Went for a brilliant second ride on my Mukluk (thanks Alan at Bikeman.com for hooking me up!!). The trails were filled with a permafrost of tiny muddy icicles reaching inches out the trail. The puffed up leaves and mud brought my Cat 1 racing buddies to a crawl. I was the only one with a Fatbike and was rolling rings around them. What a blast! If only I could have this kind of advantage at the races!
So I now know that I will be ridding her every weekend during the “off season”. That means a lot transporting of my fat beast. I hated taking the wheel off and put her wet, muddy and frozen into the back of my car. It was slow, messy and just plain annoying.
I had a older style rack that held the bike from the top tube but it was in the way when using the tail gate, also it was awkward with a zig-zag of bungee- cords, not really doing the job.
After ridding I had nothing to do (that I wanted to be doing). I went out into my studio workshop, I am a furniture/sculpture artist, with a great amount of tools, to come up with a solution.
Some of my design parameters:
- Need to solidly hold my fatbike.
- Need to be quick on and off.
- Use materials that I already have laying around (Cost me as little as possible)
- Need to also carry my 29er race and singlespeed bikes (and I guess my road and cross)
- Simple as possible, without being too simple.
I had previously taken some stainless 2” square tube, and welded a piece of stainless “I” beam to mount an old Yakima “big mouth” style down tube car top bike carrier. I also had drilled a hole into the two inch receiver and welded a stainless nut in place. That way I could bolt and really tighten the rack to the hitch. It was simple and worked ok. BUT after three years on the back of my car the adjustment screw to hold different size frames was rusted stuck to only one downtube diameter. It also allowed the bike to wallow fore and aft- making marks into the downtube from the rubbing. I didn’t really care but maybe it was too simple. The bike wheel tray was too skinny for my new best friend- so while trying to modify it, I decided to toss it out and start from scratch.
I had been seeing these very simple racks for smallish motocross bikes. A simple tray, with a up turn at the end and some straps to hold it down. Looked like a starting point. A friend gave me two; ten foot sections of 4” U Channel Aluminum that I was saving for something….Wow the tires fit perfect! A quick miter, and TIG weld and I bolted up to the stainless I beam of the previous rack. It held ok, would have worked, but rocked too much.
I wasn’t satisfied. I need to sit down and push a little more. After a few sketches of ideas I had the basic concept. Hold the front wheel low, and clear the drivetrain bits in the back. I kept refining to make it as simple as possible without being too simple!
Before cutting up and wasting time and materials, I made a quick 2×4 prototype. Looked good. Some quick cuts (spent more time clearing a space to work, and looking for tools). Cutting down the old stainless, to fit the lower front wheel. Some ½ stainless bolts and done! Add a Surly long strap to hold the rear wheel and…Winner!