CB500x Luggage Rack

Client: Personal project
Built: 03.2018 Updated: 2020
  • Arc Welding
  • Metal Fabrication


Final result

This has been one of my earliest welding projects


Apart from the personal challenge, the main motivation behind this build was to have a soft luggage rack that fulfils the following requirements:
  • Narrow to reduce drag
  • Strong for off-road use
  • Exhaust guard to avoid burning in large panniers

Build Process

The rack was made out of scrap metal tubing, that was derived from old garden recliner chairs. These chairs were a great donor as they're mostly made out of the same tubing containing enough 90℃ angles.

The design was based on similar Racks made by large manufacturers such as Givi and Hepco & Becker, but was adapted to better suit my own preferences.


Being such a nice motorcycle, a high quality outcome was important to me.


Being only my 3rd welding project, my limited welding experience was probably the biggest hurdle. This was further amplified with the thin walls of the tubing which are not the easiest with to weld using an arc welder. The trick on these thin sections was to weld with low amps, welding one small section at a time and removing the slack after every weld.
a grinder and paint, make me the welder I aint.


Another challenge was the design itself. While it would have been possible to just copy existing racks, they didn't seem quite suitable for my application. The biggest worry I had was the exhaust as I was intending to use relatively large panniers.
I eventually opted for adding a bracket that would stop the bags from touching the exhaust. To balance the look I also added a bracket on the other side. As crash safety is important for me, the brackets were kept short enough to not protrude beyond the exhaust, thus avoiding damage.
On the non exhaust side, the risk of injury was a worry. To reduce that, the bracket was placed on hinges that would fold up in case the bike would fall on that side.

Upgrade in 2020 and Retrospective

Final result

The rack held up well for over 15,000km's on multiple adventure rides. These have taken me over coutless corrugations into some of the remotest parts of Australia. However, the harsh conditions and the 500x's engine vibrations have taken their toll on numerous accessories and components on the bike.

On the rack itself, I the following happened:
Symptom Reason Fix
Paint Worn through Single Part Expoxy Enamel paint, isn't as wear resistant as needed. Wrap the contacting tubes with 20mm cable spiral wrapping. I got mine for free from a local facility when they decomissioned old servers.
Cheap variants can be found on eBay (I'm not affiliated with the seller or product).
Pannier could touch exhaust. Gap on bottom guard too large. I welded in 3 new cross braces.
Prevously, I cablied tied a temporary board to cover the gap. The cross brases are now permanent.
A few cracks in welds My skill with the welder wasn't as good yet. Cleanup the welds and redo them as my skill has improved and I'm doing cleaner welds now.
I figured that higher amps on the welder and short bursts created better results with the thin-wall tubing. I'm now also much more meticuolous with the cleaning up slag since my earlier projects suffered more from slag entrapment.


Midway into the project

Unpainted pieces

The unpainted separate pieces inclusing the backbone that strenghtened the racks.

Foldable Bracket

Final result - non exhaust side. Showing the foldable bracket.