The Compass CP1 rack for centerpull brakes now is made from Cromoly steel. This makes it one of the lightest and strongest racks available today. It’s one example of how we work with our suppliers: Together, we create components that go well beyond what the suppliers usually offer.
A little background on this rack: It is intended to support a handle bar bag like those made by Gilles Berthoud. You can see in the photo above how the CP1 rack was specially designed for centerpull brakes: The rack shares the brake bosses that were brazed to the fork blades. (Many racks connect to the fork crown with a flat strap that goes underneath the brakes, but this is far stiffer and stronger.) The rack in turn is used to attach the fender and the light with dedicated braze-ons. This makes the rack an integrated part of the bike – strong and stiff, yet superlight.
Our racks are well designed, and they are very well made, by Nitto (above), who generally are considered the best makers of production racks in the world. However, even at Nitto, price is a major consideration, and so they make their more complex racks (as well as those they make for other companies) from mild steel. Mild steel not only is cheaper, but it’s also easier to work with, and these racks require a lot of tube bending. The less expensive material and easier bending keep the cost in line.
Mild steel is a decent material for racks, but Cromoly is far stronger. So we asked Nitto to make our CP1 racks from Cromoly. Using stronger steel allowed us to reduce the wall thickness of the rack tubes, so the rack is significantly lighter. At 167 g, it is among the lightest production racks available. In fact, it weighs exactly the same as a custom-made René Herse rack for centerpull brakes. And even with the lighter tubes, it’s still stronger than a rack made from mild steel.
We also asked Nitto to spend a little extra time when cleaning up the fillet brazing and when polishing the tubes in preparation for chrome plating. That makes the rack look a lot nicer. Of course, the more expensive steel and all the extra work cost a bit more. But we think it’s worth while to get one of the most beautiful, strongest and lightest racks ever made.
Together with our centerpull brakes and the Kaisei “Toei Special” fork blades, the CP1 rack forms an integrated system, where all parts are optimized to work together. This makes it possible to build bikes that combine stunning beauty with exceptional performance.
Click here for information about Bicycle Quarterly No. 50 with our report about Nitto.