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  1. #1
    Senior Member swc7916's Avatar
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    Carrying a Tandem in a 6 1/2-foot Pickup Bed

    We usually transport our tandem using an ATOC Tandem Topper on our Subaru Outback but we also have a GMC pickup that I would like to use to carry the tandem. I tried a Yakima BedHead fork mount, but even with the front wheel off and the fork mounted up on the front bedrail the tailgate won't close. I know that I can get in diagonally, but I would prefer to find a way to carry it straight front-to-back so that I have maximum use of the pickup bed for other stuff. Does anyone use crossbars that are above the bed to carry their bikes? Does anyone have pickup truck solutions that don't require drilling holes in the truck bed? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    I've seen the cross bar solution and they would obviously work very well, but how about dropping the tailgate and using a net to keep stuff from sliding out. It wouldn't be hard to build something out of wood with a slot for the rear wheel and netting on either side. You could then simply remove the tailgate.

    Really depends on how often you will use the truck. I have an 8 ft. bed diesel dually, but this would look silly carrying only a tandem and going down the road sucking diesel!
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  3. #3
    Senior Member swc7916's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdtompki View Post
    Really depends on how often you will use the truck. I have an 8 ft. bed diesel dually, but this would look silly carrying only a tandem and going down the road sucking diesel!
    This is a diesel truck also. I purchased the truck for the purpose of towing a travel trailer, which I have on order and will get around the first part of April. When we go places with the trailer we want to take the tandem along also, thus the need to carry it in the back of the truck.

  4. #4
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    For long trips where it's not desirable to have the tandem crossways in the enclosed beds of my trucks with 6' beds and, instead, stowed up against one side of the bed I've always used an older Yakima 9mm tandem carrier mounted to some 1 x 6 boards (the black mount in back)

    rackem.jpg

    Once you get the cranks at 9/3 o'clock you just:
    1. pull of the front wheel and set it aside,
    2. attach the forks to the fork mount,
    3. lift up the rear end of the bike,
    4. remove the rear wheel and set it aside,
    5. set the tandem's boob tube into the cradle and secure it, then...
    6. lift the bike and stand and stuff it into the bed of the truck facing forward (more room at the front of the bed/shell than the back given the angle of the rear lifting window). Even with our short frame, the bike has to be carefully guided into the truck to keep Debbie's saddle from clipping the top lip of the lift window.

    Tricks and tips.
    - Because the Calfee's stainless steel coupler sits right on the cradle, I can use the unpadded Yakima strap to secure the frame. On our Erickson and Ventana, I wrap a cloth around the top of the boob tube before securing the strap, noting that the strap doesn't need to be all that tight: you're not car topping.
    - I wrap some padding around the Ergo levers and brake levers to keep the levers pulled-in and protected so neither the bike or the window in my topper shell get buggered up before stuffing the frame in.
    - I also tend to wrap a shop rag around the chain stay and then capture the drive chain with the top wrap and secure the thing in place with a velcro strap to keep the chain from slapping against the chain stay. Also, be attentive to how close your rear derailleur comes to the tailgate when it's lifted: you don't want to bend the hanger or tension arm during a jolt. I tend to pull it forward with a bungie connected to the big chain ring as that also keeps the cranks from moving around.
    - Once it's in the truck bed it gets bungied at the front left drop bar and left rear drop-out to the bed's tie downs, again... just to make sure it doesn't get knocked around in the event of a jolt or sharp left-hand turn (noting I put it up against the left side of the bed).
    - I stuck a wheel mount for the rear wheel on this particular set-up just because it keeps everything that could have grease on it secure and out of the way. Stuffing a front wheel in a wheel bag into the loaded truck is a no-brainer.

    Frankly, it takes about 10x as long to describe it's use than it does to load a tandem for a trip. The only down side is that you do need to be able to lift your tandem and the rack and it helps to be able to crawl around in your truck bed (assuming you have a shell).

    The PVC bed mount (white one in front) is something I threw together for for the Ventana which sits up might higher in the back. The 'low-rider' position of the boom cradle lets me leave her seat post alone when loading the tandem in the truck. This PVC rig also works on the road tandems. To be frank, the PVC model is probably 'better' if only because it's a lot lighter and comes apart in the middle for storage. Moreover, you can obviously tailor the lengths of PVC to your needs. The only trick with the PVC rack was dragging it up and down the concrete driveway for about 10 seconds with the bike mounted when it was first built to knock down the high spots on the various joints and end caps so it would sit dead flat and not rock around. You could do it the professional way with a belt sander but the net result is the same; it just takes longer and ruins a good sanding belt.

  5. #5
    Senior Member swc7916's Avatar
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    TandemGeek: Thanks. It hadn't occured to me to use a rack with a boom tube support and remove the rear wheel. (Actually, since I find removing the rear wheel to be a big pain in the wazoo, I deliberately avoided the idea.) I don't have a shell, so I could load the tandem onto the rack after it's in the truck rather than on the ground. Also, my truck is a 3/4-ton model and is kind of high off the ground so lifting the bike and rack at the same time may be difficult. I have one of those chain-keeper thingies that I would use if I try this method. Using PVC for a rack seems to me like it would not be rigid enough - apparently you don't have any issues with this.

  6. #6
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swc7916 View Post
    TandemGeek: Thanks. It hadn't occured to me to use a rack with a boom tube support and remove the rear wheel. (Actually, since I find removing the rear wheel to be a big pain in the wazoo, I deliberately avoided the idea.) Using PVC for a rack seems to me like it would not be rigid enough - apparently you don't have any issues with this.
    Taking off the back wheel 'should' be something you can do in your sleep. The trick that most folks miss is rotating the rear derailleur back with your right hand to pull the chain away from the cassette as you extract the wheel down and away with your left. Putting it back on is the reverse.

    The PVC is 1 1/2" schedule 40. Once it's glued together it's very robust and for stuff like this is a lot less trouble and expense -- never mind lighter -- than welding up something from scratch.

  7. #7
    Senior Member swc7916's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    Taking off the back wheel 'should' be something you can do in your sleep.
    Yeah, I know and I can. My bike has fenders, a rear rack and a drum brake so it's just a bit awkward. The front wheel is on and off frequently for transport but the rear wheel generally stays on except for tire changes, flat repairs, cassette replacement or cleaning.

  8. #8
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swc7916 View Post
    My bike has fenders, a rear rack and a drum brake so it's just a bit awkward.
    That's a....



    (horse of a different color)

  9. #9
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    I've seen trucks with one Yakima bar on the cab with a fork mount, the back wheel resting in the bed, and the back secured with straps. I'm not sure if this would be practical for you.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member swc7916's Avatar
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    TandemGeek: I took a second look at my bike and realized that your solution won't work for me because with a rear fender the bike is just as long with the rear wheel off as it is with it on.

    la2sei: I thought about that but I would have to use the gutterless towers which interfere with the door seals and cause wind noise.

  11. #11
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    How about a draftmaster. You could put a hitch on the back of the travel trailer for trips with the camper and use it on the truck when you are just out for the day.

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    How about putting the tandem in backwards with the front wheel removed. You would just need something in the deck behind the cab to locate and tie down the rear wheel of the bike, and make a bracket on the tail gate that hung over the rear and had a mount for the fork drop outs with a quick release skewer.

  13. #13
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swc7916 View Post
    TandemGeek: I took a second look at my bike and realized that your solution won't work for me because with a rear fender the bike is just as long with the rear wheel off as it is with it on..
    Hence my comment about being a horse of a different color.... which is to say your requirements are in conflict with each other. Your're literally trying to fit a 7 foot-long tandem in a 6.5 foot long space.

    Had you mentioned the fender and drum brake up front I would have suggested you were in a no-win situation unless you were willing to remove the fender or have a set of couplers added to your frame so that it could be split in half.

  14. #14
    Senior Member swc7916's Avatar
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    I didn't mean that the tandem had to be IN the bed, just that I could transport it with that vehicle and maximize the use of the bed. I had been toying with the idea of crossbars (such as the Thule Xsporter 422XT) that would allow me to mount a tandem rack above the bed rails, but getting the bike into the bed would be difficult with the rear crossbar in the way.



    If I could elevate the fork high enough it may work (as in putting a crossbar on top of the cab), but I haven't found a way to do that that appeals to me. The frame won't take couplers; the only round tubes on my tandem are the two seattubes and the internal lateral, all the others have oval sections in them where Dennis (Bushnell) shaped them for the specific application. I may have to go with the tandem diagonally across the bed.

    Thanks for your suggestions anyway.
    Last edited by swc7916; 02-10-10 at 09:37 AM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    If you go the crossbar approach you can mount an ATOC or similar tandem rack over the left or right bed rail. Depending on the weight of your tandem you can lift the bike up and onto the rack or use the pivoting fork mount. You could probably come up with a way to mount simple cross bars across the bed rails and avoid the high cost of the rail mounting system
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  16. #16
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swc7916 View Post
    I didn't mean that the tandem had to be IN the bed,
    Well heck, use a bed-mounted fork mount and then decide how fancy you'd like to get with a support for the rear or the frame or tire.

    It could be as simple as letting the rear tire ride on the back corner of the bed, secured to the truck using a bungie to one of the bed's tie downs to a more elaborate home-made frame or wheel support that slips into the bed's stake pocket hole. It all depends on just where the rear wheel and/or rear bottom bracket area falls in relation to the rear of the bed (tailgate) or stake pocket hole.

    No need to spend a lot of money on an elaborate rack system that'll just be in the way.

  17. #17
    Senior Member swc7916's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    It could be as simple as..... wheel support that slips into the bed's stake pocket hole.
    This is what I'm visualizing at the moment.

  18. #18
    I'd rather be riding DKMcK's Avatar
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    Stick it in the travel trailer.....

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    How about remove front wheel; secure back wheel in bed at cab; hang fork over tailgate with a tailgate pad?
    Develop whatever strapping/racking in the bed to hold it all secure enough for you.
    MTBer's use these all the time.
    Just a fork and bars over the tailgate probably wouldn't be too much to interfere.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member swc7916's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DKMcK View Post
    Stick it in the travel trailer.....
    Believe me, I've thought of that. When we get the trailer I will try to see if I can get in in the door.

  21. #21
    TWilkins
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    I had a Chevy Colorado and had that same issue....with the fork mount bolted to the front rail of the bed, the bike was a bit too long to close the tailgate. Fortunately, that truck had a dual position tailgate that would either lay flat or pull up about 80%. At the 80% position, the back tire of the bike was held pretty firmly against the tailgate and the tailgate was in enough of an upright position that I didn't fear anything sliding out the back.

    I believe I could have towed a trailer with the tailgate in that position, but never tried it.

    See if your truck has the dual tailgate position option.
    Last edited by twilkins9076; 02-11-10 at 03:33 PM.
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  22. #22
    Pants are for suckaz HandsomeRyan's Avatar
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    Why can't you just leave the tailgate open when transporting the tandem? I guess it depends on what else you want to keep in the truck bed with the tandem. When I had my Dakota the line-x bed liner was textured enough that I rarely worried about stuff sliding out.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by HandsomeRyan View Post
    Why can't you just leave the tailgate open when transporting the tandem?
    That won't work with his trailer.

    Putting a Draftmaster on the back of the trailer might not work well. The back of a trailer gets shaken up pretty bad and it also adds invisible length to an already long setup.

    I can't get a tandem through the side door of our trailer, and if I could it would block access to most of the trailer. That would be very inconvenient while on the road.

    Putting it sideways in the bed might work okay. With an open bed, you still have access to anything in the bed from the sides.

    How about mounting it in the middle of the bed with the fork in a quick-release and the rear wheel sticking over the closed tailgate. You might need to fab up an elevated boom tube support or rear wheel support. When you get the trailer you can see if there is enough clearance. By mounting it in the middle of the bed you eliminate the cornering clearance problem. You would need enough clearance for your rig to go through a dip.

    The Cadillac solution would be to mount some tracks (Yak or Thule) on the cab, but drilling all those mounting holes in your roof isn't for everybody. The downside is the extra clearance required above the cab when you don't have the trailer in tow.

    Good luck with your new camper. After a long ride it's great to be able to take a warm shower, cook supper, and crack open a cold beverage!

  24. #24
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    There are racks that mount on the drawbar of your hitch --
    http://www.etrailer.com/p-S64955/Fol...wagman-XP.html
    is one such unit. This would end up with the tandem across the back of the pickup; might want to take the front wheel off so the bike wouldn't stick out as far, and might not be able to open a canopy (and certainly not lower the tailgate) with it in place.
    But, you could take a couple other bikes along, too -- get lots of padding and some bungees.

  25. #25
    Senior Member mkane77g's Avatar
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    Leave tailgate closed, set rear wheel on top of tailgate.

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