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Sunday, April 12th, 2009 | Author:

My wife is a bit under-tall and it is a bit of a struggle to get a proper fitting bicycle for her. Fortunately, the bikes by Georgena Terry fit her well. She has also seen the light and rides a Brooks leather saddle. Her favorite model is the sprung Champion Flyer “S”. The combination of the low seat height and the seat springs make it impossible to fit her bike with a traditional rear rack. A rack can almost be kludged under the seat if the style is chosen carefully, but the problem remains that a bag on top of the rack is in the way of the seat.

Being a firm believer in everybody carrying their own weight, I decided to fix this problem. I got some 5/16″ 0.035″ wall thickness 4130 Chrome-Moly aircraft tubing and a bit of silver solder and set out to make a rack just for her bike (or any 18.5″ 700c Terry frame).

I don’t have a proper torch, or much in the way of proper tooling, so I knew this was going to be an adventure. Silver solder has a melting point below the flame temperature of propane, so I knew at least I stood a chance at making a joint. The one tool I bought after trying lesser tubing benders is a Ridgid tubing bender. The cheap tubing benders sold at Harbor Freight and the like work well for copper and aluminum tubing but really fall flat on thin walled steel. The Ridgid made bends that are a thing of beauty.

Shown below is the results of my efforts using a few hand tools, the tubing bender, and a propane torch. The rack is set back far enough that with a rack trunk in place there is still some room between my wife’s posterior and the front of the trunk. In the pictures, the fillets are nearly complete with final sanding and finish work left to do. The final step is to powder coat the rack.