CETMA Rack – Fender Hack!

Here’s a little trick I used for my recent mini-adventure. I wanted a platform to carry a load on the front. My first attempt was to use a Nashbar mini front rack with a basket. Well…I rode around for a few days with the load I was going to carry and I noticed the whole thing bouncing a lot. That center mounting strut that comes with the Nashbar rack just wasn’t up to task, so off it went!

I threw on my CETMA rack from another bike. The CETMA is great for carrying heavy loads on the front. It works best with bikes with a nutted axle because the Wald hardware can rest on the big axle. It theoretically should work on wheels with a quick release, but when I tried it I was a little weary of the hardware grinding down the QR skewer.

So, what I did instead was try to mount it on the fender eyelets. Unfortunately, the eyelets on my Trek 520 are placed in a real crappy spot. They are located behind the dropout. What this means is that the strut runs into the fork blade and won’t sit flush with the eyelet.

My solution was to replace the regular fender bolt with a longer one and screw on a nut to act as a spacer. What all this does is it allows me to attach the hardware WITHOUT it bending around the fork blade. In the photo above, you can see that the nut moves the strut to the right just enough to clear the fork. A much better and elegant solution than bending the strut or cutting some semi-circular hole around it.

Anyway, it worked great. If you have a CETMA rack and want to put it on the front wheel with a QR, here’s one way to do it. If you’re thinking about getting a CETMA rack but have a front wheel with a QR, this may work on your bike depending on the fender eyelet placement.


  1. Ghost Rider July 6, 2008 8:40 pm 

    That’s a nice spacer trick…way better than cutting the bottom of the strut or trying to “form” it around the bends of the fork blade.

    I run a Wald basket with the exact same struts on a QR hub, and I’ve seen no evidence that the hardware chews up the skewer, even with 20+ lb. loads. Granted, I don’t ride nearly as far with those heavy loads as you do, but still…it should be ok.

  2. russ roca July 6, 2008 9:40 pm 

    It might have been ok…but I was a bit skeptical…and at the top of an all day climb with no services for miles wasn’t a good way to find out if it would work or not….

    Funny thing is, I met another tourist on the trip that was running a CETMA on the front as well…also carrying his sleeping pad and sleeping bag in the front. Small world. I showed him my fender trick and he dug it….

    Another plus, is that if you have to change a flat, you don’t disturb the rack at all when you pop out the wheel.

  3. William July 6, 2008 11:07 pm 

    I’ve been running my CETMA on my quick release and it isn’t a problem with the quick release but wouldn’t sit flush with the fork tabs until it was bent by the force of the quick release. Changing tires is a big issue too. I’m replacing the whole frame and fork partly because of this.

  4. russ roca July 6, 2008 11:37 pm 

    William…I think that’s what was happening to me too….I didn’t like the looks of how the struts and QR were interacting…

  5. Ghost Rider July 7, 2008 4:51 am 

    You’re right that it makes pulling the wheel out for a flat repair a lot less fiddly…and that’s worth doing this trick if for nothing else!

  6. Iron Man July 7, 2008 6:10 am 

    I’ve found that the locking nut from a presta valve fits perfectly on the bolts that go in to the rack eyelets. Same threads and all. Most of us seem to have tons of those laying around. I’ve had to use one to keep my rear rack clear (that sounds naughty).

  7. russ roca July 7, 2008 7:32 am 

    Hey…great tip about the presta valve bolts! gotta remember that…

  8. Iron Man October 6, 2008 8:36 am 

    I was wrong. I threaded the presta nuts on a part on my kids bike trailer. I do use them as spacers when installing my rack so the bolts don’t touch the chain on the smallest cog. But alas I was wrong about them having the same threads.

  9. Ghost Rider October 6, 2008 10:22 am 

    No, you’re right…presta valve nuts are usually the same threading as fender/waterbottle cage mounting bolts. There are a couple of exceptions, of course.

    Those presta nuts also often have the same threading as the sidepull brake adjusting barrel, so if you lose the locknut from one of those, one of these presta nuts can be “prestad” into service (bad pun, I know).

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