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.
–hand saw, coping saw or jigsaw
Drill and assorted bits
- 1/8, ¼, 5/16, 3/8, 7/8 (for countersink)
C-clamps or woodworking clamps
(1 or 2)
Table saw, drill press, router, etc make it easier but aren't necessary.
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)
- 1 1/8” diameter X 7 ½” long to hold the Boa Rear Wheel Tray (usually sold in 36” lengths and cut to size)
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)
: (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)
- 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:
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)