One of the key criteria for this vehicle was the ability to carry at least 2 bikes inside the vehicle. This past winter I really got into fat biking, and rode more miles over a winter than I ever have before. However, one thing that set me back was not wanting to take my bike to trailheads loaded on my hitch rack. The couple of times that I did, my bike got covered in grime and road salt before I ever even pedaled a single stroke. Sure, the bike gets dirty when riding on roads in the winter, but nowhere near as sloppy as when it’s sitting directly behind the back of a moving vehicle.
To that end, I wanted to ensure that I could carry two bikes in the back of the van, preferably in addition to keeping the bed in place as well. But how to do it? The easiest option is to just toss the bikes in the back and lean them up against the bed, or side of the van. However, things tend to rattle around and the few times that we did this I felt very nervous about things getting caught and bent. What I needed was a way to secure the bikes into a certain position and keep them from moving around. Enter… the fork mount.
Fork mounts are a common type of bike mount for the back of pickup trucks that allow you to remove the front wheel and secure the bike to the mount as if it were a wheel. This holds the bike in place and keeps it from tipping over. Removing and replacing a front wheel is quick and easy, especially if you have a quick release (although my thru-axel only take a few seconds longer).
For a mounting design I picked up a few different fork mounts, and bolted them to a 2×10 board, cut to the width of the van. The bikes then mount to these, and the tires get stashed in between the bikes, secured by bungie cords. I also had to deal with the board moving back and forth, as I can’t screw them into the floor where the stow-n-go seats are. I might look as some other quick release brackets attached to the side, but for now another bungie cord attached to the bed frame sufficed.
We took a short trip up north in this configuration, and despite needing to make a few small adjustments for rattling noises, everything stayed secure, dry, and safe for the duration. I’m super pleased with how this turned out, and the next step is to add some additional bracket mount points for fat bikes in winter time. I might be able to carry one fat bike without removing the bed, but a second will undoubtedly require more width than I have to work with. That’s a problem for another day though as spring is about to bloom.
There’s still a few more things to come, but so far I’m really pleased with how this non-destructive build is going.