Stainless Cycle Truck Rack

John Speare has my old Cycle Truck now (giving me room in the basement to make a new one). As part of the deal I wanted to make a new rack for that bike. The original rack is long and narrow (20″ long, 16″ wide) and after riding that bike a lot I came to the conclusion that a short and wide rack would be better. This will encourage keeping the loads closer to the head tube, which is the key to carrying heavy loads and having good handling with that bike.

In addition to the size differences the new rack has also gained a U-lock holder behind the backstop and some cleats for holding die down ropes. I copied the cleats from Joseph Ahearne’s lovely cycle truck that was shown at the OBCA show a couple of weeks ago.

The old rack will be going on my next cargo bike, which will look a lot like the Cycle Truck except that the front wheel will be under the rack instead of behind it. It could look something like this:

The new rack is made out of stainless steel (316) and was my first rack made with the material. It is challenging to work with, mostly because brazing it is trickier. The bronze filler that I normally use doesn’t work with stainless. I tried three different fillers (Harris 45% silver, Cycle Design’s Fillet Pro, and Nickel Silver from Gasflux). In the end I used the Harris 45% silver on the joints which wouldn’t see high loads and nickel silver on the ones that would. The Fillet Pro was the nicest of the three to work with, but I have limited quantities of it and wanted to save it for my framebuilding projects. Nickel silver is very strong, but melts at a higher temperature and was harder to use. The fillets also don’t clean up as nicely. 45% silver is the weakest of the three, but easy to work with on stainless steel.

In the photos shown here the rack is just about finished. I have some cleanup work to do around the brazed joints (that will remove the smoky color near some of the joints).

The underside of the rack. You can see the 4 cleats as well as the 4 mounting points that hold the rack to the bike.

A closeup of one of thecleats. The rack has stainless water bottle bosses as mounting points, and the cleats screw into those.

An early photo of the lock holder. The final one has a second loop on the middle rail of the rack:

I’m delivering the rack to John a few days after Thanksgiving and will take some photos of it installed on the bike then.


  1. Adam Alpern says:

    The rope cleats are brilliant! Nice work.

    I”m looking forward to seeing Cycle Truck #2 – it looks like exactly the sort of bike I want. More capacity than a porteur, but still relatively close to “normal” bike size.

  2. AlexWetmore says:

    That is the goal with #2 Adam. I want the bike to be the same length as bike #1, but ready to handle a little heavier loads.

    I can”t fit an XtraCycle or Bakfiets in my basement unless I sell our tandem. We only have room for one long bike. Compact cargo bikes are an interesting challenge.

  3. samh says:


    Firstly, I decided to RSS your blog last week after having stumbled upon it many times doing research for various bicycle DIY and cargo bike research. Very, very wonderful stuff.

    So, onto the meat of my post. I”m curious about your plans for steering on the Bike Truck v2 design. Given the steer tube and the fork are not in-line, do you plan to design something like the steering on a Cetma / Bakfiets style bicycle as a solution?

    Sam H

  4. rory says:

    I”ve been using a basket, with a bunjee net on the top of it for grocery getting. I actually thread my lock through the bunjee, so it is completely suspended, and doesnt rattle or anything. i wonder if this can be designed into a porteur rack…

  5. AlexWetmore says:

    Sam — Yes, the bike will have two headsets connected by a linkage. This isn”t a solution unique to cargo bikes, recumbents have also used steering linkages for a long time.

  6. Josh says:

    Just came across your blog today while zoning out at work. I”m enjoying it thoroughly. I”m brand new to Seattle and an avid cyclist. I”m thrilled to see there’’s such gorgeous S240 bike camping to be done in the area.

  7. Jimmy Livengood says:

    Alex, any though on varying the steering ratio?

    I haven”t noticed any bikes which employ this sort of tie-rod steering linkage that have deviated from a 1:1 ratio, with each steering arm being the same length. Also, each steering arm always sticks out at 90 degrees from the centerline of the bike (3 o”clock or 9 o”clock when looking top-town).

    I always wondered if an increasing-rate or falling-rate steering could be designed that might be beneficial.

    Using a cable/pulley system like on the smallhaul would allow this, if one made the pulley elliptical or some other non-circular shape.

    Just thinking out loud here, I haven”t seen it addressed before.

  8. Pat S says:


    John is already more than a little goofy-giddy over the cycle truck as-is. Do you think that bumping it up a notch is such a good idea?

    You”re 300 miles away, but we have to deal with him on a daily basis.

  9. AlexWetmore says:

    Jimmy — The Bakfiets has multiple holes on the linkage that allow you to change the ratio. I”ve ridden with it in 1:1 and another position, and honestly didn”t notice a huge difference when riding. I”ll probably copy that design on my bike though, just to get more experience with it.

    I don”t think I”ll do cable steering, the one bike with it felt a little odd to me.

    Pat — I will provide at least 20 hours of Spokane level support upon dropping the rack off with John. After that he is all yours.