Load your pack
on a Burro Rack

The Problem

With all the hassles of biking to campus, students should opt for an alternate mode of transportation. Riding a bike to school may seem tedious, but some students and professors think it will save you time and money, while providing an opportunity to exercise. Making the ride a little easier on students who have a lot to carry on their journey, Burro Components is creating a bike rack to hold items such as backpacks, textbooks and other items.

The Installation

Biomedical engineering senior Griffin Paul assembles a Burro Rack onto his bike that was built while on Cal Poly Frame Builders club.

Biomedical engineering senior Griffin Paul pulls up to the Hangar (building 4) with a boombox in hand. His mobility is impaired with balancing the boombox, making the journey to school and back home more difficult. It is reasons like this why Paul decided to help create a product that will help bikers and students alike travel with ease — the Burro Rack, part of his company Burro Components. Previously part of the Cal Poly Frame Builders club, Paul met his then-partner alumnus Ricky Reidl, who originally had the idea for the Burro Rack. “We went to a bike show in Sacramento called NAHBS [North American Handmade Bikes Show], and we built a bike for that and a bunch of components,” Paul said. “I think Ricky started getting ideas there, it was originally his idea. He built one over spring break and he had a pretty decent prototype.” The first step to installing the Burro Rack is to hook your bike up to an adjustable repair stand, just as Paul is doing above. The Burro Rack went through a lot of redesign to make it user friendly and easy for installation. “If you don’t know that much [about bikes], you can still put it on and get rolling without that much effort,” Paul said. The evolution from tubes and clamps to a one-piece welded fork to a rack that bolts onto an existing fork makes the Burro Rack easy to install. Once the bike is mounted, it is time to detach the front wheel from the fork. There are three different ways to purchase a Burro Rack. The first is buying the rack itself and attaching it to your own wheel. The second is buying the rack already mounted onto a wheel. The third is buying the rack mounted onto a wheel with a brake rotor and caliper. Paul has a Burro Rack already attached to a 20-inch wheel. “Probably one of our best innovations was making the rack bolted onto an already existing fork. That way you don’t have to tear into your bike as much,” Paul said. It’s all a matter of finding the sweet spot at this point. With the bike still mounted, Paul must slide the rack and tire combination into the fork. Though he is using a 20-inch wheel on a frame suited for a much larger wheel, he has adjusted the hub for smaller wheel to fit into the bike while still balancing the frame of the bike and weight of the Burro Rack and its components. Paul secures the wheel and rack combo to make for a safe ride. The company name printed down the side of the product is just one of the newest design schemes that have improved the appearance of the Burro Rack. “It [the Burro Rack] came a long way. I think we made about 15 different prototypes, or at least designs. The first ones were kind of scary looking,” Paul said. With the Burro Rack fully installed, it’s ready to carry cargo. Paul is choosing to mount his boombox onto the rack, in hopes of having more ease on the ride home than when he arrived at the Hangar. Though this product can prove to be useful for students who bike to school and have projects or textbooks to carry, Paul said not all biking purchases are rational. “The bike industry is very hard to get into. It’s just very competitive and the market is actually kind of irrational. People don’t buy products because they make sense sometimes. They buy stuff because it’s marketed well,” Paul said. The Burro Rack is able to secure the boombox to the bike without affecting the stability of the bike. According to Paul, the rack can handle items up to 50 pounds while maintaining stability. He thinks this will be handy for students and open more biking opportunities. “It promotes biking over using your car. You don’t have to get groceries with your car anymore, you can do it on your bike. And it’s super utilitarian,” Paul said. With his boombox strapped tight and Burro Rack secured, Paul is ready for an easier ride home. The Burro Rack will easily withstand a mile ride with a five-pound boombox balancing on top, having withstood much more. “At the beginning of summer we went to a meet your maker ride, which is a bunch of frame builders. We rode the [Burro] Racks for 50 miles, carried some beer, water, tools if they needed it. It was fun,” Paul said.

The Evolution

This Burro Rack went through a few prototypes before the final design was made.

Burro Rack evolution

The Future

With Griffin Paul taking next quarter off to be a ski bum in Colorado, Burro Components will be taking a break during winter quarter. However, once Paul returns he hopes to get a team together and start selling more units in the spring.

Life is like riding a bicycle.
To keep your balance, you must keep moving.

~Albert Einstein