Sunday, October 5, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Standard bike racks are great for carrying panniers and small loads, but how do you get that casserole to the potluck without your car? What about getting that box of documents you brought home back to the office? You certainly don’t want to squash all those beautiful heirloom tomatoes you found at the farmers market by putting them in your backpack or messenger bag.
Large platform front racks are the easiest, safest way to carry larger loads on the standard bicycle you already own. The load being supported evenly by the large platform prevents things from leaning or falling off the side. Having your cargo in front of you is a big advantage too since you can see if it does shift or open or bounce around. Forward placement also improves stability since heavy rear loads tend to make the bike sway, wobble and corner unpredictably.
I make two basic types of semi-custom rack. The light, elegant,
Blue Suede Shoes Pret a Porteur is perfect for everyday commuting, errands and day trips. Then there’s the absurdly bomb proof, ever so much more showy, Fat Elvis. I’m not going to talk you out of one, but the Fat Elvis is really only necessary if you are a professional courier, or using it to cart your car’s transmission to the shop over cobblestone roads.
Both styles feature a large aluminum plate platform for stable loading, folding construction for versatility, and compatibility with most steel forks. The rugged stainless steel frame design I use is much stronger than the galvanized baskets or other racks that use the same hardware.
This rack is sturdy enough for almost anything you can throw at it. My conservative load limit recommendation is 50lbs. Trust me, unless you are very strong and have excellent handling skills, this is more than enough. Blue Suede Shoes is also compatible with almost any type of fork and brakes as long as the fork is steel, though I do recommend having a fork with top eyelets as workarounds for those without may involve an up charge.
Starts at $150
What’s that? You need to take 726 deep fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches across the river? Done and done. I have yet to put a weight restriction on my personal rack, which is the prototype for this design, since by the time you haul close to 200lbs there is no good way to get on or off the bike without spilling yourself and your cargo. Let’s say 150lbs load limit just to be reasonable. With oversize tubes and platform plate, this is an anchor on your front end, but very stylish and all but unbreakable. While Fat Elvis can be made compatible with many forks, I highly recommend a sturdy touring fork with double eyelets, lots of rake and cantilever posts if you are going to be carrying the loads this rack was designed for. The pictures are of my personal rack. Yours will not necessarily include the lovely rust and scratch patina.
Starts at $200 (~$300 as pictured)
The most common options I have heard requested are listed below. Contact me for a quote on anything else you may want.
Box sides -- $30 and up
Wood platform -- $30 and up
Headlight mount -- $20 ea
Internal cable routing for dyno hubs -- $20 ea
Extra bungee hooks -- $5/pair
Paint -- ~$30
Cup holder -- $5 ea
I am very open to doing custom work or variations on the basic models, with the caveats that custom work is expensive, and at present I do have tool limitations that preclude certain types of work. That said, drop me a line and tell me your ideas. I love getting creative! That’s what started this business!
Since these are semi-custom racks, get in touch and I’ll take a look at your fork and brake setup. We’ll then figure out what configuration works best with your machine and what other options you want. Once you put down a 25% deposit, I’ll start work and your rack should be ready within a week, at which time you can pay the remaining balance and get your new toy. Keep in mind that because these racks are designed to carry large loads, I cannot make them for carbon forks or possibly others that I deem too weak or otherwise unsuitable.
Update: The Pret a Porteur model is Pret a Porter (sorry, can't resist the puns), so these I can sell and ship with pretty minimal information and quick turnaround.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
As much as I would like these racks to have universal mounting and work on any bike, I have realized that's not really feasible. I sat down recently to do some calculations and, though I have not yet completed my engineering degree, I deem it unsafe to mount these on a bike with a quick-release front hub that has no adequate mounting points on the fork. Reason being that the rack could easily handle a load that could break the QR skewer, which would rapidly introduce face to pavement. Not good. I am therefore requiring that the mounting point be either eyelets ABOVE the axle, mid-mount bosses (low-rider mounts), or a solid axle hub (bolt on hub). I am very committed to these being versatile racks that are backwards compatible, but want it to be clear that your bike should be ready to deal with large loads if you want a rack like these that can carry them. The pictures are of a mid-mount fork (bolts in the middle of the blades), and a double eyelet fork (eyelets above and behind the axle), which are the best options.
Update: Upon further review, even mid-mounts are not an ideal option, though I do offer a lighter duty version of the Pret a Porteur for mid-mounts. Solid axle or double eyelets if you really want to carry lots of weight.