Thursday, December 18, 2008

Home-made bag-mount for my Ostrich Bag

I bought a Ostrich handlebar bag from an iBOB list member about a year ago. I have used it on my specialized expedition touring bike for months. It has plenty of storage capacity and many convenient pockets and a map case. On my old touring bike it sat on a Nitto M-12 front rack. Initially I used two leather strap to attach the bag to the handlebar and a pedal strap to attach the bag to the rack at the bottom (see left). To gain some hand space on the handlebar, I used the Velo Orange decaleur (quick release bag mount) and did away with the leather straps. The decaleur allows to bag to sit more properly on the rack and hold it there more securely. I really like the set up (see the picture on the right to look at the bag with decaleur).

When I sold the touring bike to pave way for the Ebisu, the Ostrich bag sat in my bike garage for a while not getting used. I had a basket on my commuter at the time and I hadn't set up a front rack for my Romulus yet.

When the rack strut broke on the Mark's rack on my il pompino, I took off the rack and replaced it with the Nitto M-12 rack that was on the touring bike. I thought about putting the basket on, but instead decided to use the Ostrich bag.

In the past few months, I have been using the ostrich bag with two leather straps and a toeclip strap at the bottom to attach it to the rack and handlebar (see picture to the left). It worked OK, though after a while the leather strap will slip and move along the handlebar and the bag will be slanted one way or another. If I carry some weight, the bag will sway a little more. I decided that if I were to use the bag on this bike, I need something similar to the decaleur that's more secure.

I tried to buy an extra steerer mount for 1 1/8" size from Velo Orange, but VO didn't have any, and Chris there told me that VO might not get any for a few months. I wrote a WTB email to the iBOB list to see if anyone has one lying around to sell it to me. From that, Ryan Watson sent me a reply, with a link to his flickr photostream showing his home-made bag mount (here is one of Ryan's picture showing his bag mount using a piece of steel bracket).

I thought about it and decided to create a similar hack. I took that piece of broken strut from the Mark's rack and sawed it to length. I then drilled a hole on it where it would attach to the bag. I attach one side of this strut to the stem under the face plate. I then drill a hole in the bag and used a 5mm nut and bolt to attach the bag to the bottom end of the strut. I retained the toeclip strap to secure the bottom of the bag to the front rack. Below is a slideshow showing some close-up picture of this hack and my pompino with the bag. It felt pretty secured. Even though it's not a quick release, but it will prevent people from simply grabbing my bag off my bike when I run into store to do errands etc. I will report how well the hack works once I get some real-world test.

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