Anyone use a Harbor Freight motorcycle rack for their MTB?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Anyone use a Harbor Freight motorcycle rack for their MTB?

    I have a Jeep Wrangler, and I am trying to come up with a way to haul a bike occasionally. Mine is an Unlimited (4 door) so I usually just put the bike in the back with the seat down, but sometimes I want two bikes to go along. I only need one bike to hang off of the back.

    The Wrangler causes an issue with most receiver hitch racks in that the spare sticks out far enough that an extender is needed. Bleh, another point of wobble, and another $30.

    I looked at a Yakima Sparetime, but quite frankly, $200 is a ripoff for that thing, and my DH bike won't fit on it anyway. I looked at the usual receiver racks with trays but seriously, $500? That is crazy for something I would only use once or twice a year.

    Harbor Freight has a receiver hitch motorcycle rack that you can get for $100 with a coupon. It obviously will support my DH bike just fine. It has a *long* receiver stem that I am almost certain will clear the spare on the Jeep. Of course, a nice side benefit is that I could haul my dirt bike with my Jeep instead of a trailer.

    Does anyone use one of these?

    Hitch Mounted Motorcycle Carrier - 400Lb. Capacity

  2. #2
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    I've got a friend that has one for his YZ, so I would imagine a 40# gravity bike should be a breeze. Would you tie it down like a motorcycle? Tie downs on handlebars?
    How can anyone who's been riding as long as I have, be so slow???

  3. #3
    jrm
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    Darn near 50lbs and 77" long. It could promote understeer...

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrm View Post
    Darn near 50lbs and 77" long. It could promote understeer...

    Tray rack with 4 MTBs = 150lb (rack at 30lb).

    Motorcycle carrier with 1 MTB = 80lb.

    Even if I get a tray rack, I still have to have an extender to clear the spare. It won't be an issue with a Wrangler, they are extremely heavy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock View Post
    I've got a friend that has one for his YZ, so I would imagine a 40# gravity bike should be a breeze. Would you tie it down like a motorcycle? Tie downs on handlebars?
    Seat rails. I've carried bikes in the back of pickup trucks that way, never an issue. The rear suspension compresses, and there is no bouncing at all. Even road bikes are fine as long as you snug them down enough.

  6. #6
    jrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit View Post
    Tray rack with 4 MTBs = 150lb (rack at 30lb).

    Motorcycle carrier with 1 MTB = 80lb.

    Even if I get a tray rack, I still have to have an extender to clear the spare. It won't be an issue with a Wrangler, they are extremely heavy.
    Its not the weight of the vehicle its the leverage created by the length and weight of the rack w/ bikes, the Wranglers wheelbase and suspension.

  7. #7
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    Re: Anyone use a Harbor Freight motorcycle rack for their MTB?

    Quote Originally Posted by jrm View Post
    Its not the weight of the vehicle its the leverage created by the length and weight of the rack w/ bikes, the Wranglers wheelbase and suspension.
    A 4 door wrangler has plenty of wheelbase to haul a couple of mountain bikes on a hitch hauler. We are talking a 4400 lb vehicle with 116" wheelbase, not a 2100 lb Suzuki Samurai with an 80" wheelbase

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrm View Post
    Its not the weight of the vehicle its the leverage created by the length and weight of the rack w/ bikes, the Wranglers wheelbase and suspension.
    Ummm. Yeah. A four door Wrangler has a 116" wheelbase and weighs over 4000lb. A Subaru Outback has a wheelbase of 107" and weighs 3400lb. Go find an Outback thread and rag on them.

  9. #9
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    I went with the Harbor Freight M/C rack. Just over $100 after sale price + coupon.

    I was very impressed putting the rack together. It is an aluminum tray bolted to a steel receiver tube. It looks to be just as high quality as a Yakima or other rack, all the pieces were there, and everything fit correctly. The rack came with the receiver pin and stabilizing clamps for the receiver. The clamps really help with the rocking problem that all hitch racks have. The rack easily clears the spare on my Jeep, which was a PIA with every other hitch rack I looked at - they all needed extenders to clear my spare. No extender needed with this one.

    The concept with a motorcycle is that both the front and rear wheels drop into a wheel tray deep enough that a pin can be inserted above the rim to prevent the bike from bouncing out. Unfortunately, even my DH bikes have too short a wheelbase to fit both wheels into the tray, so I put the front wheel into the front tray, which in addition to the pin, has a tire clamp to prevent the front wheel from flopping over. It works great with my 2.3-2.5" tires, it would not work so well with a road bike. I then set the rear wheel on the rack and use tie downs to attach the seat rails of the saddle to the tie down mounting points (there are four on the rack.) For extra security, I loop a single tiedown over the top tube and down to the two open tie down points. I then lock the bike to the spare using the cable lock I already had to secure the spare tire. It works great. There is a lip on the tray so even if the rear wheel shifted sideways, it would not slide off the rack.

    I drove fast over a rough gravel road and the bike didn't move at all. I then went 40 miles at highway speeds with no movement at all. I absolutely could not tell there was anything on the back - no funky handling issues whatsoever. The rack does hang about four inches outside the wheel track on each side, so you have to be cognizant of that. You'd probably want to park in the VIP section of most parking lots to keep from hooking something. You end up slightly longer than most parking spaces anyway, so care is needed.

    This is a cheap, solid solution, as long as you are carrying only one bike. I really didn't want to go with a spare tire mounted solution, since I have read too many horror stories about the weight of a DH bike on a rough road messing with the spare mount and the tailgate on Wranglers. It has the side benefit that I can now carry my dirt bike, too.

    I'll try a road bike and see it it works. The wheel clamps on the front don't go in far enough to contact a road bike tire, but I think they would still do their job of preventing wheel flop. For a road bike, I might have to use tie downs on the handlebars as well as the saddle.

  10. #10
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    In terms of motorcycle hauling, what is the average tongue weight for most vehicles? Since we brought up the Outback, I know any hitch I've seen for them has had a tongue weight of around 200 lbs.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by XJaredX View Post
    In terms of motorcycle hauling, what is the average tongue weight for most vehicles? Since we brought up the Outback, I know any hitch I've seen for them has had a tongue weight of around 200 lbs.
    In general you want tongue weight to be 10% of the trailer, and a Wrangler Unlimited has a Class III hitch with max tow of 3500lb, so 350lb is totally safe. However, the Class III towing spec puts max tongue weight at 500lb.

    My dirt bike is 275 with gas and oil. The rack is 50lb, so I am fine. I see people hauling dirt bikes on 2 door Wranglers all the time, and they have a supposed tow limit of 2000lb.

    Here is what the Jeep site says:


    While it's not listed in the charts, tongue weight [i] is also an important consideration. The recommended tongue weight is between 10 & 15% of the trailer weight. However, the maximum tongue weight on Class III (The bumper ball) is limited to 500 lbs, and Class IV (The receiver hitch) to 1200 lbs. This requirement overrides any recommended GTW rating, between 10% and 15% of gross trailer weight (GTW). Additionally, the GAWRs and GVWRs should never be exceeded.

  12. #12
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    I use a Harbor Freight basket. Don't even know it's there.


  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkMac View Post
    I use a Harbor Freight basket. Don't even know it's there.

    I considered that, but the wheelbase on my DH bikes was long enough that it wouldn't have worked out.

    We need HF to come up with a tray style hitch rack. I know everything they sell is Made in China, but most other racks are made their, too. I couldn't figure out a way to justify a $500 Yakima/Thule/One-up to carry one bike, once a month. I think I am going to either buy a single RockyMounts tray and bolt it to the MC rack, or make a tray out of PVC, so I can carry a road bike.

  14. #14
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    I used a "joe hauler" type hitch carrier for dirtbikes before. I had to modify mine with heavy angle iron for peace of mind... But that was for a 240# dirtbike. Even the flimsiest MC carrier should handle a MTB.

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