Rack Eyelets and Frame Alignment GaugesJan Heine
It’s encouraging to see that handbuilt bicycles have made such a resurgence in recent years. Building a frame by hand is a labor-intensive process, but done right, the result is a bike that rides better and is more versatile than any mass-produced machine. The best bikes today have custom-made racks that are designed to fit the bike, so they do not need sliding adjustments and thus are lighter, stiffer and unlikely to rattle loose.
Making a good rack is a lot of work, especially if you use small tabs to attach the rack to the fork or frame. Compared to tubes or other attachments, the thin tabs put less torque on the bolt, and so the rack is less likely to loosen due to the vibrations of the road. If you file these tabs by hand, you’ll spend about 20 minutes per tab. And the rack shown above has six of them, so that is two hours of filing tabs! (How do I know? I made the tabs for the rack above.)
To make rack-building a little easier, Compass Bicycles now offers rack tabs. There are two versions:
- Version 1 (top) is for the ends of rack tubes, so it has a 5 mm hole and a tab at the end that goes into the rack tube.
- Version 2 (bottom) is intended as a frame braze-on, so it has a 4.2 mm hole that is ready for M5 threading.
The tabs are laser-cut from 2.5 mm-thick steel and dimensioned for 1/4″, 7 mm or 8 mm rack tubing. More details are here.
Also new are these nifty frame alignment gauges. Developed by Bicycle Quarterly contributors Alex Wetmore and Hahn Rossman, they greatly facilitate checking the alignment of the frame during and after the build process. There are two versions, one for bikes with 130 – 142 mm rear spacing (top), and one for bikes with 120 – 135 mm spacing (bottom). More details are here.
These new products complement our existing range of fork crowns, fork blades, centerpull brake pivots and other framebuilding supplies. Click here for more information about our framebuilding supplies.