The Rambler while a well handling bike with no load aside from the rider, is designed to ride well with a modest front load. As part of the design there are integral rack mounting points: two eyelets at each dropout, two mid fork hourglass mounts, a hole drilled through the crown at the traditional brake mounting point and two M5 bosses set into the shoulders of the fork crown. One of the questions that keeps comment up with the Rambler is what front rack do I recommend. In particular a rack that will work well with the rack mounting bosses located in the shoulders of the fork crown. While popular among custom bikes of this genre, this mount is less common on production bikes. By providing for two upper mounting points, the rack can be more stable and have redundancy. In the case that one upper mount should fail, loose a bolt etc., you have a second mount in place helping to prevent the load from crashing into the front tire. Trust me, loads into the tire are not a good thing. Solid rack mounting helps to keep things where they belong and you rolling safely.
The most versatile and well made small front rack on the market at the moment is the ‘Mark’s” rack produced by Nitto of Japan, and designed by Rivendell employee Mark Abel. This rack is made of brazed CrMo steel with a nickel plate finish for long corrosion free service. The mounting has provisions for four struts and a center bracket to the crown. These options allow it to easily mount to just about any bike as a strong and attractive solution. I have been using it on the Rambler with the central mount to the crown and the two front struts connected to the mid-fork. I recently replaces the central mount to the crown with two aluminum struts between the rack and the upper crown mounting points.
With the mount to the center of the crown the rack was stable, now it is rock solid. I had to reshape the supplied mounting struts a bit, hammer and bench vise. After trimming things to length it all bolted right up. While I knew it would fit fine, it is exciting when a plan comes together. Next, since I have a habit of fiddling with things, I will work out a way to attach the fender r added support and fine tune the fit.
The way I have it set up I can quickly install/remove the Bruce Gordon low-rider pannier rack. I will have a pictorial of this process in the next week. The keen of eye will notice that I have all of this mounted to a band clamp on the mid fork. Production Ramblers will have the hourglass mounted such that the racks will bolt right up. So far little details like this are all that needs to be adjusted between the samples and production. Testing continues, but I am ecstatic with how these are turning out.