Friday, October 23, 2009

thoughts on 'bent bike products - and others

D: I loaded up my Cruzbike with groceries last week.
I have two folding baskets mounted on a mountain bike rear rack.
They are nice - they perfectly hold those reusable grocery bags.
But each basket only holds one.
They were a bugger to mount. The baskets assume road-bike rack dimensions.
The mountain bike one is fatter.
I had to pry apart the mounting system. It looks pretty rough.

I pondered tacking a third one on top.
But the rack is a standard width.
It presumably is made for pannier strap width.
BUT that is too narrow to mount a third basket on top.
It would overlap with the side folding baskets.
Plus the baskets are not designed to fold straight down.
They *could* be though...

Problem is that a wider rack on top would not mount panniers properly.

I have never used panniers. I don't like them. I think they are bad design.
I won't leave anything unattached on my bike when unattended.
Off the bike, they are not ergonomic for human use.
What I'd want is a backpack or rucksack and a way to mount them on a bike.
Not everybody sees things this way.

So how to mount a pannier but also a full-width basket?
Some god-awful pivot point on top of the rack.
I say screw the panniers.

I cannot find a good pic of the Cruzbike seat mount at the rear.
Trust me when I say it slides into a standard seat mount post.
Anyway, basically you need a rucksack mount there.
Cut a slot along the length of a seat tube width pipe.
Have this piece on a telescoping mount.
Frankly, a square tube arrangment works better above the bottom.
It won't rotate.
Have two hooks to simulate shoulders to mount the rucksack.
When not in use, it slides down behind the seat.

Why all this?
1) a bike that mounts THREE full size folding baskets - one proprietary that folds straight down.
2) a proprietary Cruzbike-specific backpack/rucksack mount.
Talk about your niche target market!

On my Mark I design, I planned to build a rucksack mount into the back of the seat.
This would suspend the rucksack mount on the seat suspension.
A fully loaded rucksack would necessitate a change in the elastomer suspension system.
A 50 pound rucksack will change the elastomer choice.
Why a rucksack mount?
The rucksack goes with the rider once he is off the bicycle.
It is rider, not ride-centric.

Recumbents are nice, in that the luggage is BEHIND the rider potentially, not UNDER him.
Lower air drag.
This is not true of my grocery baskets.
But it would be true of a rucksack.

I think maybe you could mount two more baskets under the seat.
The easiest way would likely be to modify a rear rack mount to attach to the bike frame.

1 comment:

dino snider said...

OK the folding baskets have a problem. When folded closed, the ends flop around and rub on the tire. A more extensive rack would keep them away from the tire. Of course just integrating a decent rack during bike construction is the way to go. Extra-wide, to optionall hold my proprietary third folding rack on top. Heck, lotsa folks just strap on a milk crate anyway.