Sunday, May 27, 2012

Minivan bike rack

A friend asked about our minivan bike rack so I thought the easiest way to describe it was on my cycling blog.  The basic “model” would be for two bicycles with a couple of options, depicted at the end of this post. It could also be easily adapted for a pick-up truck. Thanks to my friend David for suggesting improvements to my original design.

Step One.  Buy a plank of wood 11 inches x ¾ inches x approx. 4 ft. The length should be about ¼ inch less than the width of the minivan at the point where the rack will sit. Do not use a width of less than 11 inches; otherwise the rack will slide around in the van. If you are rather obsessive, you can put a couple of coats of polyurethane on the plank.
Step Two. Buy at least two bike mounts. The ones I use are the XPORT universal bike mount, normally about $25 tho’ usually on sale at Performance for $19 and occasionally for even less.  Another options might be the Hollywood T970 Fork Mount or the Delta Bike Pro 2 Fork Mount.  Also buy four, one-inch inch stainless steel bolts with nuts and washers.

Step Three.  Position the two bike mounts in the centre of the plank and about 9 inches from the ends. Drill appropriate bolt holes and countersink the holes on the underneath of the plank which can then sit flat on the van floor. The countersink uses the type of bit shown below and needs to be enough to house the nuts. The washers are placed between the bolt head and the mount. Make sure everything is ultra-tight.

Step Four. Put adhesive-backed felt protector strips on the ends of the plank to prevent scuffing of the inside of the van.

Step Five. Mount the bikes (with front wheels removed) on the rack as shown with the bars facing the rear. The front wheels can be suspended from the hooks in the van with a mini-bungee or similar. It’s possible that you will also need a couple of bungees from the pedals to the minivan roof hooks to provide maximum stability.

Option One. As you can see in the photos, I actually have a third bike mount in the center of the plank because if I am on a long trip with only one bike, mounting it in the middle makes for much easier packing of all the other luggage.
Option Two. If you want to carry three bikes and three riders, you will most likely need to remove one of the center-row seats. Make another shorter (perhaps 3 ft.) version of the rack which then sits behind the front seats. Then mount the two outside bikes as normal with the third bike between them and reversed (back wheel at the rear of the van).

1 comment:

  1. Carl suggested mounting the fork mounts at an angle to facilitate carrying three bikes. Jim had a good idea .... staple Velcro on the underneath of the rack. It will bind with the van's carpet and prevent slippage without the need for bungees.