Finished a lil while ago. Forgot to put these pictures up. Still some mistakes but should work fine.
Ever since I bought my first touring bike I did not know what brand the rear rack was that I picked up at the same time. The shop gave me a deal on a rack from the discount bin. It didn’t have a name.
While looking around for ideas I found it and learned the brand name it’s from. Beto. Never heard of it but they make a good rack. I’d probably just keep using this but the struts are a tad short to clear the fenders after I move up in tire size.
This is the tool I used to make my front rack. Think I’m going to seek out one of these for myself so I can try to make a rear rack.
There is something about the classics. I can’t say much for F.W. Evans or much about this era of cycle touring but just the simplicity of this ad makes me want to ride my bike.
I made this. I had a need for something i couldn’t find to buy so i had and idea and a friend with some supplies and i got to work. During this racks first tour I crashed in loose gravel twice and was badly doored once. The rack held up fine.
My idea – Custom Front Rack Idea
During build – Custom Front Rack In Progress
Late 90’s Cannondale Overland panniers.
I bought these over quite a few years ago. Not water proof but breath well dry fast and don’t stink. Four tours these have seen. Going strong. 3 outside zippered pockets, 1 mesh pouch and the large main compartment on each side.
I bought these at a local bike shop in Ohio. Think I paid $170 for the pair.
Hand made in USA.
6/14 edit: These have seen better days. Sun faded, weakened stitching, torn edges and beat up zippers. I’m going to try to sew new bags and re-use the inner frames and hardware.
I made some last minute changes to my system of carrying my tent, pad and bag. I was going to shove it all in a large Bailey Works Messenger bag and I had a friend modify some straps so I could cinch it to the rear rack. That would have worked and it would mean I could use the messenger bag as a backpack if I ever needed one. Plus the other little pockets in a Bailey Works bag would be nice for organization.
But then I wanted to get a water-tight sack for my down sleeping bag, and keep it in a sack, in the bag to really keep it dry. I bought a 35L so not to stuff it into too small a bag diminishing it’s loft. But then I was only using ½ the volume of the sack to still get into the messenger bag. Maybe lose the mess bag?
The stuff sack that came with my tent is way too big for the tent so I wanted to get a better fitting one for that. 9L is just right.
The stuff sack that came with my sleeping bag is tiny, as in back backing tiny, and I’m no longer using it for my sleeping bag but it works great for my air pad (that did not come with a stuff sack) and the sheet cover I made for it.
So now I needed some good straps because bungeeing multiple things is not very secure.
Sleep pad and cover in small sack tied to top of front rack. Sleeping bag in dry bag, tent in new stuff sack, Poles in stock pole bag and ground tarp folded, flat underneath it all. This is all double strapped by two “hook release” accessory straps that encompass the whole mess. But it does not look messy. It looks right and is lighter than adding a messenger bag into the mix.
Also bought a silk liner to save the sleeping bag from my dirt.
The only bummer is that I did this all a little too late to find the made in USA options.
All this shit is made in China.
A friend from my last tour rode with one of these. I was wanting one ever since. Right after I decided to go on another tour I ordered this straight from Arkel. So far it seems like a really good bag.
The bag mounts are all metal. The way it disconnects and installs makes sense and is not a pain in the ass at all. The main compartment is big and the front pocket is spacious. The top seems to have too much curve and reading a map area at the very front could be a pain. I might rather see that be flat but I can live with it. I have a New York City flag patch that’s going right over the Arkel logo on front.
Ordered direct from Arkel with no problems.
“Fabric made in the USA, Manufactured in Canada”
I took my idea and asked a good friend who has the materials, tools and space to allow me to make a front rack for my touring bike. It’s so cool that I could make this, I’m glad to have good friends.
I made the cuts and bends one day. On the second day and after a quick lesson in brazing I jumped in and started with this as my first project of this type. Right now it’s not much further than the photos show but it’s straight and fits.
Next step is to clean it up a bit and then figure out how to coat it.
I wanted something that could carry front panniers low like my old Blackburn FL-1 Front Rack and also have a top rack over the front wheel like the poorly designed Jandd Extreme Front Rack I wasted money on. I could not afford any of the big Nitto racks.
Previously: Custom Front Rack Idea