I had this rack kicking around in the garage as a keeper from a craig’s list find. The
Bruce Gordon Front Mountain Rack made it into my possession a couple of years back when I was lucky enough to be the first responder to an ad for a “grocery getter” that turned out to be a 1985 Specialized Stumpjumper Sport, thanks to sharp eyes, was wearing this rack. The bike was a very fun fire road machine, but had to go and now lives in the Pacific NW. The rack however, stayed on the shelf for a later project. Based on the Oregon location for Bruce’s shop on the sticker the rack is likely as old as the stumpjumper, Bruce is now in Petaluma, Ca.
I have been thinking about fitting a front rack to the Rawland, but after looking at the front racks available I was not really happy with what I saw. The most likely candidate was a Surly nice rack with a bit of grinding it could be made to work, but all that hardware looked like trouble for trail days. The BG rack was originally intended to clear the cantilever brakes that were popular for touring and off-road back in the 80’s, while keeping the bags clear of rocks and the load as close to the steering axis as possible. I had used the rack on the stumpy and it had actually helped with the handling of the older slack geometry. I pulled the rack down to see if and how it would play with the disc brake calipers on the Rawland.
Low and behold the fit was almost perfect. The biggest problem was with the design of the plug dropout and brazeon for the front fork. This has always been a problem with this bike and required spacers to bolt on just about anything. I mounted it up with 4mm of spacers, the original 2mm, a presta nut and the fender R-clip on each side. The top is held in place with clamps for now, but if need arises or I get this bike re-coated, brazeons will be added. I have now used the rack for a few weeks both on and off-road and it has been rock solid.
The load has little detrimental effect on the handling at all. I have used it mostly for errands and trips to the Sunday farmer’s market. Average loads are around 15 lbs and handling was fine. The heaviest was around 35, and yes the handling was a bit slow with that much weight in the front, but things never got out of control.
I would recommend this rack to anybody in the market for a front rack that can clear you brakes. This design proves to be fairly timeless as it predates the disc brake design by decades yet adapts easily. Bruce is still making and selling these, and you should look him up if you are in the market.