Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Hitch Mount Bike Rack

  1. #1

    Hitch Mount Bike Rack

    I've been into bicycles since I was a kid and have raced mountain bikes since before I had my drivers license. Once I got that license I got a truck and on it's roof a bike rack. I've had a rack on every vehicle I've owned and even my girl friend/wife's car. We take the bikes everywhere near and far and since I bike commute I use a rack at least 5 times a week.

    For my long traveling trips I like to like to travel without the family. It's me being selfish but also lets me focus on what I'm doing. As such I ditch the two car seats and put the bike in the back of the 4Runner. I usually travel with at least one friend so their bike goes in the back too. This saves on wind resistance A LOT as well as interior noise. It also lessens then chance of crashing into the car port at the hotel.

    I have a rear hitch cargo basket that I'd adapted to hold bikes and use it when I travel with the family. It gets the bikes off the roof and since I can't put them inside I put it on the back. Having it on the back is also nice when the bike is dripping mud or chain grease. You should see the stains in my paint from chain lube.

    I've always been a Yakima fan and have 4 Yakima Steelhead fork mount bike carriers. They require removal of the front wheel and the bike is locked to the rack via the fork legs. I have always wanted to buy or build something that would allow me to put a Steelhead rack on something that mounts in the receiver.

    Over the years I've sketched things and acquired little pieces to one day put something together. Recently I have done just that and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

    Here is what I started with. A Thule hitch rack from Craigslist.

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by 4x4mike; 04-02-2013 at 08:49 AM. Reason: Picture testing

  2. #2
    It fits in a 2" receiver and the top tilts down if not in use. Its a solid rack which I what I was after. I see so many racks that are small diameter tube over loaded. I wanted beef and only some of the parts so I started cutting.

    My version needed to be shorter and I was sure I'd ditch the tilting head because I wanted the inner bike as close to the rear of the 4runner as possible to avoid something that stuck out too far.

    I needed to keep the feature that allowed the rack to tilt away from the vehicle and this one is a decent one. I've seen guys ad a gas strut to it to assist but my bikes aren't too heavy so I may avoid the hassle.

    Yakima cross bars are about 1.1" in diameter and plastic coated. The Steelhead mounts need this diameter and plastic doesn't hold up to welding so I went to Home Depot with some calipers. I ended up buying some 1" EMT that had an OD just a hair over what I needed. To me this was much better than going smaller. EMT lets off some fumes and cancer when welding but I like to live on the edge so I brought it home.

    After some measuring, test fitting with all the bikes, and some head scratching I cut some tube and burned it in. Oh I almost forgot. I had to also buy some 2" tube for a cross beam to hold the EMT cross bars. I ended up in the fence isle of HD and they had some powder coated posts that were perfect.

    I used a flap wheel to grind the welds clean as well as to take that hair of metal off so the Steelheads would fit on the cross bars. In the end I liked how it turned out. It need more paint but it will hold any two of my or my wife's bikes so it should hold most any adult bike. Another plus is that it's off the roof, finally got to take my rack off, and all I have to worry about is backing into something.

    Down the road I might make additional crossbar extensions to hold 2 more Steelheads. They would slip inside the ends of the current ones and use a pin or set screw to attach them to the rack. I might also make another set of extension tubes with some expanded steel to use like a tail gate or shelf to tie stuff down to. The kids bikes are small so they fit inside of the cargo area but it would be nice to strap them to something.

    The crossbars are cut down quite a bit from the last picture. Also to note is that the license plate is covered. Most people I ride with have hitch mount bike racks and this is the case with all of them. We live in a popular cycling area and I see this all the time. I talked to two cop buddies and both said they don't pull over for it. Even then its a bike rack that doesn't have provisions for mounting a plate to. If I mounted my plate to it by law I'd also need it illuminated so until I'm forced I won't. The road bike hoods stick out a little past the edges but far less than mounts that leave both wheels on. A mountain bike does not stick out at all. At night the lights are still visible.

    Since I'll keep this on most of the time if I get flack I'll maybe mount some really small amber and red LEDs and maybe a license plate mount. Maybe.

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by 4x4mike; 04-02-2013 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Pic testing

  3. #3

    I've been wanting to do something similar. Too bad I don't ride as much anymore..
    TLCA Member

    2003 4Runner SR5 4x4 Chaos Edition
    2000 Toyota Landcruiser
    19xx M416 Trailer

    Chaos Edition Profile
    Operation Rebuilding Chaos Edition
    01001001001001110110110100100000011000010010000001 11011101100101011000100111011101101000011001010110 010101101100011001010111001000100001

  4. #4
    I get most of my riding in becuase I commute. Because I like to ride daily I only ride home becuase of time and energy. One way is between 18-25 miles depending on my route.

    MTB race season started in January for me and phase 2 starts this Wednesday after work so I'll be driving with the bike more. I wanted this rack because the roof was getting old and I wanted the aerodynamics back.

  5. #5
    Cool idea! I made something a little different but I hope to expand my idea soon.

    Only problem with my rack is that I need it an inch or two wider. My other bike fits but it doesn't make me feel very safe.

    Nice bike BTW......I need to find something a little more commute friendly.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I727 using Tapatalk
    98 3rz 4x4 5spd- Monstalined, 99 Talls, 4.30 E-locker, Extra Lights
    In Progress:
    Tundra/Rear Disc Brakes w/parking brake
    Roof Rack/Rear Ladder
    1st Gen Rollbar Shelf

  6. #6
    Thanks. The Cannondale will be moved down one notch next week as I've got a Specialized Venge joining the stable.

    The rack has been super solid since I built it and Im really happy. I might trim the bars a bit as I've found I don't need to move the trays but that's it. It's held every bike I've put in it really well. Mountain, road and kids bikes.

  7. #7
    I am working on a sloped platform since mine drags every now and then accessing a trail. Honestly though what I had in mind isn't too far from what you built. I just want to find a way around dropping the front wheel all the time.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I727 using Tapatalk
    98 3rz 4x4 5spd- Monstalined, 99 Talls, 4.30 E-locker, Extra Lights
    In Progress:
    Tundra/Rear Disc Brakes w/parking brake
    Roof Rack/Rear Ladder
    1st Gen Rollbar Shelf

  8. #8
    Update. It hasn't been a year yet but I've used this rack about 5 days a week since I made it (except for the time down after my back surgery). It's been holding up and performing like a champ. I recently took a couple more pictures that show it with both trays on and with two bikes. It can fit any two of my bikes without any adjustment. Ken is going to make one so i thought I'd park these pictures here.

    The bike on the outside of this picture is my longest wheel based bike, it's huge for some reason. The picture is focused on the mid-line of the vehicle so it appears to be sticking out more than it does but it does stick out.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by 4x4mike View Post
    Ken is going to make one so i thought I'd park these pictures here.
    That is a significant understatement. I am going to copy your design 100%. Thanks for the pictures.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts