Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Luggage rack prototype

Before you look at these pics and decide they're only about sport-touring motorcycles, think again. What I'll present here could apply to any motorcycle that needs a rack.

I dislike topcases. They're not very aerodynamic. They're cumbersome. They're expensive. They make my FJR look even more geriatric than it might otherwise appear. They're mounted too high and too far back for decent handling at speed.

90% of the time there's nothing in the topcase anyway, but we keep them on our bikes because their mounts are so freaking ugly.

For my purposes, the FJR's sidecases and a piece or two of soft luggage will haul all the stuff I need most of the time. If I need more stuff than that, I need to enlist the assistance of UPS.

So I've been thinking about building this for the last week or so. My design criteria were:

1) Keep my soft luggage from rubbing on my hard luggage.
2) Create a load space that extended from the tail of the FJR to the front of the passenger seating area.
3) Inexpensive but moderately attractive.
4) Easily removable.

And so, I built this.

Total time invested is ~5 hours. Raw cost was ~$40.

The rack is made of 3/8" x 16" x 24" ABS plastic. My local supplier sells it with a mottled finish that helps keep it from looking scratched in real-world use. The supplier even rounded the corners and buffed the edges for me. All I had to do was measure, drill, and fabricate the front aluminum brackets.

So what does this have to do with you and your bike? Well, LOTS of motorcycles out there will support racks. Look up your local plastics dealer. Ask about ABS or Delrin if you want a black rack. HDPE can be used if you want white. Other plastics come in colors. Why use plastic? It's easier to work with and it's 1/4 the cost of aluminum plate.

Just another thing to make you think.

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