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  1. #1
    Senior Member Shahmatt's Avatar
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    Outfitting a folding recumbent with a commuter luggage solution

    I'm just brainstorming and fishing for ideas here. I'd appreciate any input.

    I'm building a folding recumbent bike (using the Cruzbike conversion kit). It's nearly complete now - just waiting for some parts to come through the mail. I'm looking at luggage solutions for day to day commuting.

    On my other upright folding bike I used a 6 liter seat post mounted bag and strapped my backpack using elastic cord to the rack. Here is an image:



    I liked the convenience of the seat post bag for carrying items like the phone, wallet and some tools. On the other hand the bag strapped on the rack was not such a great solution because it was time consuming to take off and put back on. I did not use panniers since there was not enough clearance to my heels.

    The new bike (still unfinished) looks like this:


    The wheel is small at only 16" so not all panniers will fit. Heel clearance is not a problem though. The fold is the same as the Brompton style - the rear wheel flips under. But whatever is mounted on the rack must come off on folding. Options I am considering:

    ............
    1. A small pannier with easy to remove fittings. I've slated down the Ortlieb Front Rollers classic as a possible candidate. This combined with something seat post mounted for the small stuff.

    Pros: The best fit solution. Remove bag to fold - or the bag stays upside down after folding.

    Cons: The wife worries about a bag sticking out from the side which may increase my chances of getting whacked by some fool driver. Also, though I've never used panniers before, I hear they feel slow. The Ortliebs may be overkill for my short haul purpose. But it seems like the only option I've found that's small enough to fit and at the same time easy to unclip and carry about with me.

    ............
    2. The Xootr crossrack - Provides a vertical mount on which most pannier sizes will fit, or even a backpack. Does not need to be removed from the rack as the rack itself is removable with bag.

    Pros: Cheaper water resistant panniers with standard (non quick release) fittings like the Altura Arran might do. I can mount a backpack or anything else if necessary as well. Bag lies behind me in my slipstream. Bag does not interfere with fold -useful for quick stops.

    Cons: The rack has an awkward stub that would make the panniers hard to wear after removal. But not overly inconvenient.

    Bag for small stuff: Maybe a top tube bag in front of the seat pan. Suggestions welcome.

    3. Rixen and Kaul Vario Rack - Provides a vertical half basket sort of thing on which backpacks will fit. Does not need to be removed from the rack as, like the Xootr, the rack is removable.

    Pros: Backpacks will mount. Odd shaped items will mount. Bag lies behind me in my slipstream. Bag does not interfere with fold - useful for quick stops.

    Cons: Can't mount any type of pannier on this rack

    Bag for small stuff: Same as Option 2

    ...................

    In terms of price possibly no. 3 is the most expensive because the rack to seatpost fittings need to be bought separately. Options 1 and 2 may cost about the same.

    Option 1 seems the simplest to implement. Option 2 will allow me access to a whole bunch of (previously dismissed) panniers because fit is less of a problem, but that rack stub may be irksome. Option 3 is not pannier friendly - I will have to reuse my backpack.

    I've also considered mounting a pannier at the seat position but to the port side (to allow the wheel to slot inside when folded). That is, a mid-ship position. But I'm not sure where I might find a suitable fitting or vertical rack to allow me to do this.

    Apologies for the long post. Thoughts anyone?
    Last edited by Shahmatt; 02-18-14 at 09:21 PM.

  2. #2
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    One option that's a little weird:

    Use a seat post pannier rack. I know the bike already has a rack, but it's awful low (and I realize that if you make it bigger, it will affect how the bike folds).

    A seatpost rack like this one can pop off when you don't want it, and will allow panniers.

    http://Charles.Plager.net
    http://RecumbentQuant.blogspot.com

  3. #3
    Senior Member Shahmatt's Avatar
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    Thanks Charles. But maybe this is not the ideal solution for my particular beat. I think I will still have to take the rack off for storage in the office as space is not sufficient. It's not going to be easy to remove pannier, remove rack, and fold the bike on every work day. So something more simpler I think.

    I've also found this:

    Basil BasEasy Carrier


    The rack comes off at the press of a QR, leaving the arm attached to the seat post. It's not designed for use with panniers, but still accommodates anything with hooks. Hmmmm... I wonder...

  4. #4
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    At least, now, you wont have the issue of kicking a pannier you may mount on the rear rack you have ..
    as you pedal.


    I have webbing paired my 2 sport packer Ortlieb's together .. with a simple adding them under the rack rail screws.
    if you are so inclined the mounting rail can be relocated further down in the back of the pannier .
    just make new holes and fill the old ones ..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 02-19-14 at 10:16 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shahmatt View Post
    Thanks Charles. But maybe this is not the ideal solution for my particular beat. I think I will still have to take the rack off for storage in the office as space is not sufficient. It's not going to be easy to remove pannier, remove rack, and fold the bike on every work day. So something more simpler I think.

    I've also found this:

    Basil BasEasy Carrier


    The rack comes off at the press of a QR, leaving the arm attached to the seat post. It's not designed for use with panniers, but still accommodates anything with hooks. Hmmmm... I wonder...
    Is there a potential issue with thigh bump on a recumbent?

  6. #6
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Is there a potential issue with thigh bump on a recumbent?
    {stating the obvious] Not if behind the seat.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Shahmatt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    At least, now, you wont have the issue of kicking a pannier you may mount on the rear rack you have ..
    as you pedal.

    I have webbing paired my 2 sport packer Ortlieb's together .. with a simple adding them under the rack rail screws.
    if you are so inclined the mounting rail can be relocated further down in the back of the pannier .
    just make new holes and fill the old ones ..
    The thought had occurred to me. I am just a little reluctant to drill holes into new waterproof bags.

    The Ortlieb Sport Packer seems designed for small racks and sit higher. So maybe they might fit?

    Yes the intent behind the baseasy rack was for the seatpost. I think anything handlebar mounted will interfere too much with vision. :s

  8. #8
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    Ah yes, I'll have to pay closer attention...

  9. #9
    jur
    jur is offline
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    Affix a dowel behind the seat-back and simply hang your backpack from it. Add a waist strap to attach the bottom of the pack to the seat-back to minimise sway. After a decade of using a variety of solutions I have adopted this on all my commuting bikes. With an upright the backpack is limited in size to prevent heelstrike but you obviously won't have that so the backpack can be as big as the back wheel allows.

    Last edited by jur; 02-19-14 at 07:18 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Shahmatt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    Affix a dowel behind the seat-back and simply hang your backpack from it. Add a waist strap to attach the bottom of the pack to the seat-back to minimise sway. After a decade of using a variety of solutions I have adopted this on all my commuting bikes. With an upright the backpack is limited in size to prevent heelstrike but you obviously won't have that so the backpack can be as big as the back wheel allows.
    Interesting. Might I request some more photos? I would like to see how you've fit the dowel and lower attachment to the seat post.

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