How to build a bike rack for your SUV, Sedan or Van? DIY bike rack

Published by Bike Scientist on

First of all we want to admit that we have a lot of bonuses for people who like bikes, which you can use in entercash slots to play there with us! Want to know how to build a bike rack? If bike racks manufactured by different brands are out of your budget, do not worry because there are many DIY bike rack ideas out there. These racks can save you hundreds of bucks and you might also enjoy the creative process. In this article, we will explore how to make bike racks for different vehicles including SUVs, trucks, vans, and sedans. This will help you prepare your DIY bike rack to safely carry the bikes while traveling in a vehicle. 

How to make a bike rack for SUVs? 

You can create a DIY bike rack for installation on the inside of the SUV. But since you have to store the bike inside the vehicle, it is recommended for SUVs with no spare tire taking up space. Otherwise, it would not be possible to fit the height of your bike inside the vehicle. First arrange two long wooden pieces the length of the SUV width from the inside, one or two fork mounts, and 2 barrel bolt latches to go on each side, screws, and glue to fix the whole system inside your SUV.

How to build a bike rack for your SUV, Sedan, or Van DIY bike rack

The only tricky business is to drill two holes in the plastic panels on each side but they will be covered under the carpeted lids so they won’t be prominent. Glue the two pieces of wood and screw them together.

Place it inside the SUV, mount your bike(s) after removing the front wheel, adjust the handlebars right before the tailgate and mark the position where you can fix the wooden panel and how far the forks should be screwed. Once you have the markings, screw in the forks and bolt in the wooden panel.

DIY bike rack for a truck tailgate

If you are interested in knowing how to build a bike rack for carrying 5-7 bikes on your truck bed, stitching a tailgate pad is the best option. You can make an impressive bike rack if you know how to stitch and you will find most of the supplies in a sewing box you have at home. 

For this DIY bike rack, you need a fabric preferably a waterproof material such as vinyl, foam padding, 1-inch wide straps, strap buckles, strap adjusters, needle, and thread.

Most of the tailgate pads available in the market are made in two sizes, i.e., 54” for 5 bikes or 62” wide for 7 bikes. So first you need to measure the width of your tailgate and then buy the required fabric dimensions.

We suggest that first, you make a drawing and then measure all the distances, for example, the thickness of the tailgate, how far the handle, back camera, or license plate is located, etc. In this way, you can make cutouts in the design for convenience of use. That is how most tailgate bike racks such as Yakima tailgate pads are made.

Once you have the measurements, sew the sides of the fabric to secure them and cut out the foam paddings according to the tailgate thickness and width. Sew these foam pads between two fabric layers to lock them in a position.

After that, you can start sewing the other sides of the tailgate pad but do not forget to sew in the 3 straps on the bottom side. These straps will be used to fasten the pad to the tailgate. Add the strap buckles to 3 shorter straps and sew them on the inside part of the tailgate pad.

Finally, you can add 5, 6, or 7 shorter straps by hand stitching onto the padded area according to the number of bikes you own, or the length of the pad. These straps should be equally spaced so the bikes can be secured at equal distances from each other. Lastly, do not forget the add the strap adjusters just like you added the buckles.

How to build a bike rack for a truck bed?

Multiple reasonable options are available for truck bed bike racks but here is another DIY bike rack option is to build a truck bed bike rack out of PVC pipes. For that you need long PVC pipes around ¾” wide that you can cut according to your truck bed, a chop saw to cut them, 6 elbows, tees depending on the number of bikes you plan to carry, and PVC glue. 

Want to know how to make a bike rack for a truck bed? First, you will need to measure the truck bed and cut the PVC fittings safely. Then start putting them together by using the elbows and tees. Do not glue the pieces in the first go because if the rack does not fit in your truck, you might have to make adjustments.

Build three horizontal pieces each using PVC cuttings, 2 elbows, and 4 tees then build 4 vertical pieces each having one tee in the center. Put these two pieces together and lastly put PVC cuttings in the tees in middle and secure them by fitting the first unit.

Now you can place this rack inside your truck bed and if it fits, you can re-do it but this time glue the parts together. You can also buy ratchet straps to secure the bikes while driving. 

How to build a bike rack to mount on a spare tire of a van?

One of the easiest solutions is a DIY bike rack that mounts on the spare tire of your van. You just need flat bars, a square tube, a welding machine, and spray paint if you want to give a nice look to your bike rack. 

Use the flat metal bars to form the frame of the bike rack. This frame has to be round so you can use a mallet or a bending device, place the strap against a tire the size of your spare tire, and give it the perfect shape. Then you will have to weld a metal strap on the bottom part to give support to the rack while it is loaded with a bike.

Finally cut the square-shaped tube and weld the two pieces on the round frame. Weld them at a distance that seems suitable according to the top tube of your bike. Eventually, you can clean it up by removing any extra material and spray painting the whole structure.

Do not forget to buy ratchet straps for securing the bike. These straps will go around the bike frame and keep it stable on the spare tire. Moreover, to protect the bike frame, you can wrap the tube part with rubber and haul your bike around the town. 

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Bike Scientist

S Chaudhry is the founder and the first writer for BikesRacks. He covers almost all the bike reviews after doing a lot of secondary and primary (hands on) research on the products. Apart from that he is the author of a number of how to do articles as well on the website. He is an avid road bike cyclists who is dealing in a lot of areas related to biking. Currently he has gained experience fixing bikes to retailing accessories related to them as well. His eventual goal is to build an authority site on cycling and also become a profession bike fitter.