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  1. #1
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    DIY hard side panniers; slight twist to the usual buckets!

    after using army bags for so long, I decided I wanted something more water resistant and with more cargo capacity for the groceries I tend to get; as well as being more visible to traffic after almost getting run over by three different idiots in SUVs on their phones turning into the roads ; I decided to get a couple Plano Large Marine Storage boxes; essentially giant ammo cans or giant tackle boxes.... and mounted them to my bike using Tactical Tailor MALICE clips. These clips are essentially wide zip-ties, with locking tabs that you use a knife or flat blade screw driver to pry to remove, and they are useful for many things..have seen them used to mount large heavy bags onto vehicle panels; as well as hard cases for rifles and shotguns...and sometimes small ammo cans. I am confident that they can hold up to 30 pounds without breaking, and as my rack is limited to 50 pounds on the safe side, I wont have more than 20 pounds of items in each pannier; although the temptation is great... ANYWAYS! here's the step by step!
    Step 1; acquire boxes and parts;


    MALICE clips;


    Step 2; mark where you want the MALICE clips to go; and the holes to drill for 6-32 machine bolts and nuts;


    Step 3; drill holes, mount MALICE clips, test fit bolts and nuts

    whoops, looks like I bought too long bolts... eh they were $0.50 for 10pack..


    Step 4; mount to rack, test fit and see what needs adjusting/revising;

    Hmm. not liking where the tabs ended up....too close to tire and spokes..




    revised by turning the tabs the other way (up instead of down), repeated steps 1-4 for other side, got shorter bolts, and double nutted them for security, and added RTV liquid gasket material to underside of bolt heads for waterproofing;


    well here is how it looks right now! Now that's a lie. this was right before I went to stores and got stick-on reflectors....
    I might get a couple small orange tackle boxes/"ammo cans" up front to carry drinks and food...
    CamoDeafie's Tactical gear and bike-packing blog-
    http://sbtactical.wordpress.com/

  2. #2
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    Nice. Another variation on this idea, which has been discussed in here before.

    2013 Bike to Work Day Indianapolis

    Instead of the clips you used, mine uses rubber-coated stainless hooks over the rack, and a bungee with a hook down low to keep them from bouncing around. Among the other stickers, I have a lot of reflective ones in there for visibility purposes. The bike in the pic has disgustingly short chainstays, that didn't work well with panniers. I currently have a Salsa Vaya with better geometry for carrying stuff, but no pics with my DIY hard panniers

  3. #3
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    yea; I couldnt find J hooks locally for cheap... most are like $2-3 per hook...whereas it was $5.23 for a set of 4 MALICE clips.... I have a couple laundry buckets, however, no lids, and I couldn't fit what I wanted to fit in them....so that's a reason to get the Plano boxes..which also have holes for locks to go through... I like your bike's set up though. I found out that my Oswego frame might have been for touring, when I measured the chainstays, and it came out to be the same length as Surly's Long Haul Trucker's chainstays.... at 460mm; so that gave me a lot of room for panniers and no heel strikes.
    CamoDeafie's Tactical gear and bike-packing blog-
    http://sbtactical.wordpress.com/

  4. #4
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    A note about reflecting tape on these slant sided boxes:

    They will tend to reflect incoming light at a downward angle and so they don't work in car headlights reflecting back to the driver anywhere near as well as they should. The ones on truck trailers are in the vertical plane, not tipped in at the bottom.

    Given the low position of a reflective stripe around these boxes at 3-6" from the bottom, it would be best to tip them out, (not in) at the bottom to return more light to drivers whose lights and eyes are above the reflective tape. One could do that by sacrificing all but a ring of sidewall from other buckets and slide that ring in inverted fashion over the bottom of an intact bucket. Fastening it there has a number of options. If a few tabs were left on the narrow (top) end of the ring, then rivets or bolts would work. Stick the reflective tape on the ring and you have an upward reflecting tape. It might not be the best angle but it should be close enough and way better than the disappointing return I get from mine. Add in that the tape cost half my project, that poor performance says it was wasted money and effort.

  5. #5
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    This pic that I took yesterday inadvertently shows the return from some of that reflective tape from the camera flash. There were some pretty significant angles between the camera flash and the tape. Some of the tape is pretty forgiving of the angle. The BIKE letters are supposed to be reflective, too. The sorts of letters you put on your mailbox or whatever. As you can see, those particular stickers are crap if the lights hit them at an angle. Those probably weren't worth the cost. The others ones, though, with more flexibility, I would not consider a waste.

    Buddy Flaps

  6. #6
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    ^^ The 3 M stuff I used was AWOL in the video. I need to check it with a flashlight or park the bike in front of the car in the drive and see what I see. The video my be the issue. It doesn't pick up the lightweights well and Kathryn said they showed up with the reflective wheel tape and were attention getting. I have the most low light capable POV camera available. They have improved and will again.

  7. #7
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    update; added the hard plastic reflectors with adhesive backing; and a 48" bungee flat cord to hold the panniers from flopping around in turns... its decent. BUT.... first time in a year that I've been riding a bicycle around town instead of just walking, got hit by a neighbor speeding out of the parking lot
    she says the sun was in her eyes; its is true, the sun was in her line of sight; and since she didn't wear sunglasses; didnt see me.
    the reflectors;




    the damage done she was speeding; well...she was accelerating at a very high rate; the right side bucket flew off and shattered the corner; the right leg of the rack got bent; and one of the MALICE clips tore off the screws, while the other had a break in it. I got her info; and she is to pay me the replacement of a bucket, and related accessories; (MALICE and bucket); but I just noticed the rack leg being bent...so it looks like I;ll have to inform her that the rack also needs replacing due to being weakened to such a point that it is probably unsafe to load it with anything heavier than 20 pounds total...






    I am just glad it was the bucket that took the impact, and not my leg.
    CamoDeafie's Tactical gear and bike-packing blog-
    http://sbtactical.wordpress.com/

  8. #8
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    damn dude, glad you're okay

  9. #9
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    I was talking to an ex-policeman at my apartment complex; it turns out that she IS at fault; because 1) she didn't YIELD to a cyclist/pedestrian, 2) she didn't stop at the sidewalk from the parking, which even if it were not posted, means everyone driving OUT is supposed to STOP and look both ways before exiting; the same rule for driveways in residential areas....so as I've got her info, I will figure things out. but yeah, 10 inches away from my leg...if it were not for the bucket, my right leg could've been crushed.
    CamoDeafie's Tactical gear and bike-packing blog-
    http://sbtactical.wordpress.com/

  10. #10
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    In Indiana she would definitely be in the wrong for those reasons. That was well worth the effort. Add a pannier and save a leg. If she gets touchy you can point out how expensive *that* would have been. You get a new rack, and have the LBS check the rear right alignment and wheel for true. It doesn't take a lot of side force to 'adjust' the rear rim. Better luck on the next maiden voyage.

  11. #11
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    A simple suggestion for your "Bolts" drill bigger holes and uses chainring bolts, they will seat flush and never damage your stuff..

  12. #12
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    well. I'm now thinking steel fender washers would be better, unless I score a set of 4 J hooks for cheap...
    CamoDeafie's Tactical gear and bike-packing blog-
    http://sbtactical.wordpress.com/

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by CamoDeafie View Post

    I am just glad it was the bucket that took the impact, and not my leg.
    That's for sure, glad you're OK! Once your adrenalin wears off, make sure your wheel is not out of true, brakes not rubbing, etc. from the impact.

  14. #14
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    got the bike checked out; apparently the rear of the bike is in amazingly good shape after being hit by a car... the wheel needed VERY little truing, the brakes are good, the only things that need replacing; one bucket, and the rack. SO....recommend a good rack of similar approximate size? FWIW, the bucket is 17" long; and the rack itself is around 17" long, but placed so that things are past the brake calipers; unlike the Trek rack up front that I tried to put on the rear; in which its got only 5mm of space between the front edge rail and the brake cable... whereas on the apparently older gray rack; there's 75mm or so space between the front edge rail and the cable... i could not line up the bucket with that particular rack, without being over the brake arms..
    CamoDeafie's Tactical gear and bike-packing blog-
    http://sbtactical.wordpress.com/

  15. #15
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    ^^ Maybe if you compared pictures of your rack (good side & flip the picture for the right side) and pictures of the rack you are considering (if you can get them straight on), using the dimensions listed for the new rack to calibrate, would work.

  16. #16
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    hmmm that's an idea.

    can anyone confirm whether the Axiom Transit rack actually is rated for 130 pounds?? it seems to be what I am looking for...but I will need to test fit the remaining good bucket... and see if it will work or not.
    CamoDeafie's Tactical gear and bike-packing blog-
    http://sbtactical.wordpress.com/

  17. #17
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    I have some MALICE clips for holding knives to MOLLE gear, but I wouldn't trust them over rubber coated "P-Clips" for holding up much weight on a cycle. I think the most I've paid for P-Clips might be 50 each. Try to add a third P-Clip down low, so the mounts are in a 3-way, triangular configuration, to avoid needing a bungee to keep it from flopping around.

    You make a strong point for hard cases as evidenced by how they protected your leg in a crash. I might just have to get a set of Ortlieb's mounting system to bolt onto some cat litter buckets myself.

    Does anyone know if something like this can be bolted to a bucket?

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    Pictured above is Ortlieb's QL1 system, retail price is $42 for two sets. Minus 15% would be about $35.70.

  18. #18
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    well; other than Home Depot; the LBS wants me to pay $3 per P-clip as for the Ortlieb QL-1 system; I believe they can be bolted to buckets/plastic items?

    I've also seen Arkel rails on kitty litter buckets as well.

    Like I've said, I've seen people use MALICE clips to hold 30-50 pounds of gear in their vehicles....
    CamoDeafie's Tactical gear and bike-packing blog-
    http://sbtactical.wordpress.com/

  19. #19
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    DIY hard side panniers; slight twist to the usual buckets!

    Quote Originally Posted by CamoDeafie View Post
    well. I'm now thinking steel fender washers would be better, unless I score a set of 4 J hooks for cheap...
    You absolutely need the largest fender washers you can find, inside and out. The bolts are just going to pull out and crack the plastic without them.
    mtbtires.com
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    This pic that I took yesterday inadvertently shows the return from some of that reflective tape from the camera flash. There were some pretty significant angles between the camera flash and the tape. Some of the tape is pretty forgiving of the angle. The BIKE letters are supposed to be reflective, too. The sorts of letters you put on your mailbox or whatever. As you can see, those particular stickers are crap if the lights hit them at an angle. Those probably weren't worth the cost. The others ones, though, with more flexibility, I would not consider a waste.
    I have seen the flash camera results too and they always seem more impressive than what I see. The light source and the 'eye are in the same direction. It is analogous to being directly in front of a car. However. it has only taken me a week to get around to the park the bike in front of the car and see what a driver would see. I would need a good digtital camera with low light capabilities to document this. I did not break out the old 35 mm SLR. Buying film, processing, and scanning seemed too much like work. The video camera at the lowest light setting won't cut it. So you'll have to take by observations.

    So what happens when the light source fans out from straight ahead 90 degrees to the 'road' and the driver is looking angle-wise at a cyclist? I discovered the rimskin reflective tape, the sidewalls of the Michelins, the lightweights on the spokes and the 3M tape all show up great at about 25 feet to the side in on the other side of the street distance and not quite 20 feet if at a distance of a car at a stop line and the cyclist not hugging the curb. They'd be wonderful if we were stationary. Of course if the driver doesn't stop until the curb the distance is less for the cyclist in the lane closest to the car. My "pannier" tape showed well as 20 feet on the other side of the road, even though the same tape on the front rack down struts showed well another 5 feet to the side. The reflective gear on the rear of both bikes disappeared completely at another few feet to the side. So for the most part the headlight beam angle and return to the driver is the major factor. At 10 mph about 15 feet a second, and 20 is 29 feet. So a second or a second and a half of warning. Assuming the driver isn't checking for traffic the other way. I might gain 5 feet or 1/6-1/3 of a second with better tape on the panniers or a better alignment. I did not activate the Glo-rims. They showed up better than the polished crankset, and though a bit dimmer they were a lot wider than the Michelin side wall strips. So the impact may be a tad bit more, but with reflective tape especially in quadrants, the effect was impressive, if a bit late to the party of a moving cyclist and cross traffic.

    Anyone can repeat this. A car, a means to prop the bike, either knowing your stride or using a tape measure, and an area wide enough. I think it is good to know how we appear to drivers trying to see us, and adjust accordingly. We still have those who can't see a fire truck at full cry, but every little bit helps.

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