plus a hundred other things that will totally blow your mind into next week.
Carrying freight anywhere on the bike will affect steering. As far as overall bike handling goes, though, I feel any cargo carried in the back is better carried in the front, as low as possible, over the front wheel, and close to where your hands are. Keep in mind the geometry of your bike and headtube angle, the rake of the fork, and your wheel size have great effect on handling cargo. Also, this is my opinion.
"What's the turnaround?"
As of July, 2014, 5-rails are regularly in stock and ship within 24 hours of ordering. If you order through this site, you'll receive an auto-email with tracking info attached when your rack ships. In July, I hired a co-pilot to assist me with rack production and minimize wait times.
"What's the weight limit?"
It's hard to say because I haven't broken one yet. I used my first CETMArack for daily messenger work in SF many years ago and could not break it-and I really tried! I still have it and it's as good as new. Sort of. The general consensus is that steering gets a little weird around forty pounds. I guess it depends on you and your bike. HALFracks are limited to about 30 pounds or so because they don't attach to the handlebars like "standard" CETMAracks.
"Are CETMAracks compatible with my bike?"
For 3-rail, 5-rail, and 7-rail racks, your handlebar height is a factor. Measure the distance between the top of your front wheel and the middle of your handlebars near the stem. If it's over 12 inches, let me know. I can customize your rack for no extra charge. I design my racks to fit a broad range of bicycles, so your bike is likely compatible without any mods needed. For bikes with really tall handlebars, consider a HALFrack, which doesn't attach to the handlebars at all.
Handlebar type: Some handlebars aren't compatible with CETMAracks handlebar brackets due to curvature near the stem. As far as I know, On-One Mary handlebars won't work. The distance between the "verticals" of the rack is 4 inches. If your handlebar doesn't have at least 4 inches of flat area there, you may need to swap them, or consider a HALFrack. Moustache bars work, but you'll need to bend the rack clamps a little. It can be done.
Lawyer tabs: These are the annoying lips added to the dropouts of some front forks which are supposed to prevent the wheel from flying off if not bolted tight enough or whatever. In some cases these tabs prevent the rack strut from laying flat against the fork dropout. If this is the case, you'll need to figure out a remedy with washers, a file, or a grinder.
Shocks: Shockingly, CETMAracks don't work with shocks.
Disc brakes: All CETMAracks are compatible with disc brakes. As long as the caliper is oriented behind the fork, you're fine.
"Are CETMAracks compatible with quick-release axles and drop-bars?"
Yes, CETMAracks are compatible with quick-release axles and drop-bars. It is your responsibility to attach your rack safely. If you have any questions or reservations about attaching your rack properly, take your bike to a bike shop and have them check it out for you. While you're there, buy something!
"Do you do custom work?"
Yes. Just ask.
"What's your background?"
October 1995--Solo Pacific Coast bike tour from Modesto, CA, to San Francisco, to Los Angeles. No tent, flat pedals, lots of duct tape and almost no food. Raccoons ate my apples
September/October 1997--Two-person bike tour from Anacortes, Washington to Fargo, North Dakota.
February 2001 to June 2005, and July to November 2006--Bike messenger in Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. I worked at Apex, Deadline, Exacta, Western Messenger, and Quake.
From May 2007 to December 2007 I worked at Pedalers Express in Eugene, Oregon.
And a lot of riding in between.
After ruining countless wheels (rear almost every time), fracturing good frames (rear triangle every time), and a nudging from Mr. Zo, I realized I'd had it wrong for so long and built my first front rack.
"What the hell is powder-coating?!"
Take it easy. Powder-coating is a "dry-paint" process of coating metal, which uses electricity to bond a statically-charged powder to metal. It can be more durable than paint and less toxic,because there aren't any toxic solvents involved. The process is usually done in three steps. First, the metal is sand-blasted to remove oils and other crap. Then it's "sprayed" with powder. Lastly, it goes into an oven where the powder is baked on. Sometimes there's a clear-coat added for durability.
"Do CETMAracks rust?"
Eventually, yes. All CETMAracks are coated to protect the metal, but like any coated metal surface, scratches to the protective layer will expose the steel to oxygen and bring on rust. All CETMAracks are available powder-coated or uncoated at your request.
"Your racks are available uncoated. What does that mean?"
It means they're uncoated, bare metal, dirty, not painted, sans protective finish, without covering, no clear-coat, varnish, wax, shellac, nothin'. Uncoated racks are given a once-over after welding and finishing, but there is some residual oil left on the surface. This oil inhibits rust. If you're planning to paint your rack, give it a thorough cleaning with mineral spirits or something first. Understand that if you buy an uncoated rack, it will eventually rust unless you coat it with something.
All domestic racks are shipped via FedEx Ground or Home Service. International shipments are made via USPS. I charge $50 for any shipment outside of the mighty United States of America.
"I don't want to pay with a credit card. What are my alternatives?"
Send a check, money order, or well-concealed cash to:
CETMA Cargo, 21 Thornton Ave., #16, Venice, CA 90291
"What's your return policy?"
If you are unsatisfied with your CETMArack for any reason, send it back in good condition (with all hardware included) and I will refund your money immediately.