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Motorbike Rack 2

I previously had another motorbike rack, but I wanted a rack that I could use by myself (i.e. get the bike on and off without help) and I saw several excellent looking racks available in the U.S. so I decided to splash out and get a U.S. Receiver Hitch and motorbike rack imported from the U.S.

Picking a Rack

I looked at loads of different racks from the U.S. including ones with ramps and ones that tilt. Then I saw a totally different kind of rack, the Motojackrack - it seemed a superb solution, easy to get on and off, no tiedowns and not too bulky for storage like the others. I did some investigation on-line and saw some comments on this rack on the Thumpertalk forums, however, this also made me aware of a very similar rack, the Ultimate MX Hauler.

The MX Hauler website is pretty poor but from peoples comments on Thumpertalk this rack seemed to be better than the Motojackrack - powder coated, footpeg clamps that can be tightened down, an integrated hitch stabiliser - basically a seemingly better version of the Motojackrack. I also spoke via email to the people who make the rack and they replied quickly, were very helpful and happy to ship to the UK.

How Much?!?!?!

After my experience and reasonable shipping costs on my hitch I thought shipping charges on a rack from the U.S. would be similar as they are a similar weight to the hitch but to my dismay shipping was always around $250-$300 US dollars (about £140-£170 pounds!), and I got lots of different shipping quotes on lots of different racks from lots of different companies!

Becuase shipping was so much regardless of the type of rack, there was no "cheap option" so I decided to get the Ultimate MX Hauler. It seemed the best rack of that type and although not the cheapest rack I had seen it certainly was not the most expensive at $295.00 dollars (about £165 pounds).

 

The Ultimate MX Hauler

The Ultimate MX Hauler

After about a week my black (you can get black, red or blue) rack arrived in the UK. It comes pre-built so you don't have to do anything other than start using it.

How Does It Work?

Step 1:

Attach the rack to the receiver hitch with the hitch pin.

Do up the hitch stabiliser using a spanner (this is simply a bolt on the rack that tightens against the hitch to remove any movement between the rack and the hitch).

I also bought a locking hitch pin to ensure nobody can easily nick the rack and/or motorbike.

 
     

Step 2:

With the rack in the lower position, manouver the bike over the rack and put the footpeg retainers in position through the footpegs and tighten the wing nuts.

 
     

Step 3:

Close bleed valve on jack and jack carrier up to full "up" position. Insert locking pin and tighten.

 
     

Step 4:

Use a strap or bungee cord to secure the handlebars of the motorbike to the hook on the rack (simply to stop handlebars turning while driving).

Attach lightbar to bike (as the lights/numberplate are obscured).

As the wheels of the bike to extend past the sides of the truck I also attach reflective "armbands" (from a cycle shop) to the outer edges of the wheels/tyres of the motorbike - mainly to ensure nobody tries to squeeze past me on a narrow lane without seeing the wheels.

Removal is simply the reverse, just remove the locking pin and slowly open the jack bleed valve and the bike is gently lowered.

Doesn't it stick out loads each side?!

Although the pictures seem to show the bike sticking out loads each side it does not actually stick out that much as the following pictures will hopefully show. My bike (Yamaha WR400) sticks out a few inches on the srivers side but probably not much more than the wing mirror. The bike sticks out more on the passenger side, so you do have to be careful now and again while driving and I put reflective armbands around the wheels so other drivers can see the wheels.

Conclusion

Quite an expensive solution (but only due to import costs, I think the actual rack is very good value) but an excellent one.

Advantages over my last rack/other types of rack:

  • Easily get the bike on/off by myself.
  • No tiedowns/straps to worry about (only front-wheel retainer strap).
  • More easily stored when not in use or when arrived at a site.
  • Can easily open tailgate when the bike is on the rack simply by lowering the rack (although the tailgate still cannot be opened all the way due to the height of the rack).

Advantages over a trailer:

  • No tiedowns/straps.
  • No manouvering/reversing problems.
  • Not limited to 60mph on motorways.
  • Not restricted to the inside lanes on motorways.
  • No storage problems.
  • Less maintenance.

Disadvantages over other methods:

No real disadvantages that I can think of yet (apart from the expense), but:

  • Slight paranoia while driving with your motorbike hanging off the back of your truck by a single point (you just have to trust the engineering and not exceed the rack weight limit (375 lbs) or the hitch tongue weight limit.
  • You do have to respect the amount of weight you are carrying though and drive accordingly, especially on corners/roundabouts and on rough ground.
  • Not really a disadvantage but you do get some very strange looks from other drivers when they see you carrying a motorbike on the back of your vehicle rather than a mountain bike!

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