Low-rider racks. Many of us know them and love them. Carrying a load above the front wheel can get tricky if the bike’s not made for it, but low-rider racks can turn just about any bicycle, no matter how crappy the front-end geometry, into a front load carrying machine. For those of you who are already lost, this is the grand-daddy of them all. The Jim Blackburn low-rider. Most low-riders can mount to a mid-fork boss and a drop-out eyelet. This one is shown with clamps around the fork.
This rack is a workhorse. Simple and cheap, it holds up nicely to constant abuse and is widely copied. Blackburn doesn’t sell this rack in the U.S. anymore, but functional facsimiles can be found at most online bicycle parts retailers, such as MEC.
Up next is the Jandd Low Front rack. This one’s even simpler. Can you see the resemblance? As above, the Jandd attaches mid-fork and at the drop-out eyelets.
Continuing upward in price is the Tubus Tara. This photo nicely shows the mid-fork mounts.
There are several others, from cheap Blackburn copies on up to the very nice (and pricey) Bruce Gordon rack. They all have a hoop that goes over the front wheel and a means to attach them to the mid-fork mounts and the drop-out eyelets. They all do exactly the same job – carry panniers. Like this.
And they all, every last one, are missing one little tidbit that would make my life easier. A single stinking hourglass shaped threaded boss (or braze-on) at the top of the hoop. The following photo shows the seat cluster on a Surly Long Haul Trucker. There is an hourglass braze-on on each seat stay between the brake bridge and the seat tube. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, there are two of them in the photo near the left hand side.
Someone, anyone, who makes a low-rider rack could easily put one of these on the hoop, top dead center. Why, you might ask, would I want one there? Lights. I like my headlight low and out front. This is a perfect spot for one and such an easy solution. Front racks with a top platform typically have a hole or something near the front just for this purpose. Why hasn’t anyone done this on a low-rider? The first one who does has at least one guaranteed sale.
Disclaimer – Except for the Cannondale against the fence, I didn’t take any of those photos. Someone else holds the copyright to each and every one of them. I believe my use of these photos falls within “fair use” definitions, but if you happen to actually be the owner of any of these and don’t like me using them here, let me know and I’ll take them down. And then you can go build me a rack.