KTM 640 Soft Pannier Racks

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by clintnz, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

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    Since we got a new welder a few months back, & a lathe a few months before that I have been planning to use this new manufacturing capability to make some upgrades for the bike. My old tail rack & soft pannier racks were the about the first things I made for my KTM 640 almost 9 years ago:

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    That setup was made entirely from free scrap & has done around 70K km of loaded touring holding up a set of Andy Strapz Expedition Panniers, & an Ortleib drybag on the back when carrying the full camping kit. I have had the rails crack at the lower mount twice, & broken the top 6mm cap screws twice, but they’ve done ok considering the miles & abuse they’ve had. In the years following I have made (often assisted by my friend Mike on the TIG) several other racks for other bikes that have been much nicer so it was about time the 640’s luggage setup got a rebuild. The basic shape will be similar to the above but it will be much stronger.
    First up I made replacements for the rear handles out of 5/8” dia .065” wall 4130 Cro-Mo tube. The front mounting bushes in the subframe for these were drilled & tapped out to 8mm from the std 6mm. I machined up the handle mount bushes from 4140 bar & welded them on. On the carrier rack ends I welded a flange which bolts to a rib welded onto the old carrier.

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    This setup allows either handle to be easily unbolted if the side panels need to be removed. For the rear carrier mount I machined up some aluminium bushes & welded them in. The rear mount holes were also drilled to accept M8 hardware so the whole setup can be removed or fitted with just the 6mm hex t-handle tool in the stock kit. I might remake the aluminium part one day when my welding skillz improve but it is massively stronger than the old arrangement & only slightly heavier.
    Next up are the pannier rails, so back to 1947’s finest cheapo handyman lathe to spin up some bushes:

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    The little Atlas 10F is a bit of a relic but it is great for stuff like this. The idea is that these bushes are a fairly snug fit in the handles which will brace the racks & subframe against the twisting induced by side impacts or the bags bouncing around.

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    The lower mount bushes are welded on to some flat to spread the load on the relatively thin subframe tube.

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    With all that in place next up is some bending & notching to make the tube fit. This will also be 5/8” 4130 but thinner .049” wall.

    Cheers
    Clint
    #1
  2. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

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    A nice close fitting joint makes life much easier for a n00b tube welder like myself so I have bodged up a notching rig in the lathe. My equally crude but also effective homemade bender puts in the kinks.

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    After much headscratching over angles, bends & placement :norton I realised I was overthinking it a bit given the previous setup had just been bent in a vice to follow the line of the plastics & had actually done pretty well. :D I settled on a more vertical dropper & slightly lower bottom rail to better support the pannier.

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    At this point I got totally annoyed with being flashed by my old auto welding mask & struggling to see out of the old non-auto one so I have now bitten the bullet & ordered a fancy new one with a big window, lots of knobs & a hotrod paint job. This will undoubtedly elevate my welding quality to pro level :rofl

    Cheers
    Clint

    Edit: Hey, looks like I've been teleported from The Garage to Some Assembly Required. Was I too cool for The Garage or not cool enough? I thought I had to build a whole bike to get in SAR?
    #2
  3. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

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    Had another session in the shed last night & made some good progress, got the right side lower rail on, tacked it in place on the bike:

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    The new welding helmet is real nice. My tigging still isn't pretty though :rofl

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    I have discovered one of Murphy's Laws of welding: The least visible section of any given joint will always be where you manage to lay down the nicest looking weld:

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    Right side tubes all done & mounting bushes chamfered off:

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    The other side is mostly done now too. Next up will be some tabs to attach a strap for around the bottom of the panniers.

    Cheers
    Clint
    #3
  4. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

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    ...and all done bar the painting:

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    Got a ride on this weekend to test them out so will hold off on the paint, & replacing that melted sidecover, in case any adjustments are required.

    Clint
    #4
  5. Dolly Sod

    Dolly Sod Red Clay Halo

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    Looks good.


    :thumb

    I'm gonna have to bug the guy who welded my side stand on to help co-fabricate a very similar setup with me.
    #5
  6. Droptarotter

    Droptarotter Long timer

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    If I had to critique any of the photos, I would say;

    Trim your zip ties:rofl!!!

    Actually..................Very nicely done!

    Did you make a jig so you can whip up more for all the people that will want them??

    Cheers
    #6
  7. NWRambler

    NWRambler Adventurer

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    Those look great. Something along those lines is in the works for my DR350. How about a pic of it loaded? What sort of weight do you think you'll be hanging against them?
    #7
  8. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

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    Thanks guys!

    Making a jig based on my raced, rallied & rolled subframe would probably not be a good start:lol3. I've got way too many other projects in mind to keep me busy in the shed without going into manufacturing anyway. Feel free to copy.

    I'll get some loaded pics up tomorrow. I still have to make up some clips for the front top bag mounts which will hopefully improve on my old system. My standard touring setup is about 7kg/15lb per side plus the same again on the rear rack if camping. Often less for the more aggressive weekend rides though.

    Cheers
    Clint
    #8
  9. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

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    Some loaded pics. I have to make a few adjustments so they sit right & go on & off easily but this arrangement worked fairly well over 1100km last weekend, including some minor airtime on some farm tracks :evil

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    My Andy Strapz panniers are getting quite battle worn now & I need to make some more repairs. They are good gear though & I noticed on a friend's newer model Expedition Panniers that Andy has further reinforced the areas where mine have given way & added some loops to better position the tiedown strap around the base.

    Cheers
    Clint
    #9
  10. NWRambler

    NWRambler Adventurer

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    Thanks for the pix Clint. Those bags are very much like what I will be building for. I need to plan for about 25-30 pounds per side though. Sometimes I have to carry a couple days worth of water for two. I do a lot of brazing with thin wall 4130 so this should be a fun project, even more fun to use. Thanks again, happy trails.
    #10
  11. jrozar

    jrozar Been here awhile

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    That shop looks NICE....excellent job on the fabrication work.


    I did the lazy route since my tools are lacking, happy trails rack with their new soft bags...

    I hate paying for something that can be fabed yourself...
    #11
  12. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

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    And some painted pics:

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    The bags will rub through any coating eventually so I decided against powdercoating & just gave them a shot of rattlecan. I might put some strips of wide heavy duty PVC tape along the rails & see how that goes.

    Cheers
    Clint
    #12
  13. Dolly Sod

    Dolly Sod Red Clay Halo

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    Well, finally go the inspiration and time to do a little fab work. Made these up over the last week to keep my ortlieb saddle bags from melting the side cover into the exhaust.

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    This is the first time I've ever built something like this. I don't have a proper welding setup, but thought I'd have a go at brazing some racks together. I got the idea from a set of racks on my R90/6. I was cleaning them up to re-paint and noticed that all the joints were brazed. :dunno

    I'm back and forth on whether to put a diagonal brace on the right side. The left side seemed to need it to keep my luggage from pushing on the plastics. The right side, not so much. Still need to gusset the elbow on the right side and to radius all the corners on the flat bar.

    Thanks for the inspiration clintnz, I began with modeling them after your first set of racks. They seem pretty sturdy. Just some 1/2" mild steel from the hardware store. I wouldn't hang any bags from them, but as standoffs I'm hoping they hold up. I'm going to take a smallish trip next month, then after that I'm planning on reinforcing the sub-frame a bit. Think I'll have a proper welder do that though.
    #13
  14. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

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    Nice work mate! I like the little brace back to the subframe at the rear. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a decent brazed join, done right it should be plenty strong.

    Cheers
    Clint
    #14
  15. Pezz_gs

    Pezz_gs Cant ride for crap

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    Clint

    Any chance you could post some details and pics of your home made tuber bender :evil
    #15
  16. chasbo

    chasbo Long timer

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    Late to the party here Clint. Those are some fantastic racks! Great job! I hope you don't mind if I get a buddy of mine to help me copy a set for my own 625. They are exactly what I want for my bike. If you made these for sale, I would buy a set. :deal
    #16
  17. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

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    Hi Pezz, sorry if it's too late, haven't called into this corner of ADV for a while, here's a better pic:

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    Making the former is the hard part, I nibbled it out on my wee lathe, made a couple of form tools to finish off the profile. The rest is just drilling some holes in some scrap & welding/bolting it all together. The alu follower die is out of a pipe bender but you could carve something out of wood like the holder die.



    Copy away mate :D Just ask if you need any more details. Don't forget to post some pics of the finished product :deal

    One thing I should add is that to fit the new 8mm ID upper mounting bushes through the plastic side panels the recesses need to be bigger. Before I painted the rails I heated those bushes up a little & pressed them into the plastic to stretch out the hole.

    These racks have probably done about 10K km of touring now with no problems.

    Cheers
    Clint
    #17
  18. chasbo

    chasbo Long timer

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    Cool, I have a good bud that will be helping me fab these up later this summer. I will shoot questions if any come up and post the finished racks here so you can see them. Thanks for coming up with such a simple design in the first place. :deal
    #18
  19. N-m

    N-m Captain 2 Sexy

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    Clint,

    You still around? How did you make that nice fish mouth cut on the tubing?
    #19
  20. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

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    Good timing mate, just having a browse around this part of the forum for the first time in a while.

    If you look back a page you'll see the notching rig that I bodged up on my little lathe. A holesaw screws on a simple mandrel I made which just goes in the chuck, the tube goes in a drill press vice on my homebrew milling adapter. Had to make a spacer to get the tube at the right height. The vice really should be laid flat so the tube is always on centre no matter the size, but this was what was easiest to make work with what I had.

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    I have also found that for sizes up to 16mm or 5/8" a big round file of the same diameter as your tubing actually works really well. Rough it out with a touch of the angle grinder first.

    Cheers
    Clint
    #20