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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Alternate Mounts for the RTL-510

Shapeways has various different mounts for the RTL-510. I had 2 different applications for the 3-D printer technology, neither of which were supported by Garmin. The first was for a rack mount for the tandem/triplet/quad.
For this, I bought the Trek Madone insert. This was an oddly shaped piece. I got a matching threaded allen-bolt from the local hardware store, and then drilled out the hole so that the bolt could get in. Then I had to get the Yost Swivel Vice Clamp from Harbor Freight and used my drill bit to scrape about 3mm from the top of the center hole. The plastic would then compress sufficiently for me to get the quarter-turn mount screwed into the rack so that the head of the allen bolt was recessed. The solution was not ideal: because of the smooth circular nature of the mount, I have to get out my pliers to hold the mount steady whenever I need to unlock the light and remove it (to switch bikes or for charging), but it worked.

The other use was for touring: I wanted to be able to mount the RTL-510 on the saddlebag or whatever carrier I had when I was touring, and those tend to be cover the seat post. The Shapeways Saddlebag Clip does the job. I could use this unmodified, but again, the mount is super-stiff, so I have to use way more effort to mount and unmount this than the standard Garmin mount. Since these are 3-D printed items, my guess is that the designers simply went for stiffness so that there was no way the unit could unmount itself and fall off, but I'd much rather that Garmin provide me with a real solution, even if I have to pay more.

All in all, the RTL-510 is great technology, and I'm glad the community is supporting it so I can mostly jury-rig what I need. Maybe some day Garmin (and Shimano, etc) will wake up and realize that seat post mounts are really not good compared with seat stay mounts or rack mounts and start to support those alternate mount systems. Until then, us cyclists will just have to make do.

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