Death Valley Preparation 2: Don’t I also need a bicycle?

2 days before leaving and spending a lot of time figuring out my packing logistics, I figured I should probably also mount up the bicycle I was planning to take both on this trip, and my extended June trip.  This is a generic China carbon CX frameset, configured with hydraulic disc brakes and ultra low gearing (44/30 + 10-42 cassette!) – the main difference between this and my Parlee is the thru-axle fork configuration.  The 2×2 rack is transformable for both QR & Thru-axle, so I didn’t think too much of it.

One thing to address right away is ensuring I had a disc brake spacer to avoid compressing the pads together on accident.  So tossed an extra spare one into my spare bag, this also adds a setup/tear down step.

Next up, I went to attach the bike and realized my China fork’s dropout was too small to mate over the outside of the 2×2 rack.

The “shoulder” on the fork was approximately 1.5 mm too narrow to sit nicely on top of the rack.

So, like any good Motorcycle Farkler.. I broke out the Dremel and some sanding discs and ground down the rack “axle” so it would fit.  Having a tight interface here is critical to avoid damage to the fork, given all the forces that are going to be put on it.

2×2 rack modification for my Chinese fork


Once I had the fork mounted I gave it a good shake and noticed there was still a fair amount of movement between the rack & the fork dropout.  Again, this is the major interface to the bike/rack, so any movement here is a bad thing.

More measuring and it appears my Chinese fork axle is ~14.6mm, and the inside diameter of the bike rack is ~16.6mm.  The result is that the axle can “wobble” in the rack, rubbing the dropouts.  Time for more Farkle creativity – a layer of heat shrink tubing over the axle, hit it with the heat gun, cooled and sliced off as a spacer.

2x2 rack through axle thru axle spacer
Heat shrink tubing spacer and ground down “axle” for my fork

This is still not ideal since it is made of rubber, but 48 hours to launch you use what ya got.  For my longer trip I will replace with some aluminum can shim or stainless sheet.

Final challenge:  Stages power meter lives on the same crank arm that secures the back end of the bicycle.  For this I glued & zip tied a few layers of thick rubber as a spacer against the crank arm.

Done!  Bicycle attached, 48 hours to go!

Loaded up and ready to go!

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