This Space for Rent

Project of the week

Test fitting it onto the bicycle

After considerable delay (not helped by having net access and being able to readily see many cases where brazing and/or welding went horribly wrong) I finally sat down this afternoon, fired up my econo-torch, and started gluing a new front rack together for the mlcm (the Nitto F-15 I was using didn’t fit when I put mustache bars onto the thing, and by the time I’d replaced the mustache bars with gary bars I’d already test-fitted the porteur rack, found it to be too large, then turned around and bent some more tubing into shape for this one. And it would be a shame to not even try to finish the project once I started it – the porteur rack can go onto a different bicycle after I finish this one.)

The brazing isn’t the most sophisticated job ever done (I sat on the front porch, clamped the rack into a vice, then melted some of the bronze downhill into some of the joints while melting the rest uphill into the other joints, and while I was doing this the oxygen levels were gently increasing and making the flame hotter. So two of the melts had an excess of bronze, while the others were as tight as my wallet is after several months of unemployment) but it’s a lot easier than sewing up bike luggage is. I can fit most of my handlebar bags onto this thing, but there’s room enough to sew a new one that’s a little bit deeper front-to-back, so that’s what I’ll do.

This rack needs a crosspiece and a backstop to keep things from sliding back into the brake, plus (of course!) a pair of legs. And I’m going to have to put light hangers onto the legs so I can move my front light up and forward a bit.

Weaknesses to this design are that it sits very low on the fork, so I don’t think I could put anything bigger than a 700c×28mm tire under it (though 650b×42mm would be perfectly happy) and the back corners of the rack platform foul against the downtube shifter and the shifter mount on the other side if the front wheel is turned more than about 90°. I don’t think either of these are likely to be fatal, and they do have the advantages of

  1. getting the load about as low and as far back as you can get without going to front panniers,
  2. reducing the number of joints on the platform perimeter, and
  3. having a good solid connection to the brake bolt.

And I’ve also done the all-so-important donut box check, and I can hold a 18×11 donut box on the rack without excessive overhang.