[top view - heavy Dutch steel]
[mounting bracket stays on the bike]
[rack easily detaches when you don't need it]
[the box is a little narrower than the handlebars]
[gotta love the folks at Bakfiets.nl...]
I recently purchased a Dutch made front cargo rack for our Jorg&Olif Omafiets
at Clever Cycles
to give my wife more capacity for hauling groceries and larger parcels on her neighborhood rounds. It's produced by the same company that built our Bakfiets and in quaint Dutch fashion it's called the "Pick Up". The rack fastens onto the downtube using a sturdy steel bracket that receives the tubular steel rack. Dean at Clever Cycles had the idea that a wine box would be the perfect size for fastening to the rack, so after initially trying out a smaller wicker basket that didn't take full advantage of its load carrying capabilities for a few weeks I thought I'd give it a try. You can usually talk your local wine merchant out of a nice box for $5-10, or if you're feeling really flush, you can buy a case of the primo quality wine that still comes in wooden boxes and have the enjoyment of drinking up or cellaring the contents of the box (we have kids' school to pay for so I scrounged a box).
The wine box is fastened to the rack with 8 hefty zip ties which are passed through holes drilled in the box. I reinforced the box with a couple of long square-drive stainless deck screws on each corner as wine boxes are nailed and will probably work loose otherwise. To protect the box from the weather I coated it inside and out with marine grade teak oil left over from another project. An oil finsh can be easily recoated as needed, will allow the wood to weather gracefully to a warm hue over time and won't chip off when banged around. In true Bakfiets style, I also drilled a couple of drain holes at the back, lower end of the box to keep standing water to a minimum when it's left out in the rain. Overall, it's a very sturdy (and heavy) steel rack and the whole installation is solid and is pleasantly silent on the road unless you have a U-lock or loose cargo rattling about.
I'm not sure what the "official" load rating is, but you can certainly carry 20-25 lbs. without a problem. Two grocery bags fit side-by-side making it a good grocery getting setup. What I really like about the design of this rack is that it does not effect the steering since it is fixed to the frame rather than the fork or handlebars. Fork mounted D-racks and handlebar mounted baskets get unwieldy and really degrade the handling of the bike as you add weight. These types of racks also have the annoying quality of flopping sideways and tipping over the bike when loaded while frame mounted racks on bikes with center stands will happily stand up on their own on level surfaces.