Keep it steady, stupid: VO Decaleur mod

This is the new decaleur.

A new decaleur for the Gilles Berthoud bag has arrived. It's a modified Velo Orange decaleur, that was transformed to fit on the 4-bolt faceplate of a typical modern Aheadset-stem.

The original Velo Orange decaleur on an image courtesy Velo Orange.

The original VO decaleur mounts to the fork's steerer tube. I was using it the intended way on my Surly Crosscheck but on the Stag all the dimensions are different and basically there's no way that the VO decaleur could reach my Gilles Berthoud GB28 bag.

So far I just had the bag tied to the handlebars using the supplied leather strips, but of course this makes the tops of the bars difficult to use. Because of this I had planned to modify the decaleur's fork receiver so that it mounts to the stem instead of the steerer tube.

I finally got around to contact a local metalworker, Dominic Lo Giacco who was recommended to me, with my rough design and today I could fetch and mount the final result. Here it is:

The reworked decaleur mounted to the stem's front plate.

The reworked decaleur mounted to the stem's front plate.

The decaleur now mounts to the front plate. On my Truvativ stem, the holes are 27 mm apart. The front plate is curved a bit, so we had to use a pair of spacers to be able to fully tighten the bolts. Also that's the reason, the upper corners are rounded a bit.

The bag mount is bolted to the bag.

The bag mount is bolted to the bag.

Then it just slides into the receiver's tubes. This is very stiff and solid.

Then it just slides into the receiver's tubes. This is very stiff and solid.

The front-reaching tubes have been shortened to 50 mm (about two inches).

Bag mounted.

This gives a lot of room for my hands on the tops, oh yeah! It's a relief to be able to rest my hands there again. On the other hand (pun not intended) 50 mm may even be too much room.

Lots of room on the tops again.

I did choose 50 mm because it is the length of the shortest Gilles Bertoud decaleur, but actually if I had to do it again, I'd probably have it made just 40 or even just 30 mm long. This would still offer enough room. But it's fine as it is: The whole construction is very, very stiff and does not sway left or right when riding. Here's a side view of the bike with the decaleur and bag installed:

Side view

And a closeup:

Side view close-up

I also did some metal work on my own and made a U-shaped stiffener for inside the bag. It's just a piece of aluminium strip that I bent into a shape, then I glued velcro strips to the sides. The stiffener is attached to the bag with the velcro and with the bolts that also hold the decaleur's bag mount.

Well, that's it for the decaleur now. Lets end with an impression of the kind of touring I currently enjoy around here: In the background, you see the lignite-fired power plant of Bergheim-Niederaussem, illustrating what's really happening in a Germany that makes a big show of being a leader of the "Energiewende" (Energy transition) ... Don't believe the hype.

Category: Bike
Tags: rawland stag rack bike bicycle decaleur