OMM Racks – Born in the USA..

21 05 2013

Some behind the scenes footage at Old Man Mountain [aka OMM] racks. Made in the USA by some nice guys that love bike touring. ūüôā

Got OMM?

18 11 2012

Old Man Mountain Sherpa [old skool version] on Sharon’s Pugsley…

I’m running short on time before I leave for Baja so I am frantically trying to take care of everything on my To Do List.

The OMM racks looks at home on a fatty…

In Mexico our Pugsleys are mostly beasts of burden. They have to carry ice and beer back to camp as well as let us roll down the beach in search of adventure when it’s not windy enough to kiteboard.

Ready to haul…

We’ll do some desert mountain biking as well. The OMM racks are so light that when you don’t have panniers on them you can pretty much forget you have them installed.

That’s one good looking fatbike… ūüėČ

Pugsley Taco Packing Setup…

4 11 2012

Old Man Mountain rack for hauling panniers…

I’m getting the Pugsley ready for a long spell in Baja so I reinstalled the OMM Cold Springs rear rack. I’ll be mounting up some Ortlieb panniers so I can haul beer and ice back to my tent on the beach.

OMM made for carrying stuff…

I left all the mounting hardware on the rack when I pulled it off so putting it back on only took a few minutes.

A MTB riser bar to open up the cockpit…

I replaced the Loop H-bar with a XC MTB riser. This puts the hand position a couple inches further forward increasing the reach. I don’t need all day touring comfort on my Pugsley in Baja. Rides will be shorter and we’ll be doing some mountain biking so this is a better setup.

Old bike – new feel…

I like how changing a few parts gives an old bike a whole new feel. That’s one of the nice things about Surly frames – they are versatile so you can reinvent them as needed. ūüėČ

BTW – I just found out that OMM has stopped making the Cold Springs rack. ūüė¶ That’s one of my favourites, but I have a few copies and they last forever so I’m good until I probably can’t ride a bike any longer! They still make the Sherpa so you continue to have an awesome rack option.

Upgraded OMM Sherpa Rack…

26 07 2011

Old Sherpa on left and new OMM Sherpa on right...

I love Old Man Mountain [OMM] racks and have them on almost all my bikes that use racks:

I’ve tried the other contenders in the rack department [Tubus Cargo, Surly Nice rack, etc…] and prefer to use OMM products. I’m coming up on 10yrs of Old Man Mountain rack use with no failures, no hassles and all smiles…=-)

New rack on bottom...

One thing I like about OMM is that they don’t churn out new improved¬†products every year that aren’t any better than last year’s version just to get people to buy the latest greatest gizmo. My very first set of OMM Cold Springs racks looks pretty much the same as what you can buy today 10yrs later. To me that’s a solid design that performs and doesn’t need hype to sell. So I was interested when I heard that OMM had come up with some changes to their Sherpa rack design after all these years.

You can see a comparison between old and new Sherpa racks in these photos:

  • the main rack tubes have been increased from 10mm to 12mm
  • the top rails remain at 10mm for pannier compatibility, but on the new rack the top rail is one unit and is welded on to the larger lower 12mm portion of the rack
  • the new rack platform is 2cm longer than the old one
  • picking them up I can’t detect any weight¬†difference¬†by hand although I assume the new one is a few grams heavier

New rack is on bottom...

The new rack retains the same high quality made in the USA construction OMM is famous for and uses the same modular mounting hardware that can be customized to fit any bike. I really like that my 10yr old OMM rack will fit just about any touring bike I care to throw it on – disc brakes?…no problem….lack of rack braze ons?…no problem,¬†bizarre¬†full suspension frame?….no problem, etc…

Another view of new on left and old on right...

To be honest I never felt that the old Sherpa rack was in need of being more beefy or stiff. I tend to carry moderate loads so perhaps I am not at the far end of the rack abuse spectrum, but I do ride rough dirt roads/tracks with my loaded bikes and that takes it’s toll on gear. I’ll be using the new OMM SHerpa rear rack on my 26″ LHT build so I’ll be reviewing it as I ride that bike, but OMM products kinda suck for blogging purposes because they just work and provide no drama to report on – that get’s boring!

Surly Pugsley Rack Options

19 06 2009
My Pugsley with two rear OMM Cold Springs racks

My Pugsley with two rear OMM Cold Springs racks

Fitting racks to a Surly Pugsley can be a pain.¬† The uber wide 135mm front fork and offset drivetrain make fitting normal front and rear racks a challenge, but there are ways to get around this.¬† I figured I’d post a few possible options in one place for easy reference.

Option 1: Old Man Mountain

Pigeonfarmboy's Pug with a Front/Rear Surly Nice Racks Mounted.

Pigeonfarmboy's Pug with a Front/Rear Surly Nice Racks Mounted.

Option 2: Front/Rear Surly Nice Racks

Martin's Pug with a modified Surly Nice rear rack mounted up front.

Martin's Pug with a modified Surly Nice rear rack mounted up front.

Option 3: Two Surly Nice Rear Racks

  • with a bit of modification you can mount a Surly Nice rear rack on the front of your Pug.
  • this reduces weight and makes fitting on the Pugsley fork easier than a front rack.
  • check out this post on my Bow Cycle blog for details.
Kurt's Pug with a Filzer Rear Rack attached

Kurt's Pug with a Filzer Rear Rack attached.

Option 4: Filzer Disc Brake Rear Rack

  • Filzer makes a rear rack that is extra wide to clear disc brakes. We picked one up at MEC and mounted it on Kurt’s Pugsley.
  • It mounts up reasonably well.
  • The rack is decent for a $30 unit, but the way the lower portion of the rack mounts is flawed.
  • If you look at the picture below you’ll see how the rack is attached with adapters to get around the disc calipers.¬† This weakens the rack and makes it unsuitable for carrying heavy loads on rough terrain.
  • If you only need to carry lighter loads [change of clothes, lunch, etc…] on smooth roads it could be a decent solution for you.
  • Kurt is removing this rack and buying two OMM Sherpa rear racks from Bow Cycle for our up coming GDR tour.
Filzer disc brake rear rack spacer

Filzer disc brake rear rack adapter.

Pugsley OMM Racks Mounting Upgrades

15 06 2009
Note silver washers used to space out racks mounts.

Note silver washers used to space out racks mounts.

When I mounted my OMM racks last December I had to use some washers at most of the lower mounting locations to get the clearance and fit I needed.¬† You can see the washers I used on the rear left mount in the photo above.¬† Rack mounting bolts are meant to work in shear where they are strongest.¬† As soon as you add a spacer in between the rack and the braze-on the mounting bolts experience a bending moment and are weaker.¬† The minimal amount of spacers I had to use didn’t pose a problem for carrying moderate loads on smooth ground or light loads off road.¬† However, with the upcoming GDR tour I was concerned that carrying moderate loads off road would break something.¬† Having a rack fail miles from the nearest services would have been a real bummer.

Luckily my friend Kurt is more mechanically gifted than me and enjoys futzing with tools.  Last night we ordered some pizza, got a case of beer and he set about modifying my OMM racks so that they would fit on my Pugsley without the need for spacers.

After Kurt's handy work the same rear OMM rack mount without any spacers.

After Kurt's handy work the same rear OMM rack mount without any spacers.

On the rear Kurt had to bend the upper mounting arms to allow the lower portions of the OMM rack to move inwards enough to eliminate the need for any spacers.  He even did it so the bends looks professional Рunlike the mangled hack job that would have been the result of my DIY efforts!

Front OMM lower mount filed down for clearance with Pug fork.

Front OMM lower mount filed down for clearance with Pug fork.

On the front the lower rack mounts interfered with the Pugsley fork legs.  Kurt filed away the rear of each mount to get the required clearance.  Once that was done the OMM racks could be mounted without any spacers on the front.

Front lower OMM rack mountm without spacers after it was filed down.

Front lower OMM rack mount without spacers after it was filed down.

It doesn’t seem like a lot of work, but it took about two hrs from start to finish with lots of trial fittings before Kurt did any modifications – he is a stickler for measure 3 times cut once.¬† The result looks great and should be stronger than before.¬† Kurt has also suggested we buy hardened bolts to replace the standard rack bolts to make the racks on our Puglseys totally bombproof.

Bumping down the GDR with my loaded Pug I’ll be enjoying the trail without worry about my racks.

It pays to have handy friends!…=-)

Nothing says fast like…

10 04 2009
Old Man Mountain Sherpa rear rack

Old Man Mountain Sherpa rear rack

One of the funniest comments I’ve rec’d recently about my bikes was from Hank W..”…nothing says fast like an OMM rack!…”¬† I can’t help myself….fenders and racks are essential in my world – even on a go-fast bike.¬† On this red machine’s maiden voyage we were riding along some wet sections and Kurt complained his butt was soaked.¬† I looked at him smugly and said “…that’s what fenders are for!…”¬† My next project is to make front and rear mudflaps from a milk jug.¬† I’m drinking tea like crazy so I can get an empty milk jug to work with!…..=-)

I love how easy these racks are to mount.

I love how easy these racks are to mount.

So I think I am up to 8 OMM racks…just two away from having an official Old Man Mountain rack problem.

Doug’s OMM Pugsley Rack Hack

2 12 2008
Doug's Pugsley with OMM racks.


I was pondering the challenge of getting racks mounted on my Pugsley.¬† I have some OMM racks which I like a lot and would be a good choice for this bike as they are strong and light – the Pugsley doesn’t need any extra weight!¬† The trouble is they mount using a special QR at the hub.¬† Normally this is a very versatile system and I’ve used it with no issues on my Surly LHT and Big Dummy.

The trouble with the Pugsley is I’m using a Shimano Alfine IGH at the back which means I’ll be bolting on that wheel and can’t use the special QR OMM supplies with the rack.¬† I could use the QR on the front wheel, but I want to be able to swap wheels [both wheels on a Pugsley are rear wheels] should the Alfine act up when it gets really cold.

I’m lucky on two fronts – first the OMM racks are very versatile so the QR mount isn’t the only way to go and second I have other smart bikers who have plowed this road ahead of me.¬† I thought I recalled Doug had used OMM racks on his Pugsley and I thought he may have skipped the QR mounts as well.¬† A search of his blog proved my sometimes unreliable memory correct.

A quick read of the related posts and the problem was solved.¬† I can mount my OMM racks directly to the Puglsey by simply bolting them on to braze-ons that are just above the disc mounts – sweet.¬† I may even have some of the shorter OMM rack adapters like Doug used to lower the racks down a bit – as the new mounting points are a couple inches higher than the usual spot at the axle.¬† If not the guys at OMM are always happy to send out whatever small parts you need to fit their racks to a new bike.¬† They’ve been very helpful to me in the past.

Doug's Pugsley with OMM rack & shorter rack adapter.


Thanks Doug – I hope you are feeling better!

My [old] Winter Bike

29 11 2008


I posted this in Nov 2006 to my personal blog.¬† I’ve just stripped down this bike and cleaned up the frame before putting it into storage.¬† I’ve got a new winter bike project in mind for this year, but I’m still waiting on bits to arrive…=-)

Schwalbe Snow Stud

Schwalbe Snow Stud

It’s hard to believe November just started and the streets are already covered with ice and snow. I have been bracing myself for winter I just didn’t expect it to start so soon and with such vigor. Oh well such is life in the Great White North!

My Schwinn mtn bike (AKA the Urban Assault Machine) got the nod as my winter ride. I slapped a Schwalbe studded tire on the front and a Schwalbe Marathon XR on the rear – both 26″ x 1.9″. Studs aren’t really needed on the road, but the bike paths are not well cleared and without automobile traffic they don’t stay ice free the way well traveled roads do. We actually had a debate a few weekends ago, at the start of the LOTR marathon, whether or not studded tires were a benefit or hindrance for a Calgary winter cyclist. Dwayne and Nick felt they were not useful and I think they are – especially a lightly studded tire like the Schwalbe. My thinking is the studs add a bit of weight and might be less desirable on dry roads/paths, but the first time you hit a stretch of ice on the bike paths you’ll be glad you had a studded tire. I only put studs on the front because if your front wheel slides out you crash in two seconds. A sliding rear tire can be controlled and can even be fun. Bottom line I’ll be able to test out my hypothesis and report back at the end of the winter.

SKS fender and old school Avid mech discs

SKS fender and old school Avid mech discs

Fenders are essential in the winter – at least if you want to stay reasonably clean. I’d prefer full coverage fenders, but I had these clip on SKS fenders kicking around so I’ll use them for now. I am also feeling a bit lazy and setting up full coverage fenders on a front suspension mtn bike with disc brakes is “do able”, but it would take a lot of fiddling.

Schwalbe Marathon XR & SKS rear fender

Schwalbe Marathon XR & SKS rear fender

The Schwalbe Marathon XR isn’t the ideal winter tire, but I already had it in my inventory and it is more aggressive than the semi-slick Continental Travel Contact tire it is replacing.

Grippy Wellgo BMX Pedals

Grippy Wellgo BMX Pedals

I ditched my Time platform clip-in pedals for some studded Wellgo BMX pedals. Secure footing with any shoes or boots and it is easy to put a foot down when the inevitable sliding starts. I just have to try and keep the studs from engaging my shins!

OMM rack & Cateye LD1000 blinky

OMM rack & Cateye LD1000 blinky

I mounted a Cateye TL-LD1000 rear blinkie to my seatpost. I’ll use a Planet Bike Superflash blinkie on my seatbag and a Planet Bike white front blinkie on my handlebars.

Princeton Tec EOS Headlamp

Giro Helmet, Princeton Tec EOS Headlamp & Planet Bike Blinky

No I am not finished with the lights! I’ll use a Planet Bike rear helmet blinkie and a Princeton Tec EOS headlamp attached to my helmet. The EOS can be set to flash to be seen or set to steady light to illuminate the road.

I know this seems excessive, but when driving to work in the AM I am constantly amazed at cyclists cruising around in busy traffic with minimal or no lights and dark clothing. I am a cyclist so I should be more aware of bikers than most drivers, but in many cases I only see them at the last minute. So I’d rather look a little over cautious than be dead or seriously injured.


If you want more info on winter biking check out the Ice Bike website.