Racks, 700C Fork Crowns and 650B Tires

We are proud to announce a few new products:

The elegant Grand Bois/Nitto M-13 racks are designed for Grand Bois 650B bikes. They feature a slightly smaller platform than the popular Nitto M-12. Where the Nitto M-12 was designed for quick manufacture, this model takes its inspiration from the racks made by René Herse.

The racks are made by Nitto exclusively for Grand Bois, from lightweight steel tubing. They are plated for durability. At 188 grams, they are among the lightest production racks available, a full 70 grams lighter than the Nitto M-12.

The rack supports attach to the frame’s cantilever brake posts with small tabs that are brazed into the rack tubes, similar to the dropouts of a classic bicycle frame. (The M-12 uses large plates simply brazed to the ends of the rack tubes. Other rack makers squeeze the tubes flat and drill a hole.)

The rack has a mount for the front fender, which is angled to line up with the fender (see below). The workmanship is typical for Nitto, which means it is super-strong and looks great from 5 feet away, but upon closer inspection, the fillet brazing could be smoother.

There are two models: The “Flashlight” model (above) has two eyelets under the rack platform for mounting a flashlight holder.

The “Headlight” model (above) has one eyelet on the right support stay to attach a headlight mount. The photos show prototypes, and the final production versions will have some minor refinements. A 700C version will follow in the Spring of 2011.

The racks come with special, nicely proportioned hardware. The cantilever bolts (bottom and top right) use a standard M6 thread to hold the cantilever brake, but the forward extension is a smaller M5, capped with a lockwasher and a nice domed nut. There also is an M6 domed nut and lockwasher for the attachment at the fork crown (top left), and an M5 nut with built-in washer for the fender attachment (top center).

Compass Bicycles will receive a few “Headlight” models next week, and we expect a larger shipment in February. (Update: The racks are in stock. Click here to order.)

In addition to the Grand Bois 650B “wide” fork crown, we now offer a narrower fork crown ideal for 700C bikes, with a distance between blades of 47 mm (the wide crown measures 53 mm there). This “narrow” fork crown allows builders to use the popular Kaisei “Toei Special” fork blades on 700C bikes, as well as 650B bikes with narrower tires. Grand Bois uses this “narrow” crown for their own 700C bikes. Whereas the Grand Bois “wide” fork crown was designed specifically for the Kaisei blades and offers a perfect fit, this “narrow” crown is a more generic “Imperial Oval” shape. An experienced framebuilder should have no trouble fitting the blades into the fork crown. Available now in limited quantities.

And finally, the long-awaited Grand Bois “Lierre” (Ivy) 650B x 36 mm tires are about to arrive. We now are taking pre-orders, and should ship them by the end of the year.

About Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

Spirited rides that zig-zag across mountain ranges. Bicycle Quarterly magazine and its sister company, Compass Cycles, that turns our research into high-performance components for real-world riders.
This entry was posted in Framebuilding supplies, Product News, Racks/Bags. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Racks, 700C Fork Crowns and 650B Tires

  1. Ben says:

    These racks look like great stuff! They seem to address all the minor issues with the M-12 (platform too high up, heavy, unnecessarily long for a handlebar bag, lateral stiffness of fork crown mount, heavy weight), so this is great news. Is the 700c model going to be the same just with a different distance between the fork crown and canti post mounts?

    What do you suppose is the advantage of putting the headlight mount on the right hand side? So far I (right-hand-side cyclist) have had my Cyo on the left side of my M-12, where it is more visible to oncoming trafic and cars in priority to the right situations. But I am sure you have thought about this.

    • The older Schmidt hubs (SON 28, SON 20) had the power output on the right, so having the light mounted on the same side simplifies the cable routing. I mounted the headlight on my Singer on the right for that reason. With the light mounted relatively far forward, the angle from which it cannot be seen is almost 90°, and I haven’t had any issues of cars not seeing me approach. (You might have those issues with a light mounted on the front dropout or on the fork blade, because the front tire blocks the light at a much shallower angle.)

      • Chris Lowe says:

        I also wonder if it’s also because in Japan they drive/ride on the left side of the street.

        What would be really nice is if they brazed a little piece of tubing stick up and out from the front center of the rack with an eyelet on it for mounting a light.

  2. Ryan says:

    What does it mean for these racks to be designed for Grand Bois bikes? Will they fit bikes like the Boulder 650b All Rounder nicer than the M12?

    • They probably will – it’s all a matter of clearances and angles. Grand Bois bikes have a 73° head angle. The Grand Bois and Boulder both have similar clearances around tires and fenders, so the same racks should fit. I am sending a sample to René Herse Bicycles, and we’ll know soon. On the other hand, the Nitto M-12 is designed to fit many generic bikes, so it sits higher than ideal on many of them.

  3. Chris Lowe says:

    What is the distance from fork crown bolt to cantilever mount? I need a rack for 650b and the M-12 is too small. The Sogn was designed for pretty big tires – great for riding off-road, not so great for mounting a rack!

  4. oldmangabe says:

    Thanks for finally making these available to the US Market. I have a customer who ordered the rack for their bike and reports that it does sit higher than optimal, but lower than the M-12. Hope this anecdotal info helps some.

  5. Sean Virnig says:

    Greetings and Salutations,

    I have reasons to believe that the upcoming rSogn will fit the M-12 with very little or no adjustment. Given the prevalence of the M-12, I would presume that the M-13 too fits the rSogn. There is only one way to find out for sure so I will pre-order one, unless Jan knows for sure whether the measurement differs than that of the M-12.


  6. Sean Virnig says:

    Hello again,

    I just found out that the measurements of the M-12 and the M-13 are 103mm and 100mm, respectively. The difference of approximately 3mm -might- be acceptable for use of the M-13 on the rSogn, for example, with a slight adjustment here and there. Jan, do you have any comments about that?


  7. Sean says:

    Is there an eta on restocking of the red and white Hetres?

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