A (mostly) DIY saddlebag set/cargo platform

Discussion in 'Bicycle Repair' started by bluegoatwoods, Jul 25, 2009.

  1. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    I've had this rig going for a while. Over the last two days I've torn it down and worked out the last of the bugs, I hope. So I though I'd share it.

    I've hauled some really heavy loads with this. That's especially important if you want your bike to be truly practical transportation. I've also managed to get a dozen eggs home safely with this. But that's more a matter of packing than anything.

    The core of the rig is a basic rear rack combined with "saddlebags" made from two small coolers that I got from Wal-Mart's sporting goods department. I'm sure everyone has seen them; a plastic box wrapped in a bit of insulation and a vinyl/cloth covering with a zip top and a few pockets. They cost about $12 each, I think. So these would add about $25 to the total cost. But the total isn't much and there are bound to be a lot of options on this anyway.

    I meant to include photos of just how these were fastened on, but I seemed to forget to take any. But it's pretty simple; I just bolted them to a couple of strips of aluminum. You should be able to spot it in one or another of the photos. The whole thing just slides over the rack and fastens down with U-bolts.

    The tops of the saddlebags come up to just over the level of the rack. This works great as a cargo platform. It's wide and stable. You can fasten down a backpack or a duffel bag or things like that without worrying that anything will shift around and get stuck in your wheel.

    I also have a pretty good front cargo rack. When I perfect it's design, I'll post that. I included one photo in it's current state anyway just for fun.

    I think the photos will explain the construction well enough. But if I've left out anything, then just let me know.
     

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  2. srdavo

    srdavo Active Member

    That's a lot of cargo for a pedal bike.

    you are hardcore!!

    maybe that's why I am so fat!!

    great job on the mods!!
     
  3. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Hey BGW. Right handy cargo carriers. Bet there pretty rain resistant too plus if you ever wanted to you could carry a parcel of frosties in there, lol.
    Good to see you back, you were gone for a bit weren't ya? Missed your good cheer.
    BTW, what's that ship doing in Cent. IL?
     
  4. machiasmort

    machiasmort Active Member

    Those are some killer plans GW, (Goat Woods), sorry didn't want any misunderstanding!

    I've got a rack just like that one and you were just ahead of me putting the struts accross the chainstays! I wouldn't have thought of the full cross rack attaching method or the added support underneath (despite having held a shelf support in my flippin hand in HD the other day($2.97))!

    Great ideas GW!!! Thanks for sharring! I'll probably try to cast my own hard sides out of fiberglass resin and sew something up. I thought of the hardside coolers but I don't know if I'm cheap or just need to be different?
     
  5. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    Thanks, guys. I wanted to post it because I think it'll work fine on an MB as well. As soon as I clean up the front rack a bit I'm going to build one for my MB. I did have that front rack on my motored bike last winter. Cut out some plywood to make a windscreen that covered from my hands and mid chest right down to a few inches below the front axle. It allowed me to ride in weather down to a few degrees above 0 F. (though starting the engine was hard, I gotta admit) Add a cargo trailer to this mix and you'll have something approaching a DIY pickup truck.

    For the struts and bottom bracing I used 1/8 x 1/2" flat steel. In the future I'm using something wider. 5/8 perhaps. The reason is that the holes I drilled to fit the bolts were so wide that I feared weak spots.

    The bosses on the frame for rack and fender strut mounts are metric, of course. 5 mm is the size. I bought some that are about 1/2"long (10 mm perhaps). Those aren't long enough for two thicknesses of this steel. I'll bet they come in a 20mm length. That ought to be just about right.

    I like the idea of casting fiberglass panels for this and for other projects. I've even pondered the idea myself, but I don't even know where to start. (A marina for the raw materials, maybe?) Maybe you can advise me there, machiasmort.

    These coolers are not as weather resistant as they look, unfortunately. Rain does get in there. I drilled a few drain holes in the bottoms. That takes care of flooding. And I open the tops and let them dry out when the bike's parked in dry weather. So you're not going to want to carry important papers in there. But they are perfect for your tool kit, spare tubes, locks, rain suit, etc. And there's enough room left over for miscellaneous, single trip items.

    What's that ship doing in Central IL? It's doing very nicely, thank you. It's a casino. It doesn't go anywhere. It just makes (I think) a nice little profit for it's owners, a gaming outfit out of Las Vegas. I hear that it's entirely paid for. So even in a down economy it's the bright spot in their portfolio.

    I took the wife on one night back when it was new and it still cruised. We did well enough that the whole evening out only cost us about $20. But I got sea-sick. Oh well... I guess I wasn't meant to be a gambler or a sea-going type. It's too bad, but I guess it's good to know.
     
  6. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    I can think of one other piece of advice. Some will already have this covered, but others are going to have to confront it. You're going to have to be able to sharpen a drill bit. You'll drive yourself crazy, and ruin your drill, trying to drill more than 3 or 4 holes in steel of any thickness.

    In the past, I've switched to aluminum to avoid this. But that gets awfully expensive.

    The other day I picked up a $30 bit sharpener. But I wasn't impressed; I couldn't figure out how to get the angle right and I got nowhere with it. And it began to dawn on me that I could do as well with my bench grinder.

    I don't think I could explain in words just how to "spot" and follow the angle that you want to grind on. It's fairly difficult to just see it and to guide that particular face against the grinding wheel.

    But practice will get you where you want to go. Buy at least a half dozen copies of the drill sizes you're going to use. When the first one gets dull (all too quickly, I might add), then start trying to get it right. When you've completely ruined that first bit, throw it away and get out a new one and sharpen it when need be.

    That "Eureka!" moment will come when you sharpen it and it looks good. You put it to work and it goes through that steel as if it were balsa wood.

    It's a great, great feeling!
     
  7. machiasmort

    machiasmort Active Member

    Thanks, guys. I wanted to post it because I think it'll work fine on an MB as well. As soon as I clean up the front rack a bit I'm going to build one for my MB. I did have that front rack on my motored bike last winter. Cut out some plywood to make a windscreen that covered from my hands and mid chest right down to a few inches below the front axle. It allowed me to ride in weather down to a few degrees above 0 F. (though starting the engine was hard, I gotta admit) Add a cargo trailer to this mix and you'll have something approaching a DIY pickup truck.

    I'd love to see pics of that, if you have them!

    See my fiberglass thread!!!!
     
  8. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    I don't think I have photos. That was at a time when I was camera-less.

    It wasn't pretty, anyway. I didn't even paint the plywood. But picture plywood leg guards. Something like on a Vespa scooter. (though these were handlebar mounted, so they turned with the front wheel). Then at about gooseneck height it flattened into a shelf for cargo. It then continued vertically and the top was dome-shaped, the top being about mid-chest height. I bolted on a couple more plywood cutouts, more or less round, to stick out to the sides and cover my hands. (Giving a mickey mouse ears appearance)

    My one fear was that it would be hard to handle in strong winds. But that didn't turn out to be the case. When I was facing a headwind, though, the extra load on the engine was unmistakable. But it also gave me a good shelter from the wind and it allowed me to ride in conditions that would have been impossible without it.

    The right similar design in color-matched, contoured fiberglass would be very useful and a thing of beauty.
     
  9. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    By the way, the frame that this windscreen was mounted on is on the bike in the photos attached to this thread.

    Take a look at the last photo, the one with me sitting on the bike by the river. Take a look at the front cargo rack and picture it covered with plywood. Down by the front axle you can still see the "L" brackets that the leg guards were fastened to. That'll give you a notion of what it looked like.

    Like I said, not pretty. But it was practical. I took it off, of course, as soon as the first hints of spring arrived.
     
  10. spad4me

    spad4me Member

    I was looking for something like your nice cargo racks for my version of the super grocery getter.
    I will attempt your mod
    Thanks.
     
  11. spad4me

    spad4me Member


    Smiths grocery had the insulated bags on sale for $3.00 each I already have the rear rack.

    Insulated food storage. Nice . No more melted ice cream

    Thank You !


    ??? I tried to edit my previous post and wound up quoting myself.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
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