V-Strom Woody Bicycle Rack - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 26 Old 04-01-2010, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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V-Strom Woody Bicycle Rack

I finally made, mounted, and tested a bike rack for my V-Strom, and it works great. Tested for 350 miles on bumpy, twisty roads here in PA with a mountain bike on it and no problems.
I thought I'd post the details here to share. It's low-tech- anyone can make it with hand tools. Basically, it's a board, which gets bolted onto the luggage rack, that has roof-top bicycle holders attached. (Sorry for the poor photos)



The criteria for my rack:
1) Must transport my bicycle while allowing both side cases to be mounted (E45s) and maybe some smaller bags beside the bicycle.
2) Have to be able to install and remove it without removing the luggage rack each time.
3) Has to be simple to build with common hand tools.
4) Has to be easily interchangeable with a Bestem top case and a 6 gallon milk crate.
5) Has to be adjustable to fit different size bikes.
6) Has to be easily removable in the field with simple tools (you never know when you might get lucky, eh?).
7) I wanted a bicycle rack that could also be used on my PC800, and any other motorcycle with a sturdy luggage rack.

An Adventure Motostuff V-Strom luggage rack V2.0 solved many of these problems (#s 1,2,4,6). I can now switch between the bicycle rack and the Bestem mounting plate (or milk crate) in minutes.

TOOLS NEEDED:

Saws –hand saw, coping saw or jigsaw
Drill and assorted bits- 1/8, ¼, 5/16, 3/8, 7/8 (for countersink)
Carpenters square
C-clamps or woodworking clamps (1 or 2)
Sandpaper

Table saw, drill press, router, etc make it easier but aren't necessary.

PARTS NEEDED:

Yakima Boa parts (I got mine at ORS RACKS):

Yakima Boa Rear Wheel Bike Tray

Part number 8820126 $12.60 each

Yakima Universal Snap arounds
(comes in a set of 4)
Part number 8810135 $8.95

5/16 inch bolt, washer and nylon lock nut (to fasten Boa Rear Wheel tray to dowel) plus a ¼ inch washer to put under the head of the bolt. The sides of this washer may need to be slightly filed straight.

Yakima Boa Bike Rack Wheel Strap
Part number 8820111 $5.40 each


The Yakima Boa page has a link to the instructions and parts list near the top, to use as an installation/use guide- other kinds of car-top bike racks may work also. The Boa parts make this:


Bicycle Front Fork Trap (any brand): Mine is a Delta and locks (it was on sale at Amazon). Yakima, Saris and Thule are good brands. Do an online search. ($12 -$25)


Oak dowel- 1 1/8” diameter X 7 ½” long to hold the Boa Rear Wheel Tray (usually sold in 36” lengths and cut to size)

Oak board- 1” X 10” X 36”---(actual dimensions are ¾” X 7 ½ “ X 36”) Home Depot will cut to 3’ long, but you must rip it to width. **A 1” X 8” dimension of oak will actually be 7 ¼” wide, and you can use this if you have no means of ripping a board.

Oak Hand Rail section,
(or scrap wood) - 7 ½ “ long, 1 ¼ “ thick, as pictured, for spacer/support between the passenger seat and the rack (Home Depot sells this by the foot and will cut to length)

The three wood parts were about $25 total at Home Depot. Don’t use pine, as it bends too much.

1” electrical conduit clamps (4) (“EMT Two Hole Strap”, 1”, part number 41922), from Home Depot. $2.00 or so. These are to fasten the dowel to board. These are important to get right, as I tried two other brands of the same size, which fit too loose over the dowel. I carried a dowel with me to test fit them.



1/4” bolts washers, nuts, assorted lengths:
4 - with 8 washers and 4 nylon lock nuts (to attach conduit clamps and dowel)
2 - with 4 washers and 2 nylon lock nuts (to attach front wheel trap and cross piece)
2 - with 4 washers and 2 nylon lock nuts to attach spacer/support (handrail piece)

3/8” bolts: (4) at 1 ¼ “, plus 8 washers and 4 nylon lock nuts – these attach the board to the luggage rack (you may need different lengths/diameters depending on your luggage rack set up)

1/8” machine screws: (2) at 2 ¼ “with washers and nylon lock nuts, to put through the dowel ends/board to keep it from spinning or sliding. (I couldn’t find the length I needed so cut mine shorter with a hack saw after installing them)

Tie-down strap- a small one is fine, as it does not carry much load.

The rear of the board is slotted to allow room for a bicycle wheel, and also to access the bolt that attaches the rear wheel holder to the dowel. I wanted the weight to be as centered on the luggage rack as possible (back to front), so wanted the dowel to be as forward and low as possible. The Boa wheel holder can be loosened and turned to any angle on the dowel, to accept different length bikes. New holes can be drilled to mount the dowel forward or aft for bigger changes. This rack holds a Trek 8000 with a 17” frame, a Trek 4500 with a 20” frame, and a woman’s Trek with a 15” frame, with the only adjustment being to pivot the Boa wheel tray on the dowel.


The spacer/support can be made out of any scrap wood- the hand rail piece was: just the right thickness for my set-up, was matching oak, and came pre-rounded to prevent damage to the seat. Home Depot cut it to a 1’ length. This spacer is important and the key to making the rack strong enough to hold the weight of a bike (in my opinion). Used with a tie down, it takes weight off of the luggage rack by pinching the bike rack onto the seat. This keeps any “teeter-totter” stress from hard braking or acceleration to a minimum. The stock V-Strom seat has a hump in the middle of the front section, so the spacer had to sit back farther, otherwise one piece of wood could be used for both the spacer and the cross piece under the fork trap.
Spacer and cross piece:


Instructions
:
Cut the oak board to length if not done by the store. Rip it to width (or use a 1 X 8 just as is). Mine is 36” long, and 7.5 inches wide, and is extra long so I can adjust it for different sized bikes.
The slot in the rear is 7 ½” long and 2 ¼” wide, centered in the board.
Cut the front cross piece (under the fork trap) to length and clamp it on to the board. (I screwed mine on) Measure carefully and mark the ¼” hole centers for the fork trap. (a different brand trap may have different size holes). Drill the 7/8” countersink holes for the bolt heads and washers first, on the underside of the cross support. Then drill the ¼” holes for the bolts through the crosspiece and board. The ¼” bit should automatically center in the larger holes. Don’t put the holes too close to the front edge of the board. The crosspiece under the board will add strength, and allows the bolt heads to be recessed without losing thickness.

Measure and cut the 1 1/8 inch dowel to the width of the board.
Drill out the 3/16” holes in the conduit clamps to ¼” diameter so you can use the larger1/4” bolts for attaching the dowel. I just held these by hand while drilling.
Mount the front fork trap, and set the bike rack on the floor or worktable. Mount the Boa rear wheel holder onto the dowel. Mount your bicycle into the fork trap, and put the rear wheel holder and dowel under the rear wheel, and when satisfied, mark the location where you want the dowel. Then mark and drill the ¼” holes for the 4 dowel clamps (two-hole straps). Clamp your dowel to the board using the straps and ¼” bolts. Attach your rear wheel holder and put the bike in the fork trap again to check the fit. Drill a centered hole for the 1/8” machine screws through the metal straps, the dowel, and the board. Make sure it is centered in the dowel. (Just one on each side is needed). This makes it impossible for the dowel to twist.
The dowel and straps installed:



Now, mark and drill your mounting holes to mount the board onto your luggage rack. First, clamp the bike rack on your luggage rack and put your bike in it. Sit on the motorcycle in the riding position while wearing your riding jacket and helmet, to check clearance, and adjust the position of the bike rack as necessary. (Don’t just do it by eye sight) When satisfied, mark where your mounting holes will be. Depending on your existing set-up, you will have to drill matching holes in both the board and the luggage rack. Measure and mark the holes with a carpenters square. Drill these and mount the rack temporarily. When marking the metal luggage rack, put masking tape on it so you can mark with a pencil. It’s easiest and most accurate to measure the hole placement from the centerlines of both the rack and the board instead of from an edge.

Fit a spacer under the front of the rack so that it fills the gap between the seat and board and so it compresses the seat about a half-inch. If you have a different passenger seat or different luggage rack than mine, you will have to adjust it to your own specs. Mark and drill the holes to mount this spacer. (This is done by feel, as you want to pinch the bike rack to the seat, hard enough that it doesn’t have much play left to depress more, but not too hard that it is pulling up on the rear mounting bolts which attach the bike rack to the luggage rack). When the rack is being used, a tie down strap is place across it at the spacer to keep it tight to the seat and stop any upward movement.
I removed the "S" hooks from the tie down to attach them to the luggage rack. One side is just looped through itself, and the buckle side is anchored with a loop of nylon rope.


Finishing up: Using a rasp, saw, sandpaper, or router if you have one, and round the front corners of the board, the rear corners of the board, all dull all sharp edges of the board, and round anything that touches the seat.
I'm debating on using stain and spar varnish or black paint to seal it.

This bicycle rack can be made to fit other motorcycles by simply drilling matching holes in it and the other bikes luggage rack. The spacer between the passenger seat and board will most likely have to be removed and a new one fitted in the same location to fit each different motorcycle. (On my PC800 a piece of 2 X 4 worked perfect.)
The front wheel is tied onto the bike frame. (7.5 inches board is just wide enough that the tire rests on it)
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post #2 of 26 Old 04-01-2010, 10:23 PM
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Nice. Now I need side bags so I can take of the top trunk and make room.

Vstrom 650 ABS
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post #3 of 26 Old 04-01-2010, 10:30 PM
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Nice penny tech work. I think I would have used plywood rather than the oak you used to avoid weather warping, but it's likely not critical.

'04 650, and goshdarnit it's fun - matte silver (#9 in the Silver 'Strom Club)
farewell to an '81 KZ550, '83 GPz750, '83 V45 Sabre, R-Reg GT380, '84 GPz550, early '70s DT175, and a '72 Peugeot 102
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post #4 of 26 Old 04-01-2010, 11:01 PM
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Nicely done!

While the solid oak board may indeed warp (although good sealing should prevent it), it's stiffer along its length than a comparable thickness of plywood.

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2009 DL650A - sold

2005 DL650 - dearly departed
"I am enthusiastic over humanity's extraordinary and sometimes very timely ingenuities. If you are in a shipwreck and all the boats are gone, a piano top buoyant enough to keep you afloat that comes along makes a fortuitous life preserver. But this is not to say that the best way to design a life preserver is in the form of a piano top.
I think we are clinging to a great many piano tops in accepting yesterday's fortuitous contrivings as constituting the only means for solving a given problem." - R. Buckminster Fuller
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post #5 of 26 Old 04-04-2010, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
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I've now put about 400 miles on the bike with the rack and it works great. I can see some Toronto trips on the V-Strom in the near future.

I went with an oak board as it is strong and almost unflexible. I had planned on using 5/4 oak, but it wasn't necessary.

I found that the locking fork trap doesn't even need a lock! When you tighten down the locking lever against the rear fixed lever it is impossible to open it again without some sort of sturdy tool to pry them apart. With a non locking lever, you could easily get your hand behind it to pull outwards and release the trap.

Also found that there is a bit of movement from the Boa, which doesn't affect anything, but which I could fee without my luggage on the sides. (Most of my testing was done on a trip, with luggage). This could be remidied by positioning the Boa farther back, so that the rear wheel of the bike sits more directly on top of it.

Since mostly bicycle riders will be reading this:
For those of you who ride bicycle and live in the north east, Toronto is a great place for bicycling. They have about 50 miles of bicycle paths in the city (see their free online map), some of the paths are so green that at some points you are along a stream in a forested area, and can see no buildings and hear no cars. You can bicycle for miles along a sand beach along Lake Erie and check out bikinis and eat french fries, you can go out to the city island on the ferry and bike there (don't bother checking out the nude beach- is looks more like a place for single gay cruisers than for topless women), you can bike through quiet, interesting neighborhoods of all ethnical variety, go down through the nice Chinatown with a heavy SE Asian influence along Spidina Ave., all with a great choice of places to stop and eat, drink Molson Export Ale, and sit and relax outdoors and watch the city go by.
In my opinion, Toronto has a more European feel to it because of all the outdoor cafes and bars, and the streets are quiet for a big city, there are bicycle lanes on the streets, and bicycles have more respect there than along most roads here in PA (where they are deemed a nuisance by the majority of drivers). Also, Canadians are some of the most friendly people I've met.
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post #6 of 26 Old 05-12-2010, 05:07 PM
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wow - that's awesome!!!

Wood is the Ultimate Green composite material!

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Last edited by jokermtb; 05-12-2010 at 05:09 PM.
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post #7 of 26 Old 10-06-2010, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
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Just thought I'd add a few observations for improvement on the bike rack.

I've put about 2500 miles on it with a bicycle in it now, and it works better and easier than I expected. There are absolutely no handling issues, either on interstates or on tight WV backroads, or in a parking lot. I can't see my bicycle in my mirrors, and I forgot it was there on occasion. Apparently, it looks funny to bystanders when you try to swing your leg over the back of a motorcycle when there is a bicycle on it.

As noted before, there was that slight movement which I could feel as a slight jiggle. I could see and feel the bicycle constantly moving in the rack. This is because the Boa holder is plastic, and that, plus the rubber rear tire, have just a bit of "give" to them even when tightened down. At first it didn't bother me, but on longer rides it got to be annoying. This was remedied by backing one bicycle pedal down against the wooden rack, and tying it down tightly with a cord so it could not move. No more jiggle at all. The wooden rack, as is, is just wide enough that the pedal hits it perfectly, where the pedal meets the crank end.

I can load or unload my bicycle, (including taking off or putting on the front wheel), faster than I can put on my chaps, jacket, gloves, & helmet. The entire rack can be taken off in 5 minutes or less.

After adding some stain and varnish, the rack looks almost like a Harley accessory bought in a store. Some people ask me where I bought it.

This rack could also be made much cheaper by using a wooden block with a proper size bolt through it instead of the store-bought fork trap, and by cutting a "V" slot with tapered sides into the board for the back wheel instead of using the Boa holder. The wheel would just have to be snugged down with cord or a strap. This would save a lot of the money for parts.


When you get to a gas station or other stop, it draws a lot of attention. I found it funny that at least 85% of all commenters, (at least in PA, DE, MD, NY, WV,) will say the exact same two things, word for word with a corresponding chuckle:
"What's that for, in case you run out of gas?" or, "What's that for, in case you break down?"

[COLOR="Red"][SIZE="4"]DL650K8 Yellow[/SIZE][/COLOR]
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post #8 of 26 Old 10-07-2010, 03:28 AM
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Just when you think you've seen it all. Nicely done.

Mike
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post #9 of 26 Old 10-07-2010, 01:05 PM
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Gonna have to copy that!

My wife and I were at an MTB trailhead and spotted a guy with his bike on his moto. Your setup is much better and cleaner, like it! The Wee would also be much better than my old cruiser to mount to.

Thanks for sharing!
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post #10 of 26 Old 10-08-2010, 02:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eegah View Post
Since mostly bicycle riders will be reading this:
For those of you who ride bicycle and live in the north east, Toronto is a great place for bicycling. They have about 50 miles of bicycle paths in the city (see their free online map), some of the paths are so green that at some points you are along a stream in a forested area, and can see no buildings and hear no cars. You can bicycle for miles along a sand beach along Lake Erie and check out bikinis and eat french fries, you can go out to the city island on the ferry and bike there (don't bother checking out the nude beach- is looks more like a place for single gay cruisers than for topless women), you can bike through quiet, interesting neighborhoods of all ethnical variety, go down through the nice Chinatown with a heavy SE Asian influence along Spidina Ave., all with a great choice of places to stop and eat, drink Molson Export Ale, and sit and relax outdoors and watch the city go by.
In my opinion, Toronto has a more European feel to it because of all the outdoor cafes and bars, and the streets are quiet for a big city, there are bicycle lanes on the streets, and bicycles have more respect there than along most roads here in PA (where they are deemed a nuisance by the majority of drivers). Also, Canadians are some of the most friendly people I've met.
Wow! You must have pedalled some serious kilometres, because Toronto's on Lake Ontario

You must also be a city-savvy cyclist to enjoy riding in Toronto. For the 40 years I lived there I was always comfortable riding the roads, but less assertive cyclists than I (and I'm pretty darn, um, assertive) find it daunting. Currently, the most likely to be the next mayor says there is no place in Toronto for bicycles.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nySs1cEq5rs

'04 650, and goshdarnit it's fun - matte silver (#9 in the Silver 'Strom Club)
farewell to an '81 KZ550, '83 GPz750, '83 V45 Sabre, R-Reg GT380, '84 GPz550, early '70s DT175, and a '72 Peugeot 102
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