Bicycle Roof Racks/Carriers for Bikes with Fenders

I like to put my bike on a rack on the roof of my car because I don’t have a garage to accidentally drive into while my bike is still loaded and I like to be able to access the tailgate of my station wagon while I have a bike on the car. I prefer wheel-off fork mounts rather than the upright wheel-on mounts with arms that hold your bike down. I have long front fenders on my bikes and this can cause problems as when you remove the front wheel and drop the bike down, the fender will hit the tray.

I thought I had solved the problem by cutting a hole in my tray to allow the fender to drop through, and while somewhat awkward, this did work until I built my last bike with a front fender that comes inches from the ground.

While the fender still made it without hitting the roof of my car, I had lowered the fender struts so much, that they now hit the side of the tray. Fed up and not wishing to drill new holes in my nice fenders I decided to look for a two piece fork mount rack.

Continue reading ‘Bicycle Roof Racks/Carriers for Bikes with Fenders’


Specialites TA Pedal Dust Cap Spanner/Wrench

If you have a pair of TA Pedals you’ll notice that they have very nice knurled aluminum dust caps. While the dust caps conveniently have grease ports you may wish to overhaul the pedal from time to time. The caps have three equally spaced notches for a spanner but are smaller than say a bottom bracket cup which might take a similar spanner.

Not wishing to mar the caps by using pliers and some kind of padding to remove them, I have searched unsuccessfully for the proper tool and not only haven’t I found one but I haven’t found any record of one in TA literature, etc. I decided to make a few by drawing them and having them cut with a laser cutter, which at least where I go is very affordable.

The place where I went takes encapsulated postscript files (EPS), so I just drew the wrench in AutoCad and then opened it in Illustrator and saved it as an EPS file.

Knowing that the laser has a slight width or kerf, I drew the shape at exactly the size of the dust cap, hoping that the thickness of the beam would remove just enough extra material to allow me to get the spanner on the dust cap. I had him cut these out of 16 gauge (roughly 1/16″ thick) stainless thinking that would be plenty strong enough.

When I got them back, they fit absolutely perfectly, but I noticed two small issues: 1) While 1/16″ thick stainless steel is probably strong enough, the dust caps are aluminum and teeth that thin would probably bite into the aluminum if I ever had a really stuck dust cap and 2) when the laser starts and stops a cut it removes a bit of extra material. For whatever reason the laser started and stopped the inner cutout right at a tooth, weakening one of the three teeth on each spanner.

To solve both of these issues I simply glued two spanners together with Marine 5200, being careful to alternate the flawed teeth.

If you want to have some of these cut for yourself, here is the EPS file:

WordPress doesn’t allow EPS files, so I added the PDF extension. Download the file (right click on the link and save as…) and replace the PDF extension with an EPS extension and you can then open it in Illustrator.

One thing to be cautious of: if you make some of these, the kerf size increases with the thickness of the material, so the tool may fit too loosely. Check with the laser operator. Currently the shape is drawn at the exact size of the dust cap and the kerf with 16 gauge stainless shrinks it just enough for a snug fit.

Front Rack Design- Randonneur Sportif

Above is a conceptual sketch for a low-rider attachment for rando racks on bikes without low rider bosses.

I had been looking at different ideas for front racks for my Circle A which is really designed as a Sportif, because I couldn’t resist providing for the option of carrying a small front load in addition to the frontbag/handlebar bag that will go on the rando rack.

There have been a good number of variations over the years on the “low rider” attachments to french style rando racks. Look at this beautiful Boxer rack, which attaches to the dropout at the bottom and the small rando rack at the top:

or the Grand Bois, which is a little more contemporary as it bolts to separate low rider bosses in addition to the rando rack and the dropout:

These racks were traditionally designed for Sologne/Berthoud style panniers which differ from Ortlieb style bags in that the French bags have their attachment points at the top edge of the bag, whereas the Ortliebs mounting rail is about 3-4 inches lower. On the same rack, the Ortliebs will sit 3-4 inches higher.

Additionally, since most of the French bikes did not have low rider bosses, the bags were generally centered over the axle, rather than further back close to the steering axis as you see on modern low riders.

I like my Ortliebs and wanted to see if I could find a way to mount them lower and further back, without providing low rider bosses, partially because I think a lot of people might find the design useful, but mostly because I didn’t want to look at the empty low rider bosses for the 95% of the time that I would not have the low rack attached. Additionally, I thought there was a certain elegance to the lines of the rack that was lost when I drew it with a low rider boss.

The rack as drawn will result in the center of the Ortliebs being at the height of the axle, but pushed back so the steering axis passes through the center of the bag projected onto it (as the axis passes between the two bags, not through them).

I hope this will result in minimal wheel flop and good handling on a low trail bike.

Velocity Dyad says oooowww!

I guess I learned that there is no such thing as a “bombproof” wheel today. Whereas everywhere else in the Northeast seemed to get either a ton of snow the week before last, or a ton of snow and a ton of rain, Providence got basically four days of torrential rain, which combined with the normal freeze/thaw cycles of late winter washed out every crack of sand supporting fractured pavement in the entire city.

Worse than just the resulting giant potholes are the pavement seams that can be just as deep but almost invisible until you’re right on them. In this case, I was going downhill at about 25 mph and changing lanes, so I was looking back over my shoulder leaning back with all my weight on the rear wheel. I turned around just in time to see my front wheel drop into a three inch wide and four inch deep seam between the lanes. My unloaded front wheel skipped lightly but violently (if that makes any sense) off the front edge of the hole. With my entire weight, the rear hit the front edge of the seam like a sack of potatoes, the 35mm Paselas more getting out of the way than anything else. Worse still, the rim didn’t hit squarely but rather it only hit on the left side, perhaps as I was crossing towards that side.

Amazingly, I did not crash or even flat, and the rim stayed perfectly true within the pads, if you excuse the fold in the braking surface. It was about 1/2″ closer to the hub, however. The force was great enough to partially pull spokes two spokes away through the wall of the rim as the rim tried to expand over there to make up for its collapsing at the point of impact.

Perhaps on a lighter rim I would have crashed.

Bicycles in old age of Japan (website)

I have no idea where I got a bookmark for this website, as I don’t remember coming across it. Combined with the fact that the Japanese fonts aren’t coming through and even if they did I don’t read Japanese, I can convincingly say I know nothing about this site, but it sure has some cool stuff:

Bicycles in old age of Japan (website)

Like this “Eddy Merckx” mixte Randonneur as well as plenty of other French style bikes

and lots of bizzaro bikes and parts:

Fork Bender- first results

I went over to see the guys at Circle A as Brian had finished fabricating the fork bender and I wanted to see the test results. Brian had made some changes as he had an old part that he could modify to act as the fork tip restraint:

Overall, I’d say the results are excellent for the first bend, though the blade wasn’t bent all the way to the tip.

Since the restraint needed to be mounted to the table, Brian raised the block up off the table a little so he wasn’t grabbing the very tip of the blade. Additionally, he forgot to install the bracket that holds the end of the mandrel in place. Combined with the fact that the restraint is no longer tied to the block directly, this allowed the block to move a little relative to the restraint. As a result, you can see that while the blade is beautifully bent, with no rippling or bending in the upper portion of the blade, the tip of the blade is not bent as it raised a bit off the block.

Installing a base so that the block isn’t flying in the air and installing an angle iron at the end should fix things, but if there is still movement, he can install a strap that ties the block directly to the restraint, somewhat like the original drawing, but perhaps a bit lighter since he has the restraint bolted to the table and all he needs to do is prevent them from separating.

Here is the blade:

and another shot of the complete bender:

I suggested a couple of slight mods to fine tune the power of the arm, but Brian says he can easily bend the blade with one hand.


LED Replacement Bulbs: SCORE!!!

A friend’s mom lives in Germany and was good enough to purchase these for me. The taillight with standlight works great and is much brighter than the standard bulb that came with my old Radios taillight. The replacement front lights (no standlight) are the wrong base type, however, for my Lumotec:

The headlight replacement bulb has the same size base as the Lumotec bulb, but it is the type with two bumps on the base. The Lumotec bulb has a slightly wider shoulder, with a small notch in it. I ground off the bumps on the LED replacement and now it fits and works great. It seems to be much brighter than the halogen bulb, though it may lose a little of the focus. It is not nearly as bright or well focused as my Edelux however.

It is the taillight that I am stoked about, though. My initial impression is that this is brighter than an old school taillight, but not as bright as some of the newer Busch and Muller taillights out there. The standlight lasts as long as on my factory LED taillights. I will try and post some comparison shots.