Flimsy, broken battery rack.

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eSurfer
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Flimsy, broken battery rack.

Post by eSurfer » Dec 10, 2016 8:06 pm

I know this is all my fault, but the battery rack located on the back of my bike has broken twice. In one spot, it stuck up in a way that made a convenient handle for lifting the bike...until it broke off when I lifted the bike by it a number of times. Ok, I can work around that, I said. Now the top part that is over the battery has broken off. Once again, certainly my fault because I have been hooking my big SUP surfboard to it to go surfing. That part of the rack lasted about 9 months and then just broke off today.

Looking at the breakage, I notice it's made of aluminum tube; pretty soft and flimsy. The way I abuse it, I need something tougher. My eBike is my main ride to get to surf spots by my house and I need to find something that can take the extra strain I put on it. Any suggestions?
Last edited by eSurfer on Dec 10, 2016 8:18 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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Re: Flimsy, broken battery rack.

Post by craneplaneguy » Dec 10, 2016 8:43 pm

Weld one up out of 3/8 or 1/2" dia. .035 wall thickness chromoly tubing. Don't weld? Hire it out. Go to Aircraft Spruce for it, they supply any length/ size, and quick. Probably less then 20 bucks plus shipping, 35 total. WAY stronger then aluminum.

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Re: Flimsy, broken battery rack.

Post by lester12483 » Dec 10, 2016 11:27 pm

I had that happen to me. Now I use a rack that is far more sturdier.
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Re: Flimsy, broken battery rack.

Post by amberwolf » Dec 11, 2016 4:34 am

A "bulletproof" rack I built for a friends' "bugout bike", to carry anything he could possibly pedal away with (including giant heavy-duty side panniers he was going to hang from it)
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... k#p1026929
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Would be even stronger if welded to the bike instead of bolted, but we needed it removable for some reason I don't recall.
Image
I built it out of 1/2" square tube steel that used to be the T-bar posts at the end of store aisles, holding up the signs telling you what is in which aisle. It's crappy steel; you can buy much better stuff that's lighter. :)
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Or build a trike to carry the stuff.... ;)
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Re: Flimsy, broken battery rack.

Post by dogman dan » Dec 11, 2016 7:34 am

Time to make, or have made, something like the rack AW built. Need not be cromoly, just some thin wall steel.

And,, best of all, you can make it your first project with a wire feed welder. And be off an running towards building a badass surf bike tailored to your needs.

Easier still though,, switch to a steel beach cruiser that comes with a rack welded right into the frame. The huffy panama jack for example, but you still have to modify it to have some gears and decent brakes.

Mine was a Schwinn, with the same welded rack as the panama jack. I lengthened, added 7 gears, and disc brakes. Just adding disc mounts is actually a really easy welding project. Would not cost a ton to have a pro do it.

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Re: Flimsy, broken battery rack.

Post by craneplaneguy » Dec 11, 2016 10:04 am

I like that rear view of Amberwolf's rack, the triangulation/X bracing.... that is one serious rack! Working with square tube is easier then with round tube also. Much simpler to cut and fit. Chrome moly is pretty cheap, plus I wanted some experience welding it, so that's what I use. Regular steel is even cheaper of course. This thread has got me thinking.....rather then straighten it out and re-install the store bought rear aluminum rack I tweaked in my accident a few months ago (I panic braked after seeing a electric fence wire across a farm road, too late, and went over the handle bars onto some rocks) which never did fit that well, I may just order in some CM and make a REAL rack.

Just checked the price at Aircraft Spruce of 1/2" x .035 square CM, $7.97 per foot! Wow, I had no idea it is was that expensive, I also see round 1/2" tube is "only" $3.85 per foot. If I went with CM, I'd use a combination of the square tube and the round, using the square only for the side rails and going to the bike frame. Easy fitting that way... then use some round 3/8" or even 5/16" tube for the in between frame work, they could just be square cut as they would butt into the square tubes, no coping required. My local powder coater would charge less then 50 to coat it, bet I could do the whole thing pretty easily for less then $100.00 and it'd be custom fit and bulletproof.

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Re: Flimsy, broken battery rack.

Post by 2old » Dec 11, 2016 11:39 am

If you don't have the requisite fabrication skills, desire or equipment to build, take a look at Old Man Mountain racks; made in the USA and friends have had good service from them.

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Re: Flimsy, broken battery rack.

Post by eSurfer » Dec 11, 2016 12:49 pm

2old wrote:If you don't have the requisite fabrication skills, desire or equipment to build, take a look at Old Man Mountain racks; made in the USA and friends have had good service from them.
Thanks, 2old. I have neither the skill or desire (or patience) to build one. Those look really sturdy.

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Re: Flimsy, broken battery rack.

Post by eSurfer » Dec 11, 2016 12:52 pm

dogman dan wrote:Time to make, or have made, something like the rack AW built. Need not be cromoly, just some thin wall steel.

And,, best of all, you can make it your first project with a wire feed welder. And be off an running towards building a badass surf bike tailored to your needs.

Easier still though,, switch to a steel beach cruiser that comes with a rack welded right into the frame. The huffy panama jack for example, but you still have to modify it to have some gears and decent brakes.

Mine was a Schwinn, with the same welded rack as the panama jack. I lengthened, added 7 gears, and disc brakes. Just adding disc mounts is actually a really easy welding project. Would not cost a ton to have a pro do it.
Thanks for that great idea, dogman. Unfortunately, I'm not much of a builder. I might look into having something like that custom made.

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Re: Flimsy, broken battery rack.

Post by 999zip999 » Dec 11, 2016 1:09 pm

Can't. Can't ? I don't believe it. Can't. Irvine metal supply has al types of metals. Plus Costa Mesa has lots of welders. I had problems at first then build one out of tubing. But my giant had a aluminum rack and has worked fine for 2 yrs. Do you ride a long board or short ? Have thought of a step thru as it's hard to get your leg over the seat and in between the surfboard a custom solution is needed. My friend Howie owns ebikez in Corona Del Mar and his brother owns one in Santa Barbara he must have 50 electric bikes just something to look at their up to $8,000 for mid drive haibike. But nice to check things out. Tell him Robert sent you with the 7,000 watt bike. He started with pedago not any more. High end shit you don't want to scratch, but to hang on the wall. Shit when I lived in Newport we road the ulgy bike so as it didn't leave for the 909 area.

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Re: Flimsy, broken battery rack.

Post by eSurfer » Dec 11, 2016 2:34 pm

amberwolf wrote:A "bulletproof" rack I built for a friends' "bugout bike", to carry anything he could possibly pedal away with (including giant heavy-duty side panniers he was going to hang from it)
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... k#p1026929
Image
Very cool. I wish you were closer, I would hire you to make me one! :D

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Re: Flimsy, broken battery rack.

Post by eSurfer » Dec 11, 2016 2:36 pm

999zip999 wrote:Can't. Can't ? I don't believe it. Can't. Irvine metal supply has al types of metals. Plus Costa Mesa has lots of welders. I had problems at first then build one out of tubing. But my giant had a aluminum rack and has worked fine for 2 yrs. Do you ride a long board or short ? Have thought of a step thru as it's hard to get your leg over the seat and in between the surfboard a custom solution is needed. My friend Howie owns ebikez in Corona Del Mar and his brother owns one in Santa Barbara he must have 50 electric bikes just something to look at their up to $8,000 for mid drive haibike. But nice to check things out. Tell him Robert sent you with the 7,000 watt bike. He started with pedago not any more. High end shit you don't want to scratch, but to hang on the wall. Shit when I lived in Newport we road the ulgy bike so as it didn't leave for the 909 area.
Thanks Robert, I think I'll stop by there sometime in the next few weeks. I ride a standup paddleboard in the surf, so closer to a longboard than a shortboard. We just bought my wife a stepthru eBike and I like riding it too.
Last edited by eSurfer on Dec 11, 2016 3:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Flimsy, broken battery rack.

Post by amberwolf » Dec 11, 2016 3:07 pm

I'm sure there is someone/shop near you that can do that. I bet *someone* you see all the time when out surfing (or other activities) has the skills and tools, even though you don't know yet. :)

You could have a rack built that fits your bike *and* the stuff you carry on it, like with mounts made just for your board, etc..... :)

If we were closer you could bring the bike over and we could probably weld a quick and dirty one up in a day, though it wouldn't be as "finished" looking as Bill's (that takes a while).

2old wrote:If you don't have the requisite fabrication skills, desire or equipment to build, take a look at Old Man Mountain racks; made in the USA and friends have had good service from them.
The catch with racks made like that (with bolt-on strips to attach to bike) is that the attachment strips and bolt on points can wiggle, eventually either breaking at the point the bolt goes thru the strips (usually on the rack end) or just working the bolts loose (fixable with loctite, possibly).

With small light occasional loads it's not a big deal, but with heavy stuff, or stuff that is long and sticks out the back or sticks out up top, the waggling of the load and thus rack put a lot of stress on it at all the points that bend.

The sturdiest rack for loads like that is one that doesn't have points that can bend, so that it is a single piece all welded together (or formed from a single piece, but I've not seen one of those yet), that connects directly to the bike, bolting into the rack/fender mounts (or on the axle, but that's a PITA if you have to take the wheel off, which is why we didn't do that for Bill's) with no intermediate pieces. If it clamps on, then as long as the clamps are part of the rack (not like hose clamps around it or whatever), then it's still essentially one piece and sturdy, but if the clamps are separate parts you still have the wiggle problem.

THe best way to do it is to weld the rack to the frame, but that's not an option for most people. :/

THe worst part about the wiggle problem is that it's hard to even see the wiggle if you just put the rack on and try to move it by hand...but put a lever-load on it and ride it and it'll still happen. If you have a camera that is mounted to the bike frame so it can't move, pointed across the rear/side of the bike to see the whole rack and the frame, you can see wiggling happen while you ride. Even a little bit of movement is enough to break it eventually if it gets enough stress over time.



Anti-wiggle is why I did the X on the back of Bill's rack. I would've done one on hte top too but there was some reason he needed it to be a ladder instead; can't remember any more.

Anyway, there's a lot of ways to make a rack, and the way I did it is just one simple one. :)


FWIW, I made a bolted together one from thick aluminum panels for DayGlo Avenger, and it outlasted the frame itself (whcih cracked at the crossbar of the seatstays, IIRC), because the panels themselves, while they can warp across their surfaces, don't warp at the bolted-together edges, even with a wiggly large dog (Hachi as a growing puppy) in the box bolted to the left side of it. It carried loads that I couldn't handle the bike properly with, and is still intact. (though it would probably still fail before a welded-together rack would--if I couldve' welded one up then I would have; didn't get to welding stuff till after, and it didn't break so I didn't replace it once I was welding stuff up). It did break several forms of attachment to the frame itself, though; I think the good (not cheap) stainless steel hose clamps around the chainstays and seatstays ended up the sturdiest, fed thru slots in the panels, but even those would break and have to be replaced.

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Re: Flimsy, broken battery rack.

Post by eSurfer » Dec 11, 2016 3:16 pm

It's good to know that breakage is a common problem on racks. I thought I was doing something wrong, but now it seems the only thing wrong I have been doing is asking the frame to do more than it was engineered for. Good to know. Thanks for the info.

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Re: Flimsy, broken battery rack.

Post by The fingers » Dec 11, 2016 3:28 pm

Mine had a bolt wiggle loose once. Had to wire it together to get home. That is with 27 lbs. of lead back there. :oops:
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Re: Flimsy, broken battery rack.

Post by 999zip999 » Dec 11, 2016 4:07 pm

Let's see a pic of your bike. Plus my buddie owns a recycling yard a block from Doheny. He has 10 to 30 bikes many wallmart but sometimes a good one. Lots of Cruisers. But he picks up what's at the curb of money.

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Re: Flimsy, broken battery rack.

Post by LewTwo » Dec 11, 2016 4:32 pm

I believe all "Wald" baskets and racks are made of steel rods (wire). Personally I don't like them because they are heavy but they are an 'off the shelf' alternative.
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Re: Flimsy, broken battery rack.

Post by eSurfer » Dec 11, 2016 5:12 pm

Here's the rack. You can see that there is a piece missing on the front of it and on the back of it. Funny thing is, it still has what it needs to hold the battery; I have just somehow broken off anything else.

The silver box, that looks like it's attached to the back, is actually a small guitar amp that is a couple feet to the side of the bike. Should have moved that before I took the pic, sorry.
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Re: Flimsy, broken battery rack.

Post by The fingers » Dec 11, 2016 7:26 pm

I had the standard solid steel rear rack on my Schwinn Varsity in high school, the chrome plated one with the curved sides and the spring clip for holding stuff. You could take a friend along with you on it with no problems.
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Re: Flimsy, broken battery rack.

Post by 999zip999 » Dec 12, 2016 8:47 pm

So where did it crack ? Oh it's Industrial Metal Supply in Irvine. It's a wonder land. They have big cutters in the rear.

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Re: Flimsy, broken battery rack.

Post by eSurfer » Dec 12, 2016 11:05 pm

999zip999 wrote:So where did it crack ? Oh it's Industrial Metal Supply in Irvine. It's a wonder land. They have big cutters in the rear.
I think the rack is still usable for awhile. I can't find any more breakage in the part of the rack that actually holds the battery, but I know it's just a matter of time.

The rack used to have a metal loop in the front of the battery, which I used as a lifting handle and broke it off. The back of the rack used to have a loop behind the battery, which I hooked my surfboard trailer to and that broke off too.

Thanks for that tip on Industrial Metal Supply. I might try to make a rack; I don't have the tools or the skill, but that has never stopped me before :wink:

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Re: Flimsy, broken battery rack.

Post by amberwolf » Dec 13, 2016 12:40 am

I didn't hae the tools or skill to build the stuff I've built, either...until I built them, screwd them up, rebuilt them, etc. :lol:

I'm doing that again now with the SB Cruiser trike, and some of it hasn't gone as well as planned. :oops:

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