Charliesmom - - Scott, or others working on carrying bikes into the backcountry,
Here's a document I put together on the folks over at #Advanturing with a Sprinter SMB, an Aluminess bike swing arm, and heavy bikes. As they say, a support is needed using this Aluminess product with heavy bikes. They were most helpful when I reached out to them and generous with their time writing stuff up for me.
> > > https://bit.ly/2CSSW1w
They have a few years and many miles of rough road using their setup. Evidently, no troubles.
The key advantages of this direction of a solution are it gets the bikes up high and keeps the truck the same length.
The key disadvantages are it's complicated and it can be hard getting the bikes up there.
The tricks we've found to work running it some 12 times and a hundred miles; so still figuring it out:
>> The weight of the bike (50 lb e-bike in our case) is less of an issue than the awkwardness of the bike itself.
>> Velcro the front wheel to the frame tightly so it doesn't flop around.
>> Lift with your legs and keep the weight of the bikes at chest level.
>> Use a step ladder. Ours is 18 lbs strapped to the roof rack.
It's actually easier putting the bikes up than taking them down; as in walking backward (!) down the stepladder is harder than going up. The link below shows our set-up and me doing my first test walking back down the stepladder; not very graceful... I've gotten a little bit better.
I'm not a strong guy. If you can hold 50 lbs to your chest comfortably, walk around, and walk up 3 steps without too much effort all in about some 10 to 20 seconds, you can get the bikes up on the Aluminess rack. You're not doing curls or presses with the bikes, for the most part, you're just holding them steady.
Our support arm weighs 26 lbs.
Here are the parts I bought for the fabricator to work his magic:
Aluminess Bike Rack Swing Arm Weight Specifications:
> Upper Platform: 100 pounds
> Lower Platform: 100 pounds
> Deluxe Storage Box with Shelf: 35 pounds
> Expedition Kit: 15 pounds
> 1-Up Bike Rack Tray: 17 pounds each
Swing Arm Capacity = (100 + 100) - (35 + 15 + (17*2)) = 116 pounds
...and yup, you have to subtract the other weights per Aluminess.
The E-350 rear 2-inch box hitch has a tongue weight spec of some 500 lbs as it's attached to the steel frame of the truck.
The Aluminess front 2-inch box hitch has a tongue weight spec of 150 lbs because it's attached to the Aluminess aluminum bumper, not the truck steel frame.
Feel free to PM me if needed.
Please let me know if my arithmetic and/or specs seem off; hopefully not.
Hope the thoughts and data are helpful.
Best to all, Em -