Planet Bike K.O.K.O. Rack

Planet Bike recently sent me a copy of their K.O.K.O. (Keep On Keepin’ On) rack to try out. The K.O.K.O. is a heavy-duty cargo rack designed for touring and utility use. It’s constructed from tubular 6061 aluminum, with a maximum capacity of 55 lbs. and a retail price of $39.95. It comes supplied with stainless steel mounting hardware and a second set of struts for use on small frames.

I tested the K.O.K.O. with all of my regular commuting and utility loads. I found the rack to be perfectly stiff and solid for loads up to 40 lbs. (I only tested up to 40 lbs.). It’s a beefy rack that I’m sure will handle loads up to and beyond the stated maximum capacity without issue.

The pannier mounting points on the K.O.K.O. are well-placed and I was able to attach a wide range of bags from various manufacturers.

The tail light mounting plate accepts Euro-style lights as well as the Planet Bike light bracket for mounting the popular Superflash tail light.

It’s only natural to compare the K.O.K.O. to the Tubus Cargo since it appears the K.O.K.O. drew inspiration from that industry-standard carrier. I’ve been running the Cargo for a number of years on various bikes, so I’m quite familiar with its characteristics. The K.O.K.O. feels nearly as stiff, though the Tubus, being made from tubular steel, has a higher maximum capacity of 88 lbs. Unlike the Cargo, the K.O.K.O. tapers in at the front; this keeps the weight closer to the center of the bike, but it may also cause clearance issues on bikes with cantilever brakes. The K.O.K.O. also carries the load slightly further forward, which contributes to its solid feel, but heel strike may be an issue with some bag/bike combinations. If you can, check these clearance points when purchasing this rack.

The K.O.K.O. is the most well-constructed rack I’ve seen at its price point. It’s unlikely to have the extreme long-term durability of a much more expensive steel rack like the Tubus, but at $39.95 it’s a great value and should serve most people very well for a number of years.

Planet Bike

Disclaimer: Planet Bike is a sponsor of this site.

19 Responses to “Planet Bike K.O.K.O. Rack”

  • bork says:

    How long does it take to install/remove? I’m sort of new to cycling, and I’d like a cargo rack for my occasional light touring, but I’d want to be able to remove it to avoid the weight the rest of the time.

  • Alan says:

    @bork

    “How long does it take to install/remove?”

    After the initial installation (which takes just a bit longer), I’d say less than 5 minutes.

    Alan

  • Jammy says:

    It certainly looks better designed then many racks in that price range. Even though I really like Planet Bike I always question using aluminum for something like that.

    Thanks for sharing that!

  • j. pierce says:

    Thanks for the link to the Planet Bike bracket – I’ve been kluding together homebrew solutions for mounting lights to racks – nice to see Planet Bike offers free shipping on their small parts; had I known that I might have just ordered one. Been meaning to relocate the rear light on my partners bike for a while, so this helps.

  • Brian C says:

    I am glad they have a bracket on the back for mounting tail lights, as well as a very reasonable price. Nothing wrong with getting more affordable equipment out there. While I can drool over some of the tubus racks, these are probably good enough for a large part of the population.

  • Rick says:

    Alan, I know we’re probably going to disagree about this, but I really hate “knock-off” style parts; Tubus went to all the time and trouble to design/manufacture its rack, and for someone to come along and copy it smacks of plagiarism in the worst degree. As much as I enjoy what Chris is doing at Velo Orange, I’d have to say this reminds me of his more egregious, uh, products, and the first time one of these things breaks (probably while carrying something important), I’m not going to feel sorry for the buyer in the slightest.

    You need to tell your readers that bicycles aren’t toys, and that good quality parts–you know, the more expensive ones made in Japan and Europe–are expensive for a reason; it’s asking people to realize that the more you can spend now, the more they’ll appreciate the expense later, and that no one ever second-guessed buying a Tubus rack: it’s a lifetime investment, not a easily replaceable commodity, and the reason the Planet Bike rack is cheap is because…it’s cheap.

    Knock-offs come and go, but classic parts are classic for a reason. It’s like WalMart–if we don’t take the time (and money) to support the older companies that sell more expensive (but much better) items, then the Chinese (or Taiwanese) won’t have anyone around to copy anymore.

  • Scott Wayland says:

    @Rick:

    I hear what you’re saying, but about a bike rack? Extend this thinking to bikes, too. Alan reviews a lot of bikes with similar characteristics. Someone had to design the first iteration, so does that make all the subsequent models and companies knock-offs and plagiarists? This is a pretty generic rack, as most racks are. I’ve got no problem with this model, especially given Planet Bikes unprecedented support of bicycle-related causes. And, to be honest, I’ve found aluminum racks to be completely adequate for my purposes, so the $100 for a Tubus would be too much for me, although if I were riding around the world, I’d have a set of Tubus to be sure!

    Scott

  • Alan says:

    @Rick

    As I stated in the OP, I feel Planet Bike only “drew inspiration” from the Tubus (as many rack designers have); it’s a far cry from a knock-off as far as I’m concerned. In this case, I don’t think it’s fair to bust PB’s chops about it.

    On the question of knock-offs, where do you draw the line? For example, would modern-day Dutch roadsters qualify as knock-offs of the Raleigh? How about the new bikes from Public or Linus?

    I understand your point, but I think these questions are not always as clear cut as they appear to be at first glance.

    Alan

    PS – I’m only guessing, but this rack appears to be manufactured by the same people making the Breezer racks, and possibly the Civia racks.

  • dynaryder says:

    @Rick: lighten up. How many ways can you design a rack? Most racks,just like most bike frames,have similar design elements because that’s what works. Plus,how many people need a Tubus rack? I’d wager this rack’s capacity is higher than most of the people who will buy them will ever use. All the times I’ve hauled stuff on my commuter’s rack,I can only think of once where it came near 50lbs. Does Tubus offer lighter-duty racks and more affordable prices? If not,than the market needs someone to step in and fullfill the need.

  • Rex says:

    Another vote for the “probably good enough for many commuters and some light touring” sentiment. I’ve been hauling a toolkit, change of clothes and a laptop in panniers on a $30 aluminium rack for seven months with no problems whatsoever. I saw the KOKO rack on PB’s sight on Friday and thought it looked like a great value and the rack I would choose if I were buying one now or in the near future.

  • John Boyer says:

    Good subject

    Brings to mind I ride I did across Michigan when I was 14, My Fleischer rack snapped under the load of the medium sized Bellweather paniers.

    Do not save money on racks friends! I should of had the state of art TA rear rack, but pop bottles were scarce and the $5 fleisure would have to do much to my sorrow.

    That said support quality and buy the best

  • Rick says:

    Sorry, guys, I don’t mean to be a wet blanket on this subject; I tend to be fairly emotional about this sort of thing, and just see this as another nail in the coffin. I’ll also stick by my “high cost of low prices” analogy as well, but thanks for hearing me out.

    So many great manufacturers have already gone away since I took up cycling in the 70’s… sigh.

  • Alan says:

    @Rick

    There’s no reason to be sorry, Rick! :-)

    I’m guessing we’re all a little (over) protective of Planet Bike due to the fact that they’re doing so much good work:

    http://www.planetbike.com/page/grassroots/advocacy/

    Regards,
    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Scott

    I don’t know, Scott, this sounds an awful lot like one of those “oops, we didn’t mean to let that slip” publicity stunts… ;-)

    Alan

  • Mike C says:

    This rack seems very similar to the Axiom Streamliner DLX that I have. The only significant difference appears to be that the rack top tapers from back to front in width, whereas the Axiom is narrow along its entire length. This does pose a problem for using large panniers with the high profile canti brakes (Tektro CR720) that I have. Otherwise I really like the Axiom.

  • patrick says:

    the “high cost of low prices” seems valid to me, so I wonder if there couldn’t be a way to quantify that when promoting a product. In terms of the environment, job loss etc..
    maybe you could simply mention that the rack was made in China but is 100 percent recyclable. And a kindof similar rack made in the states (i think) costs $85:
    http://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FREXP
    or if you look around you can find a craftsperson to support in your local area and pay probably less than what a tubus costs.
    Then again, it does help to support a company that supports a blog you visit every day.

  • Scott Wayland says:

    @Rick: Hey, I go off ALL the time on stuff, so I understand your enthusiasm. My current rant is against a Walmart that is proposed for our small town. This “super center” is likely to drive out some other businesses, so we’ll have even more empty retail space. Anyway, not to get to off topic, just to sympathize!

    I think I’ll go on a ride tomorrow. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    Cheers,

    Scott

  • karloman says:

    Well, is that rack really something new ? What solution does it bring to the problem of carrying stuff ? I’m afraid the answer is none !
    The platform is too short and oddly designed with that trapezoîdal shape. No bag nor box can be securely attached to it.
    The sides are like 90% of the racks, unsuitable for panniers as there’s not enough supporting surface.
    So once again a flawed design, the Tubus company has nothing much to fear.

  • Nelson Hollins says:

    Finally ! A nice design @ a reasonable price.
    The underside bracket where the stays go through allows better clearance between the fender & the rack underside, because it is lower.

    My present rack has those wide flat stainless steel 5/8″ x 1/16″ stays , & there isn’t enough room to mount the rack without bending them to avoid hitting the fender or the luggage on the rack.

    Thankyou Planet Bike for this excellent rear rack !

 
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