Guitar on the Brompton Bag Frame

I’ve adapted a Brompton front bag frame to carry my Lukas Brunner Travel Guitar in its neat hard case. The approach I’ve taken would allow a wide variety of other things to be carried on the frame with an adjustable, semi-permanent fastening system.

14. Rear View 1024

One of the absolute best features of the Brompton is the front luggage system. Taking advantage of the small front wheel it allows you to clip a wide variety of large bags on to the front of the bike and carry bulky and heavy stuff with minimal effect on the stability of the bike. Unlike traditional rear pannier racks the Brompton front luggage actually improves the weight distribution of the bike as well as being very convenient.

Brompton and others make a wide variety of useful bags to fit this system, the key to all this being the Brompton bag frame which fits inside the back of your bag and clips onto the luggage block which is fitted to the head tube of the bike.

A lot of people have adapted these frames to carry various items, what I wanted was an easy way to strap on the guitar case which I transport on the bike often, sometimes several times a week. Here’s the case:

Case top 1024

I have been carrying it sitting vertically in the touring pannier, it sticks out of the top but works OK except it interferes with lighting so I wanted a lower height arrangement and something a bit neater.

I’ve been scratching my head about this for quite a while as it can be done with conventional luggage straps but I wanted a really neat easy to use system, especially as I’m often packing and unpacking the guitar in a pub full of musicians and their kit so you need to keep everything under control. I also wanted it to be quick to use, especially when I’m a bit late for my train at the end of a session.

So after poring over catalogues of straps and fasteners and trying various methods I think I have a neat semi-permanent system which can be fitted without tools or special skills and tailored to your particular use.

The key to doing this without any sewing was using pairs of rectangular plastic loops to allow me to wrap one end of a strap round the bag frame, and discovering “dual adjust” side release buckles. These don’t need any sewing so they are very easy to fit (and remove).

Side ReleaseThey are available in the UK from Ace Supplies for large quantities, or Pennine Outdoor for small quantities and have a good online catalogue of stuff for making outdoor gear.

The full description of the product is ITW Nexus WD25 world range dual adjust side release buckle 25mm. ITW are a long-established manufacturer so with luck you’ll find a supplier in your country.

So I bought everything I needed from Pennine Outdoor: the dual-adjust buckles, some rectangular loops and a roll of 25mm webbing.

What you need 1024

Everything you need. 25mm webbing, scissors to cut the webbing, matches to seal the cut ends with a flame, dual-adjust buckles and plastic loops

If you are relatively new to Bromptons you may notice that the bag frame is different from the aluminium and plastic frames supplied these days. This is one of the old-style steel bag frames that I had with my touring pannier in 2003. These are slightly heavier than the modern ones but really robust and ideal for this kind of project (To free it up for this project I’ve bought a new-style frame for the touring pannier which is still going strong). The new style frames would be fine for a lightweight job like my guitar but if you want to carry bigger heavier stuff this steel frame is great. You can’t buy them new but if you ever get the chance to buy an old one take it.

1. Loops on the strap 959

Having cut your strap to an appropriate length (allow some surplus) and sealed the ends with a flame, start by sliding two loops on to the strap.

2. Round the frame 979

Pass the strap round the frame where you want to attach it

Feed the strap back through the loops

Feed the strap back through the loops

4. Back again to make secure 1024

Then back through one loop for the locking action

Then pull it tight, make sure it's all secure.

Then pull it tight, make sure it’s all secure.

Then you attach the buckle to the other end of the strap

Then you attach the buckle to the other end of the strap

Feed the strap through the buckle

Feed the strap through the buckle

And back to lock it

And back to lock it

Ready to adjust

Ready to adjust

Wrap the straps round the case

Wrap the straps round the case

And tight

And tight. I’ve trimmed off the surplus strap since I took this photo

Here's the rear view, on this case the buckles and hinges are handy for locating it between the straps.

Here’s the rear view, on the guitar case the buckles and hinges are handy for locating it between the straps which makes it nice and secure.

It fits beautifully on the bike, no problem with steering and does not obstruct my lights which are fitted above the height of a loaded touring pannier. It’s a bit of a windjammer as it’s wider than the touring pannier but I would only use this for short local journeys. If I was doing a bigger trip I would need a different setup to carry other stuff as well as the guitar so that’s a job for another day. The guitar case also fits neatly into an Ortleib pannier on the back of our tandem and its first big tour will probably be on there.

PS, I’ll update this soon with a photo of the case on the bike, it fits fine but it’s too dark outside to photograph right now.

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4 Responses to “Guitar on the Brompton Bag Frame”

  1. hermes liberty Says:

    Thank you for posting the solution to your case transport problem. In so doing you have identified the mystery frame I have for my Flamingo bicycle bag. Now I see it is a miss-match with an old Brompton frame. Ten+ years old you say?

  2. chrisrust Says:

    My frame was bought in 2003 but that design has been around for quite a long time before that. More recently Brompton have supplied a similar frame made from aluminium and plastic but the two can be interchanged.

    As you probably know the Flamingo is directly descended from the Brompton branded bikes made in Taiwan by Neobike, these always had some small differences from the UK-made Bromptons and more changes came in when Brompton stopped production and Neobike and its successors carried on making the bikes. There was a lot of dispute between Brompton and Neobike since Neobike were using tools and designs which belonged to Brompton and the various versions (Neobike, Merc, Flamingo etc) cannot be sold in many European countries. The Netherlands distributor for Brompton was given legal powers to impound and destroy these unauthorised clones and I’ve seen piles of scrap clone bikes and parts in their warehouse.

  3. Hermes Says:

    Seriously? Do you think that if I show up in the Netherlands to enjoy the aclaimed bicycle- friendliness I am at risk of having my bike impounded and scrapped, that it will be considered tantamount to stolen goods?

    I was mulling over a visit to Amsterdam. No more! Is this true for other EU countries?

  4. chrisrust Says:

    No you’ll be fine as long as you don’t import a a container load and offer them for sale. In fact if you run into Simon, the Brompton importer, he’ll probably make you welcome and give you some useful advice about your bike too. (He’s a fund of useful bicycle knowledge)

    Amsterdam with a folding bike will be a great trip. Perfect combination but look out for the bike thieves. Sadly my partner lost her lovely old Raleigh touring bike there, we were just unlocking the bikes when it started to rain heavily so we dived back into the shop for a few minutes. When the rain had gone so had her bike. Suddenly we were plodding painfully around on foot when we had been whizzing around on two wheels enjoying galleries and cafes.

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