Author Topic: Steco: An alternative platform rack used with or w/o lowriders  (Read 6733 times)

Danneaux

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Hi All!

For some time, I have been researching platform front racks that either have lowrider mounts as part of their design (a la the Surly Nice Rack (Front)) or provide a platform to work with such existing low-riders as the Tubus Tara or Duo, or Thorn's own Low-Loader MkV series.

I think I may have found one, and wonder if any of you have tried it (them, since there are a number of variations in the production series)...

The Steco Front Cargo Rack, typically known as a "transport rack" and available in a number of variations, at least one of which should work with lowriders.  
I saw a number of these during my extended stay in The Netherlands, and they transported pretty much anything from kids and girlfriends to bushel-basketsfull of fruit, firewood, and several days' worth of groceries. The coolest use from my perspective? As a way to carry a daypack/rucksack so it didn't have to be worn while cycling but was ready as soon as one stopped. Perhaps the ultimate student and commuter-shopper's bag, as the hands are left free while carrying stuff off the bike, but the back is cool and ventilated while riding.

The design of all the variations is pretty similar -- a platform of large-diameter 16mm steel tubing that is supported from below by legs going to the dropouts (or mid-fork lowrider bosses) and at the top by attachment to the handlebars, stem, or headset locknut. Regardless, the angle can be changed with a drill and a little ingenuity and hardware store fasteners, and the platform is wide and flat -- ideal for holding a tourist's sleeping bag, spare tires, whatever...perhaps even in conjunction with a handlebar bag. They may not be made of cro-mo tubing; probably just a heavy-gauge steel, but they're surely built for stout. I've seen similar designs on Indonesian work-bikes and they also carry tremendous loads with nary a whimper.

Here's some links so you can see what I'm talking about:

Steco's root page (in Dutch):
http://steco.nl/  <-- Go to Producten (products), then click on the next-to-last category, "Transportvoordragers" (transport carriers). The one we're particularly interested in is the model intended to mount to v-brakes. I've attached a couple photos from their website that show it well. The detailed PDF showing how to mount it is here:
http://steco.nl/producten/bijlages/con_29.pdf
Here's the GoogleTranslate version, which you can follow from the home splash page:
http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=nl&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fsteco.nl%2F&act=url
Go here for translated English version of the the v-brake model page:
http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=nl&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fsteco.nl%2Fpages%2Fconsumer%2Findex.php%3Ftaal%3Dnl%26page%3DProducten%26cid%3D14%26pid%3D47&act=url

The v-brake model extends forward more than I'd like, but the "Original" versions that attach to the handlebars at the top hug the head tube outline much better and I believe could be made to work with the standard Ortlieb handlebar bag mount on a Thorn Accessory T-bar (the T-bar could extend forward between the struts of the Steco rack). The Stecos can be removed pretty easily when not wanted.

Steco even have a neat product called the "T-signer" that protects the rack surface from scratches (maybe applicable to rear racks by other makers?):
Translated http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=nl&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fsteco.nl%2Fpages%2Fconsumer%2Findex.php%3Fpage%3DNieuws%26taal%3Dnl%26id%3D9&act=url

Many of these racks are available from Dutch Bike Bits ( http://www.dutchbikebits.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=38 ).

The postal rear racks are incredibly strong (I've sat on one with no ill effects to me or the rack), but I wouldn't recommend them for modern panniers because they lack triangulation and I fear they could sway. Very strong vertically, however. The Hebie Steering Dampers ( http://www.dutchbikebits.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=38&product_id=150 ) are not to be discounted when stopped with a large load on a bike with high-flop, large-trail geometry like the Thorns. They really don't do much when riding (unlike a motorcycle steering damper). Instead, they are meant to keep the wheel fairly straight when parked with a heavy front load and the bike tipped slightly to the side, as when using a kickstand/Click-Stand.

I don't think I'd have the nerve to mount one to a Thorn, but the Azor/Steco Pickup Racks that cantilever off the downtube are pretty cool, 'cos the load has no direct effect on the steering: http://www.dutchbikebits.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=38&product_id=54

So, anyone put one on a Thorn, or likely to? Looks like a possible solution to the "I need a platform rack *and* low-riders" problem. I may go for one myself.

Best,

Dan.

« Last Edit: June 24, 2012, 08:59:33 AM by Danneaux »

Pavel

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Re: Steco: An alternative platform rack used with or w/o lowriders
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2013, 06:46:23 PM »
I like those!  I wonder if I can set them up so that they are far enough back to keep by handlebar bag at the same time.  A perfect place to secure either the sleeping bag or tent ... both perhaps.  Thanks Dan.

Danneaux

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Re: Steco: An alternative platform rack used with or w/o lowriders
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2013, 06:58:10 PM »
Quote
I wonder if I can set them up so that they are far enough back to keep by handlebar bag at the same time...
I think it might well be possible, Pavel. Depending on the model (I just chose one for illustration, but they make many variations including a number that hang from the 'bars), I think you could extend an HB bag mount on a T-bar through the upright rear grid of the Steco rack and still have a usable platform *and* the HB bag...with or without low-riding pannier racks.

All the best,

Dan.

Danneaux

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Re: Steco: An alternative platform rack used with or w/o lowriders
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2013, 01:38:54 AM »
Hi All!

Some of you have contacted me to ask if there are front platform/porteur (means "supporting") racks that are similar to the Stecos...but not.

Yes, there are, and they are gaining in popularity...especially among those urban cyclists and commuters who need to carry boxes of some sort to the post or who use a plastic crate to hold groceries, etc. where they can keep an eye on the load as they ride. Some tourists prefer these so bulkier items like sleeping bags can be placed up front, and randonneur riders (whose specialist bikes tend to have very low-trail geometry that handles a front load well) will sometimes mount a large handlebar bag directly to the top of the front rack (usually with the aid of a decaleur/HB bag quick-release mount) to keep weight as low as possible. I'm seeing more and more rack-top bags working work well on front platform racks, even though originally intended for the rear.

Most of these platform/porteur racks are not compatible with existing lowriders; most are standalone and connect to the front dropout bosses or are captured by the hub quick-release. A few will work with lowriders or can be modified or commissioned to do so. It is amazing what ingenuity can accomplish when meeting a need.

That said, I (personally) don't favor racks that fully triangulate the fork. I find them uncomfortable when they go from dropout to crown, as it pretty well kills the fork flex I value for taking a slight edge off bumps. For that reason, I prefer either lowriders or racks that mount to lowrider bosses, leaving the fork to flex more freely. Others find no problem with this type and actually prefer them and the stiffer feel through the handlebars. It is a matter of personal preference.

Some of these racks have a headlight mounting tab. Others require you to make your own (P-clips...or?). Most if not all are likely to work with a handlebar bag mounted on the handlebars or on a Thorn Accessory T-bar.

For those who are interested in a "platform carry" front rack, I offer these links; some are production, others full-custom to requirements:
Front rack that transforms - Porteur to Lowrider: http://vimeo.com/20206454
Roll your own; building racks as I have also done: http://alexwetmore.org/?cat=298 (I've knew Alex Wetmore years ago on the iBOB listserv; a nice fellow whose bicycle hobby has grown to include making things for his bikes)
Haulin' Colin Porteur Racks: http://www.haulincolin.com/porteur.html
Pass & Stow: http://www.passstow.com/
EcoVelo's review: Pass & Stow vs Nitto with extenders: http://www.ecovelo.info/2011/08/13/two-porteur-racks-one-users-experiences/
SomaFab's black(!) porteur rack: http://www.somafab.com/archives/product/porteur-rack-black
TCB racks: http://www.tcbracks.com/ <-- Their ehm, "IBT" rack is their offering most compatible with lowriders *and* includes its own bottle bosses, which would add water or fuel bottle capacity if you need it.
VeloOrange porteur rack: http://store.velo-orange.com/index.php/vo-porteur-rack.html
CETMA Cargo: (root) http://cetmacargo.com/ (racks) http://cetmacargo.com/pages/cetma-racks-info

Hope this helps.

Best,

Dan. (...who thinks this may help some of you to er, rack 'n' roll)

Danneaux

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Re: Steco: An alternative platform rack used with or w/o lowriders
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2013, 03:30:21 AM »
Hi All!

Yet another alternative lowrider-compatible platform rack for those asking for a simple, standard-width rack -- the Racktime Topit: http://www.racktime.com/product.php?xn=11

Ortlieb, Tubus, and Racktime are all associates, and Racktime offers aluminum allow versions of Tubus racks. Many of the accessories are interchangeable (i.e. mounts to store a mini-pump on a rack strut, straps, and various spring clamp attachments).

Specs (translated) are as follows:
Front-carrier with Snapit system for mounting above the front wheel.
Top Loader
Juggage always in sight
Accessories for mounting a headlamp enclosed
Carries all standard panniers
Fully compatible with almost Snapit components
Various accessories such as spring clamp, tension belt, bags and baskets optional available
Material aluminum
Tube diameter 10 mm
Weight ca. 543 g
Max. load: 10 kg

Tip: Fastens to midsection eyelets at your fork.

Types and item numbers:
Topit  26"/28" one size black  07210
Topit  26"/28" one size silver 07220

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2013, 03:32:16 AM by Danneaux »

NZPeterG

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Re: Steco: An alternative platform rack used with or w/o lowriders
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2013, 07:56:29 AM »
Hi Dan

How about a Nitto Rack M12 Front Carrier  8)

They are very nice, Yes I have one! had it on my Africa Bike  :o



http://www.hubjub.co.uk/store/index.php/carrier-rack/nitto-m12-front-carrier-rack-detail

Pete..  ::)

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Danneaux

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Re: Steco: An alternative platform rack used with or w/o lowriders
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2013, 01:30:53 PM »
Quote
How about a Nitto Rack M12 Front Carrier
Ah, yes! Those are real beauties, Pete, no doubt about that. Nitto's quality is very high.

Unfortunately, their through-crown mount won't work with Thorn's threaded, half-drilled crowns (Thorn use a 5mm boss on the front of the crown, rather than a through-hole. Thoughtfully provided and ideal for mounting a light, but not compatible with these racks).

Velo Orange offer similar ones, but they have the same design; more's the pity!

Great carriers, though.

Best,

Dan.

Oddball_in_LA

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Re: Steco: An alternative platform rack used with or w/o lowriders
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2014, 10:11:29 AM »
Dan,
Did you get your question(s) answered re: the Steco front racks?  I've been using a Steco front rack for about 2+ years in Los Angeles (where the drivers stare at me aghast that I ride a bike with a rack--imagine--a rack!).  There are weight and handling issues you'll want to know about but before I go into it, let me know if you're still interested.  My bike is a mountain bike with 26-inch wheels.

Andre Jute

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Re: Steco: An alternative platform rack used with or w/o lowriders
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2014, 12:01:17 PM »
Steco pages are available in English. Choose English on the righthand side of the page here
http://steco.nl/nl/
or go directly to the font racks here
http://steco.nl/en/consumer/our-products/

Andre Jute

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Re: Steco: An alternative platform rack used with or w/o lowriders
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2014, 01:41:24 PM »
Racktime Topit: http://www.racktime.com/product.php?xn=11

Racktime is a top class German maker of ali racks, used by the best German baukasten, standard equipment for instance on Utopia ever since I can remember. My Racktime rack survived two encounters with carelessly driven Range Rovers before sacrificing itself to save my bike. I stripped the fist class fittings from it in order to fit a Tubus Cosmos that came with an inadequate amount of fittings either with the main item or in the expensive optional fitting kit. I was a lot more impressed with Racktime than with Tubus. A recommended component maker.

I seem to remember, but don't have time now to look it up to check, that Racktime was bought out a few years ago by Tubus in order to have a quality aluminum line.

mickeg

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Re: Steco: An alternative platform rack used with or w/o lowriders
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2014, 03:07:46 PM »
I used a Surly front rack.  Very heavy and I decided to replace it with two racks, a Tubus Ergo and a Nashbar rack that mounts on the cantilever bosses.  Sunlite makes one similar to the Nashbar, I have the Sunlite one on my LHT.

I would not want to put more than maybe 5 pounds (or about 2 kg) on the Nashbar (or Sunlite) rack.  But it is a great place to strap down a jacket or spare water bottle or other lightweight stuff that you want to keep handy like rain gear.  There is a thin piece of sheet metal that attaches to the fork crown, I think that is the limiting factor for strength.

This is one of the reasons I really would have preferred that the cantilever bosses on the Nomad MkII front fork be on the front, not rear of fork, I can't put one of these small racks on the Nomad fork.  (There are several other reasons that I wish the cantilever bosses were on the front, but that is a different topic.)

Pictures have these front racks on my Sherpa.  In first picture, the orange is some clothing I strapped onto the Nashbar rack, the second picture shows one water bottle strapped onto the Nashbar rack.

Nashbar rack described in more detail here.
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_167593_-1_201521_10000_200411
« Last Edit: January 17, 2014, 05:50:37 PM by mickeg »

Danneaux

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Re: Steco: An alternative platform rack used with or w/o lowriders
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2014, 07:10:31 PM »
Quote
I've been using a Steco front rack for about 2+ years in Los Angeles (where the drivers stare at me aghast that I ride a bike with a rack--imagine--a rack!).  There are weight and handling issues you'll want to know about but before I go into it, let me know if you're still interested.
Hi Odd'!

Welcome to the Thorn Cycling Forum; nice to have you aboard.

As it happens, I think I'm okay with my present setup (front panniers, HB bag, and light all mounted up front), and so will pass-by the Steco for use with my Nomad, but I'm still interested in the topic and I still receive the occasional inquiry about it. I'm guessing the Steco would make a nice platform for creating a low-trail porteur bike also. Sometimes (if geometry allows) it is really nice to have the load up front where you can see it.

If you have any tips and suggestions you can over for their use, I'm sure it would be welcomed by readers who desire an alternative to the more standard options. Very thoughtful of you to post.

A front platform rack has great utility and general usefulness and is a terrific alternative. All encouragement your way for riding against the prevailing LA preferences; sounds to me like you've made a very smart choice and pretty much trebled the usefulness of your bicycle as a utility machine and added some extra touring capability in the bargain. Well done!

Best,

Dan.

RobertL

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Re: Steco: An alternative platform rack used with or w/o lowriders
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2016, 06:11:26 PM »
Danneaux hope OK to thread resurrect. Am looking for a Nitto M12/18 equivalent that might be fitted to a Thorn fork (RST). It wouldn't be expected to do heavy duty work, mainly light weight stuff sack and hoping it comes in under 1/2 kg. It wouldn't be paired with a low rider.

Checking the thread this manufacturer may fit the RST fork?

http://www.somafab.com/archives/product/soma-champs-elysees-mini-front-rack

...also this seems to fit the bill?

http://store.velo-orange.com/index.php/accessories/racks-decaleurs/vo-constructeur-front-rack.html

The folk at Thorn tell me the Nitto doesn't because the brakes on our bikes are behind the fork.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2016, 07:01:47 PM by RobertL »

Danneaux

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Re: Steco: An alternative platform rack used with or w/o lowriders
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2016, 04:11:42 AM »
Quote
Danneaux hope OK to thread resurrect.
Very considerate of you to ask, Robert; no problem at all to resurrect old threads.  :)

It looks to me as if either/both of the racks you linked to would work. For the center mount, you might wish to tie into the M5 threaded light boss on the front of the fork crown...or possibly (with the Velo-Orange rack) tie onto the threaded mudguard bosses at the bottom of the steerer.

Either apears a nice option.

The Nitto M12 requires mounting to a through-hole (drilled, unthreaded) fork crown and to brake bosses placed on the front (leading edge) of the fork blades. See: https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/carriers-racks/nitto-m12-front-rack/?geoc=US:

However, it looks to me as if the Nitto M18 might fit as well as the Soma or Velo-Orange racks. It has a center tang that is adjustable for reach and two struts designed to mount to the sides of the fork, either to bosses or via P-clamps. I'm not sure if the struts would provide enough reach and some minor bending might be required, but it looks to me as if a Nitto M18 might install neatly onto an RST, as the (rear facing) brake bosses are not involved. See:
https://www.amazon.com/Nitto-M18-front-rack/dp/B003RLFP5O

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2016, 04:15:35 AM by Danneaux »