Bike Rack master thread - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #1 of 148 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 10:45:AM Thread Starter
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Bike Rack master thread

After a ton of research, searching the forums, and trying to test fit every rack I can get my hands on, here are the results. I'll update this as I come across new information.



Problem: Opening rear doors with MTBs on the back of the van.

Conditions: 2015 HR with factory 2" hitch. We own a KUAT NV2.

Desired result:

- carry bikes on back of van

- no frame friction points (prefer 'tray style')

- be able to open the back doors.

These limitation aren't for everybody, so I'm sure some of the possible solutions would work better for, say road bikes for instance.



Solutions: Hitch rack horizontal(Kuat Envy), horizontal swing out (Rak Attach), hitch rack vertical (North Shore), Door mounted rack (Fiamma Carrybike), Ladder rack (Surco), give up and carry the bikes inside (probably the right answer.



Here's what I've got.

HORIZONTAL HITCH TRAY RACKS

Most (all) of these aren't fitting the bill, as they deny access to the rear doors. Here's the one I had the most experience with:



Kurt NV http://kuatracks.com/products/hitch/nvtm-2-0/

Pros: carries bikes in tray, flips up when not in use.

Cons: Requires complete removal of rack to open back doors. Unacceptable. Additionally, we've had this rack for about two years, and it's in pretty rough shape.



1upusa Racks.
Better tire security than the Kuat, simple design, appears more durable. Still blocks rear doors.

HORIZONTAL SWING OUTS

Most of these provide the ability to either use the rack you like, or have a proprietary rack that come with it. These seem to be the best option for me moving forward.



RakAttach http://rakattach.com/large/

Looks like it would enable using the Kuat on the Transit. In emails with Walter, he said you can get it to swing to drivers or passenger side, and need at least five inches from the top inside edge of the hitch, to the bottom of the door. I've got just over that. We're test fitting one on a Fruita trip this month.



MWE Racks http://www.mweracks.com/red-october

This also looks like it would work, but may affect departure angle. If someone has one of these, I would love to test it out.



Rock Mounts racks https://www.bikerumor.com/2016/09/11...ray-bike-rack/

Cursory look, I'm not sure I would be able to lock the rear door in place, but based on the top tube, this would fit the bill as well.



VERTICAL HITCH TRAY RACKS

North Shore http://www.northshoreracks.com/NSR%202-bike.htm

Not tested yet. These are very popular in the PNW.



Softride Hang2 https://www.etrailer.com/Hitch-Bike-...e/SR27041.html

Not tested yet. Measurements looks like you would be able to open the rear, but it carries by the handlebars. I had a frame carry Softride on a VW Vanagon and it was bomber. I would expect the same build quality here.



DOOR MOUNTED RACKS

Fiamma Carry Bike

They make one for the Sprinter, and the Promaster, but not for us. I called Florida and talked to the tech support department. The rack is designed to tie into structure points versus just sandwiching the door metal. This system would be the cat's pajamas if we could get one. I doubt Italy is going to produce one. There is one listed for a Ford Transit, but it's for the European flip up door. If somebody figures out a solution, let a brother know.



LADDER RACKS

SURCO

Carries by the frame. Allows the rear door to be opened. Not ideal, but potential solution.
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post #2 of 148 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 12:01:PM
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It looks like you've done your homework!

We decided to install a slide-out bike rack to carry our mountain bikes inside the van (for thief/weather protection), but i am curious to see what solutions will come up here.

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post #3 of 148 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 12:41:PM
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Nice summary.

Please let us all know about the test with a RakAttach. Note: Walter told me that the locking handle could be flipped to point down instead of up, which would help. I ended up delaying purchase as it turned out we didn't need it right away. But I'm still interested.

For my purposes it'll be key to swing to Drivers side - much better for camping, and more important to get in right door more easily. Also important is if I could open both doors without bike rack attached and not swinging the RakAttach. And I really don't want to add a 2" drop to the hitch, which Sprinters do. With my measurements it seemed like all this would work if the lock handle pointed down, although I don't like that it would stick down a few inches below bumper. Wish he would design a different lever.

Btw I believe one of the generic Fiammas would work; look for a CarryBike for vans with two rear doors. Only holds two, requires drilling, a bit funky. Loved the Fiamma on my Westy.

Let us know if the RakAttach works and then he'll have lots of Transit customers! Would be good for not just bike racks but storage boxes etc etc.
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post #4 of 148 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 01:39:PM
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i know nothing about bike racks so all i can offer is a possible attachment point, Aluminess makes a replacement bumper with dual swing outs: http://www.aluminess.com/ford/transit-van/rear-bumper/

more of the same, no need to put the spare tire on there, may work for mounting other things like bike racks: https://www.wilcooffroad.com/shop/hitchgate-solo/

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Last edited by Michael Ophus; 03-14-2017 at 01:45:PM.
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post #5 of 148 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 02:04:PM
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1up. Only way to go. Very well manufactured and durable. Pivots flat against vehicle when not in use



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post #6 of 148 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 03:11:PM
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Originally Posted by Springsyeti View Post
1up. Only way to go. Very well manufactured and durable. Pivots flat against vehicle when not in use



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Springsyeti: which rack are referring to?


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post #7 of 148 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 03:15:PM
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Btw all: the Yakima and Thule hitch-mounted bike racks that have an integrated swing out feature (SwingDaddy, Apex Swing or Vertex Swing) will NOT work on our vans because the cross bar is too high and blocks the doors, given the bumper is relatively thin.


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post #8 of 148 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 04:06:PM
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I should have put the link in for 1up USA. They are put together solid and don't move at all, especially if you use a no wobble hitch pin, we used this locking one.

http://www.discountramps.com/silent-...xY2RoCXPbw_wcB

This is the rack we have in the picture. Will probably go with a North Shore because our bumper build will have the receiver for the bike rack about abdomen high.

https://www.1upusa.com/product-quikrackblackdouble.html

North Shore.
http://www.northshoreracks.com




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post #9 of 148 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 05:02:PM
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Could you please explain why you want to avoid "frame friction points"? I never gave much thought to the bike rack. I just stuck the old school Thule 5 bike rack carrier I've had for years onto my Transit's trailer hitch receiver, attached bikes, locked them up with various locking mechanisms and took off. Now you have me looking at the carbon frame on my road bike for wear marks. I don't see any obvious issues and I put a lot of miles on all types of road surfaces on my bike and bike rack combination.

FWIW, the biggest transport related blemishes I have are from not really having a well planned locking strategy. I threaded the various u-locks, thick cables and cuff style locks I had on hand though the bikes, carrier and van frame as tightly as possible. I didn't really think about how those items would interact through 1,000 miles of bouncing. Fortunately, the only issue is cosmetic.

I think this picture is the only one I have with the rack folded down to allow the doors to open up. With 3 bikes on the rack, it is quite the beast to swing up and down solo, but it is possible and the van doors can open and close.
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post #10 of 148 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 07:54:PM
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IMO on not going with "frame friction point" or a rack my bike hangs from.

With some higher end bikes you have to be careful with the pressure you put on down tubes with squeezing the tube set. I have seen seat tubes cracked (on a repair stand) or crushed with over tightening the jaws on high end carbon and thin walled aluminum.

Where the bike hangs..
I have played Tetris trying to get some mountain and road bike designs in this style of rack and then one wheel hangs pretty low and has to be removed. Yes, there is a adapter you can use but it is another thing to carry and i not recommend attaching anything to a dropper post that could mar the surface. Or you show to get a buddy and they have "that" bike and you don't have the adapter. Several bikes also have bare cables running along the top or bottom of the top tube and the finish can be marred from repeated attaching or small movements of the bike. Speaking of movement, you have to bungee or affix the bike to the rack if there isn't another attachment to prevent this, another accessory to carry. There are several pivot points or areas where these racks are put together and many jiggle (technical term) too much for me. One of my peeves is driving along and seeing wheels spinning at crazy speeds with the wind on these carriers. How much life are you taking from the freewheel body or bearings on those hundreds of miles with your wheel spinning at 60mph? Again, just me and my anal retentive bike maintenance personality.

I see my bikes on the 1Up rack move back and forth a bit but there is only contact with the tire and not damaging the finish, crushing tube sets or cables and not allowing my wheels to spin while road tripping. The only accessory I need is a cable lock and I can load my bike in seconds.

Just my $0.02 from my experience and how I prefer to carry my bikes. Well, I would love to build a tray like @antoine but our needs require the space.


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