Author Topic: Pannier hook abrasion...and preventing same  (Read 19504 times)

Danneaux

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Pannier hook abrasion...and preventing same
« on: June 02, 2012, 12:52:14 AM »
Hi All!

With a large tour coming up and an afternoon of reasonable weather, this seemed like a good time to upgrade Sherpa's pannier hook-rack abrasion protection. I use Ortlieb panniers, and with time and vibration, their glass-reinforced nylon pannier hooks are really abrasive to rack powdercoatings. I've seen photos of holes worn in rack tubing by them, and I just got an email from my Dutch friend who is having a similar problem with his Ortlieb/Tubus combo.

I've been using a Trim-Brite automotive product to wrap my racks, and so far it has worked well to prevent any wear. It is a nice, matte-black tape with low-creep adhesive, intended to restore the window trim on automobiles. It even stands up to the abrasion caused by automatic car washes (the kind that removes the original finish this tape is meant to restore).

Though the tape has worked well, I notice the single layer I wrapped is starting to wear, so I sent for a couple packets of the newest Tubus "Schutzfolien" or protectors meant to keep racks happy with Ortlieb bags. Tubus calls it a "foil" but it is really an adhesive-backed, very shiny clear plastic. My guess is it is adhesive Mylar...it is pretty stiff and hard for its thickness. This is a new material for Tubus this year and they claim it far outlasts their earlier protective foils. See: http://www.tubus.com/product.php?xn=56

In their FAQ, Tubus say...
Quote
Question: Why does abrasion begin at my carrier through the panniers?
Answer:
The hooks (and sometimes also the border) of modern panniers are made out of plastic with a content of glasfiber. The part of glasfiber was raised, to make the hooks more robust.

These hooks are abrasive and grind the surface of the carrier.

If there is any sand or dirt between the hook and the carrier, this goes even quicker.


Question: How can I avoid the surface-abrasion caused by the plastic parts of my panniers?

Answer: Our carriers are coated with a very strong polyester-based coating with best available technology.

1) Because abraison can appear, we advise to protect the area with our (optional available) protection foil set before using bags.

In 2012 we developed this new, transparent kind of foil, which is tested in-house to its adhesive power, UV- and abrasion resistance under hard conditions and which has performed strongly. It clearly outmatches the former foil.

2) Please check if your panniers fit exactly to the carrier. The inside diameter of the hooks has to be adapted (if necessary with adapters, which should have come with the pannier) to the tube-diameter of our carriers (10 mm). Also the lower hook must fit exactly to the tube (because of the 14 mm tube of TARA/DUO/SMARTI you need an optional available wider hook).

A good matched bag cannot chatter and accordingly makes less abraison.

I figured I'd need a couple sets, since I have two racks (front and rear). I learned I didn't get enough.

I learned a lot more that may help anyone thinking of getting and applying this stuff:

Lesson #1 You don't get much in each foil kit. There is one sheet that has been die-cut into three strips. Each strip is 40mm x 140mm, totaling 120mm x 140mm split three ways.

Lesson #2: Tubus recommend wrapping stressed areas twice (would have been nice if Tubus put these measurements and details in their FAQ: http://www.tubus.com/de_oe.php?xn=8 ).

Lesson #3: Tubus further state "in case of extreme stressed areas you should wrap three layers of foil round the carrier". That would be under the pannier hooks (2 per bag), plus the area immediately under the hook (2, 1 @ the forward diagonal of each Thorn Low-Loader), 1 spot each at the lower fin and another 1 each at the lower fin backing plate. That's a lot more tape than is included in each kit, so if you want to protect everything, you'll be short. You'll also be unhappy if you spent as much as I did; retail for these kits is USD$8.49. Two kits plus postage from Portland, OR cost me USD$23.

Lesson #4: The first wrap of a 10mm OD rack consumes 35mm of the stuff..about 1 wrap if you wrap the short way. so don't; go lengthwise (linear). Because the foil is fairly thick at 0.09mm/.0035in, it grows with every wrap, so count on using 108mm or so of the available 140mm length if you go for three wraps. I'm thinking a person would need 4 of these kits to do a minimal job on two racks.  That's a lot of money, totaling close to USD$40 at the best prices I could find including postage.

Lesson #5: Despite being very careful with my measurements and cutting and employing Ghandian levels of patience and determination, the results look terrible. I wore nitrile gloves to avoid fingerprinting the adhesive, and the racks were clean as clean can be with no surface oils, thanks to a quick wipe of 99% isopropyl I use for solder-prepping circuit boards. There was no rack abrasion thanks to my previous use of the trim tape. I even got perfect registration when wrapping, thanks to using the sun's linear reflection on the rack tubes.

Lesson #6: Though the foil went on crystal-clear and bubble-free, the longer it was in place, the cloudier it became (See photos). After awhile, I looked at the overlap of my wrappings and found they had come loose. Pressing them in place, they held for about three seconds and popped loose. Taping them in place for 15 minutes had the same result. The film is simply too stiff for the adhesive intended to hold it. The cloudiness comes when the wraps try to unwrap and delaminate from each other, stretching the adhesive and causing air gaps.

I removed the lot, which was surprisingly easy since it had already started to uncurl.

Huh.

My second attempt involved going to Pacific Rubber for a length of Gates Rubber Company's 6 LOLA reinforced and corded hard-neoprene-coated synthetic rubber tubing. I wanted tubing that would fit over the rack (10mm) yet fit inside the Ortlieb hooks with the sizing spacers removed (16mm). By happy accident in metric-challenged America, 10mm/16mm equals a hose with 3/8" ID and 5/8" OD.

I cut off come sections using arc'd cable cutters to get a nice, square cut, then sliced the hose sections lengthwise, missing my major arteries. The result looked nice and I was encouraged. The sun broke through the cloudy Ortlieb foil, the birds sang, and life was good once more.

Not.

As soon as the hose was sliced, it expanded, thanks to the release of compressed internal cording. This left a gap that was neatly filed by the lower retention clasp of the Ortlieb hooks, preventing them from locking the bags on the rack. Worse, the hose had enough friction against the inside of the pannier hooks to make intended removal a three-handed operation. Nice try, but it dinna'gonna work.

I think I'll go back to the Trim-Brite windshield molding trim tape, and just wrap it a few times. It was invisible, looked good, didn't try to uncurl, and lasted a while. Best of all, it came on a roll so there was plenty of it. A friend tried electrical tape, and after riding in hot weather, the adhesive crept out from the layers and gummed-up his hooks. He switched to black duct tape with the same but messier results.

So. What do you do to or put on your racks to minimize pannier hook abrasion? Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2012, 08:11:27 AM by Danneaux »

Andre Jute

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Re: Pannier hook abrasion...and preventing same
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2012, 03:07:18 AM »
Strips of velcro about three quarter of an inch wide for the most part. One end is wider and has a slot for feeding the free end through. Bought them in packs of five or six each at Lidl. My fave Basil Cardiff pannier baskets have no lower fastening, so I use old Sam Browne reflective belts. The baskets definitely rubbed a good ali rack so much that it was weakened (probably just as well, as it folded when a Range Rover drove into it, sacrificing itself to save my bike). The Velcro is wrapped around and around my current Tubus Cosmo stainless rack (don't buy one until you've seen it in the flesh -- it's for posers) for the full length of the strip so that it makes a standoff about quarter-inch to three-eighths thick. There are wraparounds not only where there are hooks, but wherever the basket touches, or could touch under any conceivable condition. Not as elegant a solution as yours with the tape, but it has worked superbly for three years and about 5500km, over 3000 miles. Not a mark on the rack or the bike. The velcro strips add no weight as I would carry them anyway to tie up whatever comes loose on my bike on my rough lanes. (On a Utopia? I know, heresy. And nothing has come loose. But I'm a belt and braces man.)

Andre Jute
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Danneaux

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Re: Pannier hook abrasion...and preventing same
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2012, 03:20:39 AM »
Quote
Strips of velcro about three quarter of an inch wide for the most part...
That's a brilliant idea, Andre, but I am having some problems. I have a few of these velcro ties on hand, and gave it a try. The resulting wrap was too thick for the pannier hook with 10mm spacer installed, and with the 16mm hook alone, it was initially plenty thick, but soon compressed to allow the hooks to rattle.

Is there a secret to the wrapping to keep it in place and the hooks rattle-free?

I also found the wrapped velcro tended to shift on me.

Do you think adhesive-backed velcro wold work? I have some of the standard hook-pile sort, then I also have an industrial version with interlocking mushroom-shaped posts. It is backed with a true industrial adhesive, and might work well if I could get it to wrap a 10mm radius.

Have you heard or had any experience with Foliatec protective films? http://www.foliatec.com/en/protect/lackschutzfolie/
...or...
Mactac protective films? http://www.mactac.eu/products-stone-chip-protection-3-2321--2322.htm

You've got me thinking, Andre! Top-drawer suggestion, and much appreciated.

All the best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2012, 06:56:59 AM by Danneaux »

il padrone

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Re: Pannier hook abrasion...and preventing same
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2012, 01:25:48 PM »
I tried those foil patches that came with the Tubus rack first time....... they wouldn't stick, just peeled off. I threw them away. That rack was used for over 7 years on my old Sedona tourer and is still on my wife's bike. It has rubbed sections with no powder-coat and a bit of surface corrosion. It's still plenty strong. Corrosion is never too much of  a worry with CroMoly - half the chrome content of stainless steel.

On the Thorn Nomad's racks I tried again. Heard that you must wipe the rack surface down with alcohol first. I used metho and the patches stuck OK. The shame is that having placed them in one place I found that the panniers sat better in a different spot  :-* Bad luck, the rack is still getting wear patches. Battle scars I say.

richie thornger

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Re: Pannier hook abrasion...and preventing same
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2012, 08:04:13 PM »
Last year on the trip to Istanbul I used my Ortliebs with the spacers in. Thorn racks front and rear.
I had black electrical tape wrapped round the contact points and this seemed to do the trick for the 3 months I was away. It wasn't looking pretty by the end though.
I've been experimenting with very basic clear hosepipe from my local fish pond supplier. It has no beading in it. You can squash it flat with your fingers. I just took a metre of the smallest diameter they had. Sliced it up with a Stanley knife and and then lengthways.
I had come across a video on Youtube that gave me the idea.
The clip was using scuba diving tube and was held on with zip ties.
I tried using ties but I like to position my clips butted up against the edge of the rack to reduce forward and back movement. Using ties didn't allow me to do that. So I am now using electrical tape.
The hose was actually too wide in diameter for the racks and overlapped when wrapped around.
This causes the rack to become an uneven shape which actually seems to make for a better grip for the clips. As my bags tend to stay on all day, I'm more interested in them not moving than being super easy to get on and off. I've been using this system for a few months now. It doesn't seem to be wearing through the tape as quickly. I've got red tape on the right and blue tape on the left. And matching colour coding on the bags. It helps me remember what stuff is in what bag. Red is bed and Blue is food. I ran out of rhymes after that :)
I've just spent the last few days tinkering with the Nomad. At present the front carrying device has high and low mounts, a parcel shelf and room for a few lights on the front. It's the bastard offspring of a Thorn low loader and a rear Blackburn mountain rack.
I must take a picture :o I'm not sure if it will get used but it certainly solves where to put the extra sleeping bag for when it gets a bit cold. For another thread me thinks.
I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal labotomy

Danneaux

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Re: Pannier hook abrasion...and preventing same
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2012, 08:20:29 PM »
Hi Richie!

I definitely think you're onto something. This is basically the same route I pursued with the Gates 6LOLA rubber tubing, but was thwarted by the compression molding and the internal belting causing the lot to spring apart.  The clear vinyl tubing you're using sounds very like what is called "aquarium tubing" here, and has some real possibilities for what I have in mind. Wrapping it with the tape sure beats the problems of zip ties (ran into the same limitations myself, as I also like to butt the hooks against the crossbars to limit fore-aft movement). And, too the softer tubing really would reduce the rate of wear-through compared to the bare metal rack, just as you've found.

Brilliant idea to mark the rack sides and bags with indexed colors. I did much the same by gluing different club patched to each of the bag-caps.  If I can read the patches on the front bags when they're mounted, they're on the proper side. And (eventually) I get to the point where I can remember what's in which. I solve the "where's the food?" issue by reserving both rear bag main compartments solely for food. Makes it easier to loft just those bags up into a tree when sleeping in Bear Country. No food goes into any other bags, so I won't tempt Yogi, Smokey, and their many kinfolk ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fictional_bears ).

The front rack sounds intriguing; by any chance, might we see a photo of it?  I have a corker of an idea for adding a platform front rack to some Thorn Low-Loader Markv racks, but it's not quite ready; have to take a few more measurements before I can make a recommendation.

Best,

Dan. (who's off to the fishies and glass-tanks store, looking for tubing)

richie thornger

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Re: Pannier hook abrasion...and preventing same
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2012, 08:27:39 PM »
Aquarium tubing would indeed seem to be the likely name of such pipe.
My racks look quite bad with the bags off. But that's usually only when I'm asleep :P
I've never had the need to hang food in a tree for fear of bears, but it's been on my list for a while.
I may have to upgrade the pepper spray though!

Another thing about the tubing is that the bags seem to rattle less over bumps. By rattle I mean the noise of the frame of the pannier hitting the rack. This was especially noticeable before on the front.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2012, 08:30:16 PM by richie thornger »
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richie thornger

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Re: Pannier hook abrasion...and preventing same
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2012, 08:43:50 PM »
Prototype 1
« Last Edit: June 02, 2012, 08:46:18 PM by richie thornger »
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Danneaux

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Re: Pannier hook abrasion...and preventing same
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2012, 09:16:31 PM »
Oh! I see, Richie...you made it yourself!  <-- That always counts for more with me.  Pretty nifty idea, I think, good on you!
Quote
Another thing about the tubing is that the bags seem to rattle less over bumps.
I presume you've left the sizing spacers out of the Ortlieb hooks, as I did with the 6LOLA tubing? Too big for the 11mm spacers otherwise.

Homegrown innovation rules.

I also leave the panniers on when touring, usually at night as well. I did that when I used gravity as glue and laid the bike on its side. Much easier now with the Click-Stand holding the lot upright. I think of it as my Bicycle Bureau and filch in the bags, which are off the ground, out of the mud, and at a convenient height. Man! Tent instead of bivy, bags upright; If I take my new camp-stool with me, I'll be spoiled utterly rotten. A corner of my mind says, "Danneaux's gone soft" but it surely is a luxury, especially in mud, snow, or wet playa. In high winds, I'll still line the bags up on the windward side of the tent to blunt the breezes at ground-level.

Thanks for the photo, Richie!

Best,

Dan.

Andre Jute

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Re: Pannier hook abrasion...and preventing same
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2012, 03:53:13 AM »
Dan wants to know, about my velcro-wrap solution, "Is there a secret to the wrapping to keep it in place and the hooks rattle-free?"

Except for the inward angle of the lower rail, the Tubus Cosmo rack and the Basil Cardiff pannier basket are a marriage made in heaven, complete with a cute little offspring in the velcro strips. The inside radius of the basket hooks is just what the velcro will settle to once the pile flattens, so the first few times you just force it on. Sideways movement is restricted because the uprights of the rack are a tight fit with the hooks, so the basket has no lateral movement: it can only move vertically, and the tight fit on the velcro (and the bottom strap sitting right on the thicker wireframe ridge) stops the majority of vertical movement. I was quite prepared to bend the hooks to fit but it proved unnecessary.

My strips must be longer than yours, because the fatter Tubus hooks, which won't fit at all when the Velcro is new, now fit, with a bit of force, and stay on nice and tight, and the Velcro strips butting up against the rack uprights stop the panniers moving at all. This is useless to me though, because I've just about given up using actual panniers -- they're just too awkward in everyday use compared to pannier baskets, and my saddlebags, which are both more convenient.

More, I think it would be a bad idea to tour far away if you force fit some of your crucial gear. My sort of a"tour" is to the houses of friends, and to restaurants attached to comfortable hotels, all within a taxi ride, albeit expensive, of home or even the bike shops in the city where spares may be had. (And probably never more than ten miles from a bus route with buses that let you put the bike in the luggage compartment.) It just doesn't matter if my gear breaks, except that it will irritate me and I will nail the maker's feet to the floor for years to come. Your touring is entirely different. Probably be smart for you to give up the idea of the Velcro strips. Plenty of other good ideas in this thread.

I don't fancy adhesive-backed stuff on a bike. Eventually it always comes loose and leaves the choice between an ugly mess and ruined paintwork. The coachlines on my Kranich which you admire were painted by Meister Kluwer of Van Raam, who worked as a brazier on the production line in 1936 when the Locomotief Crossframe Deluxe, of which my bike is a much-developed copy, was first built. Meister Kluwer was 89 when he painted those coachlines. Sadly, he won't paint any more. So the paint on my bike is a piece of history, a touchstone, worth preserving against %^&*()_& adhesives. I don't mollycoddle it, but I'm not careless of the paint either. The tan leather strips on the mixte rails in front of the seat tube are to keep my sodding great feet off the paint; they're not glued on but tied on with fat fashion shoelaces, turned into a feature...

Andre Jute
« Last Edit: June 03, 2012, 04:10:00 AM by Hobbes »
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Danneaux

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Re: Pannier hook abrasion...and preventing same
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2012, 05:02:35 AM »
Quote
The tan leather strips on the mixte rails in front of the seat tube are to keep my...feet off the paint; they're not glued on but tied on with fat fashion shoelaces...
Thanks for explaining that, Andre! I have long wondered about their origin since I first saw your Kranich photos.
Quote
...turned into a feature...
And a fine one at that! I always figured they were somewhere in the Utopia Special Options Checkbox, since they are so congruent with the overall ethos of the bike. But then, I shouldn't be surprised. Your repurposed handbags make fantastic-looking saddlebags and tool carriers for the bike and all look bespoke from a master leatherworker.

That thing is a stunner!

I appreciate the additions in your edit, Andre...your thoughts and concern are well-taken and greatly appreciated.

Agreed on the mess and devastation left in the wake of self-adhesives that...aren't.
Quote
Your touring is entirely different. Probably be smart for you to give up the idea of the Velcro strips. Plenty of other good ideas in this thread.
<nods> Yes. Where I go, alone and well out of cell-phone range or any passing cars/people, an equipment failure means the possibility of Not Coming Back At All, so I have things like double hooks and retention fins on my bags to ensure they stay with me and so failures or crash damage of random hooks are automatically addressed. Pretty much everything is mission-critical and has to work, be field-repairable, or redundant.

Best,

Dan.

pdamm

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Re: Pannier hook abrasion...and preventing same
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2012, 03:43:54 AM »
Dan

I have had partial success with using a contact adhesive to glue a piece of inner tube on the rack as a rack protector.  My theory was that the rubber was flexible and should soak up some of the vibration and reduce the wearing.  After about 1000km of touring with this protection in place there is minimal ware on the rubber pads that are under the pannier hocks.  However the pads I placed lower down on the vertical tubes have almost worn through.  I suspect there is a lot more movement between the pannier and rack at those locations exceeding the rubber’s ability to absorb the movement.   For those places my next plan is to cable tie some black tube around the metal and see how that goes.  In the mean time I will keep the rubber under the main pannier hooks.

My front panniers make use of the Rixen + Kaul rack mountings and experience the rack abrasion problems we are discussing.  My rear panniers use the Arkel mounting system and I am experiencing dramatically less rack ware from those pannier mounts.   The Arkel mounts get their strength from the metal in them and employ some sort of plastic to protect the rack.

http://www.arkel-od.com/us/all-categories/bicycle-accessories/cam-lock-hook-kit-1.html?SID=7dba6c16ada922995c42661bce20bcda 

Peter
 

Danneaux

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Re: Pannier hook abrasion...and preventing same
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2012, 03:41:47 AM »
Hi Peter,

I'm sorry to be so long in replying; I've been conducting some experiments myself.
Quote
I have had partial success with using a contact adhesive to glue a piece of inner tube on the rack as a rack protector.  My theory was that the rubber was flexible and should soak up some of the vibration and reduce the wearing.
I feel sure you're onto something here, Peter. The dense rubber will serve as an vibration isolate as well as preventing direct contact between the hooks and rack; well-reasoned and well-done!

I wish I had had the same luck. Since reading your post, I gave it a try on a spare set of hooks and didn't fare as well. I think the problem came down to two issues: Rubber with a too-high sulfur content and poor contact adhesive. I feel sure I would get better results if I used SeamGrip instead of Barge Cement (often used by cobblers to re-glue shoe soles). SeamGrip is my new go-to product for flexible adhesive. As it was, the rubber peeled off at the edges from the hooks. I'll give it another try. Meantime, I think I'll go with triple wraps of my Trim-Brite automotive windshield trim tape to get me by on my shakedown cruise. At least, it will give something for the hooks to chew on for the several day's shakedown cruise to try a bunch of new things. I definitely think your idea is worth revisiting with better materials upon my return.

Not to disparage Ortlieb or Rixen & Kaul mounts in any way, but Arkel have really done a great job in approaching pannier support from a different direction. One thing I do miss on the Ortlieb bags compared to my ancient Kitland TourPaks and my homebrew versions of same is the lack of a rigid backplate made from tempered aluminum sheet. That really did wonders for keeping the bag-hook interface structurally sound. The softer, more flexible plastic stiffeners Ortlieb use allow vertical bag movement to be translated into rotational hook movement around the rack tubes. To see it for yourself, mount an Ortlieb bag, then push the bag gently up and down from the bottom to simulate what happens when riding on a rough road. The hooks literally spin around the rack tubes. So long as one sets the hooks to limit fore-aft movement, I think this is the major remaining source of Ortlieb hook:rack wear. I've minimized this action on my bags/racks by always using a compression strap to tie the bag to the rack and compress the load, minimizing not only bag-rack movement, but movement of the load within each bag. As a result, second-order vibrations and impacts are greatly reduces (nearly eliminated) and those hooks can't rotate to nearly the same degree as if the bag is held solely hanging from their support. It's quieter, too.

Thanks for your thoughts on this, Peter. I keep going back to my garage-workshop to rustle and sort through my bins of materials to see if I can come up with a replacement for the hook size-adapters. I think elastomers show great promise, and I can carve on them with my Dremel Moto-Tool and can even leave a little fin to engage the outer hook shell. Sort of the best of both worlds, incorporating your idea of the glued-on rubber (I think you had a really good idea).

More to follow after I play a bit with various materials.

Best,

Dan.

il padrone

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Re: Pannier hook abrasion...and preventing same
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2012, 07:44:09 AM »
Since reading your post, I gave it a try on a spare set of hooks and didn't fare as well. I think the problem came down to two issues: Rubber with a too-high sulfur content and poor contact adhesive. I feel sure I would get better results if I used SeamGrip instead of Barge Cement (often used by cobblers to re-glue shoe soles). SeamGrip is my new go-to product for flexible adhesive. As it was, the rubber peeled off at the edges from the hooks.
Maybe put a line of Sugru along the rack bars ??

This stuff is kind of amazing  :o


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Re: Pannier hook abrasion...and preventing same
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2012, 08:03:58 AM »
I tried those foil patches that came with the Tubus rack first time....... they wouldn't stick, just peeled off. I threw them away. That rack was used for over 7 years on my old Sedona tourer and is still on my wife's bike. It has rubbed sections with no powder-coat and a bit of surface corrosion. It's still plenty strong. Corrosion is never too much of  a worry with CroMoly - half the chrome content of stainless steel.

On the Thorn Nomad's racks I tried again. Heard that you must wipe the rack surface down with alcohol first. I used metho and the patches stuck OK. The shame is that having placed them in one place I found that the panniers sat better in a different spot  :-* Bad luck, the rack is still getting wear patches. Battle scars I say.

In my book, Battle Scars > Heath Robinson solutions.