Compass Racks: Light Mount Optional

Compass Racks: Light Mount Optional

We love handlebar bags. They are easy to access, they don’t affect the bike’s handling when you ride out of the saddle, and they are more aerodynamic than rear bags. (Yes, we did test that in the wind tunnel!)
To take a photo, you stop, put a foot down and get out your camera. Less than 30 seconds later, you are back on the bike. This means that you take more photos and bring home more memories. The map pocket on top allows you to view your route sheet at all times, so you are less likely to get lost. Or if you don’t need a route sheet, you can use the pocket for a photo of a loved one.
To carry a handlebar bag well, you need a front rack. Otherwise, the bag sits too high and affects the handling of your bike. Supporting the bag from below not only is stronger, but also lighter. (Yes, we’ve weighed many bags to check this.) Supported by the rack, the bag doesn’t have to be sturdy and stiff, which saves more weight than the rack and decaleur add. Speaking of racks, Compass offers two racks for handlebar bags.
The CP-1 rack is designed for our Compass centerpull brakes. It’s superlight – just 168 g – yet super-strong and elegant. It’s the perfect solution for a custom bike: You get great brakes and a great rack that are designed to work together.
For bikes with cantilever brakes, we offer the M-13 racks. These racks attach to the canti posts and the fork crown, so they fit many bikes. We offer two versions: The “wide” version is intended for bikes with wide tires, which have more space between the fork crown and the cantilever braze-ons. The “narrow” version works on bikes with tighter clearances.
We’ve added new models to our rack line-up, so that you can get most racks with a choice of light mount (above) or with simple eyelets that give you the choice of using a light or not (top).
Our latest racks are made by Nitto to our exclusive “Extralight” specifications from lightweight, yet ultra-strong, Cromoly tubing. Our “Standard” racks use the same materials as Nitto’s other racks. Even the standard version gets nicer workmanship and a better finish than Nitto’s “production” models.
The beautiful finish is matched by careful design. For example, our dedicated light mounts went through many prototypes until we worked out a location that places the light in just the right spot – protected if the bike falls over, yet far enough forward so that your front tire doesn’t cast a shadow in your path when you make tight turns at night.
All these details are things you’ll appreciate when you ride at night, whether it’s on your commute or during a randonneur ride that descends mountain switchbacks in the middle of the night.
Click here for more information about Compass racks.

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Comments (29)

  • Bob C

    Jan, what’s up with your bag on the Mule? I’ve been wondering for a while. The bag looks substantially deeper than a normal GB28. Was is specially made? I like the capacity there!

    November 17, 2016 at 12:49 am
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      It’s a prototype we made a while ago. The capacity is useful, but the weight affects the steering a bit more than I’d like.

      November 17, 2016 at 1:46 am
  • Christoph

    Jan, it may be worth noting that the light mount is obviously designed for standing (i.e. regular) front lights, so there’s no need to purchase a hanging Edelux II or a similarly “exotic” light. If I hadn’t bought an original M-13 a while ago, I would definitely choose this new version now—mounting a hanging Edelux to the original M-13s eyelet required spacers and a bit of fiddling to get the position just right.
    Regarding the prototype bag, I imagine that it affects steering if it’s stuffed like yours in the photo. Nonetheless I would prefer a bag a bit deeper than the GB28 (that doesn’t even use the full length of the M-13 rack’s platform) for commuting and touring.

    November 17, 2016 at 2:43 am
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      You are right – the racks are designed for a “standing” light. That way, you can choose among a wide variety of headlights.
      Handlebar bags: A bag that is bigger than the GB 28 can indeed be useful…

      November 17, 2016 at 6:17 am
  • Michael Trusler

    I really like my Compass rack/brake combination. I was on the verge of having a custom rack made, the Compass rack/brake package was offered just in time; has been a perfect solution for me. Any chance of a Compass front low rider rack in the future?

    November 17, 2016 at 4:26 am
    • Tony Hunt

      I’d like to put another voice in for low rider racks. I would for sure get a pair. What’s currently available is generally thick, heavy, and usually black

      November 18, 2016 at 12:03 pm
  • Rod Bruckdorfer

    The opening photo depicts the spirit of randonnepuring – great photo.

    November 17, 2016 at 5:31 am
  • SteveP

    Are the rack tech spec mounting measurements (e.g. 75mm, 100mm) given as center to center or edge to edge?

    November 17, 2016 at 6:29 am
  • mark schneider

    What is the widest tire I can use with the m-13 racks?
    I would like to use one with the Rat Traps on my mountain bike with cantilevers.

    November 17, 2016 at 10:09 am
  • Andrew

    About how much weight can safely be carried on the cantilever brake style racks?

    November 17, 2016 at 10:45 am
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      The rack is very strong, so your bike’s handling will deteriorate before you risk breaking the rack. On smooth roads, you can carry 10 kg (22 lb) when necessary.

      November 17, 2016 at 6:54 pm
  • Stephen Bamford

    As always, very well thought out and engineered to perfection!

    November 17, 2016 at 10:54 am
  • John Duval

    I just put on the new IQ-X light, replacing the Edilux I, on the CP-1. This setup has been maintanace free. The very wide beam pattern of the near field lights up the front tire very brightly (a bit distracting), and casts a large shadow, but not in the line of travel. The side visibility lights are blocked from the right side. It is perfectly functional, but this type of light may call for a different mounting position, like above the fender.

    November 17, 2016 at 8:53 pm
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      I don’t know whether I’d mount a light in a sub-optimal location just because its beam is wider than necessary… A light on top of the fender is very vulnerable if the bag falls over, and it’s likely to get bumped by the handlebar bag (if you use one) on rough roads. The location under the front rack has proven itself for decades. I am not sure who invented it, but by the late 1940s, most French constructeurs put the headlights there, unless the bike didn’t have a front rack for some reason.

      November 18, 2016 at 10:41 pm
  • Robert Cochran

    Would these racks work with disc brakes?

    November 18, 2016 at 11:35 am
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      You need canti or centerpull braze-ons as mounting points… I know of somecustom bikes with disc brakes that have centerpull braze-ons just to mount the racks. Not the most elegant, but it works.

      November 18, 2016 at 10:26 pm
  • Rob Tedge

    Does the ‘no light mount’ centerpull version have the low profile eyelets for mounting a light on both the right and left side?
    I love the racks but living in Australia and riding on the opposite site of the road has deterred me from the left only light mounts.

    November 18, 2016 at 9:22 pm
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      Yes, both sides. However, I am not sure that it matters on which side you mount the light.
      I prefer the left only because I often ride just to the left of the white “fog line” that marks the edge of the pavement. The line is reflective, and if the headlight is right over it, you get glare in your eyes. Beyond that, the light is visible from both sides by all cars that might cross your path (and potentially hit you if they didn’t see you).

      November 18, 2016 at 10:35 pm
      • Frank B.

        I have a slight preference to mount my light on the right side even here in Germany with its right-handed traffic. I have the (false?) impression that this way the light illuminates the outer side of the road a bit more, which is the corner where danger lurks. Turning right I can see the lane a bit better, whereas when turning left the center of the road has more room for error anyway so it doesn’t need to be illuminated more.
        Mounting on the right maybe makes cable routing a bit easier when the hub has its connectors on the right. But AFAIK you can install most modern hubs both ways.
        My favourite rack would be have a light mount, but on the right side.

        November 21, 2016 at 1:40 am
        • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

          You make an interesting point. So much of this comes down to personal preference, even aesthetics. I wish many of the old French bikes had their lights mounted on the right, since we usually photograph the driveside, and then the light is invisible in our photos…
          Back to function: I find that when I ride at night, I need to see the road 20 m (60 ft) ahead, not 3 m (15 ft) ahead. At that point, whether the light is mounted 10 cm to the right or to the left of the bike’s center axis makes no discernible difference.

          November 21, 2016 at 7:59 am
      • Christoph

        Right-hand traffic aside, there’s one more advantage of mounting the light on the right side of the rack: Wiring the lighting system is a fair bit easier.
        Most generator hubs need to be run with their connectors on the right side of the fork. With the light mounted on the right side, too, there is no need to route the wires to the left side by attaching them to the underside of the fender, or by fastening them to the rack or fork crown in an unsightly manner.

        November 21, 2016 at 4:29 am
        • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

          Older SON generator hubs did have the connectors on the right side, but most current generator hubs can be installed either way.

          November 21, 2016 at 7:54 am
      • Christoph

        Regarding connectors and rotational direction: Recent production SON models can be installed either way (I’ve set up the SONdelux on my titanium brevet bike with the connectors on the left side for ease of wiring), but both Shimano and Shutter Precision generator hubs must be installed with their connectors on the right/ drive side.

        November 21, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Yes my son deluxe widebody hub I run with connector on the non-drive side and the connector facing down towards the road so that water runs off the loop of the wire instead of water running down the wire to the connector.

    November 21, 2016 at 11:07 am
  • Hidgolf

    My preference for the right side (from riders view) is all the fragile drivetrain parts are on the right, so laying the bike down on its side is much easier.
    Do canti racks reduce brake judder by supporting the bosses?

    November 21, 2016 at 1:29 pm
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      The front light doesn’t touch the ground when the bike is laid down (or falls over). It’s inside the triangle formed by handlebars, front wheel and steering axis.
      We haven’t tried whether a front rack mounted to the canti bosses can help reduce brake judder. Racks do stiffen the fork, but whether that is enough, I don’t know.

      November 21, 2016 at 2:42 pm
      • Peter Chesworth

        With a Nitto M12 mounted to my Pelican there is still occasional canti shudder, for which the solution is to fiddle with them (in the best traditions of canti brakes). The rack does not fix the issue of the cyclic amplitude that develops under braking between the brake hanger and the brakes themselves.

        November 21, 2016 at 10:21 pm

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