Homegrown Cargo Rack Stabilizer

This is nothing new, but I thought I’d pass it along as a follow-up to the previous post about front carriers. One issue with carrying heavy loads on the front fork is that the wheel can flop to the side while loading, dumping your cargo and possibly even dinging your frame in the process. Aftermarket solutions exist (mostly self-centering springs), but they’re not easy to find (let me know if you have a source). What I do is carry a toe strap with me, and whenever I’m loading the front rack with anything heavy, I loop the strap around the downtube and front wheel. It’s a simple solution that actually works pretty well. I also use the same technique to keep the wheel from flopping when my bike is in the workstand. Anyone else have a homegrown anti-flop solution they’d care to share?

33 Responses to “Homegrown Cargo Rack Stabilizer”

  • Nick says:

    Forget about a shop, I couldn’t find a web site that had one of those spring things for sale. I made my own with an old piece of spring and a 2″ hose clamp. Its not as good as I’d like but it helps a lot. I thought about using 2 springs, one on either side of the fork, but thats just too ugly, I never tried it. A couple of roadies have lectured me on proper frame geometry, I wouldn’t need a spring to make the steering ok if my bike wasn’t screwy to start with. When I told them it was part of the kickstand not part of the steering, they gave me funny looks and sped off.

  • Don says:

    Sometimes I use my velcro pantcuff strap for that. It’s usually on my rack when I’m not using it, so it’s handy.

  • Jay says:

    Hardware stores carry lots of types and sizes of steel springs, for people who want to make their own self-centering spring mechanism to leave on all the time.

  • Alan says:

    @Jay and Nick

    I’d love to see a photo…

    Alan

  • Chris says:

    I cut up an old inner tube into a heavy-duty rubber band. Whether you’re loading the front of the bike or you’re working on it in the stand and want to hold the front wheel still, here’s what you do: rotate the front wheel until the valve stem is closest to the frame, loop the rubber band around the stem, around the frame, and back around the stem from the other side. Presto! Works with Presta or Schraeder valves and with fenders or without and goes on and comes off in an instant. You can also use a couple of the heavy-duty purple rubber bands that come on asparagus or broccoli from the market.

  • John Kelso says:

    I clip a small bungee to the edge of the fenders instead of going through the wheel so I can spin the wheel but keep the handlebars from turning- handy for rim cleaning and adjusting the brakes.

  • dynaryder says:

    Worked on a bike at my farmer’s market clinic that had a ‘Flick Stand';a wire loop on the downtube that flipped down and held the front wheel straight. The guy who owned it said the company stopped making them because they had to be almost frame-specific to go around the downtube and reach the front tire.

    Also interesting was that his frame also had a hook on the right seatstay to hold the chain when you took the rear wheel off.

  • CedarWood says:

    What about mounting a small “fork” to the rear side of the stem just above the headset that folds down to engage the top tube? Rubber hose sections over each “fork tine” could function as paint protection. Think I saw that somewhere, but haven’t tried it.

  • brad says:

    Not homegrown, but the bike cover sold by Arkel (which I use because our bikes are stored outside) comes with a Cordura strap-with-snap that is designed for this purpose. It works quite well.

  • Scott says:

    Civia has some anti-flop springs on order to support our Loring and Midtown bikes. These will be able to be retrofit to other bicycles with the tube setup described above or in a more professional manner with a riv-nut. We’re also bringing in some aftermarket oriented anti-flop springs that should more easily fit most bicycles. Look for those later in the fall.

  • Brian says:

    I purchased two Hebie Bicycle Steering Stabilisers for our old Sears Free Spirits from an eBay retailer in the UK called practicalcyclesuk. They removed the VAT since I am in the US which made them about $24 each, including shipping. We received them in the mail in St. Louis about one week after ordering them. They work great and are quite a bit cheaper than I have seen them from stateside retailers online.

  • Alan says:

    @Scott

    Thanks for the heads up, Scott.

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Brian

    Aha! Thanks for the tip. Here’s the part (3 down the page):

    http://www.practicalcycles.com/userimages/procart27.htm

    Alan

  • Mark says:

    @dynaryder

    The Flikstand was made by Rhode Gear in the mid-80s. I had one on my Univega Viva Touring that I rode at the time. My dad’s since co-opted it for his bicycle. With the widespread adoption of fatter downtubes and other odd shaped tubes, it probably was no longer worth it to manufacture (that, and I don’t believe the company is around anymore either).

    The hook on the right seat stay is pretty common. I’ve seen them on road bikes since ’83 (they may have been common before then, but that’s when I started geeking out on bikes). The Jamis Auroras my wife and I have, as well as my wife’s early ’80s Peugeot mixte have them. In the mid-80’s Performance Bike Shop sold an adhesive chain hanger for bikes without them.

  • Steve C says:

    I came across a heavily laden German tourist who had three bungee cords around his down tube and attached to the front rack at either side, he said it stopped the front wheel flopping over when stopped

  • Tom says:

    My bike has one of these built in… a shimano headset lock. You twist it to lock/unlock. I don’t know how you can carry front cargo without it.

    http://www.bicycletimesmag.com/images/page_image/Torker-4004-web.jpg

  • Tim says:

    Although made for the Yuba Mundo V3 the Deflopiator also keeps the front wheel from flopping around.I’m sure this one could be made to work on any bike.

    http://www.yubaride.com/yubashop/31-deflopilator.html

  • Bob B says:

    Alan, What do you do when you want to turn left or right ; – )

    I test rode a Workcycles Fr8 with a steering stabilizer and they help a lot — great cargo carrying bikes. I could use a stabilizer for my Wald Woody.

  • brian says:

    On my homebuilt cargo bike I used a heavy spring attached to the brake hole on the fork and to a hose clamp on the frame. Works great as a steering stabilizer.

  • Ann says:

    I did something similar to what Brian did. It works well, but I also will use a nylon strap with velcro as added insurance. Here’s a photo where you can see the spring I installed.

    http://pic50.picturetrail.com/VOL442/7447283/15664551/385700325.jpg

  • Adrienne says:

    Bungees. That’s all I have to say about that.

  • Alan says:

    @Bob

    “Alan, What do you do when you want to turn left or right ; – )”

    It’s no problem because it won’t roll anyway… :-)

  • Ron says:

    Howdy–

    I also use the toe strap (though not quite so elegant a toe strap) for serious stoppage. But most parking issues for me involve the front wheel rolling away, pivoting around my rear-end kickstand. The problem is most pronounced with my BOB trailer, which tries to push the bike. For that I use a parking brake, a small loop of rope on my bars which is just the right size to engage the front brake. I’ve also used a very heavy rubber band (actually a Princeton light mount) for the same purpose.
    Happy Trails,
    Ron Georg

  • j. pierce says:

    You’d think with the revival of both vintage-styled, and commuter-centric bikes, in addition to the increasing popularity of front racks, someone would have started using the old British-style locking fork again. I think they’ certainly look better than a spring hanging off the fork.

    For those that don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a blog post I found via google with pictures that does a good job describing it:

    http://www.portlandize.com/2010/04/raleigh-locking-fork.html

    that’d actually probably be a do-able as an aftermarket fork, if the tabs the lock engaged into could be integrated into the lower headset race, although someway of keeping that portion of the assembly from rotating in the headtube under load might become an issue.

    The weird headset bit on the Torker is interesting, and it actually seems orderable as a separate item now; (It’s from Shimano’s Nexus line, it’s something like the HP-NX10 or some such) but I’d like to know more about it – I’m assuming it’s for a one-inch threaded fork, as the Torker appears to have a quill stem? If it looked a little more classy, I’d be tempted to put it on my VO Polyvalent.

  • Justin says:

    My 80s Raleigh Alyeska touring bike has a factory installed (braze on specifically to mount it) Flick Stand. Pretty cool do-dad.

  • Tom says:

    @J. Pierce – Yes it is a quill stem and yes it’s not very attractive. It adds about an inch of height to the headset all in lovely black plastic. Maybe you can talk Velo Orange into building one of stainless steel or something?

  • John Lascurettes says:

    Alan, I love these things for my front wheel when my bike is in the stand. They’re like giant-sized twist ties, but they’re padded (so they don’t harm the frame or rim) and they’re super strong:

    http://www.bestofasseenontv.com/TwistNStay/TwistNStay.php

  • Alan says:

    Thanks for the tip, John!

    Alan

  • Rob Halligan says:

    Here’s a stabilizer that came stock on a 2009 Giant:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/robhalligan/4566130361/

    Here are 2 shots of one I built from hardware store parts:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/robhalligan/4551865748/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/robhalligan/4551224013/
    I wish I had a stronger spring for that one.

    The best solution I’ve had is a little hard rubber wedge on a tether that you wedge into the gap that forms between the brake lever and the the brake mount when you pull the brake. It kept the wheel from rolling when parked and was a bit of a theft deterrent (Huh? It won’t roll!).

  • Nick says:

    This is my “home grown cargo rack stabilizer”. Its a spring from an old Bike Nashbar pannier and a automotive hose clamp. I think it would work a little better if I hooked it to the brake bolt in a way that held it straight. It stabilizes a ‘home grown rack’ that I built out of 1/2″ pvc sprinkler pipe and lawn chair webbing.

  • Phil says:

    In addition to being a bike commuter, I’m a Scuba diver, so I can tip you off to the place that has more types of velcro straps and generally useful oddball gadgets than almost anyplace else: your local dive shop (boating/sailing stores are good too). I use a wide, stout velcro strip run around the down tube as a hobble when I park my old Fuji Roubaix. The advantage to the velcro strip is that when you take it off the wheel you can wrap it snugly around the stem and it doesn’t get it the way.

  • Colin Lewis says:

    I know this is an old thread but VeloOrange carries a steering stabilizer. Very reasonable at $10 plus $2 to my California address.

    The supplied downtube clamp was too small for my downtube so I had to cut it in half and glue an additional piece in to make it fit.

    It helps, but I would much prefer something that locks the wheel directly forward.

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