Introduction: Cheap Bike Rack for a Pickup Truck Bed
I wanted to be able to put my families bikes into my truck bed without having them slosh around all over the place. All the bike racks I found were quite expensive. For example, this one is $300 with shipping. Too steep for my blood thank you. I could have put the bikes on the roof but I have plans to put a roof basket on the truck with lights so that wasn't going to happen. Besides, if I wanted them on the roof I'd have to invest $800+ on it. Heck, one bike tray is $200. I'm not the Prince of Monaco. Time to get cheap.
I know lot's of people make truck bed bike racks out of PVC. Here is a great one by Louislam. I respect the idea but I just can't bring myself to putting a PVC rack in my truck. It needs to be metal. I'm old fashioned that way, now get off my lawn.
Step 1: Amazon Is My BFF
After scouring the internet for various options, I found these little gems on Amazon. They are floor sitting bike racks. The beauty of them is you can clamp additional ones together making a bike rack as long as you need.
At $29 each or 4 for $85 I have found my solution. Now, time to order them and see if they can be mounted to my truck bed somehow.
BUT WAIT! THERE IS MOAR!
This is where I start customizing and stop sounding like a tv commercial for cheap Asian bike racks.
Step 2: Well Crap, It's a Bit Too Wide.
I assembled the 4 bike stands I slapped it in the bed of my truck and it seemed to fit perfect. Unfortunalty once I put a full sized bike in I realized I didn't have enough forward wheel clearance and the bike wouldn't drop into the rack.
Crap. That means I need to do some cuttin'
Step 3: Gotta Love Pipe Cuttters
Fortunately, all I needed to do was trim off 2" or so from one side of the bike rack. This would allow the entire rig to fit in between the fender wells.
Now you can see that the bike rack is full sized in the front, and 4-5" narrower in the back. It also fits abso-friggen-perfectly in the truck bed.
Now that everything fits I needed to contemplate how to secure it.
Step 4: Drill It Out
I don't care about drilling holes into my truck. It has low resale value and the bed already holds too much water. If you are worried about drilling holes into your truck...well...don't buy a nice truck.
I ran to the hardware store and bought some chain link fence clamps, some pan head bolts and commenced blasting a few holes to mount the bolts and clamps.
Step 5: Get the Right Sized Bolt You Idiot
For some reason my brain said that a 4" bolt made perfect sense in the store. Once I put it in the truck bed however it was clear that was a bit long. Notice the FRICKEN GAS filler line directly on the left side of the long ass bolt? Swift right? After making the inevitable second trip to the hardware store I had the new bolts...albeit a bit too short, but they worked fine. I'd suggest 2" or 3" bolts for anybody who is following along at home.
I used wing nuts to make the rack easy to take out when winter rolled around. I know, it's not 100% theft proof, but I wasn't looking to make this a mobile bike safe. I just wanted to make it secure to the bed and give the bikes a little safety.
I hit the bolts and the clamps with some spray on bedliner to color match and prevent any rust.
Step 6: *wipes Hands* Done.
Here is the completed rack. I am happy with how it looks. All my bikes fit well, ranging from my kids 18", my 21" and my various 60cm fixies.
I can lock all the bikes though the frames and wheels via the long ass bike lock cable that goes to a padlock on the trucks tie downs.
Step 7: Bonus Tip
When I received the bike racks they pointed almost straight up in the air. *SCHWING! (see the pics in step 1) This means when you push down on the top of the hoop to lock the bike into the rack it hits the bike in a funny spot.
I ended up bending the bike racks upper support arms back a few degrees to match the angle of the bike forks. This means the top of the hoop sits a bit lower than the top of the arch of the wheel and (in my mind) locks the bike into the rack more securely. The bike wheel still has to go up about 2" to get over the base of the rack, so as long as the top of the rack is touching the tire, your bikes will be locked down like a pair of chinese fingercuffs.
(Don't bend it too far, the metal is pretty cheap and you could severely weaken or crack the tubing.)
Any questions? Better ideas? Let me know.