In the spring of 2011, a professor at Swarthmore contracted with me to design and fabricate a fixture to allow him to attach lights to an existing bicycle handlebar mount system. The professor had an Ortlieb bag mounting system attached to the handlebars of his bicycle, which allows quick substitution of bags and other accessories. He wanted a way to quickly attach and remove lights/trip computers/etc., but Ortlieb does not sell a “handlebar” attachment.
I contacted Ortlieb and was able to purchase a back plate that would allow my attachment to work with the existing mounting system. I then fabricated an aluminum front plate to match the backplate, and two handlebar mounting clamps to attach to the front plate. Finally, I cut a section of existing handlebar stock to size, machined press-fit end caps, and assembled the mount.
Looking back, I would change a number of features of this design for future revisions. First, I wouldn’t machine the components – I would print them. I’ve had good experiences with commercial 3D printing services like Shapeways (see my sintered-stainless pendant), and would be able to make the required parts at lower weight and lower cost in both time and materials. This would also allow me to print the back plate instead of purchasing it, which might further reduce the cost. Second, I would make sure to ensure material compatibility in the assembly; this handlebar mount will be exposed to rough ambient conditions, and needs to be able to resist corrosion. As the pictures above show, I initially assembled the mount using brass hardware (for reasons of convenience). However, before delivering the final product, I replaced all brass with galvanized steel hardware to minimize the chances of galvanic corrosion.