A $65 Recumbent Bike Carrier




This is a low-cost hitch-mounted carrier for a recumbent bicycle -- for about 1/5 of the cost of the commercial variety.

One "Excess Cargo Carrier" from Harbor Freight, $40 on sale

Hardware: About $25
One 8"x6" pressure-treaded 5/4" deck board
One 3/4"x36" steel pipe
One 1/2"x 12" steel pipe
One 3/4" pipe flange
One 1/2" pipe flange

To attach the pipe flanges to the deck board:
Eight 1/4"x2" hex head bolts
Eight 1/4" stop nuts
Eight 1/4" fender washers

To attach the deck board to the cargo carrier:
Four 1/4"x1.5" bolts
Four 1/4"stop nuts
Four 1/4" washers

Two red bungee cords
One old bike inner tube

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Step 1: Cut the Board

Cut a 5/4 deck board to fit the length of the cargo carrier. The deck board provides a stiff, sturdy base to attach the pipe flanges.

Drill two holes at each end of the board, and two in the center of the board. Drill corresponding holes on either end of the cargo carrier, and through the 2" hitch bar.

Step 2: Mark and Drill the Holes for the Pipe Flange.

Mark the position of the first pipe flange, and drill the holes. Note: No dimensions are given, because the position depends on your bike's geometry.

Then, drill holes on the underside of the board so that the fender washers and the stop nuts are recessed. This will allow the board to lie flat on the bed of the cargo carrier. Bolt the flanges to the board using four 1/4" bolts.

Step 3: Install the Vertical Supports

Screw the vertical supports in place.
Mine uses two:

One is a 36" x 3/4" pipe with a right angle fitting on the top. This one holds the handlebars. I happened to have an unused bike carrier from Rhode Gear, so I reused one of the rubber holding straps; you could easily use a bungee cord instead.

The other is a 12"x1/2" pipe, which will hold the back wheel.

To protect the bike from dings and dents, I covered the pipes with rubber cut from an old inner tube. A 1.25" inner tube covers the 1/2" tube nicely; the 3/4" tube didn't fit, so I just wrapped the pipe with the inner tube and secured it with a cable tie.

Step 4: Completed Bike Carrier

The finished project!

Lesson Learned:
I mounted the vertical pipes twice. The first time, with the bike pointing to the left, the drive train (the chain and gears) were on the same side as the pipes, which made them rub together. That seemed like a bad idea. So I moved the flanges so that the tall one was on the right instead of the left. Of course, that would have been easier if both of the pipes were 3/4" pipes.

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    10 Discussions


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Ooooh! Just because I'm a pompous jerk who can't resist showing off... I think this is the fourth place I've posted this. :-P

    Bike on Courier.jpg
    2 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    That's awesome on more than one level.

    (1) Electrified BikeE! I have a BikeE as well... never thought about a hub motor on the front wheel...
    (2) Awesome rack - nice and close to the vehicle, no massive excess of material, etc. Well done.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I like the electric hub - wilderness energy? I have a kit on an unused bike. I'm thinking of building a 'bent around it. Do you find that the lower wind resistance gives you better range?


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I made a recumbent trike carrier for my Toyota Hiace van. In my design I use commercially available folding bike carrier with added arm to make lifting the trike easier. I wanted to put my trike upright as your type design would have extended too far back and also the lights would have been partly covered. To make more sense of my design I should be able to make it to instructable soon I hope. I need to do more work on the hand winch to hoist the trike against the back door. It works but needs to be faster to load on and off.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Nice Bacchetta (Giro 20?) :) I'm jealous of your tweeners - they're not compatible with the Challenge foldable handlebars :/ I recently discovered my 'bent fits in city bus bike racks (and also on my trunk mounted bike rack). This made me happy :)

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Yup, it's a Giro 20. I like the tweeners, too! That's why the forward support had to be so long -- since the handlebars pivot forward & aft, they have to be secured to something during transport.