This morning I opened the Ironweed email and there was a note from Johan Brox. Johan works at Dapper, a very nice bike shop in Oslo, Norway. He’s an Ironweed fan and Dapper is an Ironweed dealer. He emailed us to let us know that Dapper was sold out of our bags. He also made a suggestion. His suggestion was to cover the upper hooks with rubber to protect racks, especially those with some type of finish. Bottom-line, Johan is a guy that knows his way around bikes and bike gear. So when he makes a suggestion, we listen closely.
Now I’ve heard this suggestion a few times before and I completely agree. However, there’s a reason we didn’t rubberize our hooks. It may not be a great reason, but there is a reason. Before we started making bags, we made a commitment to keep the price as affordable as possible. To do that we gave up a few upgrades. (You might be surprised to know how much of the cost of our panniers come from the hardware.) Anyway, we decided not to rubberize the hooks.
Fortunately, there is a simple and extremely low-cost fix for this issue. It even makes use of those pesky ruined inner tubes that many of us have sought alternative uses for. Start with the narrowest of tubes – the 18mm-23mm tubes are probably the best. Then cut the tube into bands that are about 4 cm or 1-5/8”. Then just slide the pieces of tube onto the hooks and voila! It works so well that we might start sliding bands onto our hooks before we ship them out to customers.