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Old 03-29-06, 04:31 PM   #1
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Recommend custom rack makers/ DIY tutorials(rear rack)?

Hi, I may need to have a custom rear rack made for a folding bicycle. It'll be geared towards utility rather than looking good, and I hope to spend less than $100, maybe $125 at the high-end. If worse comes to worse, I'm willing to do it myself, but I confess to being rather clueless about bending/welding together a metal creation and I wouldn't know what considerations to keep in mind for the bike itself (where it should attach to the frame, what sorts of connectors to use, how to make it sturdy without damaging the bike's frame/mechanics)

Could anyone make recommendations for either or both of the follwing:

1. Companies or small businesses who will take in work for custom racks, within the price range that I mentioned. Also appreciate reviews. Done business with them? Know a friend who has?

2. DIY tutorials and list of tools/supplies I might need if I wanted to create my own without breaking the bank..... Essentially, I imagine that it will involve some welding, somewhat like Wald baskets, and may even re-use parts from one of their baskets. Also welcome advice and know-how on what to do and what not to do when creating/attaching an aftermarket rack to a bike.

Thanks for any help.
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Old 03-29-06, 05:47 PM   #2
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Would a quick-release seat post rack work for a folding bike? Most seem to have a 20-25 lbs weight limit but it would sure save you on time & money.
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Old 03-29-06, 06:30 PM   #3
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Hi, thanks for the response. In my case, this wouldn't work, both because it would either get in the way of the folding, or if a quick-release would be another something to carry around after folding the bike up.

It's a good suggestion though, and I should have said at the outset that I'd already discounted seatpost-mounted racks.

Either on my current bike (on order) or on a future (folding) bike in the next year or so, I'd basically like to get a rack put on that would function something like on Le Petit Bi, but have a shallow basket integrated into it. Function as a rack/basket while pedalling, and as a stand when folded.

The rack that I'd like to have, if even possible, I don't think it exists. I'm nearly sure that it doesn't, and it will require the services of a company who can bend metal tubing and weld together something that would fit the bill. Or it'll require me buying some supplies at Home Depot and getting my own hands dirty with the project, which I don't mind, as long as I know that: a.)I'm not going to hurt myself, and more importantly b.)I'm not going to hurt my bike.
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Old 03-29-06, 08:13 PM   #4
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I built my own rack out of 3/8" stainless steel rod because the LBS told me no one made racks that would fit disc brakes. Of course, I later found out that was false, but it was too late by then .

I did it all with an oxy/acetalyne welding setup. The gentle bends I did by bending the rod around a round wooden block, tight bends I did by heating the rod with the torch then bending it (to avoid cracking). If I had it to do again I'd either do it with aluminum (which is harder to weld though, especially oxy/acet) or 5/16" rod. The 3/8" rod is seriously beefy, you can pick the bike up and swing it around by the rack. Overkill and heavier than necessary. 1/4 would probably bend too easily though... but you could get some and try it out. Obviously on a folder you're very weight-conscious.

Stainless (308 I think was the type I got, but it's the most common type if you're at a metal supplier) isn't too hard to weld with a torch, use a carburizing frame (prevents oxides from forming) and quench in water as soon as you're done (prevents it from losing its corrosion resistance). I used stainless filler rod too, from a welding supply store (tell 'em you want stainless TIG filler rod, since most people don't weld stainless with oxy/acet).

If you're going to use a MIG welder I'd say go aluminum since MIG-welding aluminum is easy. Forget about bending though, just cut pieces to length and weld all your angles (at least for tight corners... if you have gentle bends you can probably bend the rod). If you're going with stick-arc then I think either aluminum or stainless is doable. TIG ditto.

If you want metal to play with, find an industrial metal supplier near you and go to their warehouse. Ask 'em for "drops" or cutoffs... less-than-full-size pieces left over from some other order. If they have any they usually let you have 'em cheap (by the lb). Even if not, if they'll sell you a single piece or two (since the rod comes in like 10-ft or longer pieces, you aren't going to need very many) it'll be pretty cheap (I think it was less than 10 bucks for like a 12 foot piece of rod).

Of course this all depends on YOU knowing how to weld . If you don't, probably the cheapest option is find a freelance welder near you (if there's a community college or technical school that teaches welding, ask around the dept, or call a welding shop and ask if anyone does side work) and have the whole thing pre-assembled with a wooden frame or something and the pieces clamped. Design it with as few welded joints as possible obviously to cut your costs, and try to have them easy to get at (if necessary he'll tack-weld them all first, remove the frame, and then weld them for real). Oh and the frame better be disposable . BTW you better explain BEFORE you get there what kind of metal he'll be welding (he'll probably ask, but just in case, you don't want to find out he only does steel and you're asking him to weld aluminum).

Oh I did leave regular old steel out. It's the easiest thing to weld, but it rusts, so for a commuter bike I don't like it as an option... however there's always paint.
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Old 03-29-06, 10:35 PM   #5
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Check out Old Man Mountain. They make top notch custom racks.
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