No, no… it’s working out just great. With just under 100 miles of bike portage it’s really turned out to be a pretty slick set-up. Of course, it draws about as many curious looks and comments by passers-by as our somewhat gnarly, full-suspension, tandem mountain bike, i.e., “I don’t think I’ve ever seen (fill in the blank); cool!”
I thought I’d throw the moto-riding cycling and tandem enthusiasts a bone who have already commented by putting up some better photos of the rack by itself and on the motorcycle. By the way, since this is a tandem blog I’m sure the logical question is, “So, can you carry a tandem on that thing?” Probably not, even if we broke our travel tandem down into the two main triangle sections. My fear is the additional 15 lbs sitting further back on the support arms would eliminate all of the safety margin on the BMW’s luggage rack. Moreover, while I don’t mind suiting back up for the ride home in all my gear after finishing a few hours on the bicycle (e.g., armored over pants, jacket, boots, helmet & gloves), I’m not sure Debbie would be all that excited about the arrangement. She likes to relax and sometimes take a nap on the drive home after a day of tandem riding and, well, that ain’t gonna happen on a Sport Touring bike like our BMW R1150RT. On a Honda GL1800 Goldwing, yeah… it happens, but not on a BMW with a boxer engine.
The extent of the modifications included:
- Cutting off the four (4) plastic-coated trunk-lip hooks used on the lower two tie-down straps with 75# Carabiners.
- Eliminating the two upper tie-down strap ends and looping them around the front of the BMW’s luggage rack
- Splitting the lower support brace in half and reversing the two halves so that they could ‘nest’ in BMW side case coves (that they would fit this way was truly was a major coup and the enabler for this project)
- Disassembling the pivots from the upper support brace so one of the two pair of bicycle frame holders could be moved ahead of the pivot point. This was done to make the bike sit more close-in to the motorcycle for stability, wind sheltering and compactness
- Trimming off 1″ of the left pivot support brace mount so the seat tube stabilizer that keeps the frame from moving fore and aft would fit in front of the pivot.
- Shortening the rack’s bike support arms by 5″ and relocating the plastic end caps since the added length was now excess to my needs.
- Cannibalizing four (4) foam pads from some accessory mounting hardware for use on, (a) the lower support arm contact points with the BMW side cases, and (b) on the upper support brace where it contacted both sides of the BMW top case. The middle pads were simply moved closer together.
Installation is actually quite straight forward and takes about 5 minutes.
- Starting with the top case off, the lower legs of the rack are nested in the coves of the side cases.
- The four (4) carabiners for the lower support strap are clipped to the retractable cargo hooks I installed in the rear corners of the side cases and two the two rear support posts for the motorcycle’s luggage rack: once hooked, they are cinched-up.
- The two (2) upper support straps are uncoiled from their stored position under the luggage rack / top case, laced through two channels in the luggage rack’s rear support bar and then laced into the rack’s strap locks and cinched-up to remove all slack from the four (4) different straps.
- The top case is then reinstalled.
- The weight of the bicycle (18 lbs) and rack (11 lbs) is distributed against the two side cases, the rear cowl & tail light assembly and factory rack with stability provided by the four lower attachment points.
- My only long-term concern would be for potential stress cracking on the rear cowl or tail light assembly which I’ll have to monitor.
A few more photos of the bike on the bike: Note: If you click on the photos in this Blog they’ll open up in a new window in a bit larger format, and if you click on those they’ll open up to their original size.