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Old 10-13-11, 11:51 AM   #1
RubeRad
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DIY fork-mount rack

Hey y'all, this is not exactly a bicycle mechanics post, but I thought I'd share a fork-mount bike rack I "made", to solicit either admiration or warning...

The pics below pretty much speak for themselves. My $$ layout into the project was under $7, most of which was the square u-bolts (about $2.50 ea), and $1.39 for a pack of 3 wing-nuts to make my life a little easier. The pair of washers ("fender washers", to be precise) were virtually free, and the wood was scrap. The rear wheel is secured with a pedal cage-strap I also had laying around, and I also had a front skewer laying around (although it's not hard to take the skewer out of the front wheel). It took about half an hour to measure things up, cut the rectangles of plywood, groove the inside faces to receive the skewer, and drill holes for the u-bolts.

I consider this much preferable to $100+ I would have to lay out for a name-brand fork-mount rack (I'm already unhappy with how much the towers & load bars cost!) (I realize, that if I watch CL carefully, I could probably pick up a used name-brand fork-mount rack for about $20, but most of the go for $50+)

Anyways, I think the ad hoc project was quite successful. When the bike is mounted, it is secure enough that I can pull the frame and shake the minivan. I live in San Diego, so I expect for the wood block to never ever see a drop of water (it will not live on top of the car, I don't even keep the towers/bars on the car unless I am specifically using them).

I measured the height of the seat when mounted, it's a bit less than 9'6", so I can watch for that height limit on the road (I don't think I've ever seen a bridge sign any lower than 10' though). The biggest worry, actually, is forgetting that it's up there and destroying my bike, garage, and maybe car when I get home. My wife's brilliant idea was this: we have a garage-door-opening button integrated into the car (Honda Odyssey), up near the map lights. When the bike is up there, we'll cover that button with a post-it, so when we get home and reach for the button, we'll remember the bike is up there. (also our house faces West, so usually when you get home it's evening, so the setting sun throws shadows onto the house, and you can see the bike up there as you pull up)

Anything else I failed to think of?

OK, here's the pics (this really did happen!):


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Old 10-13-11, 01:47 PM   #2
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Old 10-13-11, 02:06 PM   #3
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On the right track but Id do something different on the rear. That strap /buckle may abrade a tire sidewall or buckle will scrape up a rear rim.

When I was a college student and poor, I made a wood DIY rack of different design. Im glad I did cause I drove into a garage and splintering wood of the rack saved my frame and fork from damage. When I got the funds, I opted for a thule rack. I felt better at 70 mph knowing that I wasnt going to kill someone! Im not making a comment on your design, just the liability of a homebrew design.

I just now started carrying kayaks with a store bought vertical stacker after years of carrying bikes without thinking about it. I really get nervous with a 15ft boat up there and cross winds. I guess its a comfort thing... I drive slower in cross winds but it still makes me nervous. I couldnt imagine having a homebrew kayak stacker design up there even though conceptually its a simple design.
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Old 10-13-11, 11:46 PM   #4
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Looks great. The design of the U-bolts surrounding the skewer is brilliant and reinforces the wood. The only thing I might add is a simple piece of webbing looped through the triangle for the frame and leading to the bars in case of failure. If the fork vibrated off the skewer (and the strap failed), the piece of webbing would prevent catastrophic highway accidents. As is it though, your system seems very unlikely to fail.
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Old 10-14-11, 11:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post

Anything else I failed to think of?
Make sure it'll fit under the Taco-Bell drivethrough.
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Old 10-16-11, 04:10 PM   #6
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Right, Taco Bell! I think the one nearest me has no roof, so I'm probably OK. But you remind me that the parking structure at my work has pretty low ceilings and warning beams -- I'll need to be careful when I eventually take my bike to work some day.

Quote:
simple piece of webbing looped through the triangle
That's a good idea, I should do that, maybe even to replace the rear-wheel strap.

So twixt my OP and now, I took my bike on a 100+mi RT, including freeway and mountain roads, the rack performed like a champ!
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Old 10-16-11, 08:58 PM   #7
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It looks great! A little off topic, but I built a rack support for my twelve foot surfboard (only 30 lbs, but still...) and it's doing fine as well. Maybe next, I'll build an adapter for my bike. Thanks for the inspiration and detailed pics!
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Old 10-19-11, 02:42 PM   #8
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Hey all, BF superstar Tom Stormcrowe also built a DIY roof rack, for a recumbent trike. I found many pics on his blog, in three, blog, posts. I wonder if he could have gotten away with my QR fork-mount in the front, and something more secure in the back (a couple smaller/longer round U-bolts and some padding for the rims)? Then again, my system depends on being able to place the load bars at precisely the right distance between the front fork and rear tire -- probably a recumbent trike would require load-bar spacing too long for most vehicles.
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