The original front strut has been bent, battered, and damaged over the years. It's soft aluminum and would be easy to straighten, but I didn't want to risk damaging it further. Also, the original fenders were wider than those I'm using, and I need to be able to place the front mounting bolts closer together, so I decided to make a new one from a piece of 6061 aluminum rod.
(No special tools or intelligence required.)
Here you can see the multiple bends of the front strut.
I haven't bought a tube bender (yet), but the aluminum is so soft, I was pretty certain I could bend it by hand. I dug through the junk pile until i found a piece of wooded dowel the right size for the bends. I started at ehe center and worked out from there.
Next came the "S" curve which takes the strut around the fender. I need a narrower location for the bolts, so I deviated slightly from the original strut.
Using the dowel as a guide, I pulled the aluminum into a curve.
So far, so good... now the reverse bend.
Original (left) and hand-made copy (right)... not a perfect match, but close. I'll probably end up buying a tube bender and making another version, but this one will work fine for fitting the rack to the front fender and bike.
Here are all the parts layed-out.
The strut passes through a hole in the head of the the mounting bolts. The thick spacers fit over the bolt head and push against the strut to lock it when tightened. Clearance was a problem until I realized I could lean the strut forward to push the bolts through the holes in the rack.
Everything bolted-up fine. Note how the squarish bend of the strut helps support the center of the rack deck.