Bike rack

This is going to be a shorter page but I’d like to catch up on all of the little things I’ve done to the car and not documented.

While I could carry a bike or two on the roof platform or roof cross bars, I find it’s pretty inconvenient to get them down. I elected for the Yakima DoubleDown Ace; in theory this allows for 4 bikes but I really wanted it for the weight capacity as sometimes I take my stupidly heavy fatbike around with the Jimny.

Works really well with 2 bikes. The rubber bike straps work fantastically, and I just use cut down camlock straps to hold the front wheels so they don’t move side to side.

This is a hitch mounted bike rack. Using the Hayman Reese towbar I have it doesn’t quite sit far enough back to let the door fully open. I don’t mind this, I can just access stuff from the back via the front seats folded forwards.

Because the pin is quite small for retaining the rack, you can get it a long way back in the receiver to help though. With a stock tyre this probably would be sufficient.

The black knob at the end is the handle to expand the rack into the receiver slot. This also lets you convert it to 40mm smaller hitches; it also has a lock so you can make it unable to be removed from the receiver which is very neat. I put the safety cable through the shackle as an added security benefit.

Here’s the clearance to the spare tyre – noting it’s larger than standard – with the rack as far backwards as I can make it work with the towbar on my car.

It clears fine even with a towbar that’s tucked right back against the bumper.

I do like the folding mechanism on this rack for opening the door.

With the rack folded down there is just not enough clearance to open the door, though. I thought I’d find this annoying but I tend to get things out of the back of the car via the front seats anyway.

I did buy the shortest hitch extension I could find just in case I want to fully open the door.

Sometimes you need just a bit of extra length; Leatherman for scale.

Note: If you get a hitch extension, remember to get a locking hitch pin so people can’t flog your bike by taking the entire rack and the hitch extension with it!

Auxiliary numberplate mounting

One thing I did have to do is sort out a way to mount an auxiliary numberplate to the bike rack. Because there’s no ‘back’ to the arms and I didn’t want to make it more annoying to mount I ended up using rivnuts to mount it near the bottom. I need to make up a little numberplate light for this that plugs into the trailer harness but I’m yet to drive with the bike rack on at night so it’s not been a problem yet.

I first used self tapping tek screws to hold the plate on; they worked ok but I wanted something a bit more permanent feeling. I was very careful to mark these holes right in the middle of the frame of the bike rack when drilling these!

These holes happened to be perfect pilot holes for the larger holes needed for rivnuts.

I chose to use countersunk M5 rivnuts for this and a couple of allen headed M5 capscrews.

Drilled the holes out appropriately, then used a larger drillbit to get a bit of countersinking happening on the holes. Not the prettiest but it’ll all get covered up anyway.

Then in go the rivnuts.

Bit of blue loctite so they don’t vibrate out and ping the plate off at someone.

Bolt on the plate and everything’s sorted!