Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Leather U-lock Rack Mount Road Test Results


Results: belt leather, excellent! Zip ties, not so much
A follow-up post to the first one, inspired by a story on the Velo-Orange blog (currently trending toward the French-like pronunciation, in case you were still wondering where I came down on that vital question). I've been using this to carry my u-lock in a convenient place for about three months now. I carry the lock tucked inside the loop of this former leather belt, and also strap it to the strut with some Velcro One-Wrap. The idea of the wrap was to quiet the lock from rattling, which is does pretty well depending on how tight I wrap it, but the extra step has had an unintended or unforeseen benefit.

This has happened twice
Twice during the three month road test, the zip tie holding the front end of the belt to the rack snapped off. Both times, fortunately, the One-wrap caught the lock and slid it down to the bottom of the strut, and not into the rear wheel. Both times happened going over exactly the same bump, where the canal transitions to the street. Anyway, I like the mount, so I am giving it one more try, this time reinforced with a wrap of Gorilla tape on each end.

Note, though: any mounting approach which includes the possibility of a u-lock flipping around into the back wheel is potentially unsafe. I don't recommend anyone try this approach. Experimental at this time.

Yikes the flash brings out the ugly really well

This is just temporary, excuse the hasty tape job. I just need something to get me to work and back for the next few days. I've got some better ideas which make use of the remarkably strong and durable pieces of the rest of the belt I saved, for version 2. Or I guess it will be version 3. Why go this way any way? As I said in the first post, the supplied mount for the lock rattled. Furiously, I would say. And never looked right. This is rattle-free when wrapped down, and is still quick to deploy or store. Still super-easy to put together. I just need to improve the leather-to-rack interface so the mount last more than three months of commuting. Or one test session of riding back and forth over that same bump a hundred or so times. The fallback will be to throw the lock into the gaping pannier bag hanging off the other side, but that seems like it would take more time to deploy or store, and could get the clothes or other contents dirty. Or smack into the laptop. Version 2 test in progress!

8 comments:

  1. Looks good I am looking into alternate U-lock carring. Gives me ideas.

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    1. I keep thinking that if they would supply a mount with the lock that was decent, we wouldn't even have this problem! Secure, convenient, doesn't rattle, durable!

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  2. Didn't you have an awl somewhere around there?
    You know, for something permanent like?

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    1. Yes, leather punch, rivets, awl, I see them in my future!

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  3. Secure mini u-locks to the top of the rack using several of the shortest bungee cords. Then type the two words.

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    1. Don, that will work. What should I do with the cable then, on top of the mini-lock? That should work, too, I think. But if I want to switch over to the rack trunk bag instead of the pannier, though, both won't work underneath the trunk.

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  4. You could wrap the cable around the seat post and secure the two looped ends using the mini U-lock. Put the u-lock into a custom mitten thing lined with small bubble wrap? I would think the weight of the u-lock would keep it from bouncing around.

    I had a dream: I fashioned a shelf (of alum mesh sheet from Home Depot) underneath the rack platform of my Topeak disc rack (the width between the struts is sufficient) that holds two mini u-locks, u forward, shackles back. The sub dream was a platform on top of the rack platform. The two mini u-locks magically fit underneath the platform and the rack trunk sits atop.

    Anyway, I don't use a cable (use two mini u-locks) and I've never felt comfortable with trunks.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Don, good ideas! I also keep looking at the rack platform itself, and dream of seamless u-lock integration for both small and large locks, without affecting the top or side carrying function of the rack.

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