Deck Height: How Low Can You Go?
The EdgeRunner has a 20" rear wheel to help keep the weight of the bike and cargo low. This puts the deck inches lower than a Radish, but what if you wanted to get lower? We've tested out all the options between full height racks and super short ones and here’s the full scoop on rack height.
Deck height, and cargo height as a result of it, is a major factor in cargo bike stability. Loads that have to go on top of the deck, such as children in bike seats, increase the rotational inertia of the bike making the bike slower to turn into or out of a corner and subjecting the frame to greater twisting stress. Since inertia increases as the square of the distance, reducing the deck height by a factor of two decreases the inertia by a factor of four: Even small changes in deck height can have a noticeable effect.
From a purely theoretical standpoint, having a deck directly above the tire is ideal, since this minimizes the rotational inertia.
From a practical standpoint you want to have the lowest deck that retains the functionality of a cargo bike - being able to carry passengers and cargo.
Using a 20” rear wheel and regular racks gets you pretty close to the best of all worlds – the deck is lower thanks to the smaller rear wheel and the full-size racks mean all your cargo options still work. You can still get the deck a bit lower without impacting the rest of the system too much, so if you'd like to further optimize your ride, read on!
Note: Electric EdgeRunners have a battery located above the seat-stays – these bikes were designed to work with the standard v-racks, and we do not recommend changing the rack height. If you do, you’ll need to find an alternative location for the battery. As a side note, the electric is the reason for the 20" rear wheel: they have more torque compared to a 26" wheel which is absolutely vital on a cargo bike.
Rack Hack Attack!
You can truncate the standard v-racks that came with your EdgeRunner by 1' to 2”. Simply remove the racks from the bike (a soft mallet can help ease them out) mark up from the ends the distance you want to lower the deck by and cut with a hacksaw.
This improves the handling when carrying passengers and the FreeLoaders still work fine (see installation guide below). The one caveat is that removing the full 2” makes it impossible to install Whatchamacollars on the rear of the racks.
If you want to lower the racks, trimming the v-racks 1-2” is our recommendation and is how the EdgeRunner was photographed. With the exception of the Whatchamacollars, everything still functions as advertized, and the bike works for kid passengers, adult passengers and cargo. But what if you want to get everything even lower?
Using a pair of WideLoaders you can make a pair of low racks, but with these racks you can’t use FreeLoaders and can’t carry a range of passengers (use only with Yepp Maxi kidseats). They are absolutely awesome for: use with a SideCar, putting a wider platform over the rear wheel, or having a large case over the rear wheel. If that’s is what you need learn all about the pros and cons below. If not, skip all the way down to see how to install FreeLoaders on cut down v-racks.
WideLoaders can be used instead of v-racks – truncating them by 4.5” in the front and 1.5” in the rear gets you about 2” lower than a cut-down v-rack. At this point the bottom of the FreeLoaders can no longer be secured to the frame and should not be used due to the potential for the lower edge of the bag to get caught in the wheel, chain, or rotor.
The WideLoader skins do work to provide some side covering and will help keep cargo out of the wheels when you’re using the SideCar. Due to how incredibly low the deck is, and the lack of substantial foot protection, this setup is not great for carrying passengers. The one type of passenger it is great for is small children in Yepp Maxi seats. Do not carry passengers on this setup unless they are in a Yepp Maxi and are using the foot restraints.
While low racks are cool looking they don’t provide great functionality outside of a few specific scenarios. Unless you really need low racks and know what you're doing, don’t set up your bike like this.
Installing FreeLoaders on Short Racks
The FreeLoaders are designed to be attached to the rack at the top and to the frame at the bottom. If they are not securely fastened and tightened at the top and bottom they can sway in and out on the frame, resulting in poor handling, lost or damaged cargo, and damage to the bag or bike.
Lowering the racks puts the lower straps for the FreeLoader almost exactly in line with the attachment points on the EdgeRunner frame which isn’t ideal. To improve the tension on the front of the bag, wrap the strap around the frame as shown below.
The rear strap can be left in it's regular configuration just be sure to tighten both the front and rear straps fully and equally.
RunningBoards are a good addition to this setup: the FreeLoaders rest on top of the RunningBoards, keeping them from dangling too far below the frame when unloaded, and giving them a bit of extra support when loaded, keeping them out of the derailer and rotor.
Questions? Comments? Join the discussion!