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My daughter wanted me to transport her dept-store bike to college about 250 miles from home. The family minivan was guaranteed to be full. It had the ordinary factory roof rack, but lacked any accessory to safely carry a bicycle. I certainly was not going for Thule or Yakima, because their single-bike products were more expensive than the bike was worth. Besides, the only time the rack would be used is the beginning and ending of the school year.

I liked the fork-mount designs. I sketched a few ideas until this project was begun. My daughter asked if I could please-please-please take her friend’s bike also, and my design was nearly done. My 2(-or-3)-bike roof rack substitutes simple items from the hardware store for those fancy, expensive, easy-to-use quick-release fork-mounts. Everything is off the shelf - no special orders, welding, or fancy shop tools. Each mount is bolted to an ordinary 2x4 which is then attached to the roof rack of my minivan. I needed a ladder to get the bikes up onto the rack. The rear wheels were bungied to the roof rack, and the front wheels were packed inside, on top of all the dorm stuff - minifridge, microwave, et al.

She finished college 5 years ago. This rack has served well, and it’s easy to loan to friends. When not in use, it hangs quietly in the garage on a vacant bike hook. My minivan is now a goner, so the photos show the rack in the pickup bed.

As with any INSTRUCTABLE, be sure to read everything before doing anything...

Step 1: - Materials & Tools


Materials for EACH bike-mount:
(one) 4" octagon box for electrical conduit
(two) 1/4" x 1-3/4" machine screws (or stove bolts)
(two) 1/4" hex nuts
(one) 3/8" x 6" hex bolt (or threaded rod)
(four) 3/8” hex nuts
(four) 3/8” fender washers
(two) front axle washers - one side knurled

You’ll also need a 2"x4" no longer than 5-ft, and maybe some spray paint

Tools:
screwdriver, pliers, crescent wrench
electric drill with 1/4" bit

Step 2: - the Octagon Box


Typical front fork dropout spacing is 3-5/8", which is about the side-to-side width of a 4" octagon box. If your fork is narrower like some BMX bikes, try a smaller box.

This box has several rear mounting holes. Identify the 2 that are widest apart.

Remove the two 3/4" punched knock-outs closest to the wide mounting holes with pliers.

Step 3: - Bolt the Box to the Wood

You’ll have to decide where you want to mount the rack before cutting the 2x4. Measure the wood and saw to length.

If your version is for 2 or 3 bikes, allow about 24" between each box so their handlebars don’t tangle. Mark the mounting holes on the wood and drill holes to fit the screws. I drilled holes for three boxes, but have not yet installed the middle one.

Mount the box(es) to the wood with machine screws (they're like baby bolts) and nuts. Tighten well and spray paint the assembly (optional). You can always drill more holes into the 2x4 to change the spacing. Or, I guess you could just use a different piece of lumber. Whatever...

Step 4: - Inside the Box

I realized that the octagon box was not strong enough by itself for the amount of pressure applied by the outside nuts holding the dropouts, so my design incorporated internal bracing as well, in the form of fender washers and hex nuts. I also feel that the 3/8" sized parts are serious over-kill and that 5/16" parts would be equally safe, sturdy, and strong

Thread one nut all the way to the bolt-head, add an axle washer with the knurled face away from the bolt-head and a fender washer. Insert the bolt part-way through one knockout hole. From the inside of the box, add another fender washer, 2 nuts, and the third fender washer. Adjust the interior nuts until the bolt sticks out 1-1/4" (see second photo) on each side of the box. Tighten the 2 inside nuts against the insides of the box with a wrench.

Step 5: - Hey, You're Done!

From the outside of the box, add the final fender washer, the axle washer with knurling toward the box, and the final nut.

To use, attach the rack to your vehicle. I used steel utility wire similar to baling wire, but you might consider u-bolts or another method. Remove the front wheel of the bike and lift the bike onto the rack.

Place the front drop-outs onto the rack between the washers and tighten the outside nuts with a wrench. Use velcro or bungies to secure the back of the bike against bounce and wobble.

Pickup trucks can place the rack in the bed, or connect it to the side panels or even the toolbox. One of my friends sets the rack at the back edge of the truck bed, lifts the rear tire onto his toolbox, and bungies to the tiedowns.

Step 6: - Time to "MOUNT UP"

As I mentioned earlier, the old minivan is long gone. I hope that these photos of my "EZ Bike Rack" in the back of a pickup truck will inspire you.

If you build from my INSTRUCTABLE, develop improvements to the project, or have constructive criticism, please share out in the open. That is a big part, imho, of what makes the 'net' so valuable.

So, it's time to MOUNT UP. Thanks so much for watching - GodSpeed - RIDE ON !!

( - IrishMail)
really good idea here, defiantly putting one on my roof rack. could even be used for wall mounded bike rack
Great Idea, I would lay the bikes flat on my pick-up truck with a moving blanket so it don't scratch up the bikes........ then lock em down with a ratchet strap or two..:o)
Great idea, I am going to do this in 2 weeks to put on top of a Pop-Up camper for 4 or 5 bikes. I do have a question, does the back tire move alot or is a simple tie down strap good enough to keep the back from moving around??
I wrapped a bungee tiedown around each rear rim and hooked the left and right ends. No sliding, but a speed bump might bounce them a tiny bit. <br><br>I could only fit three across due to the handlebars. If you need more, I suggest trying a second unit with two bikes in the opposite direction, so the bars, pedals, and all don't scratch things up. <br><br>Good luck, take pictures as you proceed, and let us all know when you post you own &quot;Instructable&quot;.
lol you got the same cruiser i got. i kinda cleaned mine up. it was in good condition too. amazing what you can find in a dumpster sometimes
Also meant to add - anyone see/have any ideas for mounting something like this to the tailgate so that when you put the gate down the bike rolls forward with it so you don't have to reach over it? Just curious. I do a lot of road riding and most of it is early in the morning. The only problem I have with this type of mount is I always get my midsection soaked from the dew on the tailgate in the morning when I reach over it to mount my bike on the rack.
I'm in the same boat, Re-design. Nice idea on the cheap!
Great idea!
Nice build. I did something like this but I used $40 bike brackets. I shoulda waited for your idea!

About This Instructable

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Bio: recently retired tinkerer with an overactive imagination, possibly infected with the 'Idea Virus'
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