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Forester Fred 07-17-2015 07:34 PM

My $12.00 bike rack
I wanted to get a bike rack for the rear of my motorhome and was looking for the type that fits in the receiver hitch. I shopped around and found that they are fairly expensive, like north of $250.00. I only need a rack that holds 2 bikes as it's just my wife and I.

So, being that I'm a cheap Yankee and like doing things myself, I built my own. I had some 1 1/4" X 1/8" square steel tubing that I had left over from a project I did a couple years ago where I converted an old boat trailer to a utility trailer. That with a piece of 2X2 1/8" angle iron became the bones of my rack. I had some 2X2 square aluminum tubing that was extra from the legs on my boat dock that became the tire supports. I had an unused receiver insert that for some reason was longer than all the others I had. My son had a bike rack that is a telescoping aluminum pole with two supports for bikes. He didn't want it anymore so I repurposed that. All said and done the only things I had to purchase were $12 worth of rubber straps from a bike shop to hold the tires to the rack.

Still in mockup stage, I'm going to pull it all apart, give a once over with a flap sander to smooth out sharp edges and bumps then hit it with some gloss black paint. I used my truck for assembly as it was close at hand.

I cut down the aluminum pole and reversed the bike supports so that they put down pressure on the bikes rather than supporting them.

I also set up the two support arms so that they can be folded up for storage. I still need to drill a couple holes to add clevis pins to lock the arms in the down position.

The aluminum post is supported on the inside by a piece of the square steel tubing. After everything is painted I will bolt the aluminum tube to the steel support inside it.

This is the 2X2 aluminum tubing before cutting it in half on the diagonal to make the tire supports. I used the side with the flat corner to attach them to the arms.

Here's the tire/wheel supports with the rubber straps I bought in place. I welded some 3/8" hex head bolts to the inside of the arm ends then rounded the corners on the head to allow the rubber straps to attach easily.

Yes, it's heavy. Yes, it's overbuilt....I stood on the end of each arm and jumped up and down on it several times to make sure it was strong enough...all 195lbs of me. If it holds me it will hold two bicyles. Reason I overbuilt it was because in 1987 while traveling cross country in my first motorhome we had our bikes on a rack that attached to the square tube bumper. BIG mistake. My wife was driving and I overheard truckers on the CB warning about bikes in the road westbound on I-80 in Indiana. Well, they were our bikes. We learned the hard way that you don't mount a bike rack on the tube bumper! So the moral of that story is that this one isn't going to fall off. For safety purposes I welded two eyebolts on the front and back of the rack. I'll use a ratchet strap as extra security in addition to the upper brackets to hold the bikes. I'll also run a security cable through the frames of both bikes and attach that to the safety chain attachment loops on the receiver hitch.

It may not be as pretty as a Thule or Yakima rack, but it only cost me $12. Plus it's much stronger than those thin walled tube racks on the market. I have enough faith in my welding skills that I know it won't go anywhere.

I'll report back when I get it painted.

wanderingbob 07-18-2015 07:03 AM

Looks good and priced right !

Forester Fred 07-29-2015 08:33 PM

I was out of town for a couple weeks but I finally got a chance to put my finishing touches on the rack. Disclaimer, the cost is now up to about $25. I made a couple minor changes that required the purchase of 4 J bolts, 2 D rings and 2 spring/clevis pins.

I added the J bolts to hold the end of the tire straps. I didn't like the angle that they were at on the original design. I sprayed the J bolts and the tire support tracks with Rustoleum Flexidip, the rest is gloss black paint.

Here's the finished project.

The spring/clevis pin lets me quickly unhitch the arms to fold them up.

J bolts installed for each tire strap plus a D ring welded in place for additional tie down points if needed.

Here it is with 2 bikes on it. I decided to mount the upper part with the supports facing upwards rather than putting down pressure on the bike frames. Now I have 4 points of contact on each bike. Ratchet strap over the top, around both bike frames and to the rack and I'm good to go.

Here's how the tire straps work.

And to top it all off I got an end cap for a piece of plastic electrical conduit, painted it black and secured it in place.

RETCHIEF 07-29-2015 08:53 PM

We put our bikes inside our trailer. A few tarps keep everything clean and there are no rack issues to deal with.

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