VeloMania: I Build A Front Bike Rack

I wanted a front rack on my urban MTB, but did not have a lot of money to spend on either a really good or really bad rack. This is how I built it.

There are several DIY sites out there on how to build a bike rack.

Materials used:

[3] 36 x 1 x 1/8" aluminum bar stock

1 length of bar stock will be the horizontal box, overlapped and pop-riveted together.
1 length of bar stock will be both down-struts.
1 length of bar stock will be the deck w/ backstop.

[2] 1" hose clamps

[2] 3" double-stick foam tape, for each fork

Pop rivets or stove bolts, as necessary for assembly

I used a pop-rivet gun to secure the struts to the rack, and the deck to the assembled rack. You could easily use stove-bolts, I just had the pop-rivet gun handy.


This is all DIY improvised, based on available materials, and trying to get as much out it as possible. Your measurements will vary.


Here is Mr Hose-Clamp/Strut Support. Take care when drilling the hole for the bolt--it has to clear the hex-slot head, not interfere with the wheels, and be accessible. Wrap the fork where you want the pipe clamp with the double-stick foam carpet tape.

Wrap forks and seat the clamps, with bolt facing outward, same angle as the axle. The closer you can get to this, the better. There is some play, but not much.


Mark your center on the first 36" piece. Make all your bends from the center out! You will wrap the remainders to the back, where they will be pop riveted or bolted. Then drill the center hole through both thicknesses for the hex-head carriage bolt. This is a great way to hide your mistakes.

Bar shown bent and ready for drilling. I used a small wood-vise I picked up years ago at a swap meet. Score bar lightly with w/ a hacksaw at the desired bends.

Attach completed box assembly to bike frame, shown below:
This will give you a far more precise measurement for your struts. Once again, this was in the "improv" zone.


1 length of bar stock will be both down-struts. Measure, cut on angle, file the ends. This way one cut yields 2 correct angles. File edges w/ 14" mill file, round-overs so you don't shred yourself. Hand fit each strut. There will be slight variances.

Rule of thumb suggests that the strut at it narrowest can be 3x the width of the washer head for strength and stability. More is better, but I had to accomodate the hose-clamp bolt seats.

Below: Rack assembled, struts pop-riveted to deck assembly.


1 length of bar stock will be the deck w/ backstop.
Piece has been bent in the other small vise I had. Small angle faces front, down on the main assembly.

Piece has been bent in the other small vise I had, in an angular "S"configuration.

Here the long and the traverse sections are c-clamped together for drilling. The un-punched pop-rivet is shown in the first hole, prior to being punched in with the pop-rivet gun.

Final finishing will be a scrap length flush to the top of he longer bend. Make sure to secure it to the front of the upright.

A C-clamp helps enormously. Vise grips would do nicely also.

Yes, this was all done in my kitchen. I miss my wood-shop.


Anonymous said…
Next: build your own rocket jetpack!
Raiyn said…
I would have attached the top cross pieces below the rack to give it sort of a basket or bread delivery rack like effect but that's me.
Anonymous said…
Good idea, but the aluminum may be too soft for heavy loads. And if ever your rack hits a hard object or surface, its sure to bend out of shape.
Mr Trail Safety said…
so far its held up under about 30lbs in a dynamic load condition. Next time I'd use angled stock for the struts.

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