Touring - Materials for making a handlebar bag
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10-25-09, 10:52 PM
I've recently put aerobars on my bike, and I don't want to take them off. Unfortunately, I can't use my handlebar bag with them on, and I miss having it. I also don't have much room between the bars and wheel (fender). So I've decided to try and make my own that will fit around my current setup.
I'm planning on making out of cordura, but I'm not sure totally sure what I'm going to make the bag's frame out of, or how I'm going to fasten it to my bike. Home depot sells some right angled aluminum bars (3/4"x3/4"), which seem strong enough and fairly light to do the trick for both the frame and fastening mechanism (along with some other miscellaneous hardware).
I'm just wondering if there might be a better solution. I have an arkel bag, and it uses some sort of plastic sheet bent along the bag's 4 sides, which seems to work well and would be less work to make. I just have no idea where I would go about finding such a product. Any ideas on what products I could use?
10-25-09, 11:32 PM
Older bags and panniers were often made with a thin sheet of aluminum as the backing. Lightweight, easy to bend(but only a bit!) and easy to work with. Should be cheap too. You could use sheet alu and u-bolts, or the right angled alu bars you've mentioned. I see the u-bolts being the easiest, just because there's less actual custom fabricating and more just bolts and spacers. Although I don't know what you've got in mind, perhaps those wouldn't work.
10-26-09, 12:12 AM
Thanks, I'll look for aluminum sheets next time I'm at home depot.
My current idea for fastening the bag would be to have 2 aluminum bars going from the brake bosses to the handlebars or headset, and having the bag attach to that somehow (I don't have room for proper clams on the handlebars themselves because of the aerobars). I now wish I had bought a front rack with a platform instead of a low rider one.
10-26-09, 12:18 AM
Why not clamp the handlebar bag to the Aerobars themselves? If you use the brake bosses, that makes adjusting your bars at any point a huge headache. Are you worried about them not being able to support it? You could even design one that hung underneath the aeros and had two openings, on either side, so you could get in there.
10-26-09, 12:39 AM
Are you worried about them not being able to support it?
That's my main worry. It wouldn't be a worry, but I knowingly mounted the aerobars wrong a bit wrong (I sort of went past the "line" you're supposed to put the clamps on) so that they'd fit me better. If I hadn't done that, I'd be more ok with clamping to them. I'm also considering using this bag on my winter bike (which doesn't have aerobars), so I'd like to set it up in a way that it works on both.
With all that said, when I eventually get down to making it, there's a chance I'll just attach it to the aerobars. Right now I'm trying to explore my options.
You could even design one that hung underneath the aeros and had two openings, on either side, so you could get in there.
Yeah, that's my current plan. Actually 3 openings, one in between the 2 aerobars as well, although I might turn that space into a water bottle holder.
10-26-09, 11:39 AM
If you go to a hardware store,you can buy a piece of bathtub surround to form panels with inside your bag.
Or the old school way.Use a backboard,then there are little pockets at the bottom of the backboard to hold the open end of a hoop of aluminum rod,with the closed end at the top of the opposite wall to hold it open.
10-26-09, 12:28 PM
On the aluminum sheet you could check hobby shops. They sell it in various thicknesses.
At Home Depot you might have to buy a much bigger piece.
What you should use for a support depends, more than anything else, on your design. The aluminum angle stuff might be great; I'd also consider aluminum tubing, 1/4" aluminum rod, or even bamboo.
There's also coroplast. I don't like the idea of sheet metal; I'm guessing the bag will be subjected to enough bending etc that metal fatigue would become an issue within a few hundred miles (but maybe I'm just not picturing your design right).
10-26-09, 06:53 PM
Here's my lightweight summer bike camping rig. I attached a small plastic storage box ($2 from walmart) to my aerobars with velcro tape. The top is open and I drilled drain holes in bottom (weight is 8.7 ounces). The contents are in zip lock bags. The rear is a large storage box (19.6 ounces).
10-26-09, 09:06 PM
how much room do you need? on my aerobars I put a seat bag on backward the velcro that normally goes around the seat post is around the steerer or stem. The rail straps go around the aero bars. I don't need a lot of space so this works well for me.
10-28-09, 02:26 PM
Coroplast (corrugated plastic sheeting) is by far the best material to use for the structural box. My 15 year old Carradice bar bag has a rivetted coroplast box covered in fabric. It is very light, pretty indestructable, and easy to form. It is also free with every election.
For a mount, a quick-release clip-on system takes some beating. The Rixen and Kaul Klickfix fittings should be available. You can rivet the plate onto the box structure.
10-28-09, 10:11 PM
how much room do you need?
As much as I can squeeze in ;)
Which is 340mm x 340mm x 130mm (~13x13x5 inches). I'm going to try and make it big enough to hold a laptop.
Thanks for all the ideas. I'm going to try the aluminum bars because I had trouble finding anything else. I'm also worried about it sagging slightly and rubbing on my front wheel, since I'm going to maximize my available space.
Thanks for the mention on those Klickfix dealies. I might give those a try.
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