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Old 03-18-2014, 05:17 PM   #1
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Rack 'Em Up (or, A Collective Bump to Bike Rack Threads)

Since I couldn't pick a single thread to bump -- too many, too good -- I'll ask this question on its own.

I just picked up my MTB from the local shop with its new lowers, replacing the pair that were damaged by my Yakima fork mount bike rack when its skewer lost tension and let the bike wobble. (I should have replaced the skewer sooner; lesson learned.) What's not clear is whether the skewer was defective or was damaged by the horizontal position of the bike on the Aluminess swing arm. The other rack on the swing arm seems OK and the bike shop guys say this kind of damage is not uncommon for fork mount racks, so I lean to a defect but . . .

The Yakima rack replaced a Thule Criterium rack that broke when a low hanging branch caught a bike on Cinammon Pass in CO. (The branch was lower than I thought--should have stopped to trim it--but the hole on the other side of the road was deep enough to distract me.) The rack held its bike but wasn't safe for future use. I switched from the frame-hold style to the fork mount thinking the latter would hold the bikes better and lower than the full sized frame mount. Plus, the bikes don't stick out to the side of the SMB with the front wheels removed.

Obviously, I can cause both approaches to fail so we're considering a new run at this bike carrying thing. In the short run, we'll move our Yakima Swingdaddy from our 4Runner to the front hitch on the SMB. This was our original plan and the reason we had the front hitch installed. We tried it briefly and abandoned this approach because we didn't like seeing the bikes sway so much and we didn't like the additional length on the front of the van. Despite those concerns, we'll try this for a spring biking trip out Gallup way and see how it works.

Longer term, we're debating a platform hitch or a hitch rack that doesn't extend as far away from the vehicle as the Swingdaddy. I've reviewed the various discussions about front vs. rear bike carriers and Kuat/1UP USA type products but I thought I'd ask for everyone's latest and greatest thoughts on the topic. The only thing we're sure about is that a front carrier would make it a lot easier to access the bikes and could give us additional storage in the rear. And that, given the opportunity, I can make any bike rack fail. (Did I mention losing bikes on two occasions from the top of a car? Or, the time the window mount rack on our VW came loose and dragged along behind us on a forest road, bouncing on the bumps? Or, the time the weld broke on the VW's custom made front carrier as we were driving on the interstate out of Glenwood Springs, CO?) Pros and cons of platforms vs. racks and front vs. rear have me spinning right now. Thoughts, comments and suggestions are all appreciated.

Rack 'em up Don
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Old 03-18-2014, 06:06 PM   #2
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Re: Rack 'Em Up (or, A Collective Bump to Bike Rack Threads)

We are using the Thule 4 bike hitch mount bike rack non swing version that does tilt down for rear door access. Bike's top tube rest on two padded hold down straps.

It is pretty compact, could be closer to back of van but then tilt would not allow doors to open.

PROS:
It was cheap, like new and found it at a garage sale.
Tilts down with bikes on it
Can hold 4 bikes in a pinch
Thule Quality Product
Has integrated Lock
Arms fold down when no bikes are on it
Do not have to disassemble bikes
Bikes are off the ground by enough
Fast load and unload

CONS:
4 Bikes = going to rub together some where, three or even two is very comfortable and separated but I really like the available spacing.
Sticks out the back
Very Slanted or Women's style top tube means bike will be at awkward angle
Tilts but does not swing = heavy when bikes are on the rack. Doable with two (even three) but I do not think with four tilting could be done by oneself.
Hitch is pretty much dedicated to bikes when used, no hitch mounted storage platform

Front mount vs rear mount? No front hitch but I would not have the bikes up there anyway.

Ray
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Old 03-18-2014, 08:59 PM   #3
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Re: Rack 'Em Up (or, A Collective Bump to Bike Rack Threads)

My two cents is that I really like having the bikes on the aluminess swing arm. You don't have to take them off when camping. The con is that they are up pretty high so I usually use a small stepladder to make loading and unloading easier. The pro is that they are high enough up that they don't attract the same road dust that a hitch mount does.

My vote is for the 1upUSA which is the only rack (to my knowledge) that doesn't touch any part of the bike except the rubber. I also have a kuat which is pretty nice but I prefer the 1up for a rack where you don't have to take the wheels off, which is pretty handy for bikes with thru-axel forks.
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Old 03-18-2014, 11:06 PM   #4
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Re: Rack 'Em Up (or, A Collective Bump to Bike Rack Threads)

I couldn't be happier with my 1upUSA on the custom swing arm I had made.

http://sportsmobileforum.com/viewtop...1upusa#p110269

Bikes are rock solid in the rack while 4-wheeling without touching anything but the tires, rack is high enough not to drag and low enough to avoid branches. Bikes swing away with the tire side swing arm to allow access to the back of the van. For me, the perfect solution.




Phil
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Old 03-19-2014, 08:55 AM   #5
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Re: Rack 'Em Up (or, A Collective Bump to Bike Rack Threads)

This is my next rack they are great and well made but I need to make spacers for the fat bikes.

Fork mounts put strains on the mounts that the fork would not see in normal use.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pjpvi
I couldn't be happier with my 1upUSA on the custom swing arm I had made.

http://sportsmobileforum.com/viewtop...1upusa#p110269

Bikes are rock solid in the rack while 4-wheeling without touching anything but the tires, rack is high enough not to drag and low enough to avoid branches. Bikes swing away with the tire side swing arm to allow access to the back of the van. For me, the perfect solution.




Phil
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Old 03-19-2014, 11:52 AM   #6
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Re: Rack 'Em Up (or, A Collective Bump to Bike Rack Threads)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gooseberry
Fork mounts put strains on the mounts that the fork would not see in normal use.
Especially when they are mounted perpendicular to the normal direction of travel.

I'll have to go back and re-read your thread pjpi but that seems like a lot of weight hanging a considerable distance from the bumper. Still being anchored at the door hinge points and the main pivot point?
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Old 03-19-2014, 12:56 PM   #7
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Re: Rack 'Em Up (or, A Collective Bump to Bike Rack Threads)

Quote:
I'll have to go back and re-read your thread pjpi but that seems like a lot of weight hanging a considerable distance from the bumper. Still being anchored at the door hinge points and the main pivot point?
Agreed it is a lot of weight, but I have quite a bit of rugged 4wheeling with two bikes back there and so far it is all holding strong. No signs of fatigue or failure. I'm very happy with it.
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Old 03-19-2014, 06:35 PM   #8
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Re: Rack 'Em Up (or, A Collective Bump to Bike Rack Threads)

Quote:
Originally Posted by pjpvi
Quote:
I'll have to go back and re-read your thread pjpi but that seems like a lot of weight hanging a considerable distance from the bumper. Still being anchored at the door hinge points and the main pivot point?
Agreed it is a lot of weight, but I have quite a bit of rugged 4wheeling with two bikes back there and so far it is all holding strong. No signs of fatigue or failure. I'm very happy with it.
K, I re-read your thread. I really like approach. It really is an elegant and innovative solution to carrying bikes off the back of a van. The only con is that you can't get into your box and you are effectively increasing the length of the vehicle. If I had to do it over again, I would look hard at something like this.
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Old 03-19-2014, 06:54 PM   #9
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Re: Rack 'Em Up (or, A Collective Bump to Bike Rack Threads)

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeH
Quote:
Originally Posted by pjpvi
Quote:
I'll have to go back and re-read your thread pjpi but that seems like a lot of weight hanging a considerable distance from the bumper. Still being anchored at the door hinge points and the main pivot point?
Agreed it is a lot of weight, but I have quite a bit of rugged 4wheeling with two bikes back there and so far it is all holding strong. No signs of fatigue or failure. I'm very happy with it.
K, I re-read your thread. I really like approach. It really is an elegant and innovative solution to carrying bikes off the back of a van. The only con is that you can't get into your box and you are effectively increasing the length of the vehicle. If I had to do it over again, I would look hard at something like this.
Second that motion. It seems the full-sized approach to the swing bar should increase stability significantly while eliminating the rocking (or need for a shim above the spare tire) in the standard Aluminess approach. The length is a problem but the bikes are high enough to not encroach on the departure angle. And, as you pointed out in another thread, Joe, and I verified in the field ( ), the higher mounted bikes run the risk of overhanging encounters.

Don
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Old 03-19-2014, 06:55 PM   #10
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Re: Rack 'Em Up (or, A Collective Bump to Bike Rack Threads)

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeH
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gooseberry
Fork mounts put strains on the mounts that the fork would not see in normal use.
Especially when they are mounted perpendicular to the normal direction of travel.
oof.

Don
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Modified RB 30 w/Front Lockers. PH Top, Kyocera solar and Zamp portable unit
Sire: The Turtle Shell, 1991 Chevy K250 V8 with Lance Squire 11 3/4 cabover
Dam: VannieGone, 1987 VW Westphalia
(If we'd bought the winch, we'd make a fortune pulling cars out of the snow.)
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