Sunday, September 9, 2012

Behold! The Dork-aleur!

If you have an interest in mid-20th-century French randonneuring bikes or are a regular reader of Bicycle Quarterly, you probably know that a "decaleur" is a doohickey that works in conjunction with a front rack to keep a large handlebar bag steady while still allowing it to release with (relative) ease when the bike is stopped. Currently available examples include the Berthoud Decaleur du Sac and the Velo Orange decaleur kit. When executed correctly, it's a nifty little gadget, high on elegance and functionality.

Now, when it comes to MY version, you can keep the word "functionality" (and maybe "nifty"), but pretty much throw away "elegance". I give you... the DORK-ALEUR!

My little mash-up combines a mini front rack (sold under a zillion different house brand/generic labels for maybe $15) and the Xootr Crossrack designed to hold a single standard pannier perpendicular to the bike. Pairing it with the front rack gives the load some much-needed support from below -- even when the pannier in question is a gigantic Arkel stuffed to the gills, a load that the mini rack could never hope to handle alone:

So far, I've only tested the new combo in the parking lot, but I liked it a lot. I'll load it up with my usual commuting junk this week, bang it around the quasi-urban jungle of Des Moines, and report back. If nothing else, it does put me in the running for the World's Weirdest Touring Bike competition:


Rob At Ocean Air Cycles said...

That set up looks pretty awesome. I have been working on something similar for smaller bags. Thanks for putting the post together

Andy R said...

Sweet! I may yet buy a Swift. It's on the short list.

Anonymous said...

boy... I guess it's true.. "nothing succeeds like excess!" That's got to be the largest handlebar bag by a factor of 2, I'd guess.

So you haven't loaded it up with 2 liter soda bottles or 6 packs of Millstream beer to see how it handles?? Should be interesting.

I've ridden with some pretty loaded front panniers, and it really does slow down the steering. With that weight so far forward of the steering axis, I can imagine some funky stuff happening in sharp turns. I'm holding my breath in sheer anticipation of the road test report!

Steve in Peoria,
where you can't get Millstream beer anymore. :-(

Johan Horak said...
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