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We had an opportunity to take a protracted take a look at Hunter Cycles’ new Cow Catcher stem rack. Constructed particularly for the PAUL Boxcar stem, this light-weight rack is designed to hold gear on the handlebars and keep away from body and cable interference. Listed below are the small print, a great deal of photographs and a Q and A with Rick Hunter about this modern carrying system…
Jun 11, 2019
Following up final week’s, Inside Hunter Cycles, we take a protracted take a look at a selected product in HUNTER’s lineup of “smalls”—The Cow Catcher Stem Rack. In the event you’ve bikepacked with a handlebar roll bag or harness earlier than, you’re effectively conscious of the tribulations that come up with these kinds of luggage: straps rubbing off paint—or by carbon—in addition to interference with brake and shifter cables. As well as, the strap methods that join a bag or harness to the bars typically intervene with different luggage and take up priceless actual property that might in any other case be used for lights and/or devices. Mad scientist and grasp gear carrying system creator Rick Hunter got here up with a sublime answer to resolve all of those points. The Cow Catcher Stem Rack was designed in collaboration with PAUL Parts to work with PAUL’s machined in America 2024 aluminum Boxcar stem. It successfully clamps onto the stem through a customized faceplate and gives a bent-L formed platform to strap a dry bag, tent, or mixture of things. It additionally has a pair different tips. Listed below are the small print.
The HUNTER Cow Catcher Stem Rack is made from 4130 Chromoly metal rack tubing, a small metal plate, and comes with an aluminum PAUL faceplate that clamps instantly onto the Boxcar stem. This enables the Cow Catcher to connect with entrance the bike independently of the handlebars. It additionally options two pairs of braze-ons for clamping bottle cages or different customized luggage, packing containers, or attachments.
The Cow Catcher is available in two variations—the Day Rider (small) and Tour (massive with a hinged decrease shelf). The previous weighs 180 grams and the 2 piece Tour mannequin suggestions the scales at 320 grams, not together with the PAUL faceplate. They’re priced at $175/250, which incorporates the PAUL faceplate. Right here’s a Q and A with Rick in regards to the rack and its growth, adopted by my preliminary impressions…
When and why did you first provide you with the thought for a stem clamp mounted rack?
Undecided; I in all probability considered one thing prefer it a very long time in the past. I’ve been engaged on the precise product now for Three-Four years.
What number of iterations/prototypes have you ever made/examined?
Dozens. There have been quite a lot of completely different shapes and attachment factors, simply to attempt issues out and see the way it suits and works.
Why did you determine to make it two items with a hinge (vs a single welded rack)?
The 2 items will make it extra versatile with the flexibility to make use of it with or with out the decrease shelf. It is going to additionally pack up smaller because the decrease shelf can fold flat. The smaller Day Rider rack doesn’t have a decrease shelf in any respect.
Any thought what the load weight restrict is? What’s the heaviest and weirdest stuff you’ve carried in a single?
20lbs is the restrict, that’s actually heavy really, there’s no approach you’ll need to journey round with that a lot weight in your bars. The racks are primarily designed for mountain bikes and path bikes with brief stems and flat or riser bars. 5-10lbs is the candy spot and about as a lot as any bikepacker would need to carry. These is not going to change a conventional entrance rack, however they are going to work nice on bikes with suspension forks and for lighter backcountry set ups.
I’ve examined it with a bear can stuffed with gear and meals. Different individuals have used them for rafts and path instruments. They are perfect for a standard 10-15L dry bag. Two [Voilé] straps and also you’re out the door with no swaying, no rubbing, and the cables clear every little thing.
The 2 units of braze-ons can be utilized for 2 water bottle cages, right? Every other attachment concepts?
There are 4 threaded bosses on every mannequin. They work as attachments for water bottles or spots to bolt a devoted bag or tupperwear field. These may also work for gentle mounts, quantity plates, and so on. The racks hopefully encourage a DIY method from individuals. Thats the great thing about them for my part, you don’t really want a particular bag or equipment, they’re adaptable to a number of makes use of.
The Cow Catcher isn’t but on the market or on preorder, right? How can of us be notified when they’re accessible?
I’m taking my candy time getting them completed, I’ve 50 Paul Element faceplates able to go for them. I’ve been taking names and have a good listing began for them. Please electronic mail me. I’ll see how the primary 50 work out and take it from there.
For the final couple of years I’ve been hoping answer such because the Cow Catcher would emerge. There are a number of merchandise at the moment in the marketplace that clear up a few of the frequent handlebar bag woes—cable interference and headtube rub/put on. Salsa’s Something Cradle, the Rockgeist Barjam, and Blackburn’s comparatively new Outpost Elite Handlebar Roll all use clamping to place the load away from the bars and supply wiggle room for cables. Nevertheless, they take up priceless actual property on the handlebar and every have their very own set of quirks–the Something Cradle doesn’t have decrease help, which, in my expertise may cause luggage to eject on actually tough trails if not strapped down very well. And the Blackburn Elite requires further straps on the handlebar and weighs a whopping 795g.
The Hunter Cow Catcher stem rack is a sublime, effectively constructed, and modern answer that addresses all the problems that include a typical handlebar roll bag or harness. And, it does so with no weight penalty. When evaluating it to the favored dimension medium Revelate Sweetroll (436g) and the Ortlieb Handlebar-Pack (426g), the Cow Catcher really weighs 116/106 grams much less, comparatively. That mentioned, as soon as the burden of a dry bag and straps are factored in, they’re comparable.
Just a few armchair complaints would possibly come up, equivalent to the value ($250), the required Boxcar Stem ($141), or the truth that the Cow Catcher locations the load in a barely larger place than that of a handlebar roll. It’s fairly an funding, however the PAUL Boxcar is a pleasant, reliable element that I’ve put 1000’s of miles on. As for load distribution and efficiency, we’ll have to attend and see.
Keep tuned for extra data over at HunterCycles.com.