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Old 09-24-2012, 08:45 PM   #1
SWriverstone OP
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Joined: Jul 2006
Location: Morgantown, West Virginia USA
Oddometer: 281
REVIEW: 2x2 Cycles Motorcycle Bike Rack

I've been motorcycling for longer than I've been mountain biking...so it was pretty natural for me to want to find a way to carry a bike on my motorcycle (Suzuki V-Strom 650). I first researched options last year and found the 2x2 Cycles Motorcycle Bike Rack...which currently seems to be the only commercially sold rack out there.

The cost of this rack is $308 shipped, so at first I thought I could do better building my own. I first picked up a cheap fork clamp and some 2x4's and tried to jury-rig something (basically bolting the fork clamp to a 2x4, then bolting the 2x4 to my factory motorcycle rack.) That might have worked, but I found it difficult to accommodate bikes of different sizes (e.g. my road bike and mountain bike), so I bagged that.

Then I picked up a Yakima Copperhead mount, which is a basic roof-mounting tray with a fork block at the front. The long tray would accommodate any bike...but then I found it difficult to mount it in a way I trusted (I'm not a welder and didn't feel like learning.)

So in the end, I said "Screw it" and bought one of the 2x2 Cycles racks...good move---I should have done it from the start! :madman::)

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The 2x2 rack is pretty bombproof and almost over-engineered. The whole thing is made of pretty heavy powder-coated steel, and the thing is heavy. I didn't weigh it, but I'm guessing it's at least 20lbs. The fork clamp is really beefy---far sturdier than any fork clamp I've seen on a Yakima or Thule rack.

Mounting the rack might have been straightforward but turned into somewhat of a major production---this is because I wanted to be able to use my Givi topcase as well as the rack, so I had to figure out a way to bolt the topcase mounting plate over the bike rack. The ideal solution turned out to be some solid aluminum standoffs threaded at both ends (I had 'em laying around from an old project).

The 2x2 Cycles rack came with an LED running/brake light bar. At first I didn't think this was necessary, but I quickly realized that when a bike is mounted on the rack, it obscures my stock tail/brake light from several angles. Motorcycling is dangerous enough already, so this wouldn't do. I mounted the LED bar lower down, just below my license plate. (This was a pain as I had to remove the rear fender to get to the wiring.)

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Anyway, once I got it all mounted up, it felt bombproof---I probably could lift the motorcycle by the bike rack. This afternoon I took it for the first test rides. Here are some pics of the rack (the silver posts are the ones I mounted to attach the topcase plate to)...







Note how the fork clamp has a secondary bar with a hole in it so you can lock the bike to the rack with a padlock---nice feature.

The rear of the rack is a length-adjustable piece of square steel channel with a "cup" which holds a pedal crank:



The slotted piece to the right of the cup is what holds your front tire (via the quick release clamp)...and the dangling quick-release clamp (above) is what keeps your pedal crank securely in the cup.

Here's what my GF HiFi Pro 29er looks like all mounted up on my V-Strom:





As you can see, the bike is cantilevered far out from the rear of the motorcycle. At a glance, this looks odd and scary...but once I clamped the bike into the rack, it didn't budge (I could shake the whole motorcycle around by grabbing the bike frame.) The rack also comes with a nice little yellow nylon "warning" streamer with a snap link for the rear wheel.

I was a little bummed that I couldn't get my mountain bike on the rack with the topcase plate mounted---this is because the fork clamp isn't high enough to give the front brake calipers adequate clearance over the plate. Not a huge deal---I just took the topcase plate off. (FYI, a road bike fits fine with the topcase plate---since road bikes don't have all that junk hanging off the front fork, LOL.)

Here's a couple closeups of the forks in the clamp. The rack also comes with a safety strap that the manufacturer recommends using. It's really a common-sense backup kinda thing, as I'm 100% certain the fork clamp and rack hold the bike very securely without the strap---but since it only takes a few seconds to put the strap on, I use it anyway. (The strap also takes some of the load off your factory motorcycle rack and distributes it to the motorcycle frame.)





In the shots below, you can see the pedal crank in the cup and how the quick-release clamp holds it in place...as well as how your front tire slots into the rack and is held by the quick release clamp. This seemed questionable to me (holding the front tire by one side)...but in use, the tire was rock-solid and didn't waggle around at all.





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When I first started riding the motorcycle with the bike mounted, it felt a bit odd. I'm sure this wasn't a weight issue, but more an issue of the weight being cantilevered so far out the back. I wasn't worried though---I ride 2-up with my wife all the time, so the 50lbs (give or take) of the rack and my bike was nowhere close to the weight of a passenger.

I rode a bit timidly at first, constantly checking my mirrors to see how the bike was doing. I rode about 15 miles to the local state forest (Coopers Rock State Forest outside Morgantown, WV), and most of that was on the interstate at 80mph. It was windy today (gusts up to 25mph), and I didn't feel a thing (in other words, wind isn't an issue---bikes make poor sails).

For the whole ride to/from the state forest, the bike was rock-solid. No waggling or swaying of any kind. There is a very small amount of up/down flex in the rack arm, but it's barely noticeable (even going over bumps) and it's probably good from an energy absorption standpoint.

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I've heard some people say they wouldn't like doing this because they'd have to lug their bicycling gear with them, change into it, deal with the motorcycling gear, etc. That wasn't a problem at all for me---I have Givi sidecases, which are plenty big enough to hold my riding shoes, helmet, and Camelbak...



I just wore my riding shorts/shirt/socks under a pair of motorcycling overpants and riding jacket...so when I got to the trailhead, I just shucked my motorcycling gear, pulled on my cycling shoes and helmet and was good to go.

Out of curiousity, I timed myself after my ride: from being fully clad in all my cycling gear (with the bike off the motorcycle) to loading the bike onto the motorcycle and getting my motorcycling gear back on was just under 8 minutes total---not bad at all! (And I wasn't rushing---just being efficient and not goofing around.) That's actually not any slower than it would take me if I were driving the car. (And besides, if I need to be faster than 8 minutes, I probably shouldn't have gone for a ride that day.)

Like any rack system, I have a feeling the more I use this, the easier and faster mounting/dismounting bikes on the motorcycle will be. And having taken the time to provide for mounting my topcase, if I ever need all three hard cases (e.g. for a long trip), no problem---I just mount the topcase over the bike rack. (And I could also take a bicycle on a long trip too, with plenty of room in the sidecases, plus room to mount gear on top of the sidecases if needed.)

So all in all, I think the $300 for this rack was worth it! It was pretty cool to go for a mountain bike ride on my motorcycle. :-) And the whole setup---as crazy as it looks---even passed the LEO test when I was passed on the interstate by a state trooper---who I'm sure was staring at the rig and thinking "WTF!?" :)

Now my only remaining concern is whether or not I'll be able to get into the parking garage at work with a bike on the motorcycle. (I'll have to check clearance and see.)

Scott
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:24 AM   #2
zeeede
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Thanks for the review... I've been eyeing one for my Vee all summer. I think it'll be a Christmas/birthday gift to myself!
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:13 PM   #3
DiscoStu
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Use CAUTION!

Use extreme caution when dealing with 2x2 cycles
just saying...

DiscoStu screwed with this post 11-16-2012 at 09:36 PM
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