Soon after purchasing my truck and hauling several bikes at a time, it became very apparent that I needed a bike rack for the bed. Not one to worry, I knew this was a problem with numerous solutions. I found several DIY bike racks online during some preliminary research, but I didn't find one that fulfilled all of my needs so I designed my own. The bike rack I designed and built has several distinct qualities:
Utilizes Fork Mounts
This Instructable will show you how to make it and why it's so effective. If you like this project please comment below and/or share a picture of your own bike rack!
Step 1: Materials & Tools
Fork Mounts: x3, preferably the same model. You can purchase these at your local bike shop.
Plywood: Pick based on your preference. I used cheap particle board because I already had a large piece.
Nuts & Bolts: Specific to the size of holes in the fork mounts. I recommend nyloc nuts which won't loosen during use.
Wrenches: x2, one for the bolt and one for the nut.
Step 2: Build It
1. Cut the plywood width to fit between the wheel wells of your truck bed. Cut the length to be a few inches longer than the wheelbase of the longest bike you have. This allows the bike's rear wheel to sit on the plywood which prevents back pedaling when sliding the bike rack backwards and room to position the bike rack in the truck bed if you're hauling additional items like a toolbox.
2. Measure the distance between the bolt holes in the fork mount and call it "X". Mark a line of four points on the plywood at the left corner with points X cm (or inches) apart. Then create another row of points behind it using 1/2X spacing. Drill holes at the points. A matrix of 4 holes across and 3 rows deep equates to nine different locations for the fork mount!
3. Now repeat step 2 at the right corner and in the center at the other end of the plywood. This alternates the orientation of the bikes to prevent the handlebars from interfering with each other.
4. That's it! Once you have all the holes drilled, you can bolt the fork mounts to the plywood and start hauling bikes!
Step 3: Design Advantages
This design is incredibly simple and versatile, but what really makes this design so fantastic are the performance advantages it has over other truck bed bike racks:
Minimal materials: Nuts, bolts, plywood, and fork mounts. Another benefit is that fewer materials = lower cost!
Utilizes Fork Mounts: The low front axle height minimizes the bike's height and maximizes clearance making it the ideal bike rack for trucks with bed covers. It also enables bikes with different wheel sizes and axle types to be secured to the same rack.
Modular Design: This design has the ability to add or subtract fork mounts quickly.
Adjustable Positioning: The locations of the fork mounts are adjustable based on the dimensions of the bikes being hauled. My mountain bike requires a different fork mount position than my triathlon bike.
Accessible: Pull the rack out onto the tailgate to secure or remove bikes. There is no climbing into the truck bed which is another crucial attribute to have for trucks with bed covers!
Movable: Sliding the rack backwards doesn't cause bikes to back pedal.
Removable: No modifications are made to the truck bed and the rack is easily removable when not in use.
Step 4: Additional Notes
The seat posts on my bikes are removed due to the low height clearance of the truck bed cover, not due to the bike rack. That must mean I need a bigger truck!
This bike rack is easily expandable to 4+ bikes when used with a larger truck.
This rack is compatible with mountain bikes that utilize thru axles. Through axle conversion kits are easily purchased at your local bike shop or you can even make your own.
Secure the front wheel to its bike with bungee cords with plastic hooks to prevent scratches during transportation.
A small toolbox or even a cardboard box with a lid is really handy to hold bungee cords, wrenches, and other commonly used tools or items.