TransAm gear: Ruckus custom tailbox

With two months past after my truncated TransAm attempt, I have had plenty of time to reflect on the race. Although I only rode for four-and-a-bit days and a little over 1000 miles, that gave me plenty of time to evaluate my equipment choices. Preparing the bike and gear was a long process, and I am very grateful to the help I received along the way. One of my first partners was Ruckus Composites. Shawn was very helpful with discussing my ideas and figuring out how to make them a reality. The first part they did for me was modifying the cable routing on the Parlee fork, which gave a seamless cable entry on the crown, all nicely reinforced so as not to compromise the structure.

Then there was the tailbox. With my background building and racing fully streamlined human powered vehicles, I know how important the trailing edge aerodynamics are. Rather than using a standard oversize bikepacking saddlebag, my idea was to have a carbon box that would provide easily accessible storage and hopefully also improve the aerodynamics a little. I designed the shape in CAD, then made a cardboard model to check how the size would actually look. After a couple of iterations, I then carved the final shape from foam. It turns out that the choice of foam caused Ruckus all sorts of issues (sorry guys!), but they were able to make it work to turn out a great surface finish, with Textreme carbon making for a very stiff, light box.

I built a lightweight tubular steel frame to attach the box to the seatpost and saddle rails, and incorporated a mount for the rear Exposure light. I asked for a simple, lightweight setup for the lid, and Ruckus delivered with a section of webbing as a hinge, and a elastic latch at the back.

I don’t have any data to say whether there was an aerodynamic advantage to the box (I would like to do some roll down tests if I have the time at some point), but anecdotally I can say that I was out-rolling everyone else I rode with on the TransAm – by a significant amount. But as a storage box it was brilliant. I mainly used it to store clothing as I adjusted layers during the day. It was super easy to open the lid, drop items in, and shut it again – no zippers, straps or stuffing required. It was also a great spot to store bags of cereal and chips without them getting crushed. And having been bothered in the past by the swaying that often seems to happen with large saddlebags, the completely rigid mounting was great.

Shawn and his team at Ruckus have been my go-to guys for various carbon projects over the years. If you need a carbon repair or other project then I can highly recommend them.

 

One Comment

  1. I’m looking forward to working with them on my bikepacking project too! 🙂

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