Cruzbike heavy duty rack modifications

Here’s the rack.

A customer called me the other day about getting some Radical Design panniers. He had made some modifications to the Cruzbike Heavy Duty rack on his Quest 20. Talking to him, I became very curious about the mods because it sounded like he was solving a problem I too had observed: no place to anchor pannier bags on the side of the heavy duty rack and no way to ensure the Rad. Design bags wouldn’t touch the rear wheel.

His name is Tor Matson (no relation to me, as far as I know). Here are his notes and photos. He’s happy to make the rack for others if you wish.

Hey Robert, here you go…  Here’s my rack, and a shot of my plush air shock, to boot…

This little aluminum rod bit is what makes it all happen; it’s relieved to fit the CB HD rack. Does require drilling and tapping of the rack. I could make these bits if there’s interest…

Here’s the kludge bit. Having the quick-release option is nice, as you can just slide the rack out of the tube, but the hose clamps aren’t so nice. Could TIG some aluminum tube onto the CB rack for a cleaner look, or fab up a better tube-and-clamp system. This is a beta test mule, function only!

Slipped some tubing over the pannier rack, and got a really secure mount. Solid and rattle-free!

I asked him if I could post the photos and his contact info. in case anyone else wants to order one.
Here was his reply:

Bueno! Post it if you like; I could make those pieces if anybody wants one, but I’m happy to just share the idea; it’s pretty simple to fab and is kind of a custom fit thing anyway, but happy to help if I can… If there’s demand, I could make a batch, not totally sure about the tolerances between racks… Mine took a bit of fitting to be perfect…
Cheers,
Tor Matson
Email him at “maryselapierre [AT] gmail”
You’ll need to add the extension, etc. to that e-mail address.

Have fun and ride like the wind,
Robert

————

Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2015 Robert Matson

Cruzbike Quest on a car mounted bike rack

People often have questions about how to mount recumbents and Cruzbikes on a car-mounted rack.  (Some might call this a bike carrier.)

A customer recently bought the second to last new Cruzbike Quest 451 in existence.  He sent me these photos to show how he mounted his Quest in order to head out for his first rail trail ride.

Have fun and stay healthy,
Robert
————
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson

Radical Design bags and panniers for Cruzbike recumbent bikes, no rack required

A Radical Design customer* in England shows how he attaches Banana Racers on a Vendetta, giving the bike 25 liters of carrying capacity without a rack. (*I don't know his/her name but I'd really love to credit the photo and creativity to him/her.)

A Radical Design customer* in England shows how he attaches Banana Racers on a Vendetta, giving the bike 25 liters of carrying capacity without a rack. (*I don’t know his/her name but I’d really love to credit the photo and creativity to him/her.)

To carry luggage on a Cruzbike

I strongly recommend the bags made by Radical Design (“RD”) (sold in the USA by New York City Recumbent Supply) because they are lightweight, high quality and many models don’t require racks.
Radical Design bags are also an inexpensive solution because the rider needs only buy the pannier bags and not a rack plus bags. That quality also lowers the overall weight of the luggage system (bags alone are lighter than bags plus rack).  RD bags may be layered for maximum carrying capacity because they’re made of flexible Cordura(R) nylon and many of the bags don’t require racks.

Radical Design bags work well on Cruzbikes but it’s not always obvious how to mount them to the bike. I maintain this post as a running entry, updating it when I have new information.  Be sure to check back from time to time.

Also, this blog post has good information about attaching panniers to a Quest. Similar strategies apply for the Silvio and Vendetta.

 

Cruzbike Quest 20 with Radical Design Banana Racer below seat and Solo Aero on back of seat, totaling 37 liters of carrying capacity.
Cruzbike Quest 20 with Radical Design Banana Racer below seat and Solo Aero on back of seat, totaling 37 liters of carrying capacity.
Note: Solo Racer in both wide and narrow sizes fit equally well, though imperfectly, at top of seat on Sofrider, Quests and Silvio. The wide fits outside the seat cushion and may sag a bit. The narrow fits under the seat cushion and rides a bit high. Both work.

Radical Design bags for Cruzbikes

Solo Aero

Available in “wide” and “narrow” depending on seat width. Solo Aero wide (12 liters capacity).  5 colors available. Requires removal of the Quest 20 or 26’s rack. “Wide” and “narrow” both have 12 liters capacity. Manufacturer’s info.


Universal Racer

Universal Racer (10 liters capacity). 5 colors available.

Solo Racer works too (size wide for bottom of seat, size narrow for top of seat).”Wide,” “narrow” and “universal” all have 10 liters capacity. Manufacturer’s Info.


Banana Racer

Possibly my favorite Radical Design bag: the Banana Racer (25 liters capacity). 5 colors available. Manufacturer’s info.


Which bags fit which Cruzbikes

Silvio 2.0 and 1.5
Solo Racer, narrow, at top of seat, under seat cushion.
Solo Racer, wide: fits both at top of seat over seat cushion and at base of seat, at the seat pan, as a tiny rack-free under-seat pannier.
Universal Racer
Banana Racer
Notes:
Solo Aero narrow fits at top of seat, but, due to the rear suspension, can come very close to the wheel, especially if heavily loaded.
Vendetta

Universal Racer

Banana Racer (25 liter)
Banana Small (40 liter)

Banana Medium (55 liter)
Q-Series and Quest 26

Solo Aero, wide, at top of seat. (Rack needs to be removed and rear wheel comes close depending on seat angle.)
Solo Racer, narrow, at top of seat.
Solo Racer, wide, at top and bottom of seat.
Universal Racer, anywhere on seat.
Banana Racer (25 liter)
Side Pannier small, medium

Sofrider (bike out of production)

Solo Aero, wide, at top of seat.

Solo Racer, narrow, at top of seat.
Solo Racer, wide, at top and bottom of seat.
Universal Racer, anywhere on seat.
Banana Racer (25 liter)
Banana Small (40 liter)
Banana Medium (55 liter)
Quest 20 (bike out of production)
Solo Aero, wide, at top of seat. (Rack needs to be removed.)
Solo Racer, narrow, at top of seat.
Solo Racer, wide, at top and bottom of seat.
Universal Racer, anywhere on seat.
Banana Racer (25 liter)

Rider photos

More photos from our friend in England. Additional straps were added and threaded above and below the seat pan on this Vendetta with Banana Racers. Clever. Provides very secure attachment.


RD bags on a Vendetta

 

Same Vendetta

More Vendetta

Have Radical Design bags, will ship,

Robert
————
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matso
n

What I’m riding in town these days.

This is a Cruzbike Sofrider loaded with groceries, including kale and swiss chard.

For the past few months I’ve been riding a Cruzbike Sofrider around town as my city “beater.”  The Sofrider is a capable commuter and touring bike, but it’s not immediately obvious how properly to attach luggage.

 

Rack.
I’m using an Old Man Mountain Sherpa rack, here shown with standard Axiom rear panniers packed with groceries.  The Sherpa is a well-made, versatile and strong rack that you can install in the manner intended by the manufacturer, which is what we want to do for best results.  I’ve attached the rack’s vertical struts to threaded bolt holes just forward of the rear dropouts.  The forward “horizontal” supports attach to the rear caliper brake bolts.  This is a secure fitting and allows for a decent real world payload.  It is easier to install a seatpost-mounted rack, like the Topeak models, but their typical payload ratings of 20 lbs. isn’t enough for (my) grocery shopping.  For those concerned about weight, be aware that the 32-ounce Sherpa is not lightweight.  Also, note that the rack is rated for a payload of 40 lbs.  My belief is that the rack will support a heavier payload for a short time, but for a longer trip I’d stay below the 40 lbs. payload rating. (Errata: I had  originally written in this post that the luggage is fully suspended when using the Sherpa rack, but the luggage is not suspended since the rack is attached directly to the rear wheel.  If one were to use a seatpost-mounted rack, then the luggage would be suspended.)

Seatback bag.
I’m using a Radical Designs Solo Aero on the back of my seat.  You can buy it from New York City Recumbent Supply.  This is an excellent, well-made, capacious bag of 12 liters volume.  That’s about half a good-sized daypack.  It quickly slides down over the seatback and comes off just as fast.  With the carrying strap it’s easy to manage.  Reflective tape on the back.  Comes in five pretty colors.  I love it.

Wearing a lock.
Another detail that makes the Sofrider good for a city bike is that there is a hole in the frame where you can string a lock.  While riding, I loop a chain-style lock two-times through the frame and under the seat.  The lock hangs a bit loose and sometimes makes noise, but it hangs out of the way of the wheels and contributes its weight in a useful place — right under the seat.

Where are the fenders…
I haven’t gotten around to adding fenders and I’ve suffered for it.  I need to add them soon.  The last rain was cold and wet and dirty.

Sherpa installation.
On the Sofrider, I want to keep the weight forward of the rear wheel as much as possible so the front wheel doesn’t lose traction on the hills.  So, I’ve mounted the rack backwards, with the rear of the rack turned to the front, to bring the carrying rails as far forward as possible.  Then, I mounted the vertical supports such that the curve of the vertical adapter moves the rack forward of the rear axle.  I have also used the fender mounting holes in front of the axle.  This is not so much to move the rack forward as it is to allow me to use my front wheel Pitlocks on the non-drive (rear) wheel.  The installation would be stronger if I attached the vertical supports to an extra long quick release through the axle, but I much prefer to keep the wheel locked.  So, I guess I’m living on the edge a bit.  If I had done this for a customer, as opposed to for myself, I’d have used extra long Pitlock skewers through the axle and mounted the rack’s vertical supports on those extra long skewers, because that is really the right way to do it.  Notice that the mounting rails on the Sherpa come well forward of the rear axle.  It’s easy to load the panniers so the weight is forward of the rear axle.  When the rack is installed like this, the front drive wheel maintains a good grip on the street even with heavily loaded panniers.

Have fun and stay healthy,

Robert
————
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2012 Robert Matson

Riding with weight

The other day, an ex-standard frame customer looking to save a buck or two, asked whether underseat racks are really necessary.  How weird looking they must appear to SF riders.

Yes.  On bents they are.  Even more so than rear racks.

In fact, I’d rather have only underseat racks if I could only figure how to put two of those dippy bike baskets — the best/worst of which I have on my rear rack — on the sides.  Maybe someday soon I will (w/ apologies to my fashion-conscious friends).  But since I like having a bike basket w/ bungy netting for fast and easy storage, I’m looking at spending more time w/ a rear rack.  (Tempted to get a still bigger basket on the back, in fact.  Shelly Mossey and his NYC bent-based courier service better look out.)

My knock-around city bent is an old Rans Rocket.  Great urban bike, but serious balance problems if I load up the rear rack, most of which is actually outside the wheelbase (beyond the rear wheel), causing the front wheeeel to elevate if you have something heavy back there, like a heavy lock and a couple laptops.  Normal stuff, in other words.  But makes for some scary sh*t when you hit construction zones at speed, w/ that front wheel leaving the ground every time it hits a fresh bit of asphalt laid New Yawk-style.

Problem solved: put the weight in side panniers on my bent — I mean scratched and bended, not recumbent — underseat racks.  There are times I’ve considered stripping off the rear rack, but I like the rear light bracket (making it all one heck of a large and heavy light bracket!) and I can put big, puffy and light things back there in the basket like…boxes of salad greens, swim gear and warm jackets.

All that to say, I’m all for saving money.  But not by trying to go w/o the underseat rack.  (Less aerodynamic than a rear rack?  Well, I suppose so.  Who cares, I’m in traffic.)

Yers,
Robert

————
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2011 Robert Matson

Tubus racks on Volaes


The Tubus Logo. The classic touring rack. Now available for Volae recumbents.

For fast, light bikes, Volae bents are unique in that the steel frames readily accept racks and fenders and provide braze-ons (really, mounting holes) at the drop outs for this purpose.  With bents though, it’s always a challenge to fit racks to the unusual geometry of the bikes.  Some bent manufacturers (Rans and HP Velotechnik stand out in this regards) make proprietary racks to ensure the racks fit the bikes.  And of course TerraCycle makes their excellent low-rider/underseat racks for Volaes.

For Volaes, up till now, the generally accepted solution has been to use the excellent Old Man Mountain racks, which can fit nearly any bike.  I continue to recommend them for any hard-to-fit ride that needs a rack and lower cost applications.

However, we’re enthusiastic to now make public our work testing high quality Tubus racks on Volae bents and we are recommending them without hesitance, particularly for commuting, touring and urban applications.  We couldn’t be happier with the match-up between a great bent and a great rack.

Possibly the most significant needs filled by Tubus racks, as it relates to city riders and tourers, are (1) a good rear light mount on the rack, (2) additional mounting holes for fenders, (3) they leave open the skewer if, for example, you want to attach a Bob trailer for a shopping trip*.  If nothing else, this makes Tubus racks stand out.  They have other good qualities as well. (*Volae does not recommend using Bob single track trailers for Volae bikes, so use at your own risk.)

Above,
Tubus’ titanium “Airy.” Weighs 8 oz, carries 66 lbs.  Note the two holes at the bottom of the supports; one for the bike, the other for attaching fenders.

Besides the light and fender mounts and liberated quick release, there are numerous other reasons why we like Tubus racks.

– Strong, well-made, well-designed, and carry a heavy load.  (The 25 ounce Logo model carries 88 lbs. and has lowered pannier rails for improved center of gravity.)

– Available in strong and lightweight 25CrMo4 steel, beautiful stainless steel, or titanium.

– The featherweight titanium versions start at 8 oz. (the Airy) and carry a remarkable 66 lbs.  (The well-deserving Airy won the 2006 Eurobike Award.)  For touring, the TI Carry, with lowered pannier rails, weighs only 12.3 oz and also carries 66 lbs.

– A rear light mount at the rack’s back (50mm European-style mount).  Allows proper positioning of a rear light for great visibility. Enables use of B & M dynamo-driven front and rear lights.

– A model that works for disk brakes (the “Disco” model).

– The Disco model includes parts for mounting to the quick release skewer, if no rack/fender braze-ons are available or filled with fender mounts.  A new (longer) quick release skewer is included (and it’s a good one).

– For non-disc brakes bikes, Tubus provides a very wide choice of racks.

– There are fender mounts on the rack itself (though not on the disco), so you can easily mount both fenders and a rack. This is a truly wonderful feature because otherwise it’s a pain in the neck to mount ordinary fenders (like Planet Bike) along with a rack and it can weaken the mounting for both the rack and fenders.

– Racks (e.g., Logo) can mount on quick release skewers when rack/fender braze-ons are unavailable (Tubus’ QR mounting kit required).

– Racks such as the Logo, Cosmo, Locc, and Carry all have lowered pannier rails, enabling recumbent riders to mount their panniers a few inches lower, to obtain a lower center of gravity. This also allows for full use of the top deck of the rack.

– Sleek and stylish but practical design.

– Long and highly adjustable arms for mounting to the seat stays.

– Seat stay arms that are pre-bent with an S-bend are available. But since the arms are aluminum, one may also bend the arms to fit a given need.

– Strong optional clamps from Tubus attach to the seat stays to provide for extremely secure attachment.  The clamps are also sold by us at New York City Recumbent Supply(TM)/The Innovation Works, Inc.  I strongly recommend using the purpose-built Tubus clamps instead of generic P-clamps and I use the 14mm clamps.


Above, Tubus clampset for mounting a carrier on Volae seat stays.

For installation, one note of caution, or rather of patience, is that if you’re (correctly) installing a Disco along with Volae’s kickstand gizmo plus fenders, is that it is a long and tedious process due to the way all the parts interconnect.  However, take your time and do it right.  You’ll be well-rewarded with a light and fast bent that can also carry groceries home from the greenmarket.

Best,
Robert

————
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply (TM)
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2010 Robert Matson