The Tubus Vega for the Surly ECR + Rack Mods for Extra H20

Does the Tubus Vega fit the ECR, with 29+ Knards? Well, the answer is… kind of. A few people have asked and commented about the compatibility of the Vega with the ECR. Here are my thoughts.

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Traditionally a rear rack is used to carry panniers, but another potential applications are to support a saddlebag (Nick uses a Nitto rack for this and Cass also uses the Vega), as well as lash other peripheral items to the platform. I needed something to bear the weight of a hefty long flap saddlebag (similar in size to the Carradice Camper). I also wanted to modify the rack to utilize the space where panniers would typically hang for the purpose of carrying water and/or stove fuel. The Vega is perfect for this application; it is one of the lightest racks on the market and has a triangle that is ideal for adding a bottle mount structure.

Tubus Vega - Rack for Surly ECR

Plenty of space with the Knards under the platform…

There are 2 versions of the Vega, the Vega Evo—I purchased mine through BikeBagShop.com—and the Vega 29er, which is not currently available in the US. Due to the expedited timeframe for building the ECR before departure, compatibility surprises were not an option, so I bought one of each. The Vega 29er would have offered more wiggle room for the bulky Knard tires, but I have a 33” inseam and due to the height of the 29er version (from tread to top), and using the Carradice Bagman QR mechanism it may have been slightly tight for my saddlebag to fit between the seat and rack top. The Evo version is about an inch less high and allows the exact amount of space for the saddlebag to fit comfortably.

Tubus Vega - Rack for Surly ECR

… and to the rear of the rack, there is plenty of room on the sides…

I am currently using the Evo on tour and so far it is working well. However, I am also running Blunt 35 wheels which keep the Knards slightly more narrow than when mounted on the Surly Rabbit Holes. However, the space is still pretty tight. Although I haven’t tested it, I think the 29er version would fit the ECR with Rabbit Hole wheels and Knards. If anybody has tried this, let me know. Here are a few shots and specs of how it all fits together.

Tubus Vega - Rack for Surly ECR

… the interior toward the front rack risers are where it gets tight; with Blunt 35s, there is about 1/4″ on each side.

Tubus Vega Water Bottle Modification

The addition of cage mounts to the Vega was pretty simple using parts and materials from a local hardware store, save the Rivnut setter. I actually designed them to hold the bottles in a straight up position, however, this proved problematic as access would be limited to instances when the saddlebag was off of the bike—the wide bag would block the bottles from being pulled out in an upwards motion. So luckily the laws of geometry made it possible to reverse them and the cages would be angled towards the back to allow unblocked removal of the bottles. Here are some details on the fabrication:

Tubus Vega Rack - Adding Water Bottle Cages

TO make the supports, I first added the rivnuts to the aluminum stock and cut them roughly the length of the triangle space where they would be mounted. The cages were attached to the rough-cut stock, I then traced the exact angles and made the final cuts.

Tubus Vega Rack - Adding Water Bottle Cages

I found these 1/2″ plumbing supports that when are carefully bent, are just slightly larger in circumference than the Vega riser tubes.

Tubus Vega Rack - Adding Water Bottle Cages

A tack-weld on the rivnuts, some primer and paint finished off the supports.

Tubus Vega - Rack for Surly ECR

I also coated the plumbing supports and added a couple wraps of gorilla tape to protect the finish and fit the slightly larger supports.

Tubus Vega - Rack for Surly ECR

Although I originally designed them to hold the bottles in a straight up position, the laws of geometry allowed them to be reversed and point slightly toward the rear.

Tubus Vega - Rack for Surly ECR

A bit of loctite on the M6 bolts was needed to avoid them loosening over rocky and bumpy terrain.

Surly ECR - Tubus Vega Rack - Touring in South Africa

A full report and build list on the ECR coming next week…

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