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Old 01-19-13, 05:40 PM   #1
nebuer16
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p-clamps for fenders and racks

I will be touring extensively this summer; likely a three month tour around the eastern US and Canada. I assume I'll need both front and rear racks. I backpack and have some light gear, so while its a long tour I don't expect it will be an unreasonably heavy load.

My bike is a Niner EMD, a 29er aluminum hardtail with a steel fork. It has no eyelets. I don't have the cash to invest in a new frame, and this bike works great the way it is. I'm thinking p-clamps are the best solution for racks and fenders... got some questions about it though:

1. Can p-clamps be used for both fenders and racks on the same frame, front and rear?
2. Are p-clamps strong enough for extended touring? Has anybody here used them before with success? Any tips/tricks?
3. If p-clamps aren't feasible for racks, what other reasonably priced options are there? I'm a grad student without much cash to spare at the moment, so new Old Man Mountain racks aren't really within my budget. I'd love some used ones if they're around, but I don't see them come up much on ebay or craigslist...

Thanks!!
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Old 01-19-13, 06:03 PM   #2
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My concern would be the weight of your touring load . I don't know how well one could fit all the p clamps on there and keep them all tight enough so you don't have a rack swaying on you all through a downhill descent .
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Old 01-19-13, 06:05 PM   #3
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Depends .. there are several materials used to make them..

see what you can find, bike shops, hardware stores..

plastidip coated steel work well . go to the shop and let them see what you are trying to do.

If their durability keeps you up at night worrying, bring extras.

Camp-touring? the use of a bike trailer means all the need is for mudguard mounts.

Last edited by fietsbob; 01-20-13 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 01-19-13, 06:18 PM   #4
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Call Wayne at www.thetouringstore.com he will be able to help you with advice and parts.

I used p-clamps for about 2.5 months of touring with a full camping load, it worked fine, but you have to keep an eye on them to head off any failures or slippage.
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Old 01-19-13, 06:24 PM   #5
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Be sure to put some sort of chafe tape under the P-clamps. Grit can get under them and abrade not just your paint, but the frame or fork material itself.
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Old 01-19-13, 07:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nebuer16 View Post
I will be touring extensively this summer; likely a three month tour around the eastern US and Canada. I assume I'll need both front and rear racks. I backpack and have some light gear, so while its a long tour I don't expect it will be an unreasonably heavy load.

My bike is a Niner EMD, a 29er aluminum hardtail with a steel fork. It has no eyelets. I don't have the cash to invest in a new frame, and this bike works great the way it is. I'm thinking p-clamps are the best solution for racks and fenders... got some questions about it though:
Search on this forum for "bikepacking" and "ultralight", you might be surprised at what's possible without racks or with racks that mount to the seat post. Whatever setup you choose, do plenty of riding with it before you start your big tour.
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Old 01-19-13, 09:57 PM   #7
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Search on this forum for "bikepacking" and "ultralight", you might be surprised at what's possible without racks or with racks that mount to the seat post. Whatever setup you choose, do plenty of riding with it before you start your big tour.
1+

Rear panniers and a rack pack should be sufficient. The bike will be more stable with load distributed front and rear, but not a necessity. Really just encourages hauling more than is needed, especially in the populated east. As a back packer, you can do it with minimal gear.

Can't help you with the p-camp question. I'm a cable tie guy. Don't forget the trailer option. I've seen guys pulling box store baby haulers filled with camping gear.
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Last edited by Cyclebum; 01-19-13 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 01-20-13, 12:48 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
Call Wayne at www.thetouringstore.com he will be able to help you with advice and parts.

I used p-clamps for about 2.5 months of touring with a full camping load, it worked fine, but you have to keep an eye on them to head off any failures or slippage.
+1 on Wayne. P-clamps are prone to slippage. Take a look at the fit solutions section for Tubus racks. The clamps that Tubus makes are far superior to p-clamps and can handle more load.
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Old 01-20-13, 08:28 AM   #9
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The P clamps that came with my Nitto Big Front Rack were too small for the fork diameter of my old MTB ('93 GT Outpost). So I cut down some aluminum sheet (inexpensive at hardware store), and drilled out holes for the bolt and nut. I used an old inner tube (cut down) for a gasket in between the clamp and the frame, mostly so that I could tighten it down quite a bit.

I have yet to see any slippage, and I fairly regularly carry very heavy panniers off this rack*. Once I filled two Ortliebs completely full of donated books and rode the 8 hilly, bumpy, miles home. I have yet to see any stress on my home made P clamps, but it is definitely something to look out for. I made an L bracket for my front fender out of the same material and it sheared at the bend after a couple of months of daily riding over the rough roads here.

The commercial ones are probably just fine for most folks, thought I'd share the info, in case anyone else finds themselves trying to mount a rack with P clamps to a fork whose legs are too wide.


* This is on my commuter, it gets ridden 3-7 days a week, usually about 15 miles a day. Although the front rack doesn't see daily use, it does it get used regularly, and the whole front end is subjected to a steady pounding from the rough streets I travel over.

Last edited by Medic Zero; 01-28-13 at 10:36 AM. Reason: grammar
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Old 01-21-13, 10:33 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the great help! I found a set of racks (along with panniers) on Craigslist. The seller doesn't know the model, but they're Axiom racks. Can anyone help me identify it?

Apparently the rack attaches at the quick release skewer - he wasn't clear in the email which rack he was talking about, but I'm assuming its the rear? I didn't know Axiom ever made racks like that, but maybe they did, or maybe its bike shop modification. I can't meet up with the guy until next week so I'm trying to see if it will work ok with my frame before I go out there.

I've searched the Axiom site to guess which rear rack it is and can't figure it out; they all look different than this, which makes me think the newer ones have been redesigned. It looks most like the Journey, but can't quite tell...

Sorry for the super small pictures, this is all I've got. Any advice is once again greatly appreciated!

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Old 01-21-13, 12:10 PM   #11
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Hire your mechanically inclined friends, or, you could pay a bike shop to do the work.
You assume people know your bike, that is presumptive.
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Old 01-21-13, 12:36 PM   #12
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Hire your mechanically inclined friends, or, you could pay a bike shop to do the work.
You assume people know your bike, that is presumptive.
True. I'm a competent mechanic; just new to touring, haven't seen this rack before and thought somebody here might have. I'll check it out next week in person and see if it will work.
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Old 01-21-13, 12:51 PM   #13
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thode low racks clamp around the fork blade, and people have manaced to fit them around suspension forks.

not the best , particularly in rough Off road tours , but are Low cost.

Good Luck..
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Old 01-21-13, 08:02 PM   #14
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Plastic P-clamps are OK for fenders, you'll need metal ones for racks. If properly sized, and installed they don't slip - in fact they come standard with several good models of racks. But if your rack has a platform - you may be able to skip fenders - or just add an extension front and back attached directly to the rack.

The photos you posted are Axiom racks - front and back. Just make sure you get all the required mounting hardware with those - its not shown in the pictures.
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Old 01-22-13, 12:29 AM   #15
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You can get a seat post clamp with integrated threaded bosses that you can attach the top part of the rear rack to. This might be the best solution if your frame geometry is reasonable. For the lower clamping point, something on the quick release would be my preference, see the Tubus model that was mentioned above, but these also don't work with some shapes of frame tubes around the QR, and you'll also have to choose a rack & mounting method that doesn't interfere with the disc brake.

If it's your first tour and you're camping then you'll probably need more capacity than just a rear rack. It's not until the 2nd or 3rd camping tour that people figure out what things are important and what is not and can limit their amount of stuff to only need a rear rack, which would be what I would recommend. Don't use a backpack if you want to be comfortable on the bike for more than an hour or two per day - backpack cause all sorts of neck and shoulder pain for most people, plus they make your back too hot.

Lastly, I would never want to tour with hydraulic brakes because I can't maintain them fully while on the road - upgrade to a nice pair of Avid BB7 cable-operated disc brakes, learn how to adjust them before you go, and bring spare pads.

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Old 01-22-13, 08:04 AM   #16
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I have these racks. The fronts were attached using p-clamps from Ace. It looks like the rears in your photo were modified to fit with skewers. Nice racks for the money. Don't overload them. Not designed for off-road use.
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Old 01-22-13, 09:10 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by nebuer16 View Post
3. If p-clamps aren't feasible for racks, what other reasonably priced options are there? I'm a grad student without much cash to spare at the moment, so new Old Man Mountain racks aren't really within my budget. I'd love some used ones if they're around, but I don't see them come up much on ebay or craigslist...
If you're used to backpacking, then you might want to examine "bikepacking" options that often forgo racks entirely. But many of those options involve special bags which may cost more than a rack/bag set up.

When I wanted an OMM rack, and didn't have the cash to pay full price, I set up an eBay search where I would get an e-mail every time something was listed that met my criteria. Eventually I got a great front rack at a price that was considerably less than retail. The trick is to start collecting your gear in advance, so you have the luxury of shopping around/waiting for deals. I would say that by making a gear list well in advance and shopping for deals, I was able to outfit my bike relatively cheaply.
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Old 01-22-13, 10:07 AM   #18
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as there are some who replied who have successfully used p clamps with touring loads, it should be fine. As a backpacker, do use all your backpacking load experience to keep weight down, which is good for all kinds of reasons, but would obviously be a help with p clamped racks--other factor being of course using common sense with the quality of p clamps used, and the tip of putting cloth tape on the frame is a very good one, for both saving the frame as well as probably being less prone to slippage (the fellow who mentioned his homemade clamps handling a rough daily commute shows it can be done and be secure)
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