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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2018

    DIY 8-bike hauler/trailer

    I needed a way to haul as many as 8 bikes on a recent road trip (my wife and kids ride and we had a couple of friends along, too). Inspired by "Patrick Parson" and "motoscotch," I built some pvc bike racks and mounted them on a utility trailer.

    DIY 8-bike hauler/trailer-2018-06-018.jpg

    The pvc is 3/4" (1" would be sturdier, but the 1" fittings cost twice as much). The fittings are Ts, 45s, and 90s.

    DIY 8-bike hauler/trailer-2018-06-017.jpg

    The pvc holds the wheel in three places. Most of the uprights are spaced ~2" apart (2.1"-2.25" tires fit well); two are wider to accommodate my bikes with 2.6" and 3" tires. The spacing between pairs of uprights is about 15". I made two identical 4-position racks and mounted one facing forward and one facing back. The racks are slightly asymmetrical (more empty space on the right than the left), so when the racks were installed, the bike positions were offset, allowing the front-rack bikes to overlap the rear-rack bikes. The pvc is held to the trailer with electrical-conduit straps.

    DIY 8-bike hauler/trailer-2018-06-014.jpg

    I screwed several eyescrews into 2 2x4s and attached the 2x4s to the trailer deck with deck screws. I ran bungee cords through the bike wheels (the wheels not held by the pvc) and attached the bungees to the eyescrews. The bungees keep the free wheels from bouncing around and prevent the bikes from shifting fore and aft.

    DIY 8-bike hauler/trailer-2018-06-011.jpg

    Loading the bikes required some trial and error--kind of like playing Tetris. Some bikes had to be loaded rear-wheel-into-the-rack; some had to load front-wheel-into-the-rack. Pedal interference was an issue, and a few times I had to bungee pool noodles between bikes to prevent frames from rubbing.

    DIY 8-bike hauler/trailer-2018-06-023.jpg

    The pvc touched brake discs and rear mechs, but that did not cause any issues with the bikes.

    DIY 8-bike hauler/trailer-2018-06-020.jpgDIY 8-bike hauler/trailer-2018-06-021.jpg

    The total cost of the project was about $200 (not including the trailer itself, obviously). It took about a day to plan and build. We hauled the bikes over 530 miles to and from the destination and shuttled bikes and riders many more miles with no problems. For the 500+ mile drives, I started with ratcheting straps holding the bikes down, but these proved to be unnecessary, and I ended up removing them. The pvc and bungees held the bikes in place very well, even on rough roads.

    DIY 8-bike hauler/trailer-2018-06-024.jpg

    There are some "cons" to this build:
    • The utility trailer is quite heavy (steel frame, 2" wood deck). The weight cut down our gas mileage and made maneuvering the trailer on the steep driveway at our destination a real chore. An aluminum frame would be lighter.
    • I know from experience that the pvc will not hold up in the Texas/New Mexico sun. I may paint the racks to increase longevity.
    • Loading 7 or 8 bikes was more difficult than I thought it would be; we had to go through a lot of trial-and-error fitting everytime we loaded the bikes. 5 or 6 bikes were much easier to load.

    But the "pros" outweighed the "cons":

    • Without the investment of too much money or time, I was able to haul 7 or 8 bikes a long distance and run my own shuttle service at the destination.
    • The racks can be removed from the trailer and reinstalled in about 5 minutes.
    • We were able to fit all of the riders into a single vehicle.
    • The bikes came through unscathed.
    • We had an awesome time!

    Anyway, the racks served their purpose. I'm posting this in case someone else is in the same situation I was in and needs a way to haul a lot of bikes without spending a lot of time or money on the solution.

  2. #2
    Not helpful.
    Reputation: Finch Platte's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Very cool. I'd never do it, but cool to see creativity at work.
    What's wrong with him??

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: upstateSC-rider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Creative way to "Get 'Er Done", congrats!
    Hope you guys had a great ride.
    Niner Jet 9 RDO, Scalpel 29, XTC 650b, 04 Stumpjumper FSR Pro, Trek Rigid SS - No suspension, no problem

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