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  1. #1
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    Best Low-Cost DIY Bike Mount for Your Car - Kuat Dirtbag

    Kuat makes the best bike racks on the market (in my humble and Springfield, Missouri opinion) and I have been wanting to purchase a Kuat NV rack since they first came out: Products » The NV | Küat Unfortunately, my car does not have a trailer hitch, so adding in the cost of the hitch, the bike rack was out of my price range.

    I have a 2001 Volvo XC70 Wagon and the original owner had factory roof cross bars installed. Until last week, I was laying down the back seat and fitting my 29er inside. When it got dirty, I would have to put an old blanket down to keep the interior clean which got to be a pain.

    I saw that Kuat recently released 15mm and 20mm thru-axle fork versions of The Dirtbag which was previously only in 9mm: Products » The Dirtbag | Küat

    This got me thinking - I know that they are normally used for mounting to truck beds, but why couldn't I simply mount The Dirtbag directly to my cross bars? After a quick search, I found this article that proved it was possible: DiY Bike Racks | Singletracks Mountain Bike Blog

    So I picked up a 15mm Dirtbag for $19 and stainless steel hardware (to protect against rust) from my local hardware store for $6. I purchased two 3/8" bolts, five washers, two locking washers, and two locking nuts.

    The 15mm Dirtbag needs a 3/8" hole, so I purchased a new drill bit set that was specifically for drilling metal. I needed a new drill bit set anyway. Here are my process photos.

    My tools with the holes drilled into cross bar. My cross bars have a rubber top (for gripping cargo I assume) and underneath is the aluminum bar. Note the towels and wood block for protecting the top of the car. I don't need another sunroof by punching through the roof with the drill:

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    My two holes drilled with the rubber pulled back:

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    Because the cross bars have a slight arch, I had to use washers on one side to make the mount level. I used washers on the bottom and three washers on one side to level it out using a small level:

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    A close-up shot of the mounting hardware before tightening.


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    Front and rear photos of the mount.

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    For the back wheel, I picked up a short cinch-type strap from Kuat to lock down the back wheel. I had to move my back cross bar further up the rails just a bit to get it in the right place:

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    A couple of photos of the bike on the roof:

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    VERDICT: The bike is surprisingly solid on the mount and after I tightened down the cross bars to the roof rail, I am confident that the cross bars would come off before the Dirtbag or bike. When I shake the bike, it shakes the whole car. I have driven it around rough roads and at highway speeds and have had no problems.

    In fact, I liked the 15mm Dirtbag so well, I went and installed a 9mm Dirtbag the next day. Two bikes fit perfectly on top of the car and I might install a third Dirtbag facing backwards to fit a third bike on top.

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    Not bad for $25 each and a couple hours of work!


    ++UPDATE++

    I added a second 9mm Dirtbag to fit a third bike in the middle. Installation was quick and painless (since I had experience with the first two Dirtbags). There is the exact amount of room between the bike saddles and handle bars and all three sit nice and strong on the roof.

    Here are a few photos of the three-bike setup with two 9mm and one 15mm Dirtbag mounts:

    Cheapest DIY Bike Mount for Your Car - Kuat Dirtbag-img_5141.jpg

    Cheapest DIY Bike Mount for Your Car - Kuat Dirtbag-img_5139.jpg

    Cheapest DIY Bike Mount for Your Car - Kuat Dirtbag-img_5138.jpg

    Cheapest DIY Bike Mount for Your Car - Kuat Dirtbag-img_5140.jpg
    Last edited by onpaperwings; 06-06-2013 at 08:05 PM.

  2. #2
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    Looks good, nice DIY. I had no idea 15mm and 20mm Dirtbags were available and so cheap. Good to know.

  3. #3
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    Looks great!! I have a nissan xterra with factory cross bars and I will definitely be doing this soon. Thanks for sharing

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    Ben1284 - Happy to help. Post up photos when you are finished.

    Update: All is still working perfectly after almost five months. I used the mounts today, in fact.

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    [QUOTE=ben1284;10751031]Looks great!! I have a nissan xterra with factory cross bars and I will definitely be doing this soon. Thanks for sharing

    ben, i have a nissan xterra as well (2008) and use the dirtbag inside the truck, bolted to a 2x4 that's mounted to the tracks in the floor. i'm not sure if you've tried to get anything on top of your roof rack before, but it's like 7 feet up there, plus the cross bars are ovalized, it might be tough to get the dirtbag to stay flat on a crossbar.

    i keep my bike inside the vehicle at all times, so my bike is always mounted in the kuat. i have the 15mm through axle version of the dirtbag and i have noticed that my fork skewer is becoming affected by the dirtbag. the dirtbag isn't a perfect snug fit for my fork (2011 fox 32 fit 25rl) maybe 1/16 of an inch smaller than the fork's opening, so i have to tighten the skewer about 1/4 turn more when it's in the mount than when it's on the front wheel. over the course of the last 6 months, the skewer has loosened, and now i have to rotate the fork nut at the end of the skewer so the front wheel will mount tighter.

    if you use the rack on a daily basis your fork skewer may to loosen over time. hope this helps. it is a great product though and i'm glad i picked one up when they hit the market. it's basically a $20 bike rack.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by onpaperwings View Post
    Ben1284 - Happy to help. Post up photos when you are finished.

    Update: All is still working perfectly after almost five months. I used the mounts today, in fact.
    I sure will.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 4

  7. #7
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    [QUOTE=hollar1211;10752613]
    Quote Originally Posted by ben1284 View Post
    Looks great!! I have a nissan xterra with factory cross bars and I will definitely be doing this soon. Thanks for sharing

    ben, i have a nissan xterra as well (2008) and use the dirtbag inside the truck, bolted to a 2x4 that's mounted to the tracks in the floor. i'm not sure if you've tried to get anything on top of your roof rack before, but it's like 7 feet up there, plus the cross bars are ovalized, it might be tough to get the dirtbag to stay flat on a crossbar.

    i keep my bike inside the vehicle at all times, so my bike is always mounted in the kuat. i have the 15mm through axle version of the dirtbag and i have noticed that my fork skewer is becoming affected by the dirtbag. the dirtbag isn't a perfect snug fit for my fork (2011 fox 32 fit 25rl) maybe 1/16 of an inch smaller than the fork's opening, so i have to tighten the skewer about 1/4 turn more when it's in the mount than when it's on the front wheel. over the course of the last 6 months, the skewer has loosened, and now i have to rotate the fork nut at the end of the skewer so the front wheel will mount tighter.

    if you use the rack on a daily basis your fork skewer may to loosen over time. hope this helps. it is a great product though and i'm glad i picked one up when they hit the market. it's basically a $20 bike rack.
    Thanks for the heads up. I would LOVE to use my trackbars in the xterra, but I have 2 daughters (3 & 1) with car seats in the backseat at all times... When they get older, it will not be a problem, but for now its a must for the roof rack.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 4

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    haha, i understand. my little guy is almost 2.

  9. #9
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    Re: Cheapest DIY Bike Mount for Your Car - Kuat Dirtbag

    So I decided to do sonething a. It defferent. I ended up finding a writeup on Snapguide of someone that did this with their xterra. Similar, but no drilling. Here it is. Im going to fix the tube wrap to make it look a bit nicer, but the bike is solid up there.

    I used a fork mount bought from my LBS, 2 stainless steel hose clamps from Lowes amd an old tube to prevent scratching on the crossbar.

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk

  10. #10
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    Good post. I know this is a thread is a few months old, but I'm just seeing it now for the first time.

    I was looking at my crossbars the other day and thinking of doing this. I want a fork nount rack, but don't want to pay for one. Nice to see it works.

    What I was thinking of doing though was securing the mount to the rack with u bolts rather than drilling or hose clamps, and rigging up some sort of tray for the rear wheel on the rear xbar.

    OP, nice car. I have an '07 XC70, and I love it!
    '13 Salsa Horsethief 2
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by StuntmanMike View Post
    Good post. I know this is a thread is a few months old, but I'm just seeing it now for the first time.

    I was looking at my crossbars the other day and thinking of doing this. I want a fork nount rack, but don't want to pay for one. Nice to see it works.

    What I was thinking of doing though was securing the mount to the rack with u bolts rather than drilling or hose clamps, and rigging up some sort of tray for the rear wheel on the rear xbar.

    OP, nice car. I have an '07 XC70, and I love it!
    That's a good idea as well. Let us know if the u bolts work out. For the rear, you could cut some PVC piping in half.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 4

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    Cheapest DIY Bike Mount for Your Car - Kuat Dirtbag

    Awesome job. When I was a poor student, I had the main racks, but was too cheap to buy a bike mounts. I used to go ghetto mounting by flipping the bike upside down so that the handlebars rested in the front rack bars and the seat rested on the back. I'd then strap them down with long zippties. Worked great.

  13. #13
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    Old thread but these also work if you have Yakima bars already and use the quick loop mounts. I am gonna try it with a dirtbag phat here shortly. Just need to sort out a front wheel mount with an old Yakima wheel holder. If it was steel I would just cut and weld but it is alloy or aluminum so I might try some heat and see if I can make it fit my fat tire rolling darryl.

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    Gotta love the DIY job! Good write-up

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    Been thinking about grabbing a roof basket and a pair of these for bigger trips

  16. #16
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    Cheapest DIY Bike Mount for Your Car - Kuat Dirtbag-image.jpg

    So here is what I ended up with. Cut a notch in my tray far enough down that I could bend the metal but not weaken it. Dirtbag phat fit the fork perfect. Still working on front wheel mount. Might have to make one from scratch or buy the 29" and bend it a bit.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Cheapest DIY Bike Mount for Your Car - Kuat Dirtbag-image.jpg  

    Cheapest DIY Bike Mount for Your Car - Kuat Dirtbag-image.jpg  


  17. #17
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    No idea why I cannot get photo straight. Tried flipping it every way possible and still ended up sideways and with a few extras. Will have to try from my laptop.

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