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.
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:
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).
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.
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.
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.