Full Suspension Bike Rack From Scrap!




I don't know about everyone else, but I want a bike rack for my Mountain Bike. Ever looked for one? Non-existant if you have a full suspension bike. This just cannot do.

This is my first Instructable. Please refrain from flaming and let me know what you think. I wish i had more pictures, but the instructable was an after-the-fact idea

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Step 1: Parts and Tools

-50 Cal Ammo Can
-Electrical Conduit (Check out your area, if there's a renovation going on, you can just swipe it from a dumpster)
-Metal Support scrap (I used the support for a shelf but you might use something else, even a piece of bent electrical conduit)
-Several bolts, nuts and a few washers

-Drill bits (dur)
-Wrench set

Step 2: Bend the Conduit

Your bike will likely have different sizing than mine. I guestimated with some visual angles and a sharpie. It's not rocket science, metal can bend a bit. The more precision the better, but it's not that crucial. A basic U going from the axle of your rear wheel up to an inch or two above it (maybe higher depending on where your brakes are) and back down to the other side of the axle.

Step 3: Flatten Connections on Conduit

Once it's bent, use a hammer and a firm surface (not a kitchen floor, I used a concrete sidewalk) to flatten the ends.

Step 4: Bore a Hole for the Axle

When you have the ends firmly flattened, Use the drill with the correct sized drill bit (mine was 3/8") to bore a hole for the axle.

Step 5: Make Your Front Support

Take the other piece of scrap and make your front support. I'm not going to go into much detail because the main U should take most of the weight.

Step 6: Test Fit

Test fit all of the supports, tighten them up so you can get the placement for the ammo can's holes

Step 7: Measure the Placement for the Ammo Can's Holes

Hold up your ammo can, measure it all via eyes or a ruler, I don't care. I guestimated and subtracted some so that it would be held in pretty tight. Was almost too tight. Had to use a hammer to get the bolts to go in at a few places but details, right?

Step 8: Drill the Holes in the Ammo Can

Make sure the bit doesnt dance around before it bites down. It really sucks to have to make a hole bigger than needed.

Step 9: Bolt It All Together

In my case, one side had a second bolt near the axle bolt. When tightened, the axle bolt would push the conduit into the tiny bolt and this tiny bastard bolt would drag the inside of the axle.

1. Big no no
2. irking grinding sound (didn't know it was happening >.<)
3. reduced efficiency

To remedy this, I grabbed 3 washers to space the conduit away from the frame and hence, the tiny bolt.

Other than that, just piece it all together and tighten it up.

If you'd like you can paint it. I'm going to but not yet, I need to get to an area where I can paint away from the apartment.

Step 10: Admire the Results

And then there was this.

This beauty, depending on how it's made, can hold quite a good deal. If you used flimsy scrap metal it might wobble but my conduit is pretty solid.

I hope this helps everyone as I have found that no commercial dealer makes a freakin full suspension bike rack. Quite annoying.

I also installed two Us so that a lock could be attatched.

Step 11: Follow Up: Painting

So i've decided to paint it. oh yes. Please comment on what you think.

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    18 Discussions


    10 years ago

    Hey, this is a great instructable and is very informative. Just one thing is missing... pictures! It really helps a lot when trying to follow directions so you should consider taking some photographs. Once you do that and leave me a message when you have so that we can publish your work. Thanks! Thanks for the cool instructable and we hope to publish this soon!


    3 years ago

    I love the ammo can. That alone makes me want to modify it to put it on my suspension-less hybrid. Great 'ible.


    4 years ago

    Nice instructible, but there are a couple things that does need to be explicitly pointed out. One, which you did show in one of your pics, is where to support the front of the can on the bicycle for full suspension bikes. Using the seat post, as is traditionally done, simply won't do for that bike.


    4 years ago

    Nice instructible, but there are a couple things that does need to be explicitly pointed out. One, which you did show in one of your pics, is where to support the front of the can on the bicycle for full suspension bikes. Using the seat post, as is traditionally done, simply won't do for that bike.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    very nice & original. I would have left the box the original army green. it added character.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Very interesting re-use of an ammo box. Wondering how to turn 2 into panniers.

    After the painting, how did the finished project look?.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I have a full suspension aluminum mountain bike and want to build a bike rack for it. I came across this instructable, and I am glad I did. One question: can the ammo box be substituted?

    what nice work,

    but I think the rack is a little bit too high,it should be a little lower, closer to the tire to maintain stability maneuver of the bike.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Hey, great idea. I used an old toolbox for a bike 'trunk' after a I caught a guy breaking into my typical store bought bike bag. I don't have a full suspension like you do but you can see pics at:


    Since the photos there were taken I've made modifications to both the trunk and the trailer.
    I will be making more mods this summer when I have time. Maybe after that I will do an instructable of my own.

    2 replies

    Wow. people said i went crazy on my bike but i'd say you have taken the cake on that one! It's a beauty, that's for sure. No one will be stealing from either of our bikes lol.

    Thanks for the compliment. Later this summer I plan to modify both the trunk and the trailer. I have a bunch of ideas but sometimes I change them as I start to implement them. Anyway, I have been using the trunk for over two years now and it has survived being hit by a large pickup (just a couple of days ago at the can recycling center where I take my pop cans to get recycled) and a major wipeout on gravel as the result of being chased by two dogs. Recently I added an adjustable kickstand which I also hope to modify. Anyway, it's ideas like yours that inspire me so thanks for posting your idea. I actually tried to buy a hardshell trunk for my bike before it ever occurred to me to make one. Now that I found out about this site I'm always browsing for inspiration and ideas that will improve or better my ideas and that's why I had to check out your nifty design. : )

    Glad I'm not the only one to have that problem. Let me know if you need any more tips during the build. Also, I think the eyelet that the bolt goes through in front of the rear tire is usually used to hold fenders in place. So, if you have fenders, you might have trouble pulling this off.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    ah, ammo cans. How come they aren't more prevalent? I'm surprised there are no companies making them for primarily civilian purposes. Then again, there are so many military surplus ones out there, that there'd be no way they could compete. So many uses, from geocaching to bike racks. I've seen two of those tall skinny ones used as panniers on a bike. Just a good, durable, waterproof, all-purpose container. Nice instructable.

    1 reply

    aye, those would be the ammo for M16s if memory serves me. I'm setting those up as attachments to each side of the 50 cal one. lol. supa expanded


    10 years ago on Introduction

    those 50 cal boxes are so usefull. i have one padded with sponge that i use as an armoured waterproof camera box on white water canoe trips. its saved my cameras several times.

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Know what works better than sponge from my experiences? The blue foam pads that are meant to go under a sleeping bag. They cost like 3 bucks for a 7 foot roll and they work PERFECTLY