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My Road Bike Laptop Carrier

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My Road Bike Laptop Carrier

Old 02-13-20, 02:25 PM
  #1  
wphamilton
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My Road Bike Laptop Carrier

Every year it comes up: how can I carry a laptop on my road bike, if I can't or don't want to install a full rear rack, panniers, or otherwise besmirch the "road bike" aspect? Or paying big bucks for some special rig, and then discover my heels are hitting it every pedal stroke. And I hate carrying it in a backpack. There has never been a fully satisfactory answer.

I had been resigned to carrying it on my unabashed commuter rig, or using a backpack on the road bike. But my new position starting Monday (yay!) has a lot of telecommute so I do want an option with my road bike. I've already compromised by adding a light-weight seatpost rack, so I don't want any more hardware hanging off the bike. I think I have solved this, 100%!

This is a regular laptop sleeve, which I have reinforced inside with a long bit of hard plastic. I molded the bottom end to clip over the seat stay and hold the laptop away from the tire, and keep it from flopping. At the top are two rugged spring clips. And that's all there is to it! It clips onto the rack and seat stay, doesn't move around in transit. Very secure and goes on and off in seconds, and it still looks pretty much like a laptop case for carrying around. There's no possible heel strike because it's higher than a regular rack, and it's pretty sleek in the wind with no wasted space.

Pictures: it looks pretty good mounted, in my humble opinion. I'm not really proud of the back side with the zip ties etc - a next version if any will be a lot cleaner but this works. Disregard the bag/box on top please, that's not part of the laptop system. Although really convenient. That's actually a full sized drawstring bag with internal Coroplast shaping - I slide another bag inside with my daily load.

Quick-release clips on rack and seat stay

Plenty of distance to the tire

Back-side hardware. the velcro strap bottom center is extra, so that it also works with the regular rack.
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Old 02-13-20, 05:55 PM
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Very nice.

I don't really like seat post racks for myself, but looks like a good solution!
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Old 02-13-20, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by TheLizard View Post
Very nice.

I don't really like seat post racks for myself, but looks like a good solution!
I don't either, on general principle, but when you regularly need to carry stuff it's just the most convenient of all the choices. The one thing that pushed me over to it is: I don't like to carry anything solid and rigid in a jersey pocket, so I was going to put something on the bike permanently anyway. Might as well be the rack.
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Old 02-13-20, 09:12 PM
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Nice job, looks just like a rear rack with a single side pannier Each of us wants what we want but I don't particularly understand wanting to look like an unladen road cyclist on the way to work when its likely nobody other than you gives a darn? Your profile states you're in Georgia, the folks in cars that see you riding probably think your nuts no matter what you're carrying.

Stay safe.
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Old 02-13-20, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by honcho View Post
Nice job, looks just like a rear rack with a single side pannier Each of us wants what we want but I don't particularly understand wanting to look like an unladen road cyclist on the way to work when its likely nobody other than you gives a darn? Your profile states you're in Georgia, the folks in cars that see you riding probably think your nuts no matter what you're carrying.

Stay safe.
It's not about looking like a road bike when commuting- it's about having a road bike when you're not commuting. And actual panniers, that's just way too much for a commute, whether or not you have the full rack, and takes some special equipment if you just have the seat rack.

Plus, even commuting if you like to do it fast on a road bike, you still want to minimize weight and aerodynamic drag. My other objective is to never deal with straps and buckles and bungees - just grab my bags and go. This minimalist strategy optimizes both objectives.
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Old 02-14-20, 02:55 AM
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I love the fact that modern laptops have SSD drives which are so much more robust for this sort of thing. I guess laptop hard drives have always been designed to handle shock reasonably well but I feel much more confident about carrying my Dell XPS around than I would have done an older PC with spinning disks.

Before I was given a work laptop a friend of mine told me that it would be very little time before I stopped noticing the weight in my back pack and he was quite right. But your solution looks pretty cool.
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Old 02-14-20, 07:23 AM
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These days my laptop bag is "the cloud," but I appreciate the idea.
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Old 02-14-20, 07:57 AM
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clever hack! what beam rack did you go with & can you explain more how you made the seat stay attachment?
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Old 02-14-20, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
clever hack! what beam rack did you go with & can you explain more how you made the seat stay attachment?
The seat post rack is just a generic sort of aluminum rack from Amazon (Ventura Rear Rack) rated for light loads - 22 pounds - but more than enough for regular purposes.

The seat stay clamp started out as this plastic strip from Home Depot, a window rail or something like that.


I cut a piece about 18", used a heat gun to soften one end and simply mashed it around the seat stay with my hand (wear a glove!). The plastic is stiff enough that it's not going to slide off or bounce off.

Actually I did the very end first to get the opposite curve, to make it easier to pry up and slide onto the post, and then the clamp curve. I sliced the bottom corner of the laptop bag, inserted it all the way to the opposite top corner and attached with zip ties, sealing the cuts with JB-weld. Kind of sloppy, but that's what I had and I was in a hurry.

Last edited by wphamilton; 02-14-20 at 02:22 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 02-14-20, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
These days my laptop bag is "the cloud," but I appreciate the idea.
Unfortunately some stuff you can't put on the cloud, or your personal laptop or USB stick. I can't even VPN except on company equipment, so I have no choice but to carry it back and forth.
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Old 02-14-20, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
The seat post rack is just a generic sort of aluminum rack from Amazon (Ventura Rear Rack) rated for light loads - 22 pounds - but more than enough for regular purposes.The seat post clamp started out as this plastic strip from Home Depot, a window rail or something like that.I cut a piece about 18", used a heat gun to soften one end and simply mashed it around the seat post with my hand (wear a glove!). The plastic is stiff enough that it's not going to slide off or bounce off.Actually I did the very end first to get the opposite curve, to make it easier to pry up and slide onto the post, and then the clamp curve. I sliced the bottom corner of the laptop bag, inserted it all the way to the opposite top corner and attached with zip ties, sealing the cuts with JB-weld. Kind of sloppy, but that's what I had and I was in a hurry.
oh that's great, ingenious!
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Old 02-14-20, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
oh that's great, ingenious!
Thanks. I have high hopes for it not wearing out too quickly. I have a hook-and-belt arrangement on my regular commuter bike which got pretty tattered after a couple of years.

As an aside, if anyone thought I was kidding about aero considerations, I did a kitchen-table style study of it 5 or 6 years ago. (Backpack Drag Revealed) which also compared with panniers. It's not an insignificant difference between using a rack bag and panniers.

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Old 02-16-20, 05:45 AM
  #13  
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Anyone could make a bag which would attach to a rack like that, but making it snap-fit and easy to remove takes it a step farther.
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Old 02-16-20, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Unfortunately some stuff you can't put on the cloud, or your personal laptop or USB stick. I can't even VPN except on company equipment, so I have no choice but to carry it back and forth.
I'm in the same boat as you.. but I think maybe he was alluding to just having a 2nd laptop (one for work and one for home -- both company issued. All docs and software these days are saved to and run off of the cloud mostly).
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Old 02-16-20, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I don't either, on general principle, but when you regularly need to carry stuff it's just the most convenient of all the choices. The one thing that pushed me over to it is: I don't like to carry anything solid and rigid in a jersey pocket, so I was going to put something on the bike permanently anyway. Might as well be the rack.
I like your design, but did you give the off the shelf options a shot? Before I got a dedicated commuting based bike rig with full fenders and installed rack, I just ran a Topeak QR beam rack with an MTX Trunk bag with the zipout fold-down side pannier. I'd throw the laptop (in a neoprene sleeve into this). The whole apparatus could be removed with one QR lever at the seatpost.
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Old 02-16-20, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
I'm in the same boat as you.. but I think maybe he was alluding to just having a 2nd laptop (one for work and one for home -- both company issued. All docs and software these days are saved to and run off of the cloud mostly).
That would be ideal, having company issued equipment both at home and at work. Security has really tightened up the last few years and company IT has to have complete control over anything that touches their data - they even disable USB and regulate BT connections.
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Old 02-16-20, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
I like your design, but did you give the off the shelf options a shot? Before I got a dedicated commuting based bike rig with full fenders and installed rack, I just ran a Topeak QR beam rack with an MTX Trunk bag with the zipout fold-down side pannier. I'd throw the laptop (in a neoprene sleeve into this). The whole apparatus could be removed with one QR lever at the seatpost.
Reviewers say that it's not big enough for a laptop - it probably depends on the laptop.

My rack is roughly equivalent to the Topeak QR, except lighter and cheaper with no quick release. Which is OK for my purposes since I know that I'd rarely take it off anyway with a daily commute. I had considered the MTX Trunk bag also but decided against it, mainly because I don't want to be taking it on and off all the time. My rack and (permanently attached) bag together weigh less than the Topeak beam rack without the 3-pound MTX bag, and has almost zero aero penalty so I really prefer it that way.
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Old 02-16-20, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Anyone could make a bag which would attach to a rack like that, but making it snap-fit and easy to remove takes it a step farther.
I think anyone could make this one also. It just wasn't clear when I started that the brace and seat stay clamp could hold it off the back tire and be rigid enough for a real ride.
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Old 02-16-20, 12:39 PM
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A just re-read this thread. As usual, another nice execution wphamilton !

I just wanted to say that is not the seat for the World Naked Bike Ride...at least not for anyone with more body contour than a Barbie doll.
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Old 02-16-20, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
A just re-read this thread. As usual, another nice execution wphamilton !

I just wanted to say that is not the seat for the World Naked Bike Ride...at least not for anyone with more body contour than a Barbie doll.
Yeah that saddle is not for everyone. I tried in on a whim 5 years ago and never felt the need to change it.
Thanks for the encouraging words
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