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Tweaking handlebar/bar bag set up

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Tweaking handlebar/bar bag set up

Old 10-06-19, 01:27 PM
  #1  
KC8QVO
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Tweaking handlebar/bar bag set up

I haven't posted on here in quite some time. I've been busy traveling etc. As things ended up turning out my touring plan for this season didn't pan out, unfortunately. That probably isn't a bad thing. I've had too much going on other than planning a bike tour anyway.


Speaking of a lot going on... I finally got my Disk Trucker set up the other day. I bought racks and panniers earlier this year but they've been collecting dust in the box. I found a used stem at a bike shop last week for cheap so I got it and that kicked me in to gear with getting the rest of things put together.


One of my plans for this bike when I got it (several years ago) was to set up a second stem and dummy bar with the thought that the bar bag would be down there along with non-essential accessories (accessories that can be more out of reach than others or that being mounted on the main bar would be of importance some other way). That has been a long time coming but I finally got it set up.


Now I have a problem.


I need to be able to ride at night for a variety of reasons so my lights are both for visibility when on the road from other motorists as well as my own visibility where I am riding. I am keeping the head light on the upper bar, for obvious reasons, but even with the height drop where the bar bag is below I get too much of a reflection off the bag, but maybe more importantly the shadow of the bar bag to the head light makes it to where I can't see within about 6ft from my front wheel. That is an accident waiting to happen because I can't see the tire's proximity to curbs and rocks, for example. As for the reflection - it is impairing my night vision so my sensitivity to the environment is tanked to start with. That is dangerous on trails as I can't make out people in front of me, even with the light, until I am right up on them unless they have some kind of reflective jacket or other material around them.


I have a folding bike (Dahon Mariner D8) that I set up earlier in the Spring and got the bar extender kit Ortleib makes for their handle bar bag mounts. That lifts the light up over top of the bag on that set up, but admittedly I have not ridden that bike at night yet. I think I am in the same geometry ballpark on that bike with the light as I am having the light on the Disk Trucker on the upper bar. It just isn't out far enough in front or high enough for the cone of the light to work for me.


On a similar topic, I am wanting to tweak my phone mount position - it is a RAM X-grip with 1" balls. The U-bolt mount isn't in a good place (the one you see in the picture), I just haven't moved it yet. I used a QuickGrip in place of it for my last ride as it was easier to adjust on-the-go. The mount is tough to position to keep my hands happy as well as maintain access to the bar bag. Ideally I would want the mount on the dummy bar close to the center, from a hand and ergonomic standpoint, however that is the worst place for access to the bar bag. I almost want to make the dummy bar an H frame of some kind where the sides go around the bar bag so I can still access it, then allow accessories over top/in front of. I am not sure how that would work, though.


Do any of you have ideas to share?








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Old 10-06-19, 03:40 PM
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My lights are dynohub powered, but there is no reason that you can't use a battery light on a similar mount.

I have my light under my bar bag mounted on the fork crown on one bike. I did a lot of bending of my bracket to get it just right, the bracket you see is not one you can buy off the shelf, but there are similar B&M mounts available. I did not have a long enough bolt to use through the fork crown, I used a threaded rod.





Maybe your bag is too low for that to work? On this bike I have my light lower and mounted on my right side canti brake mount. You do not have a canti post mount on your Surly, but maybe you have some other place where you can mount the light off to one side? The mount I used on this bike was the extra long B&M mount, I bent it to be more upright to raise my light up higher so that I had less shadow from the tire.



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Old 10-06-19, 04:50 PM
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I will take a look at the fork and see if I can do something down there. There is a bolt there to hold the fender (actually a couple of them - one through the fork horizontally front to back then one inside vertically with a hole that the horizontal one goes through that the fender is directly bolted to from underneath). It would be conceivable to use that location for a light also. I will have to take a look at it tomorrow.

As far as space goes down there - the higher I can get the light the better (shadow from the fender/wheel - closer to it and the more the light is blocked). I suppose forward visibility isn't an issue and getting light up above isn't too important other than trail riding at night (watching for low tree branches).

I do have braze-ons close to the crown of the fork that are unused. My front rack uses the bottom ones and mid-height ones.

Making a bracket shouldn't be a problem. Thinking about rust issues steel may not be ideal (even painted). I think I have some aluminum I may be able to use. For holding a light it may be OK, but vibration may still get the best of it. The tubing I am using is schedule 40 1 inch PVC. With as thick as it is I don't think it will be an issue over time, but I suppose vibration and holding much weight may still get the best of it down the road. It wouldn't be too hard to replace it, though if necessary. A custom light bracket may be another story.
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Old 10-06-19, 06:16 PM
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Got a helmet light?
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Old 10-06-19, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
Got a helmet light?
I do not. I appreciate the thought. Though, since you bring the idea up I used to mount a tail light to my current helmet in addition to the back of the rack for extra visibility from behind. Where I used to ride there were a few hills on the roads I had to ride on. The helmet light gave me a ton more distance over the hills people could see me at night as the light was so much higher.

Going back to when I first started riding lots of miles I used an old skateboarding helmet (plastic with 2 layers of foam lining - it is much heavier than the styrofoam/thin plastic type bicycle helmets in current times). It gave me neck and back problems while riding for any distance/time. When I switched to my Bell helmet that made a world of difference in the weight, however I still take it off on long rides to get the weight off my head.

As for adding a headlight up there - it isn't where I want to go for a "solution". I have used a headlamp (the kind with a band for backpacking/hiking/rock climbing) while riding at night to get better visibility to my gear (at the time I was using a Sigma monochrome display computer), but I had to wear it underneath the helmet and there was a lot of interference with the light and helmet causing the light and band to drop down over my eyes at times needing repositioned. The main thing for me on the helmet light idea, though, is the added weight up there. It may not seem like much, but I want to have as light of a head as I can. I realize a light could be taken off when not in use, but still... I'm just not a fan of it.
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Old 10-06-19, 09:57 PM
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I made this light bar for a strap on headlight once out of PVC.










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Old 10-06-19, 11:07 PM
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I have the similar issue with Ortlieb handlebar bag, apparently the Ortlieb bag is designed for fork crown-mounted lights. As Tourist in MN notes your Ortlieb bag might be mounted too low for a light on the fork crown. Well perhaps you could put the Ortlieb mount on the handlebar & use (Topeak etc) accessory bar(s) on the handlebar for computer/phone which should leave space for the light on the fork crown.

The bike I'm using the Ortlieb bag on has a carbon fork with no crown hole & there doesn't seem to be any good way to mount a light on the fork crown so I might have to put the Ortlieb bag on my Disc Trucker.
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Old 10-07-19, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
I do not. I appreciate the thought. Though, since you bring the idea up I used to mount a tail light to my current helmet in addition to the back of the rack for extra visibility from behind. Where I used to ride there were a few hills on the roads I had to ride on. The helmet light gave me a ton more distance over the hills people could see me at night as the light was so much higher.

Going back to when I first started riding lots of miles I used an old skateboarding helmet (plastic with 2 layers of foam lining - it is much heavier than the styrofoam/thin plastic type bicycle helmets in current times). It gave me neck and back problems while riding for any distance/time. When I switched to my Bell helmet that made a world of difference in the weight, however I still take it off on long rides to get the weight off my head.

As for adding a headlight up there - it isn't where I want to go for a "solution". I have used a headlamp (the kind with a band for backpacking/hiking/rock climbing) while riding at night to get better visibility to my gear (at the time I was using a Sigma monochrome display computer), but I had to wear it underneath the helmet and there was a lot of interference with the light and helmet causing the light and band to drop down over my eyes at times needing repositioned. The main thing for me on the helmet light idea, though, is the added weight up there. It may not seem like much, but I want to have as light of a head as I can. I realize a light could be taken off when not in use, but still... I'm just not a fan of it.
Used one for commuting and mt biking. The idea is you can turn your head to see where you are going before your bar lights swing around. Get a nice light weight road or mt bike helmet, very light. How old is your bell helmet?
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Old 10-07-19, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
I made this light bar for a strap on headlight once out of PVC.
Now that is a slick idea. I will put some thought in to it. I still have the top side braze-ons unused on my bike. Perhaps I could rig something up that uses those and the bolt at the crown as a third support then hold a piece of tubing up higher and out front of the bag.

I don't have a purpose for a front rack that has a top. My front panniers hang off the sides and my handle bar bag should have adequate storage. So a rack with a top doesn't seem practical at the moment. I will give a bit of thought to it, though, and see what happens.

Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
Used one for commuting and mt biking. The idea is you can turn your head to see where you are going before your bar lights swing around. Get a nice light weight road or mt bike helmet, very light. How old is your bell helmet?
I can see the point of being able to have the light follow your head.

The bell helmet was new in 2014. It isn't heavy, but my point about taking it off was that every little bit taken off helps at times.
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Old 10-07-19, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
I can see the point of being able to have the light follow your head.
I commute often in the dark, and having a helmet mounted light that you can aim at a side approaching car from a sidestreet or parking lot and who doesnt notice you is a very very important advantage.
To me this is a crucial safety issue for commuting, and the "aimable" front light or blinky is vastly more effective for letting folks see you.

actually touring, i never ride at night, hardly ever anyway, and havent a need for anythiing more than my blinky slash steady light that I stick on my helmet visor, so handlebar bag is never an issue.

plus I ride in a city, so there are streetlights etc, and the front light/blinky is really so that car drivers notice me, andn since I changed to putting my blinky on my helmet, Ive alerted cars many many times that if I hadnt been able to aim at them, they wouldnt ahve seen me.
To me, this is a no brainer that it is safer.
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Old 10-07-19, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
Now that is a slick idea. I will put some thought in to it. I still have the top side braze-ons unused on my bike. Perhaps I could rig something up that uses those and the bolt at the crown as a third support then hold a piece of tubing up higher and out front of the bag.

I don't have a purpose for a front rack that has a top. My front panniers hang off the sides and my handle bar bag should have adequate storage. So a rack with a top doesn't seem practical at the moment. I will give a bit of thought to it, though, and see what happens.



I can see the point of being able to have the light follow your head.

The bell helmet was new in 2014. It isn't heavy, but my point about taking it off was that every little bit taken off helps at times.
I think Paul components makes a round thing that screws into a frame boss. Then the light will clamp around it.
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Old 10-07-19, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
I think Paul components makes a round thing that screws into a frame boss. Then the light will clamp around it.
If you mean something like this, several companies make things like this. A piece of threaded rod and some nuts could attach it to any existing screw fitting.
https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/lighting...e-lamp-holder/
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Old 10-07-19, 06:32 PM
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Also there's the Cronometro Nob which can attach to the fork blade. However, some folks claim that a fork crown mount is the best for light beam hitting the road etc properly. I'm not sure but I think that would still allow the rider to reach the light while riding...mounting lower might prevent that. On my local bike path many riders tilt their lights down or shade w/hand when approaching others; OTOH perhaps a low-mounted light doesn't shine into folks eyes the way a handlebar-mounted light would.

In re the helmet light: I haven't tried it but there's an area path (Alexandria-Mt Vernon) which is so twisty that a helmet light would be a big plus. However, probably better to use the helmet light as a supplement to the bike-mounted light, that way one could use a smaller lighter helmet light.
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Old 10-07-19, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
Also there's the Cronometro Nob which can attach to the fork blade. However, some folks claim that a fork crown mount is the best for light beam hitting the road etc properly. I'm not sure but I think that would still allow the rider to reach the light while riding....
I have no problem reaching down and turning my lights on or off that are fork crown mounted or the one in the photo above that is mounted on a canti brake mount. The lights are under my handlebar bag, so I can't see what i am doing but muscle memory is pretty good and I can find the switch pretty quick. (Fortunately I have fenders on the bikes so I do not scrape my fingers on a moving tire.) Exception is the Luxos U, that light has a handlebar mounted switch.
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