Wednesday, December 7, 2016

well whaddya know, a new front rack

I've been looking for a front rack or basket for enhanced carrying capacity on my Marin Muirwoods.  Something not too cheap, not too expensive.  I thought about going the Wald Basket route, but just wasn't sure about the handlebar connections.  Seemed bulky.

Then a couple weeks ago I came across the new Blackburn Local Basket Front or Rear Rack.  I couldn't quite figure out online how big it was, but it has a carrying capacity of 45lbs.  "It's both height and width adjustable and disc-brake compatible to fit almost any road or mountain bike." So armed with the remainder of an Amazon gift card I received last Christmas (not a big Amazon shopper), I took a chance and ordered one.  Ended up paying about $30 for it, figured I couldn't go too wrong.

It arrived a few days ago, and it's bigger than I thought but a good size for hauling stuff. The bottom is 11 1/2" X 14 1/2", while the top spreads out to 13 X 16.  It's about 5 " tall.
still has the stickers on it! and look - a u-lock holder

It comes with 2 different sizes of P-clamps for attaching to rear seat stays, and 2 struts for attaching to the fork or seat stay:
hardware kit includes two eyelets that screw into the ends of
the struts, and swivel attachments for mounting on the rack

I was surprised it didn't come with a bracket for attaching to the fender/rack hole in the top of the fork.  You could probably work some bracket attachment up there. That left the only attachment points down at the fender mount/QR, and the braze-on on the fork which is pretty low on the Marin. The P-Clamps were too small for the fork, so I biked up to Home Depot to get a couple 1" P-Clamps.  Attached them higher up on the fork, and they fit perfectly.  I still have some fiddling with the mounts to do before I cut down the struts.  Due to the angle of the struts mounted to the fork, they point out a bit. It seems a little dangerous, kinda like a knight's lance.  Maybe I could put foam rubber balls on the ends, and use it to ward off dogs.

I haven't tried the rack with any weight on it yet.  The steering is so quick on the Marin, it'll be interesting to see how the bike handles with a load on the front.

I am 98% certain that the rack is secure on the bike, and it won't fall apart while bombing down Alberta  Street.


  1. So, how is this experiment going so far? I am installing this rack on my Vaya this weekend.

  2. So far so good - rack is secure and the bike handles well with it. I still would prefer a bracket attachment to the fork crown hole/brake bolt hole but it seems ok without it. It's great to have for items that won't fit into a backpack or panniers. My velo-orange porteur bag fits in it, along with some grocery bags. Hope it works out with your Vaya

  3. Hey Scott. I tried to post this comment earlier but it didn't seem to show up after I posted it. Apologies if this is suddenly a duplicate.

    You're Muirwoods inspired my own winter commuter build. I'm currently running a 2017 Muirwoods with 2" Marathon Winters, Axiom fenders and a Surly Nice Rack. I commute daily with Arkel Orca 35 pannier bags but I'm going to be setting up a Walk 137 basket with Swift Sugarloaf bag for lighter commuting essentials.

    I'm currently building up a Soma Wolverine and the Muirwoods will be my dedicated winter bike. I was hoping to use it as a lock up bike in summer though and transform it into a kind of 29er-cruiser hybrid with some chunky tires and riser bars. The plan is to convert it to a 1x9 setup and loose the front derailleur and gain some tire clearance, then run a Maxxis Ardent 2.25 in the back and Ardent 2.4 in the front. I'm curious if you think there will be enough clearance, considering you've been running a similar bike for a while.

    Thanks for your time!

    ( Picture of my Muirwood in it's current state — )

  4. Hi Chis - the Ardent will be real close, tough to say. I have the 2.0 Winter Marathons on now and there’s 1/2” -3/4” space between the top of the tire and frame and about the same total from the tire sides to chain stays. The tire does measure an even 2” from bead to top. My Muirwoods is the 17” frame size.

    Funny you mention converting to 1x9 as I was just thinking the same. Or maybe 2x10. I really hate triples! The Swift Sugarloaf looks ideal.


    1. I would say I probably have about the same clearance on my 2017 Muirwoods, maybe closer to ¾" with the 2.0 Marathon Winters. I've seen a user by the name Andy_K online who had a slightly older Muirwoods setup with 2.1" Maxxis Ignitors with the front derailleur still on. ( Link below )

      I'm hoping the bike shop that's building up my Soma Wolverine will be willing to test a few different tires out after switching it to a 1x9 to see what we can squeeze onto the bike. I'm even considering converting it to a single speed for simplicity sake. It's currently -41C with windchill and I keep struggling with my derailleur freezing up on me so I've been stuck in one gear anyway... kind of getting used to it.