Custom Bits

Here's a page with some photos and descriptions of some of the custom parts and accessories that I have made, or had made, for my various bikes. Some of these items are included in the other pages together with the specs for my various bikes. I've just brought together all the custom bits on this page to allow for easier perusal for all you gear-heads out there!

Mudflaps

Rear Mud Flap
Front Mud Flap
Rear Mud Flap
Front Mud Flap

Both mudflaps are made from 1/8" rubber. They were made from some old belting material that I scrounged up. The belting material is basically two 1/16" pieces of rubber bonded together with a canvas centre core. I pop-riveted them onto the fenders with some small washers on the inside of the rubber to prevent the rivets from pulling through.

Hardware stores carry various types of rubber matting that could be cut and shaped into some mudflaps like the ones above. The reflector was one that I salvaged from an old bike in a dumpster at work. Both my commuter and touring bike have mudflaps as shown in the photos above.

The front mudflap is the important one as it helps in keeping all the road crud from washing up onto the drivetrain. The rear is merely a courtesy to any cyclist riding behind me, or to pedestrians who might be in "the line of fire!" It's also a great place to hang that reflector!

Hypercracker (Shimano Cassette Cracker)

Converted LIFU Tool
Converted LIFU Tool
Converted LIFU Tool
Converted LIFU Tool (Close-up view)

I got this idea from a contribution submitted by another list member of the email touring digest that I subscribe to at: http://groups.google.com/group/bicycletouring/topics

If you ever break a drive-side rear spoke, you will have to remove the cassette to install the new spoke. At home, or close to a bike shop, this would not be problem. Touring, miles away from a bike shop, spoke replacement can be problematical. If you have a Shimano cassette on your bike, then this is a tool (plus spare spokes) that you should carry if you are touring in remote (read: not close to a bike shop) areas.

The Hypercracker will allow you to remove a Shimano cassette without the need for other heavier tools. This lightweight cracker is made from a cheap Lifu cassette wrench. I removed the red plastic on the handle, cut off about 4" from the handle's length, then bent the remainder in two places as shown above. After I smoothed off and rounded the corners of the area where I had cut the handle, I dipped it a couple of time in some "Plasti-Dip" to provide some protection for the bikes chainstay where the cracker's handle will rest.

Compact Cassette Remover
Compact Cassette Remover by J.A. Stein

I made two of these, the first I cold set, which proved to be quite difficult as the material is quite brittle and I felt that it could snap quite easily, especially at the sharp right angle bend. The second attempt, I heated the wrench with a cutting torch, just at the areas of the bends. This method proved much easier to perform. I chilled the metal in water immediately after bending to prevent some of the temper loss. I also kept the heat away from the actual contact teeth of the wrench to prevent any temper loss.

The above described tool works great. However, the J. A. Stein Tool Company recently developed a small precision mini lock ring tool for doing the same job of removing a Shimano cassette without regular shop tools. The tool is well engineered and works exceptionally well. (Photo at right)

The tool retails for about US$20.00 and is smaller and lighter to carry than the above home-made wrench. Either way though, both tools will do the job if you're stuck out in the middle of nowhere and have to remove the cassette to replace a broken spoke on the drive side of the rear wheel.
... Can be ordered online from Harris Cyclery

Mirror Hardware

Custom Mirror Hardware
Custom Mirror Hardware
Custom Mirror Hardware
Custom Handlebar Clamp for Mirror Bracket Mount

I really like my "Mountain Mirrycle;" It's got a slight convex and gives a large field of vision. But I didn't like having it stuck in the end of my drop handlebar - too low, so I designed an alternative bracket which made it able to mount the mirror in more convenient position higher on the handlebar.

Mirror Hardware Installed
Mirror Hardware Installed

This was kind of a one-off project as the bracket had to be machined on an EDM wire CNC machine. Quite complicated, but the results were a very stable mount for my mirrors.

More Mirror Hardware

Brake Hood Mount
Brake Hood Mount

Another way to attach my "Mountain Mirrycle" mirror. This one was easy - I just had to drill and tap for a 4mm thread in the top of the brake housing.

Mounting Bosses and Bar Bag Mounting Plates

Note: This setup is now redundant, but still interesting as an idea/concept -

click here for a view of my current touring bike's cockpit.

Custom Handlebar Bag Mount
Handlebar Bag Mount
Custom Handlebar Bag Mount
Handlebar Bag Mount

In the photos above, my bike computer and air horn are mounted on two extensions from the Flexstem hinge. These are two pieces of aluminium bar that I machined to replace the original washers of the Girvin Flexstem. The bosses, or extension stubs, protrude about 1" from each side and are 1" in diameter. Also, I fashioned two pieces of aluminium plate, drilled them, and mounted them using the above mentioned bosses. On the lower end of these plates, I installed two more round stubs for my handlebar bag mount. As can be seem above, the plates did require a slight bend. The photo below is of one of the plates prior to bending.

Bag Mount Hardware
Bag Mount Hardware

This handlebar bag mounting system allows me to use the "aerobar" armrests pictured above. This modification also lowered the handlebar bag and brought it further in towards the stem, improving the handling as an added bonus. The aerobars mounted to the "Stoker" handlebar above are actually just mountain bike bar-ends that I fitted onto the handlebar and covered with foam handlebar grips - lots of comfortable hand positions with this set-up!

Universal Mounting Clamp

Custom Clamps
Custom Clamps

Pictured above is a heavy duty hose clamp. I removed the original screw and replaced it with a stainless steel one that I machined. The new screw has a longer hexagon area that allowed me to drill and tap for a 5mm thread. I originally used this idea to accommodate the top mounting bolt of a front rack on my front suspension mountain bike. But the clamp could be used to provide a mounting point anywhere on a bike's tubing for different types of accessories.

Clamps Installed
Clamps Installed on Suspension Fork

Pannier Stops

Pannier Hook Stops
Pannier Hook Stops

These are stops installed on a rear rack to prevent the panniers sliding forward. They are just some simple aluminium bushings that I machined to size then grooved. I then split them in half lengthways and installed them on the rack using nylon zap ties in the grooved areas of the bushings. These bushings could be made in various lengths to suit ones own requirements. Of course if you use Ortlieb Panniers, their top hooks are adjustable to accommodate various rack configurations.

Burley Nomad Fenders

I bought the Burley Nomad trailer as a replacement for the single wheeled BOB trailer that I no longer used for touring. The BOB was okay for touring, but not the ideal trailer for local errands and shopping excursions. The two wheeled Burley, although a wider profile, is a much easier trailer to load and park for those local trips. I don't intend to use the Burley for touring as I have reverted back my favourite method of carrying gear whilst bike touring - panniers!
The only problem with the Burley is that is does not come with fenders, nor are they an option! For me, living in the Pacific Northwest, fenders are a must for year-round riding to prevent those wheels sending cartwheels of dirty wet road-spray all over the place! There are some aftermarket fenders for 16" wheels, relatively expensive, and they are designed quite short - probably okay for the front wheel of a recumbent bike or small wheeled folder.

I posed this anomaly to the touring list group on the Internet and found that there were a few other cyclists looking for the same solution. From this group came some suggestions and I picked up on one such idea...

After a bit of rummaging through department and hardware stores' plastic goods sections, I found a "Wedco" brand engine oil drain pan for just under C$12.00 at a Canadian Tire store. The pan was the ideal size from which to fabricate some fenders that would give 180° coverage to wheels of the the Burley...

The first thing I did was to cut off the handle and spout, using a jig-saw with a fairly coarse blade. Then I proceeded to cut the pan in half. Coarse sandpaper was used to smooth any rough edges.

Click on the images for a larger view...

Oil pan cut in half - minus handls & spout
Inner well removed on one half
Back view

The well of the pan was removed as it would added over an inch in width, even though an inner wall would have been desirable to prevent road-spray splashing of the canvas sides of the Burley. However, I did have some black plastic laminate kicking around, so I cut some to shape and used a hot glue gun to bond it to the arc of the fender (centre photo below). Then I used some thin aluminium flat bar for a side support. I fastened the flat bar to the axle plate at one end and utilised the top tube mount of the trailer for the other end.

Aluminium flat bar for support
Plastic laminate glued in
Narrow profile - axle still visible

The fender had two holes left after I cut the spout and handle off. I faced the larger holes to the rear of the trailer and then removed the original red reflectors from the trailer and fastened them over the holes in the rear. When cutting off the spout it was important to keep the angle of the cut just right so that the reflectors would be facing rearward at a reasonable angle. The smaller front holes will have some small white reflectors mounted over them. I fastened the fenders to the trailer with two sheet metal screws into the bottom tube, another into the axle plate and one machine screw through the vertical aluminium flat bar.
Although the fenders looks quite wide, they don't increase the wheelbase at all; in fact, the end of the axles are still visible beyond the edges of the new fenders.

Left side from rear
Left side from front - white reflector still to be added
Rear view - finished!
Left side from rear
Left side from front
Rear view - finished!

Burley Nomad Alternative Hitch

The hitch that comes standard with the Burley Nomad is quite clunky and attaches to the rear triangle. If one uses a kick stand in that same position, then one has a conflict! Burley has an alternative hitch as an option, but it is expensive at almost $50.00. I decided to fabricate my own from a piece of scrap steel channel. I shaped the channel to clear the axle nut/quick-release. Then I drilled the channel to suit the pin mount of the Burley trailer's plastic yoke.

Here's a couple of photos of the hitch - the first photo shows it mounted on my Raleigh "shopper" bike. I also made another hitch very similar to this one, but with a smaller mounting hole (second photo) - this one could be used on any of my bikes that have a quick-release skewer.

Hitch for quick-release axle
Alternative hitch mounted on a threaded axle
Hitch for quick-release axle
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