by David Kumhyr
Travis County (TX) Sheriff’s Office
I suspect like most riders your handlebars are already fully taken up by accessories, and you’re looking for space to mount one more trick gizmo.
My bike is outfitted with an Alerte Trailblazer III light, which leaves only a small bit of bar space on the right side for something else. I wanted to add a second, smaller light as both a backup and a lower profile light, one that doesn’t announce my presence and role quite so obviously as the big, bright square Alerte light. I also wanted some space for my cycle computer. There was not enough handlebar space left to mount all this gear, so I started looking for ways to resolve the situation.
At the same time, I wanted to address another issue. The Alerte has a lightweight mounting system and it has taken a beating from a year on some pretty rough terrain. It wasn’t going to be up to the strain of adding even the few ounces that the accessories would add.
Therefore, I decided to create a new mount that would be stronger as well as add more mounting space. As the photo illustrates (see “The Finished Product” at right), the new mount accommodates the cycle computer and the extra bike light. And there is still room in the center for a phone or GPS mount.
While this article is specific to the Alerte light, the general process of adding a second stub bar for mounting accessories can be adapted for most police bikes and lighting combinations.
A set of lightweight motorcycle handguard brackets is the basis for the new mounting system. These brackets clamp securely to the handlebar and provide a platform for mounting the headlight. The motorcycle brackets increase the rigidity and security of the whole assembly quite a bit and are much less vulnerable to breakage when the bike falls. The new mounts are substantially smaller and mount closer to the bars than the original Alerte bar clamps. I used the small mounting plate that came with the Alerte light, which needed to be trimmed to fit well. I cut off the plate at the slots and rounded the edges where it was cut.
The next part is a short piece of aluminum tube to provide a handlebar stub on which the accessories will be mounted. Cut a length that will extend far enough beyond the mounting brackets for your accessories. I kept mine pretty short since the two accessories I was mounting are small. Drill mounting holes through the tube into the brackets. Tap the holes in the bracket for screws to attach the tube to the mounts. Position the mount assembly on the shortened Alerte plate and drill holes in the front to mount the plate to attach it.
Here you can see the bottom view of the completed mounting bracket (right). The accessory tube is mounted to the brackets using screws inserted through the holes in the tube. In the bottom center, you can see a larger hole cut for clearance of the stem mounting. This is to allow the mount to rotate up or down to aim the headlight in close proximity to the steering stem head.
If you aren’t mounting an Alerte light, the center of the bar can be used to mount items that normally attach to a round handlebar as well.
David’s introduction to bike patrol was as a patrolman with the Fuquay-Varina (NC) Police Department in 1982 – with a found property bike with a basket and a bell. Now working as a reserve deputy in Travis County, Texas, he was certified as an IPMBA Police Cyclist in 2011. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) 2013 IPMBA. This article appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of IPMBA News.