Portland, OR  |  503-922-1934

NAHBS touring bike build: Front combo rack (platform & pannier)

In keeping with the photographer’s touring bike theme, the plan is to build a sturdy, low profile rack with the pannier hauling capacity of a front loadable touring bicycle along with the convenient access of a platform rack. It will have to be extra rigid to maintain front end stability under load, as the center of gravity will be higher and farther forward than a conventional low rider rack. It will also feature two outward sloping pannier platforms. This will keep the bags as close as possible to the fork for increased stability on tour, while a quick release (on the top rail of the pannier backing frame) will allow the bags to pivot outward (on the bottom rail) from under the top platform for quick access to equipment  and gear.

First, a 3D drawing. I use the front right corner of the rack as a perspective pivot to give me all the measurable dimensions for the actual build.

Next, the top platform. The four ends are mitered to meet the center rail and sides of a vertical platform that will attach to the brake hole in the fork crown.

Then the vertical mounting platform is constructed. The two ends of the "loop" are brazed together by a short splice of 5/16 tubing, then sanded clean. A hole is drilled in the center of the backward curve to hold a stainless steel bottle boss. This is where the rack will be attached to the fork at the brake hole. Next the four mitered ends are brazed to the mounting platform to make one mountable piece.

The top platform is attached to the fork, checked for level and symmetry. Next come the two pannier backing platforms. The only difference between the two is a slight angle in the end miter, which will create the outward slope for the touring bags.

The backing platforms are attached to the top. Then I ensure that all dimensions and angles match the drawing, as it's easy to make small adjustments while the backing platforms each have only one attachment point. Once the geometry is precise, fastening arms will be made for the brake bosses, along with short connecting struts that will stiffen up the rear....