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Carrying tandem with shortbed truck

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Carrying tandem with shortbed truck

Old 02-03-23, 10:04 PM
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Carrying tandem with shortbed truck

Over the years we have experimented with methods to carry our old and new tandem, which vary for local ride transport versus long weekends or weeks.
We don't want the bike exposed to damage or theft in front or back, nor upright atop a 6'7" cap
Yes a fullsize truck and cap might work better but costs a bundle, won't fit in our carport, and we shot the wad building a custom frame as it is.
What have you come up with?

A. Original SUN beachcomber one-piece tandem:
1. Tailgate down, lay flat inside bed, strap down. Not secure, easy to lose gear, hard to store gear. (no pics)

2. Atop truck cap rack 62#. Rack bars covered with 1-1/2" foam pipe insulation. Lots of straps. Dented truck and cap roof standing on them. (no pics)

3. Flat on plywood sled, atop truck cap rack. 3/4" Marine ply 32"x80" added over 30#. Strap bike flat to sled, get front end of sled standing up against truck cap,
lift and heave back end 92# over head with busted shoulder and slide forward. Way too hard. (no pics)

4. Tailgate down, plywood sled to ease moving bike in and out without damage.
Later added frame above to carry gear on removable plywood shelf (drop-in bolts)
Built secure plywood closure to back of truck cap to keep gear in and secure with locking cap door closing over it.
two pics- concept and final.

B. current, custom fab coupled steel frame tandem:
5. plywood sled, two bike halves flat and strapped down. (no pics)

6. Procured two more S&S couplers and welded them to plate mounts affixed to wooden uprights on the plywood sled.
Now we can pick up and set one half of bike at a time on the sled, in or out of the truck.
Ripped sled in half to ease handling one bike half at a time mounted to a sled, slide in/out of truck, slide into conex storage container. Max 45-50# each.

7. For weeks long trips, made second sled with two bike halves nested closely to free up truck cap space.
Built barrier wall down middle of truck bed (removable bolts) and now bike is safe and secure on one side; gear stacked in bins on other side.
Has worked out great and is our current system.
This barrier wall gets removed between trips so I can use the truck normally and go back to a pair of sleds side by side.

8. Playing around with an off the shelf Hitch-Mounted Cranes that lack clearance to get a 32" x 86" sled with both flat halves up on top of the cap.
Will do some welding this spring to heighten, and if works out will fabricate a lightweight crane of aluminum square stock and manual cable winch.
Would like the truck cap space inside free for gear on long camping trips.
Welding a second hitch receiver to side of a new replacement hitch would mean we would not have to unhitch the camper to use the bike.

9. When we get too decrepit for any of the above (nearly there now), hire a sherpa to move and assemble the bike for us. Maybe.

10. Your ideas?

Last edited by RoulezTandem; 02-03-23 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 02-04-23, 01:41 PM
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Fun to see the evolution of solutions.

We used to carry our tandem in our Honda Element. It was tight, but it fit well enough. Alas, my son totaled it, so we had to find something else that would work. We ended up with Ford Maverick hybrid, which has a short bed. While the bike is exposed, I'm not sure that it's any less safe from thieves. With the Element, all it would have taken was one broken window. In the Maverick. it's attached to a lockable fork mount--and a cable lock when a little extra security is desired.

That said, I love what you've done. As the saying goes: out of sight, out of mind--which makes for an added level of security. Nice way to keep it clean as well.

Here's one of our tandems in the back of our Maverick:
TobyGadd is offline  

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