Monthly Archives: January 2017

Protecting your Bike Racks

Ortlieb panniers come with small plastic inserts to allow a snug fit to a variety of bike racks. There have been numerous reports from other cycle tourists that these inserts can come loose and get lost resulting in a rattling rack set up.

On a long tour the pannier mounting hooks can also get a lot of wear and tear as can the pannier racks themselves. Repeated rubbing against the rack rails can damage the powder coating and steel racks can begin to rust. Having seen other bike tourers’ attempts to reduce this with gaffer tape or other material with some success I decided to try a more robust solution to address both problems.

After scouring the internet I found some reinforced clear plastic tubing with an internal diameter of 10mm (the diameter of the tubing used on Thorn steel racks) and an outside diameter of 15mm (slightly smaller than the 16mm Ortlieb pannier mounts without an insert).

Reinforced tubing used to protect rack

The tubing and tools required … oh, and add some zip-ties!

Thorn Low Loader Mk V with protective tube

The finished front Thorn MkV Low-Loader

Rear rack covered in tube protection

The finished rear Thorn Expedition rack

After the North Sea Cycle route tour of about three months in 2013 there was little noticeable wear on the protective tubing. After the second trans-Europe tour in the Summer of 2016 there was still little wear on the rack tubing.

It works well and is not an expensive solution!

Rohloff Rear Cog Wear

The Thorn Raven Tour is equipped with a Rohloff 14 speed internal gear hub. One nice feature is that the single drive cog can be reversed so that additional kilometres can be obtained from it as it wears. Being a single cog it functions as a single speed drive with no lateral chain movement hence less chain wear compared to derailleur gear systems. I like both derailleur and internal hub gear systems. I prefer the Rohloff hub for reliability and durability on long tours. So far there have been no problems with the Rohloff on tour.

Rohloff Cog after 10450km

A 16 tooth Rohloff cog after at least 10450km

The cog above was used on my first long tour of 6124km back in 2013. It was reversed about half way through that tour and reversed again prior to the summer 2016 trans-Europe tour. The picture shows the cog and drive direction at the end of this second 4326km long tour. It has since been reversed again as the ‘shark fin’ wear pattern had become quite pronounced.

I hope to get another 5000km (or more!) from the above cog before fitting the new one below!

Rohloff Cog New

A new 16 tooth Rohloff cog for comparison

If you have a Rohloff on your bike, how many kilometers/miles have you squeezed out of your rear cog?

Comments welcome below!