I recently got a new truck (a 2007 Toyota Tundra) and wanted to come up with a way to carry my bikes in the bed of the truck when going camping. There are lots of options out there available for purchase, but I had some pretty specific requirements:
- Able to be be secured in the bed without drilling holes in the truck
- Easily installed and easily removable
- Doesn’t obstruct the bed too much
- Usable with my tri-fold tonneau opened
- Fit under the tonneau when not in use
- Doesn’t require lifting the bike over the side of the truck
The only commercial offering I found that would meet most of those needs was the Toyota deck rail system along with a couple of the special bike fork mounts for that system. I could mount the bikes sideways across the bed behind the folded tonneau. That would cost between $250-$300, so I figured I’d try a do-it-yourself solution first.
Here’s what I came up with. It’s not terribly clever, but it’s pretty cheap, was easy to make and met all my requirements:
It’s made of 2×6 and 2×4 pressure-treated lumber mounted against the side of the bed. I used wood because I don’t have any metalworking skills. It is held in place with a single ratchet strap using the factory tie-down points. The strap pulls the rack down and toward the wall of the bed. I put a small lag bolt in place to keep the strap from sliding down the rack. The long 2×6 is sized just right to fit between the front and back of the bed, preventing shifting front-to-back. On top are a couple of Yakima Block Head fork mounts positioned for my specific application (I have a regular mountain bike and a short wheelbase recumbent).
The bikes sit across the very back of the bed. I use another 2×6 (shown in the picture above) placed in the grooves in the side of the bed to keep the bikes at the back of the bed and the other gear from bashing into them. A couple of bungee cords keep the rear of the bikes from sliding forward. I’ve tried it out, and the rack and the bikes are very stable.
You can see a bunch of photos of the project on the gallery page.
This design can also be used across the front wall of the truck as well. I used the side because of my tonneau cover and because the space over the wheel wells is usually wasted anyway. The total cost for this project was about $10 plus the cost of two fork mounts. I gave $10 each for the two fork mounts a couple of years ago- they cost a little more now but you can find them on sale. Look for “Yakima Block Heads”, “Saris Traps Fork Mounts” or any other fork mount designed to mount to a flat surface.
Here are some considerations if you’re planning on making one of your own:
- This design will probably only work well if you have tie-downs in the middle of the corners of the bed (not at the very bottom or top)
- Shape the end of each board to match the contour of your truck bed if it doesn’t sit flat against the wall or floor
- If you have a tonneau, make sure the rack is low enough not to interfere with its clamps