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  1. #1
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    Decaleur on Carbon Fork OR Advice on Handlebar Bag w/ Cross Top Levers

    I have a Motobecane Fantom Cross Team Ti (http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...ross_ti_xi.htm), bought used with some minor modifications (Salsa Cowbell 2, TRP CX9 Mini-V's, Marathon Supremes, etcetera). I use this bike for long distance riding and light touring (paired with a Carradice Camper + Bagman, or Tubus Airy with Ortlieb Front Rollers).

    1. I have a Klickfix adapter (for 31.8) and Ortlieb Ultimate 5 from another bike. I can't seem to mount the adapter due to the brake barrel adjuster getting in between the mount. I had my levers set up horizontally and have read in some posts that the solution is to angle them downwards. It makes a lot of sense-- would it require me to unwrap and rewrap the bar tape to make this adjustment (ugh)? I live in NYC and need to use the cross top levers all the time, so removal is not really an option.

    2. Alternatively, would it be possible to mount a decaleur/small front rack? Something like the Nitto M12? My main concern is the carbon fork (safety) and the weight capacity. I need to be able to at least carry a dSLR, lens, battery pack and phone (food and warming layers would be nice, too). Would the decaleur improve handling over the bar bag? I guess I should note that I do cover gravel and muddy roads pretty frequently on the bike.

    Any advice or insight would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Randomhead
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    a nitto M12 would require a separate decaleur. The fork could handle the weight, you might not like the handling.

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    Thanks. Would the handling be any worse than a handlebar mounted bag? I could live with that.
    Another option I was looking at was the VO Pass Hunter Front Rack.

  4. #4
    Randomhead
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    I don't know about the VO rack, but my understanding is that it was panned in Bike Quarterly.

    The handling should be somewhat better with a rack because you would be mounting the weight lower. I have never really minded having weight on a high trail bike, but others do.

    ETA: does your fork have a hole through the crown in any direction?

  5. #5
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    I didn't mind the ride at all with the handlebar bag. It was only annoying when the bike was stopped.

    It sounds like the Nitto M12 would be a satisfactory solution, I guess it would be safe if the load was kept under 5kg or so? I can't imagine that those Klickfix adapters are stronger than a fork and rack, even if the fork is carbon. The fork does have a hole through the crown, parallel to the wheel.

    On the other hand, would it be faster (and cheaper) to just bring the bike in to a shop and have them rotate the brake levers down? The bars are double wrapped and I know I would just get too frustrated doing that work on my own.

    Update: I've just rotated (pretty much forced) the levers down, and now the handlebar bag mounts. The cable friction has increased considerably, but it works. I'm still curious to hear if a mini front rack would be a feasible option with a carbon fork.
    Last edited by dwrz; 03-13-13 at 04:17 AM.

  6. #6
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    Get rid of the cross levers. that will require installing new cable housing and re-wrapping your bars but that is easily done. I have that same bike. It came with way too long cable and brake housings that were flopping around. I shortened all of them up, wrapped new tape on, and the front end of the bike is much cleaner.

    This rack is supposed to attach using cantilever bolts so it should theoretically fit your fork: http://www.compasscycle.com/racks_gb_narrow.html but that would mean putting on a different front brake. If your hub has the disk mounting holes and your fork has the disk brake mounting brackets like mine does then you should be able to pick up a BB7 caliper and disk and convert your front brake to disc or alternatively find some kind of rim brake that mounts on the center hole of the fork.

    As for whether these carbon forks can take a rack? Think about the strain that these forks undergo when you are riding over rough terrain with your weight on the bars. ESPECIALLY during cyclocross races which is what this bike was designed for. Riders bang over logs and rocks and abuse their bikes in all sorts of torturous ways. And they are made for disk brakes which puts a lot of stress on the fork as well. A 150 lb rider bouncing over rocks and logs is going to put 100x the strain on a fork than a 5 kg handlebar bag that will also be attached to the handlebar. Remember that the cantilever mounting points are also reinforced because hard braking puts a lot of stress on the fork as well.
    Last edited by texasdiver; 03-13-13 at 09:32 AM.

  7. #7
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    I purchased the bike from a friend; he'd already replaced the levers, cables, and tape, among other things. I use the levers all the time and have no desire to remove them.

  8. #8
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Didn't you see that he's from NYC? They're a special case -- or so they think.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
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  9. #9
    Randomhead
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    if you can get a bike shop to do the work in a reasonable amount of time, and rotating the brake levers will work, that is your best bet. I find wrapping bars to be really annoying, but I would do this myself just because of the uncertainty

  10. #10
    Senior Member Commodus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by texasdiver View Post
    Get rid of the cross levers. that will require installing new cable housing and re-wrapping your bars but that is easily done. I have that same bike. It came with way too long cable and brake housings that were flopping around. I shortened all of them up, wrapped new tape on, and the front end of the bike is much cleaner.

    This rack is supposed to attach using cantilever bolts so it should theoretically fit your fork: http://www.compasscycle.com/racks_gb_narrow.html but that would mean putting on a different front brake. If your hub has the disk mounting holes and your fork has the disk brake mounting brackets like mine does then you should be able to pick up a BB7 caliper and disk and convert your front brake to disc or alternatively find some kind of rim brake that mounts on the center hole of the fork.

    As for whether these carbon forks can take a rack? Think about the strain that these forks undergo when you are riding over rough terrain with your weight on the bars. ESPECIALLY during cyclocross races which is what this bike was designed for. Riders bang over logs and rocks and abuse their bikes in all sorts of torturous ways. And they are made for disk brakes which puts a lot of stress on the fork as well. A 150 lb rider bouncing over rocks and logs is going to put 100x the strain on a fork than a 5 kg handlebar bag that will also be attached to the handlebar. Remember that the cantilever mounting points are also reinforced because hard braking puts a lot of stress on the fork as well.
    no...the rack allows use of both rack and cantilever brakes at the same time, of course.

    Also, I'm not at all convinced that this is a good idea on a carbon fork. First, you won't like the handling, I can pretty much guarante that, having gone down this road already. So long as you let yourself get used to it and don't take it off again...ever...you may be able to convince yourself, however.

    Second, who can say if the canti bosses can take this kind of stress in this direction? When you're braking the forces applied are axial to the boss, the rack will apply weight radially. The strength of the fork and whether it can handle a 150lb rider bouncing over rocks is thoroughly irrelevant.

    I would be surprised if you can get a stem-mounted decaleur to work with your cross levers. I think you will be better off with the Pass Hunter rack from VO with integrated decaleur. It has its faults, but it can be bent forward and will probably give you enough clearance.

  11. #11
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    I've heard back from Bikes Direct and they confirmed that mounting a mini rack/decaleur on the fork is not ideal. The concern was more over the ability of the studs to handle the weight/forces, rather than the actual integrity of the fork.

    I figure I will work with my fix for now; when the time comes to have the cables replaced, I'll make sure the levers are mounted appropriately.

    Thanks to everyone for their advice.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Commodus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwrz View Post
    I've heard back from Bikes Direct and they confirmed that mounting a mini rack/decaleur on the fork is not ideal. The concern was more over the ability of the studs to handle the weight/forces, rather than the actual integrity of the fork.

    I figure I will work with my fix for now; when the time comes to have the cables replaced, I'll make sure the levers are mounted appropriately.

    Thanks to everyone for their advice.
    Note that an appropriate steel fork can be had for as little as $50-100.

  13. #13
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    Definitely something I will consider going forward.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    The pass hunter is a good rack, especially the one without decaleur. For the very big front bags, I believe Jan prefers front racks with decaleurs attached to the stem for stiffness reasons. Some users will find the V.O. rack (w/ decaleur) completely acceptable. Front bags on racks generally handle better for the reasons indicated above by fellow members. Ultimately how much the handling gets affected is going to depend on the size/weight of the loaded bag and the fork geometry. On a high trail fork (such as the one that comes with this bike), I personally wouldn't go with loaded bag over ~5 lb. (2.5 Kg.), just to be safe. -- enough to put a DSLR and keep it handy up front. Going with much heavier loads, the detrimental handling will become apparent mostly on emergency situations, night riding, off-roading and so on where faster handling is required occasionally. Check with mfrer re: carbon fork. Commodus states nicely the reasons why this might not be a good idea.

    High trail bikes benefit from additional weight spread around the frame: a little up front (small handlebar bag/front rack bag), and more over the center and rear (e.g., frame bag, saddle bag, trunk bag on rack, panniers, etc.) On the other hand, French-style randonneurs (w/ low trail forks) love a lot of weight up front for their handling to feel "normal"... like riding an unloaded high trail bike.
    Last edited by Chris Pringle; 03-13-13 at 03:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Pringle View Post
    The pass hunter is a good rack, especially the one without decaleur. For the very big front bags, I believe Jan prefers front racks with decaleurs attached to the stem for stiffness reasons. Some users will find the V.O. rack (w/ decaleur) completely acceptable. Front bags on racks generally handle better for the reasons indicated above by fellow members. Ultimately how much the handling gets affected is going to depend on the size/weight of the loaded bag and the fork geometry. On a high trail fork (such as the one that comes with this bike), I personally wouldn't go with loaded bag over ~5 lb. (2.5 Kg.), just to be safe. -- enough to put a DSLR and keep it handy up front. Going with much heavier loads, the detrimental handling will become apparent mostly on emergency situations, night riding, off-roading and so on where faster handling is required occasionally. Check with mfrer re: carbon fork. Commodus states nicely the reasons why this might not be a good idea.

    High trail bikes benefit from additional weight spread around the frame: a little up front (small handlebar bag/front rack bag), and more over the center and rear (e.g., frame bag, saddle bag, trunk bag on rack, panniers, etc.) On the other hand, French-style randonneurs (w/ low trail forks) love a lot of weight up front for their handling to feel "normal"... like riding an unloaded high trail bike.
    Thanks. This was very helpful. I actually did not know about fork trail and had to look it up. It's definitely something I will consider going forward. I think I am struggling to make this bike into a sporty randonneur of sorts. I figure I will eventually pick up a bike that is more specifically suited to that task.

  16. #16
    Senior Member ColonelJLloyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I don't know about the VO rack, but my understanding is that it was panned in Bike Quarterly.
    Heine poo-poos all sorts of things for silly reasons. I have the Pass Hunter, Randonneur and Constructeur racks and they do what they're intended to, look good and are well built.
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  17. #17
    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
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    I'm running bar-top levers and KlickFix-mounted handlebar bags on a few bikes. I would never want to have the brake levers horizontal anyway, I prefer them to be where the ends of my fingers naturally lie anyway, which is about 30 degrees r so below horizontal. However, for use with the KlickFix mount, I have to move them a bit further down than that still, and often end up with the bar bag slightly above horizontal until I find the best trade-off of the two positions that I'm happiest with.

    I try to do all this before taping the cables down to the bar, and then finally installing the bar tape. If your bar tape is already installed, then you should peal it back to close to the regular brake hoods to shift the cables around and keep them going in a relatively straight line. Then just re-wrap the old tape (keeping it pulled taught as you do so) and stick the ends down with some electrical/insulation tape - it's not that difficult.

    Decaleurs seem like a clunky and old-fashioned look to me, which I've never really liked, but a lot of guys into classic and steel bikes seem to like them.

    Another option is to mount the KlickFix adaptor on a second mini-bar attached to a stem below the regular bar, but only if you have space between your head tube and current stem. SJS have a nice small option here that achieves that - I have one of those on order so that I can mount some aero-bars and still have a KickFix bar bag on my new collapsible travel bike - the 24" wheels on that bike (an Airnimal Joey) give me have plenty of space below the regular stem, whereas I don't have the room on my bikes with regular-sized wheels (and this setup will also have bar-top brake levers - this machine is going to be fully kitted out for comfortable all-day riding).
    Last edited by Chris_W; 03-16-13 at 03:57 PM.

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    Thanks. I guess it's a proven solution. I am actually liking the non-horizontal levers too, but like you, I find the angle just a little too steep when making room for the Klickfix. It works, though, and I think on this bike it's the ideal solution, and what I should have thought of first. I think when I gather the patience to rewrap the bars and adjust the cables, I will also be able to eliminate the minor loss in friction I now have.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Commodus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColonelJLloyd View Post
    Heine poo-poos all sorts of things for silly reasons. I have the Pass Hunter, Randonneur and Constructeur racks and they do what they're intended to, look good and are well built.
    I have the rack too...I think he poo-poos it for a pretty straightforward and clear reason, which also happens to be true, at least in my experience.

  20. #20
    Randomhead
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    the reason is that the decaleur wobbles, correct? I have a bias against ugly racks, and that is one ugly rack in my view.

  21. #21
    Cottered Crank Amesja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_W View Post

    Another option is to mount the KlickFix adaptor on a second mini-bar attached to a stem below the regular bar, but only if you have space between your head tube and current stem. SJS have a nice small option here that achieves that - I have one of those on order so that I can mount some aero-bars and still have a KickFix bar bag on my new collapsible travel bike - the 24" wheels on that bike (an Airnimal Joey) give me have plenty of space below the regular stem, whereas I don't have the room on my bikes with regular-sized wheels (and this setup will also have bar-top brake levers - this machine is going to be fully kitted out for comfortable all-day riding).
    The SJS accessory bar is a neat item but the same can be achieved with a regular stem and short narrow section of scrap flat handlebar. Any old scrap handlebar will do -even a bent/ruined drop bar/bullhorn can be salvaged for this purpose and cut down so that only a few inches extend out from the bar clamp in each direction for a bar mount clamp to fasten to.

    These options only work if you have enough spacers below your current threadless stem to remove so as to make room for the new added accessory stem.
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  22. #22
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I have a 2 stem setup, lower one just grips a section of 1" Al tubing I got from the Hardware store .

    The SJS one is able to fit where there are less than 40mm of spacers,
    since it is only carrying luggage, 1 bolt does the job.
    3 versions 50, 100mm 90 degree, and the longer, angled down one, to lower the C of G.

    Though having V brakes you have a strut mount , and the hole through the fork crown
    for 3 point bottom support..

    The rest may be served by some of Velo Oranges parts..
    the top of the bag supported from the stem



    though I suspect buying the Ortlieb handle bar bracket extension piece
    would give you the Top-mount Brake lever knuckle, clearance with the simplest kit.

    It just moves the bag forward an inch..

    http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/ortlieb-u...165-prod10755/

    Or From wherever Ortlieb stuff is sold..

    Klick Fix has a similar part..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 03-23-13 at 01:37 PM.

  23. #23
    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
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    I've used the KlickFix extended h'bar mount that puts the bag a few cms more in front of the bars. It works as advertised, but even a bag that is normally quite robust and solidly mounted bounces around quite a bit more when you put it that far forward of the bars - I didn't like the setup.

    I received the extra accessory bar from SJS this week. It has two advantages over using an old stem and cut-down set of bars. First, it's a whole lot lighter, listed as 110 grams, but I'm going to cut my down quite a bit because I only need it for the bar-bag mount, and it will probably then be under 100 grams. There are not many stems in the world that are under 100 grams (and those cost significantly more), plus you have to add the weight of the bars. Second, as mentioned above, the clamp is only 27 mm high, whereas most stem clamps are 40 mm high, with just a few as small as 35, so it is a lot easier to find space on your steerer column with this one.

    One thing to note regarding the SJS/Thorn accessory mount is that it is listed as being 105 mm and 0 degrees. By '0 degrees' they do not mean perpendicular to the steering column (which is what I had assumed because that is the more common convention with stem labeling these days), but they actually mean parallel with the ground on a bike with a head tube angle of 73 degrees; and so it would more commonly be called a +/- 17 degree angle. This was good news for me because putting it at a -17 degree angle gave me lots more room than I had been expecting.

  24. #24
    Cottered Crank Amesja's Avatar
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    With my large Nashbar bag I use a bungie under the front rack to keep it more solidly-mounted. I never remove the bungie; it only needs to be stretched and popped out under the front of the rack to let loose the bag leaving the bungie permanently mounted under the bag from side to side.

    With the decalleur/bar mount on the back of the bag and the bungie holding the bag down to the front rack below, it doesn't move ore wiggle around at all. Stuff inside it might move around if it is heavy enough but I tend to only throw very light things in there that won't be noticed as they are jostled about. Some snacks, a second base layer if it is cooler, knee-warmers, maybe even my toe-warmers, some silk glove liners to go under my fingerless riding gloves, my Pearl Izumi Barrier Convertible Jacket, maybe an extended battery pack for my phone and a couple of mini bungie-cords for lashing the bike on the train. My clear window route holder with maps & cue sheet is vecro-ed onto the top of the bag.

    I don't think I've ever loaded it with more than 4 or 5 pounds of stuff including the bag and the rack, even when I've dumped a bunch of bulkier sandwiches and fruit snacks from a SAG stop into it to tide me over until the next one.
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