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Mini Front Rack Advice

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Mini Front Rack Advice

Old 05-08-19, 08:41 PM
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Mini Front Rack Advice

Ok everyone I need some advice concerning a mini front rack for my recently complete Soma build. I have been looking at the usual suspects...
  • VO Randonneur
  • SOMA CHAMPS ÉLYSÉES
  • Nitto M18

As much as I like the looks Nitto rack I have read some of the stories about people overloading the rack , and that Rivendell has said to use a strap on the bars to provide additional support, I have not heard such accounts involving the VO or SOMA racks .

What rack does C&V prefer , and what front bag?

Thanks !
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Old 05-09-19, 02:53 AM
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I have a Nitto Mark's rack with long struts and an Acorn compact bag.

With the Acorn tool roll on the back

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Old 05-09-19, 03:14 AM
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I just installed a VO Randonneur canti rack yesterday. Seems pretty sturdy but it is rated at 5kg (11 lbs)
If you intend to go heavier than that, consider the constructeur front rack or similar models that connect to the dropout eyelets.

If you want to go C&V there is also the Specialites TA front rack.
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Old 05-09-19, 04:13 AM
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Originally Posted by JaccoW View Post
I just installed a VO Randonneur canti rack yesterday. Seems pretty sturdy but it is rated at 5kg (11 lbs)
If you intend to go heavier than that, consider the constructeur front rack or similar models that connect to the dropout eyelets.

If you want to go C&V there is also the Specialites TA front rack.
for C & V, the Ene Ciclo is somewhat less expensive - https://store.somafab.com/enecifrra.html
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Old 05-09-19, 04:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Trueblood View Post
for C & V, the Ene Ciclo is somewhat less expensive - https://store.somafab.com/enecifrra.html
True and probably more capable. But if you can find them and have them shipped to you, they are not that expensive. They can be found for as little as €28, including a pair of Mafac racer brakes at times.
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Old 05-09-19, 05:54 AM
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I bought a VO first. It's not adjustable and didn't fit on my bike, so I sold it and got Mark's rack. Since my bag is also supported by the decaleur, and I run a front fender, I don't feel the need to strap the rack to the handlebars. I was going to double-strut the rack, but it seems solid enough with one set of struts so I didn't bother.
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Old 05-09-19, 06:49 AM
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I use a Soma Lucas Mini. Not as pretty as the other racks mentioned, but plenty useful. The bag is an eBay find - like $5 or something like that. I made the handlebar support from an old shower caddie hanger. It is a sturdy setup and easily takes a full bag of groceries, beer growlers, what have you.

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Old 05-09-19, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Trueblood View Post
for C & V, the Ene Ciclo is somewhat less expensive - https://store.somafab.com/enecifrra.html
I dunno about the ENE Ciclo. I bought two after looking at photos, but seeing them in person the small size leaves something to be desired. They might be good on a kid's bike...

Macbook 13" and GB28 bag for comparison.
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Old 05-09-19, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
I dunno about the ENE Ciclo. I bought two after looking at photos, but seeing them in person the small size leaves something to be desired. They might be good on a kid's bike...
Beer for scale
But yeah it's tiny. Just some support and that's it.


One small splurge that makes life a lot easier on a front rack are Grand Bois's bag clips: Grand Bois Velo du Reve EB
Just slide in the decaleur and slide the clips in place to connect it to the rack.

Last edited by JaccoW; 05-09-19 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 05-09-19, 09:23 AM
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And that's not even a large beer (by size. By alcohol it is huge, and perfectly appropriate for Liège-Bastogne-Liège). I was just surprised, I don't even think the ENE Ciclo is adequate for a Berthoud bag, especially given the narrowness of the backstop. It also did not say anywhere that the rack was made of wire and not hollow tubes. I know I was probably expecting too much at that price, but it's kind of comical looking at it next to the bag I hoped to support.
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Old 05-09-19, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by JaccoW View Post
One small splurge that makes life a lot easier on a front rack are Grand Bois's bag clips: Grand Bois Velo du Reve EB
Got me thinking maybe I could do the same thing with p-clips, but then it would be a big hassle to remove the bag from the bike.
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Old 05-09-19, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
Got me thinking maybe I could do the same thing with p-clips, but then it would be a big hassle to remove the bag from the bike.
Another option is using magnetic fasteners. I have fidlock buckles and snaps on some of my bags. I'm even thinking of having the side buckles on my Carradice saddlebag replaced with them.
Pelago x Restrap bags use them on a bracket to connect the bag to their front rack.
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Old 05-09-19, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
And that's not even a large beer (by size. By alcohol it is huge, and perfectly appropriate for Liège-Bastogne-Liège). I was just surprised, I don't even think the ENE Ciclo is adequate for a Berthoud bag, especially given the narrowness of the backstop. It also did not say anywhere that the rack was made of wire and not hollow tubes. I know I was probably expecting too much at that price, but it's kind of comical looking at it next to the bag I hoped to support.
33cl (11 oz) of 9% triple goodness.

That's the GB28 12L bag right? I'm always surprised when I look up the size of the Gilles Berthoud bags. Because they are so short they tend to be very tall and look huge!

Nothing wrong with hollow tubes. Especially in larger diameters tubing can be a lot stronger. Imagine our bikes being made out of thick wire. I don't think that would be all that comfortable.
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Old 05-09-19, 09:55 AM
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fwiw ~ don't make your own unless you've got experience with that sort of thing. I might come back w a pic of my attempt which was fine except I needed to refine the p-clamps on the fork so they would stay put better. plus it was ugly as heck. here we go, from August 2008. hope no one just ate ...


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Old 05-09-19, 10:03 AM
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@scarlson I use the ENE Ciclo rack with a medium-size Swift randonneur bag and it works fine.

It makes no sense to make this rack larger when it is only supported by the centerpull pivots. It can't be a heavy-duty rack basically only attached to the fork by the brake mounting bolt so making it larger would just encourage people to overload the rack. A heavy load should be supported by a rack that also mounts to fork bosses or canti studs.
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Old 05-09-19, 10:13 AM
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Exactly. A Velo Orange Constructeur front rack would be a much better option. Or a Nitto 27F Campee which also has removable panniers racks.
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Old 05-09-19, 10:47 AM
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Did someone say racks?

I've mounted most of the one's you've mentioned. There are pros and cons to all of them. Odds are none of the off-the-shelf models will fit well without modification - typically involves bending them up a bit. Most of the time it's a small coldset that's not very obvious. The issue is that the mounting positions they make the racks for are assumptions around "standards" that aren't so standard. The Nitto Mark's rack design takes care of that by making the stays adjustable. The problem with adjustability is they can loosen, but properly installed, it isn't an issue. I started making my own when I can across the limitations of commercially available racks. I've also modified racks when needed.

The Velo Orange models are probably the best value. I have one of those vintage TA racks on a bike that I didn't want to use P-clamps on due to the quality of paint. I probably put no more than 7 pounds on it including the bag. The bag bounced a bit more than a fully triangulated rack, and you definitely want a sturdy decaleur with it.

I'm not a fan of the racks that attach to the fork dropouts, as it stiffens the fork significantly, and if you're going over rutted roads it transmits those forces up to the bag and handlebar rather than the fork flexing and taking up some of that shock. If that's all you have, ride it, but if you're looking to purchase something, take that into consideration.
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Old 05-09-19, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
I'm not a fan of the racks that attach to the fork dropouts, as it stiffens the fork significantly, and if you're going over rutted roads it transmits those forces up to the bag and handlebar rather than the fork flexing and taking up some of that shock. If that's all you have, ride it, but if you're looking to purchase something, take that into consideration.
I never thought of that before! I have the Velo Orange Constructeur rack. It's extremely sturdy but a damned pain to put on and take off. I have to bend it heavily every time. It's a good thing it's so heavily made and can take such rebending.
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Old 05-09-19, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by JaccoW View Post
33cl (11 oz) of 9% triple goodness.

That's the GB28 12L bag right? I'm always surprised when I look up the size of the Gilles Berthoud bags. Because they are so short they tend to be very tall and look huge!
Yums! So I could probably fit a party's worth of bottles of it in my Berthoud bag! Enough to pass the time between when the racers leave Liège and when they return! Yeah, the bag is pretty tall, but it's nice for me with my tall stature and consequently large frames. I don't have to peer down to look at the map. In spite of the bag's small footprint, the ENE Ciclo rack doesn't even reach the front of the bag when its backstop is in the leather strap loop on the back of the bag.

Nothing wrong with hollow tubes. Especially in larger diameters tubing can be a lot stronger. Imagine our bikes being made out of thick wire. I don't think that would be all that comfortable.
Ah sorry I must not have been clear. I was expecting the ENE Ciclo to be made of tubing, like the Nitto offerings. I was expressing disappointment that it's just wire - tempered by the fact that it didn't cost a terrible lot of money.

Plans to make my own rack are in the works. I've TIG'd decaleurs from stainless tubing scrap, I reckon I can do the same thing for a rack. Perhaps incorporating a Spence Wolf style booster plate for the centerpull into the mounting hardware.
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Old 05-09-19, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
Plans to make my own rack are in the works. I've TIG'd decaleurs from stainless tubing scrap, I reckon I can do the same thing for a rack. Perhaps incorporating a Spence Wolf style booster plate for the centerpull into the mounting hardware.
Go for it! Post pix of the process.
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Old 05-09-19, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post

I'm not a fan of the racks that attach to the fork dropouts, as it stiffens the fork significantly, and if you're going over rutted roads it transmits those forces up to the bag and handlebar rather than the fork flexing and taking up some of that shock. If that's all you have, ride it, but if you're looking to purchase something, take that into consideration.
@gugie , so you are saying that mounting a rack on the braze ons of the fork will cause the bike handling to suffer adversely ? My Stanyan has mini front rack braze on's and fender mount braze on's .

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Old 05-09-19, 06:44 PM
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I think when talking about fork flex, @gugie is talking about a rack that attaches to the fork dropout eyelets. Attaching a rack to those "mini-rack" braze-ons on the upper mid blade shouldn't have any discernible effect on fork flex.
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Old 05-09-19, 09:33 PM
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I've got a Nitto M18 on my Sequoia, and I think it's fantastic.



I'm not sure what the weight limit is, but I don't think I've been near it.

Whether or not it fits is kind of a crap shoot. It depends on where your braze-ons are. I'd be happy to take measurements to help you figure out if it will fit your bike.
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Old 05-09-19, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by SamSpade1941 View Post
@gugie , so you are saying that mounting a rack on the braze ons of the fork will cause the bike handling to suffer adversely ? My Stanyan has mini front rack braze on's and fender mount braze on's .

If'n you were to get one of these:

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/21...g?v=1505391218

Yeah.

If'n you were to get one of these:


Then no.

Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
I've got a Nitto M18 on my Sequoia, and I think it's fantastic.



I'm not sure what the weight limit is, but I don't think I've been near it.

Whether or not it fits is kind of a crap shoot. It depends on where your braze-ons are. I'd be happy to take measurements to help you figure out if it will fit your bike.
That Nitto M18 is the rack to get, short of a custom. Adjustable so the deck is horizontal, works well within a fairly big range of head tube angle and braze on location.
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Old 05-10-19, 03:31 AM
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I've got all 3 of the VO variants, the Rando rack that mounts to fork blade eyelets, a canti mounted Rando rack, and the Constructeur that mounts to the dropouts, all one different bikes.

The VO racks are well made, light enough, and fit well, although my favourite is the one that mounts to the fork blade eyelets as it sites at a nice height and close to the brakes, the canti version sits a bit higher and more forward, still good but doesn't look quite as 'integrated'.

I've had them for several years and no issues, ridden in all weathers and no corrosion issues, apart form having to take your time with initial fitting I think they are almost perfect.

I also have a Nitto canti-mounting rando rack, forget which model exactly but it's slightly better made than the VO, but not so much as you'd care, again no issues with it in use, would recommend but the VO seem to be 99% as good for a bit less cash, but there are more options form Nitto so if you have funny mounting requirements you might be able to find a Nitto version that will fit better in some cases.

By contrast I also have the Ene Ciclo, which in my opinion is a bit crap. It's solid/wire not tube construction, heavy for it's size, not particularly strong, and bends easily even under light loads, but more annoyingly it has started rusting after only 6 months and hasn't even seen much bad weather. I'm disappointed with it and wouldn't recommend it.
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