Introduction: Swing Out Bike Rack

About: 35 years active service to Surf Lifesaving Australia. CEO, System Administrator at TAC Systems

I brought an electric bike and I wanted to carry it and tow a trailer on my SUV which has a swing out tyre. I used the swing out tyre to mount the bike rack on as then I can get access to the bike while towing a caravan or a trailer.

If you want it to fit on a tow bar that is simply a matter of adding a piece of angle iron to the bottom of the main strut that bolts onto the tow bar tongue however you may lose your number plate visibility, maybe you indicator light visibility and you can not tow a trailer. I am working on an idea for a horizontal mount which would suit a tow bar mount better and may allow a trailer to be towed.


1. Strong, (electric bikes are heavy)

2. Easy to mount bike.

3. Not to obscure number plate (heavy fines)

4. When mounted not higher the 2.1Mtrs or 6'8" for shopping centres etc

5. Off road clearance at bottom of bike

6. Meets all legal requirements

7. No extra effort to get the spare tyre off and on

8. Not obscure Turn, Brake or Tail lights.

9. Not protrude past the side of the vehicle.

10. Able to carry 2 or more bikes if required. (separate discussion)

11. Able to mount and dismount bike while towing a caravan or trailer.

I had an old rowing machine and used the plank off that for the main strut but you could use 100x35mm (4"x 1.5") timber or 100x6mm aluminium or any other material that is strong enough and 100mm wide to bolt the pipe flanges to. I used aluminium and brass exclusively as i wanted a permanent and visually pleasing result but you could use timber or titanium as long as it has sufficient strength.

It took ages to find something that was cheap and effective to connect the bike to the bike rack without scratching the bike. This came in the form of a threaded poly tank outlet. Its used to connect a water tank to the exterior plumbing and is available at most hardware outlets. I have included a photo, its the black tube with 2 nuts and 2 rubber washers on it. Take the picture to your hardware or plumbers supply because its called different names in some country's. Plumbing fittings are still measured in inches so metric measurement is approximate.

The bike rack works by having 3 mount points in a triangle. The apex fits into the v shape of the frame of the bike (note: I have not considered step through bikes in this instructable, but I am sure there would be a simple mod to connect them to the rack). Once the bike is on the apex of the triangle it is only a matter of securing the other 2 points with Velcro and the bike is locked on. If you have trouble doing a straight lift you can use a bucket, or similar, under the back wheel of the bike then raise the front V over the apex and move the bucket out so it just drops down into position.

For security I have a combination bike chain I wrap through the tyre and around the bike, if I have to leave the car unattended. It would take a lot of work to remove the the bike rack and the tyre because the tyre is also padlocked on the back of the swing out arm and the tyre bolts have a tamper proof heads. This is the max security that is available to protect a tyre and by adding the combo chain lock it makes even tougher to steal. I think it would be easier to steal the car then remove the bike.


I tried to make this so anyone who has an electric/battery drill and some basic tools can make this project.

Drill and Drill bits.

Spanners or Sockets.

Hack saw.

screw driver or screw bits for drill

Tape Measure.

Safety Glasses.

Pencil or marker


Main strut 1.0M (40") x 100mm (4") x 6mm (.02") aluminium OR 35mm (1.5") timber OR any other material that is strong enough.

2 x100mm (4") diameter pipe flanges for 1.25" (32mm) OSD gal pipe

.5M (20") or longer, threaded on both ends, gal pipe 1.25" (32mm) OSD make sure its a tight fit into the poly tank outlets

2 x spacers so the main strut is vertical on the tyre.

2 x Poly threaded tank outlets with an ISD of 1.25" (32mm) so they fit snug on the gal pipe

.5M (20") 6MM x 100mm (4") aluminium scrap or similar.

.5M (20") 50mm x 50mm x 3mm aluminium angle.

1M (40") x 50mm (2") heavy duty 2 sided Velcro. (mine came from the foot straps of the rowing machine)

1 x adjustable pipe grip. (a metal band that fits over a pipe and can be tightened with a screwdriver)

Bolts, washers and nuts. Apart from the Tyre bolts which are already on your car I used M8 stainless steel bolts exclusively, so any bolts that have thread diameter of around 8mm and fit through the holes in the flange's will be fine. Because mine was experimental I used hex and allen key heads, the allen key heads also come in a security version which I used in most of the construction. I also used locking nuts as the rack is subject to vibration and you don't want anything coming loose.

Small self tapping metal screws >= 10mm to fix the poly outlets to the gal pipe.


The first objective is to mount the main strut vertically on the rear tyre. This is a bit of a challenge because the rubber on the tyre protrudes past the centre of the wheel so you need to pack the main strut on the wheel centre so it is vertical when bolted to the tyre as in the pics.

I found some 18mm 3/4" brass threaded rod inserted in the tyre bolt holes and cut to length, from the plumbing section at the hardware store worked fine on my vehicle but yours could be different.

1. Once have your 2 packers in place then bolt the main strut by using 2 of the bolts that were used to fix the tyre on with. Make sure the top of the main strut is 1850mm (73") above the ground. The good thing about using the same bolts that hold the tyre on, is to get the tyre off, there is no extra work involved. You just undo the tyre bolts, unlock the security padlock and the bike rack and the tyre come off.

2. Cut your gal pipe into 2 lengths of 250mm (10") so you have a thread on the end of both of them. Push the poly tank pipes on to the non threaded end of pipe all the way through so the gal pipe is flush with the poly pipe at the outer end. Mine fitted perfectly as I tried them at the shop but if yours are loose use a self tapping screw at the bottom of the tank outlet so the head wont scratch the bike. Screw the gal pipe into the pipe flanges as tightly as possible.

3. The next job is to position the top flange that holds the threaded gal pipe on. For my bike I found that position for the centre of the flange was 1740mm (68.5") from the ground and just about every bike I have tried seems to like that position. The top of the bike is just under 2.1M (about 6ft9") so you can get into most garages without banging the bike and there is enough clearance at the bottom for off road work. I suggest you hold the flange on with some lock plies and make sure this position suits your bike before drilling the holes and bolting any thing on.

4. Next the second flange needs to be attached. The second flange centre is around 240mm (10") from the centre of the main strut to the LHS and 1380mm (54.5") from the ground. Use a piece of aluminium 100mm x 6mm as the cross member. You can bolt the flange to the end of the cross member but don't bolt the cross member onto the main strut. You can use anything that is strong enough for the cross member like 4" x 1.5" timber. (if you use timber you will need to cut the second gal pipe shorter by the thickness of the timber) Use some lock on pliers to hold the cross member in position while you find the right spot for your bike. When your happy with the position drill the holes and bolt the top flange and cross member onto the main strut.

5. I used a piece of 50mm x 50mm x 3mm aluminium angle covered with some stick on rubber compound for a bumper for the bike to rest against, as in the pics, but again you can use anything that works like a suitable sized piece of timber.

To make mine I used a 300mm (1ft) piece of 50mm x 50mm (2" x 2") angle and a 150mm x 50mm x6mm cross member. I bolted the aluminium angle at right angles to the cross member as in the pics, then bolted the cross member to the side of the main strut about 1100 mm (44") above the ground so the rubber face was 100mm (4") from the front of the main strut and in contact with the frame of the bike near the seat. You can get the idea from the pics but don't bolt it on to the main strut till you make sure its in the right position for your bike.

To make it clearer this bumper is there to lock the bike frame onto the rack and stop any swinging movement by latching the bike with Velcro. You could in fact use this as the only latching point as the bike will quiet happily rest on the poly outlets but for extra safety I also added a Velcro latch to the LHS poly outlet pipe.

6. Attach the Velcro as in the pics. I used a strip of metal and 2 self tapping screws to secure the Velcro to the frame on the RHS and an adjustable pipe grip to secure the Velcro on the LHS. You can use longer if you wish but I found 500mm (20") was fine.

7 You can see in the pics I added a vertical piece of 400mm x 40mm x 20mm (16' x 1.5"x .75") aluminium rectangular section with some Velcro fixed the top to lock the front wheel of the bike. The aluminium was attached to the back of the second flange however I rarely use this and think I will remove it. Its up to you if you want to include it.


I only had the need to carry one bike however it is a simple task to add additional bikes to the main structure and there are 2 ways to do this.

First (and best way) if you will always carry 2 or more bikes.

Just add 200mm for each bike to the gal pipe and 2 more tank outlets for each bike. Just slide the extra tank outlets over the gal pipe and leave 200mm between bikes. You could go to 4 bikes before it becomes illegal in most countries some will only allow 3 because the rear overhang is more then the law allows . Check the rules for you country

Second way if you have 1 bike most of the time but sometimes 2 bikes.

2x poly tank outlets with an ISD of 25mm (1")

2x 500mm (20") 25mm (1") dowel, rod or whatever is the right diameter and strong enough to support the second bike, I used wardrobe metal rod and its worked fine.

Push the poly tank outlets onto the dowel so they are tight, if to loose use a self tapping screw at the bottom of the tank outlet to tighten onto the dowel or rod.

Its simply a matter of when you need the second bike push the 2 rods all the way into the existing gal pipe so the 2 poly outlet supports are about 200mm (8") further out. Mount the bike and strap on with some Velcro or Buckle Belts to stop the dowel coming out of the gal pipe and keep the second bike locked to the rack.

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