DIY Pannier Handlebar Mount





Introduction: DIY Pannier Handlebar Mount

Where I live it rains on average of 155 days annually so good rain gear is a must and I always carry them in my pannier. I commute everyday on my bike and I also enjoy recreational cycling on weekends and holidays switching between the full size commuter and 20" folder. Mounting panniers on the commuter is easy with a rear rack but on the folder it's a different story. On folding bikes much of the rider's weight is on the rear wheel due to the smaller geometry and upright sitting position so I want to hang the pannier on the front to balance. However, I don't want to purchase another set of panniers because it would be much more convenient to use my current pannier (no need to transfer content), saves money, and front rack interferes with folding. Additional benefits are it acts as wind shield and you don't need to dismount from bike to access the stuff inside. So, I'll show how you too can make your own handlebar pannier mount for under US$10 (assuming you already have the drill and screw driver).

Things you'll need:
    Aluminum rod 5/16 inch diameter
    "L" shaped corner braces 1 inch x 2
    Stainless steel clamps x 2
    Drill with 5/16 inch bit
    Flat head screw driver or monkey wrench
    Rope or paracord 12 inches long

Step 1: Measure

Measure distance between hooks on pannier. Mine are 3.5 inches inner and 5.5 inches outer so I'll need to cut rod at lease 6 inches long.

Step 2: Drill

Enlarge one of the hole diameter on corner brace with drill to 5/16 inch to match thickness of rod.

Step 3: Assemble

Insert rod into braces then mount onto handlebar as shown but don't tighten clamps yet. Measure distance between braces to make sure they will fit evenly between pannier hooks. Lightly tighten clamps and test hang the pannier. Make adjustments as necessary then tighten clamps. You shouldn't have worry about the rod coming loose because if you drill the holes to match thickness of rod properly then the slight curvature of handlebar should force braces to angle which into turn will hold rod firmly in place.

Step 4: Secure

Cut piece of rope about 12 inches long. Tie small loop to catch bottom hook of pannier then tie rope around stem or head as shown making sure there is enough tension to keep pannier from swaying. I have used this setup on both my folding bikes and they work great and hope it'll work for you too.

Step 5: Additional Photos



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    Looks nice, and useful. I'm sure I copy it for my new folding bike. The only think I don't really like is the solid aluminum rod. What do you think about do it with one hollow rod?

    2 replies

    It might be fine for light loads and if you want to save a little weight. I opted for solid for 3 reasons - 1) my setup require 6 inches only so savings in my case is very small, 2) I don't want to worry about it bending or breaking in a middle of a road trip, and 3) solid is a few dollars cheaper at my local hardware store. I chose 5/16 rod because it was readily available and fit smaller L braces with minimal drilling. Common bicycle racks use hollow tubing but larger diameter about 0.4 inches (10.2 mm).

    thanks! you convinced me!

    Practical and simple for us the technically challenged, thanks.

    With the added weight on the handle bars, is it hard to steer, especially in a surprise/reaction situation?

    1 reply

    I haven't encounter any problems but I also haven't been in that situation at high speed. I've learned from past experience to use front brakes to slow but not to stop. The sitting position on folders are fairly upright so most of the rider's weight is on the rear wheel and having the added weight on the front seem to give more balance to ride.

    Looks like nice work, good for carrying a little extra. But I would try to get a rear rack set up if you're going to carry anything heavy. As bclamore suggests, a handlebar rack can make steering a little unwieldy. Also, if you have to make a sudden stop having a loaded rear rack is much safer than a loaded handlebar rack.

    2 replies

    Chinasaur & bclamore - thanks for the comments. I actually like the feel of added weight on the handlebar because folding bikes generally have shorter wheelbase and smaller wheels which makes them easier to swivel and the added weight help to counter that. Probably because the weight flattens the front tire more giving it better contact with the ground. It feels more stable and it's most noticeable at higher speeds like going downhill... I used to tense up and squeeze the handles but no more. The added benefit of having the pannier on the front also help with wind resistance acting like a windshield :)

    I could see wanting to put a bit more inertia into the steering on a folder. But especially for going downhill, having weight both in the front and relatively high up is dangerous.

    Thanks. You have some nice instructables!

    Just a suggestion, if you don't want the hose clamps scratching the handlebars, use a cut piece from an old inner tube to wrap the area where the clamp will be positioned. I did this for a basket attached to the handlebars on my wife's bike, which is a working antique.

    thats a good job there thanx for the share

    1 reply

    thanks. it's my first instructable and i'll try to post a few more soon.