15 September, 2008

Racks from Europe

Northern Europeans do a lot more commuting and city bike riding than we do. They are also, generally, wealthy and innovative folks. So it should be no surprise that there are numerous well designed modern accessories for city bikes made, or at least developed, in this part of Europe.

Among of the accessories I was impressed with at Eurobike was the selection of racks specifically designed for city bikes. As a result we've decided to start stocking one, the Pletscher Master rack. It's a very well made Swiss rack with many features including a removable basket attachment.

Make no mistake, these are not elegant rando racks, nor are they designed for massive camper loads and low-riders. Rather, they are modern, industrial looking, sturdy and functional racks that are ideal for shopping, commuting, and utility bikes.

That little spring latch on top is perfect for holding down a few books or other items on the store. There is also an optional lock for accessories, but we won't stock that. We will have the optional side rails which are only needed for very large panniers. A neat feature the ability to snap a shopping basket, or other accessory, into the top of the rack. There are three little holes in the rack platform with spring clips that accept the basket. A snap-on hard shell case for cameras, and the like, is also available. The light bracket is drilled for JOS/Spanninga, or similar, tail lights. The platform is quite large, 395 x 142mm, and the eyelet attachment allows the rack to be leveled.

A few more details from Pletscher's web site:

  • TÜV-certified compliance with DIN 79120 and DIN 79121, capacity up to 25 kg
  • Integral 3-point system for fast installation and reconfiguration of accessories
  • Detent spring for locking accessories in place
  • Spring-loaded clamp for securing cargo
  • Two folding end plates to keep small and large items firmly in place
  • Pannier/saddlebag side supports (optional)
  • Diecast aluminum - no welded joints
  • All bolts in rust-resistant stainless steel
  • Suitable for carrying child seats
  • Integral reflector bracket

Another item I was impressed with was the double leg kickstands. These are not cheap, but they are great for a loaded shopping bike.
The racks, baskets, and stands should arrive later this week. We'll have a few other parts later. Are there other Euro-style accessories that should be available here? And will the rather "industrial" style of many modern European parts be well received here?

28 comments:

David said...

Yeah for the double-kickstands!

Chris, any chance you ordered the 8-degree cotter plate for those double kickstands? It increases the spread between the legs by 45mm, which I think would make it more suitable for an xtracycle or seriously loaded machines.

JPTwins said...

I have one of those Pletscher double kickstands and they are awesome. not light, but i'm to the point where function rules over weight.

Chris Kulczycki said...

David, I'm not sure if we can get those plates. They are not in the catalog/list that we have so they might not be exported to the US. Additionally, judging from the photo they may only work on single leg stands

reverend dick said...

Industrial style, me no likey.

keithwwalker said...

+1 on the double stand!

David said...

Ah, I see. Well, cotter or no, does anyone have experience with the double kickstand on an Xtracycle?

david_nj said...

Boy do I hate that rack. Ug-leee! Plus, that's the kind of thing one can get most anywhere. Letitia Casta doesn't clean restrooms ...

The double kickstands are simply the greatest thing since sliced bread. I've been thinking speccing getting a kickstand plate for my VO randonneur -- not totally decided but I really, really like these. (On fine frames, for sure you'd want to use a brazed-on plate rather than risk deforming the chainstays.)

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of cool details and features on that rack. Its not at all like the racks you can get everywhere. But silver would be better. Any chance?

Anonymous said...

I would second silver. I'm getting tired of all these black bike parts.

Justin said...

Reserve a kickstand for me! I love the double-leg variety, as they make it possible to use a kickstand with a front loaded bike! (the only kind worth riding!)

Joe said...

A great companion for the double leg stands (and front racks!) is the Hebie Stabilizer spring that keeps the front wheel from flopping around while parked. Rivendell carried these for a while, but I haven't been able to find a supplier since. Any chance you could import it?

K Matthias said...

I LOVE the functionality of the Pletscher racks. My only objection is the color. Do they have silver? Other than that I'd say it's a score.

nordic_68 said...

I'm shopping for 2 double kickstands since a friend and I will both be getting rear child seats for our bikes. However your sourcing of those items may take longer than we can wait since we'll have the bike seats next weekend.

Anonymous said...

the industrial look is my favorite thing about bikes from the north . . . they have their priorities straight, old souls and all that. I don't know if it'll catch on here, though, since our bikes are so often more of a blingy midlife/lifestyle statement than a useful machine. Corvettes for nerds, etc.

mw

tex said...

An industrial strength rack is just the thing for a commuter or grocery bike. Then there is the fact that black racks look good on black bikes. Black is a great color for bikes. The last couple of racks I have bought have been silver. Silver powder coat. One was a Blackburn. What's the deal? How can that be cheaper than raw aluminium? Looks at least as crummy as black powder coat on a well used rack, too.

lee.watkins said...

yeah those Pletcher racks are nice, I got one for my wife a few years ago w/ the snap-on hardcase after some research. the whole rack snaps right off. we use the basket and hardcase a lot.

Love the double-kickstand!

Jim Rogers said...

I'll second the call to import the Hebie Stabilizer. I bought several of them (when they were available) and they work great.

They're particularly nice on a front-loaded bike as they keep the front wheel from flopping around even under load.

Glad I have a stash of them, and recommend them to any rando-rider.

Chris Kulczycki said...

We can get the racks in silver, but we would have to make a fairly large order and, probably, wait a few months. So I'd like to see if they are popular and what folks think of them before doing so.

We may also stock one of the smaller Pletscher racks for folks who don't need to carry as much.

nv said...

I'd love to see a simple, inexpensive front rack. I bought one a few years ago made by Bor Yeuh of Taiwan for around $12 and I can longer find them anywhere. It is the second best looking production front rack I've seen after the VO racks. It's also held up perfectly. If I could source them again, I'd love to buy several more. Of course I'd love a VO rack but it doesn't make sense for a beater being used in NYC.

SprocketScientist said...

I LOVE the lockable 3-point adapter. In Germany this summer I saw someone with a hard case on their rack, looked vintage, but I thought that was a great idea. So, yeah, I think this rack system looks really cool.

david_nj said...

Just do a Google to find one of those Hebie Stabilizer things. I ordered one a while back from a place in Germany.

BTW they're pretty frikking useful. If you have a big front rack it's immensely easier to deal with if it stays pointing forward when you're loading it. The Stabilizer gizmo does just that. You don't really notice it when riding.

Anonymous said...

I will definitely be getting this useful rack for a utility/city bike project I am putting together for my wife.

The intent is to replace as many car trips with the bicycle, in support of our family, as is practical. For that, a basket/rack like this would be ideal. Personal preference for color is silver, but if none are available in that color, black will do.

Still looking for a simple front rack (to support a basket, as well).

Regards,
Shaun

Raiyn said...

Any chance of stocking the Athlete QuickRack?

Carice said...

I would love to find a Dutch style rear rack like one of the Steco racks that are standard on azor bikes. Ideally I would like something that could carry a passenger but I'd settle for simple and black.

Anonymous said...

What about the Hebie steering dampener? It's not available in the USA (I don't think) - have to go to Canada to get it. The dampener is a nice complement to the double-kickstand in that it keeps the front wheel from flopping over while/if the front wheel is off the ground. It's hardly noticeable when under way, and actually makes the bike more hands-free-rideable. They're popular among the cargo cycles of Holland, at least.

- Mark in Santa Barbara

Sony Laptop Parts said...

This is how shall I say.... A product that I would most definitely love to have around the house, I mean it is beneficial.. Am I right or Am I Right?! Whether some may agree or not, it doesn't bug me to enjoy the company of one of these :)
If everybody has them, I think I should have the opportunity in luxuriating myself with the presence of making this my present! Gotta say, its mainly because how well you've explained everything
It's a great gift except for sometimes, but hey it surely does re-coupe and make up for boring and lost times..

Anonymous said...

So, if you're stocking them, where are they? Not on your store's website, I looked.

Chris Kulczycki said...

We stocked the racks for a few months, but they weren't popular.

Please check the date on the post.