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I've got a '70s Motoconfort (Motobecane) with the original "French randonneur-style" front luggage rack (it looks like a very small porteur rack):

Front luggage rack, with mounting bracket highlighted

In the photo above, the rack is mounted to the bike frame via a bracket which sits between the front brake and the frame on the brake mounting bolt (highlighted in red). However, this mounting plate has sadly cracked with use:

Closeup of mounting bracket

Although this isn't exactly a "Welding Stack Exchange", perhaps someone here has experience in (trying to) repair this sort of metalwork?-- Is it possible and feasible from an economic and/or usage perspective, and if so, how can it be done? Of course, such a small front rack would never need to carry a truly heavy load, but it should be strong enough to hold a significant amount of weight without bending or breaking (again). It would be a shame to throw it away, since it seems that Motoconfort/Motobecane luggage racks aren't all that common any more.

  • Is it really held only by that one screw? – ojs Apr 2 '16 at 10:53
  • Yes. (I need to add more characters here to post) – errantlinguist Apr 2 '16 at 11:16
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    It should be possible to weld it. One would likely want to re-enforce the area a bit, though, either with built-up weld or (better) another piece of heavy sheet metal (less brittle than a weld bead). You need to find someone who knows how to weld, of course, but this sort of thing is bread and butter for many small welding shops. – Daniel R Hicks Apr 2 '16 at 12:38
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    That rack just looks like it's inherently prone to failure. Yeah, you can weld it, but if you put anything heavier than a cheeseburger on there, it'll eventually break again, maybe in a different spot. Or, even worse, it'll break your front brake. Just put it on the "failed engineering" pile. There's a reason why these things aren't common anymore. – Mike Baranczak Apr 3 '16 at 4:10
  • @MikeBaranczak: As much the evidence points to it being technologically feasible, you seem to be right in that its inherent usefulness is outweighed by the cost of repairing it; I'd hate to throw it away but it looks like a lost cause. – errantlinguist Apr 10 '16 at 15:12
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That looks as though it was chrome plated after it was welded together, which means cleaning it up so you can safely weld it again is going to be tedious. You'll need to clean the chrome off anything that will get hot, and afterwards painting it will not look that great. It would probably be cheaper to build a new rack.

One repair option that occurs to me is to cut a T shaped piece of steel to fit on the bike side of the bracket, bending the bottom of the T out to support the lower part of the rack. Then make a second piece of steel for the other wide, probably rectangular, to actually hold everything in place. Drill holes in both parts to allow the mounting bolt to go through.

If you made that out of ~2mm thick steel, then painted it, you should get another year or so out of the rack. Assuming to can resist the urge to overload it.

A rack like that with one bolt really isn't designed to take much more than a journal and a baguette.

  • Great idea, but it looks like it's just not worth the effort since it's so weak that the most it'll do is look good... – errantlinguist Apr 10 '16 at 15:14
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I think its totally fixable. I know of metalworkers who would relish the two-part challenge of this.

  1. how to fix it

  2. how to make it better than new

Downside - it won't be cheap.

You're probably looking at a sandblast to clean all the chrome off, to make welding work better. Then the metal worker would either tack weld it together and weld on some reinforcing on the back side; or cut off the old bridge piece and use it as a template to make a new one, with more meat in the two side bridges.

An item this unusual and old is worth doing properly. As you noted, its not a common item and there are tandemists / touring riders who would buy it as-is, for authenticity.

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