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Handlebar bag support

Old 01-09-22, 11:52 PM
  #1  
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Handlebar bag support

(tl;dr -- I got a new handlebar bag support today, hand-made by @gugie while I watched. Scroll down for pics if you don't want to read the back story.)

About a year ago, I picked up an Axion Seymour Oceanweave handlebar bag. I've kind of gotten hooked on the idea of handlebar bags, but with a large number of bikes, I can't afford to outfit them all with the kind of custom rack I have on my Grand Jubilé or even an off-the-shelf rack like the Nitto M18's I have on my Sequoia and Competition. Plus, a rack like that just wouldn't make sense on many of my sportier road bikes. The Seymour bag solves this by providing a spacious storage space that I can easily move from bike to bike. It has just one problem. For the size bike I ride, it has a tendency to sag down toward the front wheel.



It has a couple inches of clearance when I have the straps tight and rotated back, but over the course of a ride I have to keep adjusting it to keep it off the wheel. At least once, I've had to resort to a very hacky solution mid-ride.



Luckily, as they say, "I know a guy."

Last year when @gugie needed a stem that I had to get his bike ready for Eroica, I offered to trade the stem for "a player to be named later." And while he was off enjoying the glorious gravel roads of Montana, I was home thinking about a solution to my handlebar bag support problem.

I remembered seeing an old French bike at one of the Velo Cirque shows that had a clever device that looped under the stem and over the handlebars and had nothing else at all holding it in place. At the time I couldn't quite get me head around how it worked and it seems I didn't take pictures, but on doing an Internet search, I found an old thread where a BF member had done something similar and discovered that Nitto has a product called the F16 that does this. But why buy the Nitto product when I know a guy who is really good at bending tubing to make custom racks?

So at some point I talked to gugie about the possibility of this being the "player to be named later" that we had previously discussed. He agreed, and I've been waiting for a slow down in his backlog. I prototyped the thing using an old wire hanger, which actually served the purpose but looks awful and was quite springy. I don't know if gugie's backlog has actually slowed down, but I asked him about it this weekend, and he figured he could do it before we set off on a ride we had planned for today. We realized later that I should have been taking pictures of the process, but it was done before I thought to break out the camera, so you got this long back story instead.

Anyway, here's the finished "rack"



On the bike:



With the bag



And the full bike shot




After the support thingy was finished we went out for about a 30 mile ride, and I've got to say it was everything I hoped it would be. It kept the bag in place and was super stable. No issues whatsoever. The bike (which was also on its inaugural ride for me) also did pretty well.
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Old 01-10-22, 05:33 AM
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Well done. I like this idea too and have bar suspended supports on two bikes. One for my Cannondale bag and one for the Eclipse.

I made a bottom support style like yours for another bag but used steel rod (cuz that's what I had) with an oak rod across the ends to stiffen it. It's fine for light day rides but worrisome for heavy loads. When I heavy loaded that bag for my trip on the GAP, I made a loop stay to attach to the fork eyes and secure to the bottom of that under support. It helped transfer weight to the axle and prevented any bag bouncing on the GAPs various surfaces. A versatile set now.

I wish I could fab as well as that guy you know. Nice work.
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Old 01-10-22, 07:52 AM
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Nice! I did something similar a few years ago to add stability to a bag in combination with a front rack. I formed the ends outward and secured them beneath the sewn-on straps on the back of the bag. It worked well. Actually, better than I expected.
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Old 01-10-22, 08:10 AM
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Nice! Looks like it could also be useful for roasting weenies when bikepacking.
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Old 01-10-22, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Prowler View Post
Well done. I like this idea too and have bar suspended supports on two bikes. One for my Cannondale bag and one for the Eclipse.

I made a bottom support style like yours for another bag but used steel rod (cuz that's what I had) with an oak rod across the ends to stiffen it. It's fine for light day rides but worrisome for heavy loads. When I heavy loaded that bag for my trip on the GAP, I made a loop stay to attach to the fork eyes and secure to the bottom of that under support. It helped transfer weight to the axle and prevented any bag bouncing on the GAPs various surfaces. A versatile set now.

I wish I could fab as well as that guy you know. Nice work.
Andy gives me a bit more credit than I deserve. I've got plenty of tubing stock for rack making, so we used a stick of thinwall 1/4" stainless steel tubing. Bends were made using my $8.95 Harbor Freight tubing bender, which despite abusing it for over 5 years, it's still going strong. The first bend was easy, 180 degree in the middle of the tube. It was ne'er impossible to use the tubing bender for the 2nd bends, however, so we did it "in situ", which is corporate speak for "on the bike." As we were trying to do that, the bend in the tubing slid back on the stem every time we tried to wrap it around the handlebars. Andy came up with the idea to put a C-clamp behind the bend so it wouldn't slip. Once that was done, the rest of the bends were straight forward using the tubing bender. One note, we started with a 6' stick of tubing and used less than 4' of it if anyone is planning on trying this themselves. Here's the McMaster part number for the tubing if you don't have another source, 6' section goes for about $18.

It took us maybe 30 minutes to make this. A couple of steps required two people, more clever people could probably figure out how to do it themselves.

@Prowler, you are correct, this thing really isn't intended to hold a heavy load, but it does a good job of it's intended use of holding the bottom of a lightly loaded bag from sagging and rubbing on the front wheel.
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Old 01-10-22, 11:22 AM
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So glad you didn't shoot it with Flat Black Paint...

Looks like it belongs!!!
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Old 01-10-22, 11:27 AM
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I love my vintage Cannondale bag, but I really appreciate this solution for a similar type of application, since it won't last forever. I move it from bike to bike just like you do, and I didn't realize how much I use it until I noticed that my ride pics typically include it, regardless of the bike being pictured.

Extra points for the wrapped section of the support, since it looks like a miniature set of drop bars.
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Old 01-10-22, 11:57 AM
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Well, well, well.

Here's what I've been using for the past couple years. Cheap, effective and easy to move between bikes (if you can at least remember for longer than a few hours how to mount it on bars with brifters and center-pull or cantilever brakes. )



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Old 01-10-22, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Prowler View Post
I wish I could fab as well as that guy you know. Nice work.
Yeah, he's playing this off like anybody with a tube could have done the same thing, and now that I've seen it done I could probably make another one on my own, but if he had just sent the tube home with me I'd have ended up with something that looked a lot more like my bent up coat hanger solution. As it is, this came out looking really clean. The $9 Harbor Freight tube bender (along with skill at using it) was really the key to getting good results, I think.
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Old 01-10-22, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by non-fixie View Post
Well, well, well.

Here's what I've been using for the past couple years. Cheap, effective and easy to move between bikes (if you can at least remember for longer than a few hours how to mount it on bars with brifters and center-pull or cantilever brakes. )

What's the purpose of the second bend? I noticed that the Nitto F16 has a little horseshoe loop at the bottom, and I speculated that it must serve some purpose, but I don't know what the purpose is.

That looks like a pretty big bag you've got on yours. How much load do you think your bracket would support?
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Old 01-10-22, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by noobinsf View Post
Extra points for the wrapped section of the support, since it looks like a miniature set of drop bars.
Yeah, that was @gugie's idea, and it actually is handlebar tape. It's a simple and effective solution. I'm not sure anything at all was needed there, but this will certainly keep the bracket from scratching the stem or bars. We thought about using shrink wrap tubing, but I think this is a bit cooler.
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Old 01-10-22, 01:18 PM
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That's why I keep all of my vintage stuff.

My UO-8 with barcon cables routed between the rack and the cylindrical Bellwether front bag.
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Old 01-10-22, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by non-fixie View Post
Well, well, well.

Here's what I've been using for the past couple years. Cheap, effective and easy to move between bikes (if you can at least remember for longer than a few hours how to mount it on bars with brifters and center-pull or cantilever brakes. )



Similar to a no hardware front bag support available in the 1970's. but, they did bounce at the right speed, wrong terrain.
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Old 01-10-22, 03:50 PM
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I can send you this C&V unit if you want to compare, @Andy_K:

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Old 01-10-22, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
Nice! I made something similar a few years ago with some thicker aluminum rod. I found that on rough roads it got a bit too bouncy for my liking. I saw non-fixie 's got a bungie on his. How's it working out for you so far?
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Old 01-10-22, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
That looks pretty heavy duty. I don't need that kind of rigidity in my life.
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Old 01-10-22, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by bear_a_bug View Post
Nice! I made something similar a few years ago with some thicker aluminum rod. I found that on rough roads it got a bit too bouncy for my liking.
I haven't taken it on rough roads yet. A bit of chipseal was the worst it saw yesterday. The Seymour bag has a Velcro strap that's meant to lash it to the head tube. I suppose I could use a bungy like non-fixie did, but on smooth-ish roads (which is where I'll primarily use this) that wasn't an issue at all.
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Old 01-10-22, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
I can send you this C&V unit if you want to compare, @Andy_K:

What are those from? They look stout...
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Old 01-10-22, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc View Post
What are those from? They look stout...
Marked "Japan" on the clamp that goes around the stem, but that's it. Definitely not light-gauge tubing. I don't think it it was bent in @gugie's HF unit.
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Old 01-10-22, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Marked "Japan" on the clamp that goes around the stem, but that's it. Definitely not light-gauge tubing. I don't think it it was bent in @gugie's HF unit.
Looks like you could add a mini fridge (to store the hot dogs for Andy’s weenie roast tool), coffee maker and Toaster...
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Old 01-10-22, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
What's the purpose of the second bend? I noticed that the Nitto F16 has a little horseshoe loop at the bottom, and I speculated that it must serve some purpose, but I don't know what the purpose is.

That looks like a pretty big bag you've got on yours. How much load do you think your bracket would support?
I suppose the second bend is the result of wanting a design that fits somewhat snugly around the stem and bars and also leaves a bit of room between the bars and the bag for your fingers.

The bag is an Ostrich F-104, which is rated at 12.4 liters. It usually contains my standard repair kit (mini tool, spare tube, mini pump) and a lightweight jacket. And maybe lunch. I wouldn't want to load it up any more on this rack.

And, like repechage says, it tends to bounce unpleasantly on less than smooth roads if not secured. Hence the little bungee cord, which doesn't look great but works well.

All in all it's a nice piece of kit, and a practical and wallet-friendly alternative to having to equip every bike with its own rack.
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Old 01-10-22, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Marked "Japan" on the clamp that goes around the stem, but that's it. Definitely not light-gauge tubing. I don't think it it was bent in @gugie's HF unit.
No, but the stem mount looks familiar.

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Old 01-10-22, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by bear_a_bug View Post
Nice! I made something similar a few years ago with some thicker aluminum rod. I found that on rough roads it got a bit too bouncy for my liking. I saw non-fixie 's got a bungie on his. How's it working out for you so far?
Better than expected. Simple and effective, which fits the bill perfectly.
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Old 01-10-22, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc View Post
Looks like you could add a mini fridge (to store the hot dogs for Andy’s weenie roast tool), coffee maker and Toaster...
Having ridden with Andy many, many times, the mini fridge would hold beer.
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Old 01-10-22, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc View Post
Looks like you could add a mini fridge (to store the hot dogs for Andy’s weenie roast tool), coffee maker and Toaster...
Well, this might work, but the extension cord could be a problem.

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