Custom 4-bike hitch carrier- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Custom 4-bike hitch carrier

    I've been working on this with my dad(at his work place) for a week(we don't have too much free time available). We started working on this because I hated the fact that all the one's that I wanted were ridiculously expensive knowing how simple they were, while also adding stupid things on it that I don't even want. Tilting is a feature I don't want, but was on EVERY one that I was looking at. We aren't done with it yet...possibly one more week to go. When done, it will have 4 independent clamps on each arm that can be adjusted for each bikes frame size. Once the bikes are on it, you lower the upper arm and lock it. There will be one lock on each arm. We still have a triangle support post that goes from the main vertical post to the 2 arms. So far, as is, it can easily hold 800 pounds, as we tested it with a compressor pushing down it's maximum 800 pound limit on it. The tongue weight does't even exceeded that, but if you know me, you would know that I like to OVER-DO EVERYTHING! It's a 2" hitch. The upper arm's(the one's that will go over the the bike's frame) are placed there now with a place-holding bracket. It will be a little taller when done.


    Here's a pic:
    What do you think?

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  2. #2
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    Its cool! But at some point, I think you are going to wish it tilted so you can open the trunk
    Grit, spit, and a whole lot of duct tape!

  3. #3
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    The rear tailgate window opens, which is why we made sure there would be enough room to get behind it with the bikes on, and still have room to get into the rear. It's all good There's a lot more room between the carrier and window than it seems.

  4. #4
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    Too many welds. You should have used a tube bender and made the top a one piece u-shape. Also, you need side plate brackets comming off the main vertical stem to support the horizontal arms. 800lb force is nothing, its the vibratory effects that will do you in. The window is going to hit the handlebars when all loaded up, in fact, it looks as though it will place the bikes too close and you will lose about 1.5ft of that length off the back. How will you form the rubber for each bike frame mount? That is a lot of time to stick it to the man for a $200 lbs rack. I love Honda PILOTS. Got an 06 Pilot myself, looking to trade up my old accord for a 2012. Then I wont have to fight the wife...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Litemike View Post
    Too many welds. You should have used a tube bender and made the top a one piece u-shape. Also, you need side plate brackets comming off the main vertical stem to support the horizontal arms. 800lb force is nothing, its the vibratory effects that will do you in. The window is going to hit the handlebars when all loaded up, in fact, it looks as though it will place the bikes too close and you will lose about 1.5ft of that length off the back. How will you form the rubber for each bike frame mount?
    I'm going to take this whole thing as a joke. 800lb's is nothing? I guess you haven't seen the weight threshold of the best Thules. lol. We could've used a "pipe" bender, but that would involve PIPES...which are not as strong. Secondly, have you ever seen a company produce single pipe bend and hold that much weight(not some cheap ebay junk!)? NO! Apparently you didn't read my post either... I can tell that you have no idea what you're talking about.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by iggibar View Post
    I'm going to take this whole thing as a joke. 800lb's is nothing? I guess you haven't seen the weight threshold of the best Thules. lol. We could've used a "pipe" bender, but that would involve PIPES...which are not as strong. Secondly, have you ever seen a company produce single pipe bend and hold that much weight(not some cheap ebay junk!)? NO! Apparently you didn't read my post either... I can tell that you have no idea what you're talking about.
    Have you seen the weight threshhold of the Thules? Like I said, vibratory, NOT WEIGHT. Also, cycle that 800 lbs a few thousand times. Handle bars are still going to hit the window. Throw that pic in front af a half dozen structural engineers, then tell me who doesn't know what they're talking about. They're your bikes, I'd just be sure to cable lock them to the reciever so the highway is not shut down for 2 hrs...ha ha

  7. #7
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    Looks good. My dad has built a few that look like that but not as beefy. In our first couple of designs we had triagle support coming from the main vertial pole to the T but in the last few designs we did we elimated that becuase it wasn't needed. We also used round tubing for the extending parts and that bolted into our vertical pole and it has held fine for 20+ years. But ours is only designed for 3 bikes. We also don't have a top clamp like yours, we just use bungie cords to hold the bikes down.

  8. #8
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    I'm going to leave you with this, because obviously, your comments are meaningless and useless. We know what we are doing. We made designed it purposely so that we can have 4 bikes on it, and still have access to walk behind the bike and open the rear window hatch. I don't understand what your problem is AT ALL! The best Thule hitch bike carrier has a weight threshold of 450lbs of driving weight. 500lbs of non-moving weight. I just went to my lbs to double check too...in case they somehow introduced a new model. But, think about it a bit, why would thule make a product hold more weight than a class III hitch can support???
    Be gone. I have my hitch, you do what ever you want with yours...if you have one.
    Engineer? Engineer my ass! I have more confidence in the work that my dad does than any random internet guy who pretends to be someone.

    Here's a very good quote:
    "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."
    You should try it!!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by brent878 View Post
    Looks good. My dad has built a few that look like that but not as beefy. In our first couple of designs we had triagle support coming from the main vertial pole to the T but in the last few designs we did we elimated that becuase it wasn't needed. We also used round tubing for the extending parts and that bolted into our vertical pole and it has held fine for 20+ years. But ours is only designed for 3 bikes. We also don't have a top clamp like yours, we just use bungie cords to hold the bikes down.
    Thanks! This is the first hitch bike mount that we have made. The most recent thing we made...from scratch, was a Harley Davidson trailer(the whole thing!) and hitch attachment for one of my dad's friend at work. We also made a hitch basket carrier(came out really nice!) for someone that wanted a custom size.

  10. #10
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    Put a bike on it so we can see how it looks.

  11. #11
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    I think you may run into issues with that top lock bar if you ever get a bike with a non-standard top tube. Like most modern FS bikes today that require frame adapters to be used with racks like this.

    And don't listen to Litemike - your rack will hold up fine. If anything, it's tremendous overkill for your use, but you already know that.


    I think the only Achilles Heel of the project is that top bar - it will be awkward to load bikes and use the bar at the same time, especially with oddly-shaped frames. Plus, you really only need a single bar, right? I would think that four independent locking systems, or something with flexibility (like a chain) would work a little better.

    Also, storage might be an issue for a non-folding rack. My hitch rack takes up enough room as-is, and it folds for storage (I have the Thule T2).

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    I think you may run into issues with that top lock bar if you ever get a bike with a non-standard top tube. Like most modern FS bikes today that require frame adapters to be used with racks like this.
    Yes! That's the thing that I know might be an issue later on, but there's going to be enough room to cover a bike frame thats a maximum of 3.5" right now. None of my bikes are that large. Keep in mind, the upper arms are not at the actual hight I want them to be at when completed.

    And don't listen to Litemike - your rack will hold up fine. If anything, it's tremendous overkill for your use, but you already know that.


    Also, storage might be an issue for a non-folding rack. My hitch rack takes up enough room as-is, and it folds for storage (I have the Thule T2).
    I think I should have mentioned that I will only be using this a few times a month, only when I need to haul bikes with my Pilot, so I won't be driving with it on without any bikes on it. I actually plan on getting a cheap 50 dollar rack for when I go out alone, or maybe I could tinker with my own single bike folding one. Who knows.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by iggibar View Post
    I'm going to leave you with this, because obviously, your comments are meaningless and useless. We know what we are doing. We made designed it purposely so that we can have 4 bikes on it, and still have access to walk behind the bike and open the rear window hatch. I don't understand what your problem is AT ALL! The best Thule hitch bike carrier has a weight threshold of 450lbs of driving weight. 500lbs of non-moving weight. I just went to my lbs to double check too...in case they somehow introduced a new model. But, think about it a bit, why would thule make a product hold more weight than a class III hitch can support???
    Be gone. I have my hitch, you do what ever you want with yours...if you have one.
    Engineer? Engineer my ass! I have more confidence in the work that my dad does than any random internet guy who pretends to be someone.

    Here's a very good quote:
    "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."
    You should try it!!
    Man dude, chill out. Don't post up a "what do you think" if you can't handle some criticism. It looks like the window will hit the bars when you open it, sorry. It also looks like the stop is going to put the bike too close to the back of the vehicle, allowing the bars to contact the window. Lets see those bikes on there!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by iSlowpoke View Post
    Put a bike on it so we can see how it looks.
    "My" bike is at the lbs because of a bad crank bearing. I'll post a pic with another bike soon...maybe a few.

  15. #15
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    Here are some more pics:
    In the last 2 pics, the carrier got pushed into the hitch about 2 inches too far. The hitch pin holes match up with the length shown in the first 2 pics.
    If you look at the first pic, you will see a black line towards the left of the bike on the arm. There are 4 of those, 8" apart from each other.





    Keep in mind these things:
    -It's not done.
    -The finish is going to be smoothed down, and painted to match the car or the bikes.
    -The 2 above upper arms are only temporary for now.
    -It's still missing the bike adjustments.
    -I am still going cut 2 support posts to go from the main vertical post, to the 2 arms...just incase

    I have no motivation to work anymore right now since my bike won't be back for who knows how long.

  16. #16
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    Finally got completely done with it!
    Here's everything from where I left off:
    Got everything on, and shortened it a bit more. Brushed it down-

    Taping up and getting it ready for priming-
    Priming-

    Painting-

    Adhesive pad strips finally came in. Ready to go!-




    I love the way it turned out!

  17. #17
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    Wow, way to modify the design and make it work really well. That thing is badass!

  18. #18
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    I've only had it on for one day, and have already gotten asked at a red light where I got it from and who makes it. Lol.

  19. #19
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    Wow!! That looks great-Exc. fabrication skills. Wish I could work with metal like that You building a bike frame next?!

  20. #20
    gran jefe
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    How's it working so far? Is Dad going to go into business? I like the way the lock works.

  21. #21
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    Thanks! I never expected all the positive feedback from everyone! I get people who come up and ask me where I got it every time I use it. Sometimes, I will have people honk at a red light to ask about it.

    It works like a tank! The 2" hitch bar is JUST a smudge too small, so it can rock left to right, but we plan on fixing that this summer. Other than that, like I said, it's a tank of a bike carrier!

    The time put into it would be too expensive for my dad to make for anyone. This was the very first one we made, and it was perfect from the get-go. We plan on making a second that is made to carry only 2 bikes in the future, as well as one that possibly holds onto the bike by the wheels.

    As for bike frames, most likely not...unless it was powered by something. That box you see that I used as a stand when painting it was from a gokart kit that I made/put together. Building a bike from scratch is something that requires time and real precision to get the driving dynamics down correctly, whereas with a gokart, you just put some wheels on a frame, shove an engine onto it, and hold on for life.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by iggibar View Post
    \
    It works like a tank! The 2" hitch bar is JUST a smudge too small, so it can rock left to right, but we plan on fixing that this summer. Other than that, like I said, it's a tank of a bike carrier!
    Make one of these!



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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    Does the large square with screws clamp onto the tow hitch's rim, while the smaller square screws onto the bike carrier's 2" bar? Seems doable, and a pain to use.
    I just had a plan of welding a thin sliver of steel onto the sides, and then sanding it down to sit flush with the hitch. We'll see though. Thanks for the link, It has span wed some new ideas.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by iggibar View Post
    Does the large square with screws clamp onto the tow hitch's rim, while the smaller square screws onto the bike carrier's 2" bar? Seems doable, and a pain to use.
    I just had a plan of welding a thin sliver of steel onto the sides, and then sanding it down to sit flush with the hitch. We'll see though. Thanks for the link, It has span wed some new ideas.
    Right. They work quite well, but you don't need that many bolts. You can get away with just two on one side to put pressure in a single direction.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    They work quite well, but you don't need that many bolts. You can get away with just two on one side to put pressure in a single direction.
    An even simpler solution, and what I have done to my hitch, is just drill and tap a 3/8" or M10 hole in one or two sides of the receiver tube. Then you just slide in your rack, put the pin in place, and tighten down the bolt to eliminate the play. Only one or two bolts to mess with this way.

    Quote Originally Posted by iggibar View Post
    I just had a plan of welding a thin sliver of steel onto the sides, and then sanding it down to sit flush with the hitch. We'll see though. Thanks for the link, It has span wed some new ideas.
    I generally would try to stay away from solutions like that because it will not eliminate all the play/wobble, but it will make getting the rack in and out more difficult. And if things rust over time, it will get even harder to use.

    The rack turned out nice, BTW. Although I personally prefer racks that hold the bikes by the wheels instead of top tubes. I am going to make a hitch rack this winter that uses my Thule Sidearm bike trays.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustMtnB44 View Post
    An even simpler solution, and what I have done to my hitch, is just drill and tap a 3/8" or M10 hole in one or two sides of the receiver tube. Then you just slide in your rack, put the pin in place, and tighten down the bolt to eliminate the play. Only one or two bolts to mess with this way.
    Yep that's a great call. I have the same thing on my Thule T2.

  27. #27
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    I was always told that drilling into the receiver hitch was a big NO-NO!

  28. #28
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    Even with the front of the rack locked you still can undo the screws in tha back...i dunno if you noticed or anyone else?

    Looks cool though...

  29. #29
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    Its funny, I was looking at the pictures and thought to myself, "it looks like he might be from ohio". Looked at your profile and I was right

  30. #30
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    Sweet rack. I would weld the nuts to the bolts at the pivots to the two top bars to prevent theft... If you haven't already.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikingCivic View Post
    Even with the front of the rack locked you still can undo the screws in tha back...i dunno if you noticed or anyone else?

    Looks cool though...
    No. Good luck unscrewing a weld.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    Make one of these!
    These are supposed to work well too:

    StowAway Hitch Tightener

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