I have made it known previously that I am a fan of the Cage Rocket. It is basically an empty water bottle type container with a quick access hatch. It allows you to store stuff, like tools, and then easily take it with you to avoid theft (like might happen with a saddle bag for example). Yes, you certainly could make one of these out of an old water bottle, but I committed the hacker sin and purchased a ready to use solution. However, when one of the arms on the hatch recently broke off my hacker sense came to life! As you can see in the photo below, the hatch is supposed to be attached by two small arms. One of the small arms met its demise recently when I bunny hopped a pot hole and the Cage Rocket suffered an ejection from the water bottle cage.
For a week or two I simply tied a rubber band around the body and the hatch lid and called it good. But with a football game and a cold six pack of beer in the fridge, I got to thinking about another solution as I stared at my bike during commercials. I have a large roll of Velcro straps on hand for hacks. These straps are meant to be used to secure electrical cords, but they come in handy for all sorts of things - including securing the broken hatch on a Cage Rocket. I connected two together, secured them on the back with duct tape and then wrap them around the hatch to keep it on all snug and stuff.
You definitely want tools with you when you go out riding and the Cage Rocket is a great solution. Now when I'm out and about I'm prepared to deal with minor repairs that I might encounter. For example, I was messing around with my fenders the other day and forgot to secure a screw. Somewhere one the way to work the screw worked it's way out and the fender started banging around. I was unable to locate the missing screw but I carry some zip ties in my Cage Rocket and I was able to secure the fender arm with one until I can go to the store to find an appropriate screw.
Some say size matters, but does it really? Maybe it's more about how you work with what you've got. Reader John had a size problem, but he did not let that stop him from being both effective and elegant. Enjoy his hack.
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Wondering how to mount something made for larger 31.8mm handlebars on a smaller set? Don’t throw always that “Live Strong” bracelet, it’s perfect for the job and if you happen to be mounting a camera to those handlebars, you’ll get an added benefit of image stabilization.
I purchased two K-Edge GO BIG aluminum mounts for my Go Pro camera after breaking two of the plastic handlebar mounts sold by Go Pro. I was so excited when they came in only to find that they were way bigger than my handlebars. I was looking through my old parts bin for cycle computer spacers only to find that they were too thin. I thought about using an old inner tube but I do have a limit for just how crappy something can look on my bike and that’s when it hit me, one of those silicone bracelets might just work and it turned out to be perfect.
The best part of it is that it provides a nice vibration dampening and actually provides for a more stable video taking some of the edge off to the vibration coming through the handlebars.
Sometimes we want the best of both worlds, and at times companies deliver. Taco Bell came up with the Doritos taco. Dairy Queen's Heath Bar Blizzard is genius. At other times, a product might not work exactly the way we would like it to. Reader Leighton wanted his favorite grease to work with his favorite grease dispenser and did not let a little compatibility issue stop him. All text and pictures below are credited to Leighton. If readers have hacked a favorite maintenance product in some way, please feel free to send our way.
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Finish Line's grease injection pump gun is fantastic, but I prefer Phil's waterproof grease. Alas, FL's supposedly "standard" thread, 9/16", doesn't seem so standard: It won't accept tubes of either Phil or Park grease. Don't let that stop you though: You can make it work for about $5, albeit with a few tools. Naturally you'll need a FL grease gun and a tube of Phil's fantastic grease.
First, at your local hardware store, buy a 9/16" bolt in mild steel (as soft as possible, basically) and two rubber O-rings (try the plumbing supplies section). The first should fit snugly around the top of the tube of Phil, the second around the bolt. Before you buy the bolt, verify that it will thread easily into the FL grease gun.
Cut off the bolt with a hacksaw about 3/16" (5mm) from the head. Clean the threads with a small file and ensure that it goes all the way into the FL grease gun's opening.
Drill a pilot hole in the center of the bolt head with an 1/16" drill all the way through. From there, gradually increase the drill size until you get to 11/32" (that's a lot of drill bits). This is best done with a drill press, but a hand drill will work as well, though with more effort and less accuracy. That done, use a 10mm/1.25mm tap to thread the newly created passage in the bolt. You don't have to go all the way through, as the opening of the Phil tube is only about 5mm deep, but if you feel like it, go for it.
Put the large O-ring over the bolt, the small O-ring over the threads of the Phil tube, and thread the whole thing together.
Squeeze the tube of Phil until you work out all the air in the system; when the pump's action hardens up, you know you're there. And now you've got the best of Phil and Finish Line.
If I had to guess, I would say that at least 50% of those riding bikes are either not on a bike that is the right size or the handlebars and/or seat are not in the optimal position. I'm no bike fitting expert, but I have a lot of conversations with people that complain about their butt, wrists, knees, or neck after doing a decent amount of riding. The best way to make sure you do not experience discomfort might be to buy a bike from a shop that knows how to fit you, or you can experiment on your own with different positions and/or hacks. And if you run into a person who rides a recumbent, you will likely get an earful of how great a riding experience a recumbent offers. I myself will just have to take recumbent rider's word for it =)
Reader J experienced some discomfort when riding his Dahon and he came up with ideas to help increase his pleasure and reduce his pain. Take it away J . . . .
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I stopped riding the Dahon folder for close a year now due to neck/wrist pain and groin numbness. Nothing wrong with the bike, it's just age. I moved to a recumbent which cured everything. But I miss the portability of the folder. I rode a Townie crank forward bike and it seemed to be a good compromise between a recumbent and a regular bike.
Starting with an existing folder, we decided to test the crank forward position by doing a double bend on the seatpost. It moved the crank about 4 inches forward. To raise the handlebar for a straighter back position, we used a wide cruiser bar. The result is an upright comfortable position without the associated pains of a regular bike for an aging rider.
A word of caution! The double bend may weaken the seatpost, especially for a heavy rider. I'm only 160lbs and have not noticed any catastrophic bending. The center of gravity does shift backward as well. On the flats, there is NO noticeable twitchiness. Stability seems to be same as an unmodified folder. On uphills, there is some wheel lift. Overall it feels like a folder with loaded panniers in the back.
Doing It Right
The correct way of doing a crank forward hack is to weld a new bottom bracket in front of the existing one. You can go about 5" forward before there is pedal and wheel overlap. Then use a regular straight seatpost. There will be some extra weight to the front wheel which will only add stability. One thing I like about the crank forward design is the ability to put your feet down when stopping without getting off the seat.
Another project for the fall.
I have actually never ridden a bike with a suspension. I guess this is because I have never engaged in "serious" off road riding. But what if you have a bike with a suspension and you only ride on roads? Reader Eamonn came up with the following idea. I can only assume that bike mechanics will wince at this hack, but I will leave it up to them to offer comment.
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I am considering replacing the fork with a non-suspension unit but I'm finding it hard to find a proper suspension-corrected fork which will maintain the bike's geometry (this is very important) and fits 700c wheels (so the brake bosses are in the right position). In the meantime to see how the bike will feel with a regular fork I fitted a hoseclip to each stanchion to stop it from moving. This should give me a good idea how the bike will feel if I do replace the fork. Simple, cheap and effective.
The front of the bike feels much more solid with the hoseclips in place. It works so well that I'm wondering whether or not to bother replacing the fork at all (I'm not that bothered about the extra weight - I'm not serious enough a cyclist for it to make much difference!)
Saddle up for a BikeHacks.com classic written, and performed, by Brendon.
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I've been disenchanted with our old generic bike trailer's hitch. It's a clamp-style hitch that's a total PITA to get tight. I was ogling used Burley trailers when I started wondering whether I could hack my own Burley-style hitch onto my old generic trailer.
The way the trailer hitched onto a bike always bugged me. The clamp tends to slip if you don't really crank on it. I actually wear gloves when turning the crank handle, just to get it on there so it doesn't move. It moved once on me while I was riding and one of the clamps slid into my disc brake. The brake cut through the rubber, and into the aluminum of the clamp. Ouch. I've kinda been done with that clamp since then.
The other day I was browsing Craigslist and ogling some Burley trailers. Nice trailers. As I stared at them, I thought the trailer body tubing looked familiar. So I started digging around the web, looking for how Burley hitches work. What I learned led me to this little bike trailer hack.
Rather than spending a couple hundred bucks on another used trailer, I spent $20 on a couple of parts and hacked a new hitch for the trailer (okay, in truth I spent $60 because my bike has breezer-style dropouts and I needed some special doo-dad to accommodate 'em.
Anyway, instead of pictures, this time I made a little video that shows the hitch bits and, I think, adequately demonstrates my dorkiness. Enjoy.
I am a big fan of clipless pedals. Clipless pedals freak many people out, but now that I have ridden with them for over 20 years I freak out when I ride a bike that does not have them. I love the feeling of being locked in and with just a twist of the foot I am out. This is not to say that I don't have a brain freeze and fall down every once in a while, but fortunately it is every great once in a while.
If you have ever spent any time in a bike store or on a bike web site, you know there are all sorts of pedals and some give you multiple options. For example, Shimano sells the following pedal, which gives you clipless option on one side and a platform option on the other. And what a name, the PDM324! You have to give it to these companies in terms of coming up with arcane names that mean nothing to consumers.
But what if you have clipless pedals that do not have a platform option and you want one? Well, reader Adam contacted us and clued us in to a cool hack that he came up with and is posted on instructables. On one side you have your standard clipless option . . .
I would just hate to miss my pedal and have the crank spin around and have that aluminum slam into my shin though. Thinking about this reminded me of what my shin looked like after I tangled with my skateboard a few years back.
Yeah, that wasn't so fun. Anyway, Adam does a great job of documenting his hack over on the instructables site so check it out . . . but if you pursue this option be careful about spinning those pedals =)
Back in April, reader Will submitted text and pictures documenting his attempt to create a rail bike. Bike hacks are often a combination of trial and error, and Will ended up with a derailment at around 16 miles per hour. The result was a bent frame and in all liklihood, a rough time getting up the next morning.
Will did not let the derailment stop him in his effort to ride on rails and he is back with this -
Will notes the following on the Velospace forum -
Some of the changes I made (besides using a stronger frame and fork) are that I used a rear axle on the front wheel so that connecting and adjusting would be easier. I also used longer bolts and spacers on the front guide so that I could adjust how close the guide is to the rail.
As I cross over the frog the guide passes easily through it, but the front wheel drops into the gap and often is unable to climb out and continue down the rail.
If readers out there have interesting modifications they wish to share, send us an email.
The idea of repurposing bike parts to store bikes is not new to Bike Hacks. We have featured ways to use pedals, bike frames (for walls and as a floor/street mount), and handlebars to store bikes. A variation on a the handlebar theme was recently posted to makezine.com.