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Old 10-01-2019, 04:18 PM   #1
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2019 30' Classic
Belen , New Mexico
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Homemade bike rack on 2019 Classic

Yeah, OK. heavily inspired by the Fiamma bike rack.

This one is for carrying two Pedego Platinum Interceptor bikes (56 lbs each).

It's made out of .125" wall tubing (1.25" diameter) and will easily handle both bikes. I had my daughter bouncing on it to test the weight handling of it. Will be taking it on a 2000 mile trip here pretty soon and will report how it does.

It's VERY sturdy.
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Old 10-01-2019, 05:31 PM   #2
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If you are using set screws you may want to add self tapping screws to ensure the fittings stay together.

When you do a search here on bike racks you will find a bit of contention. Read those for your enjoyment and knowledge base.
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Old 10-01-2019, 05:38 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by sgschwend View Post
If you are using set screws you may want to add self tapping screws to ensure the fittings stay together.

When you do a search here on bike racks you will find a bit of contention. Read those for your enjoyment and knowledge base.
That is a sound idea. There have been quite a few of those learning moments in building this. I'm not sure I saved any money on building just one, but the second one would be a piece of cake.
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Old 10-01-2019, 06:06 PM   #4
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sgschwend was being very diplomatic. The "contention" he refers to is the "received wisdom of the ages" that many of us have "received" the hard way through direct experience.
In the Airstream 30, and all shorter Airstreams to a lesser extent, the rear bumper hangs, more or less, on the monocot shell and is not designed to support additional weight.
That said, no one can really tell you how much additional weight it takes to cause frame separation. We know from direct experience that you should not carry a generator on the rear bumper. But we also know that you can carry an extra spare tire, maybe.
It all depends how many railroad crossings you encounter on secondary roads and how fast you drive over them.
There is a ton of posts on this topic, and your post will generate a ton more.
I notice you have a new Airstream still under warranty. This could void your warranty.
Sorry.
P.S. You can put a two-inch receiver on the front of your tow vehicle and carry the bikes there.
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Old 10-01-2019, 09:31 PM   #5
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Ummmhhhh, a 3 rivet member and you are not aware of the issues with putting stuff on the rear end? Not to mention you are not talking light loads (I apologize to your daughter who must weigh a lot since she jumped on the connection to validate your test).....
Or, maybe you are gung ho and want to experiment? Regardless. Good luck on the posts you are going to get on this one.
Please do let us know how things work out. You are a far braver person than me.
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:00 AM   #6
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Awesome job! Did you have to have the tubing bent or do it yourself?
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Old 10-02-2019, 07:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alumaholic View Post
sgschwend was being very diplomatic. The "contention" he refers to is the "received wisdom of the ages" that many of us have "received" the hard way through direct experience.
In the Airstream 30, and all shorter Airstreams to a lesser extent, the rear bumper hangs, more or less, on the monocot shell and is not designed to support additional weight.
That said, no one can really tell you how much additional weight it takes to cause frame separation. We know from direct experience that you should not carry a generator on the rear bumper. But we also know that you can carry an extra spare tire, maybe.
It all depends how many railroad crossings you encounter on secondary roads and how fast you drive over them.
There is a ton of posts on this topic, and your post will generate a ton more.
I notice you have a new Airstream still under warranty. This could void your warranty.
Sorry.
P.S. You can put a two-inch receiver on the front of your tow vehicle and carry the bikes there.
This won't void the warranty unless Airstream voids the warranty if you install the bike rack that they recommend and sell themselves. While the rack itself will carry ~25 more lbs than the Fiamma, the weight on the back of the trailer is actually less than it was before the rack. While there is access to the rear hatch, Heavy things that were carried there have been moved to the back of the truck due to the awkwardness of getting them in and out. I haven't weighed on a scale, but the lessened weight is on the order of about 300lbs.

I did not build this in a vacuum, and I am aware of the posts but I am also mindful of the "Facebook" quality of armchair engineers. Every post that I could find on the separation issue had other more significant reasons for separation. Mainly water damage though there appears to be a range of years that is more susceptible than others. The weight may have factored in, but the water damage was undoubtedly the primary cause. In any case, there is less weight on the rear, even when calculating the moment arms and force vectors.

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Originally Posted by bweybright View Post
Ummmhhhh, a 3 rivet member and you are not aware of the issues with putting stuff on the rear end? Not to mention you are not talking light loads (I apologize to your daughter who must weigh a lot since she jumped on the connection to validate your test).....
Or, maybe you are gung ho and want to experiment? Regardless. Good luck on the posts you are going to get on this one.
Please do let us know how things work out. You are a far braver person than me.
Three rivets have nothing to do with it. I am an Engineer and understand how to calculate force vectors, moment arms, and analyze the situation. I realize the comment about my daughter bouncing on it seemed somewhat "red-neck" on its surface. I neglected to mention that she weighs the same as the two bikes, and I used her weight to perform measurements so that there would be some real-world tests and not just calculations.
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Old 10-02-2019, 07:34 AM   #8
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Awesome job! Did you have to have the tubing bent or do it yourself?
This is the reason I didn't save any money on building it. I wanted a tube bender so that was factored into the cost. While there is only about $200 in aluminum, fittings, and hardware, the tube bender and die was ~$500. But now I have the tool with a bunch of other projects in mind.

There are some "lessons learned" in building this prototype though. Bending tubing was fun, but YouTube and books only take you so far. If you look close enough, you'll see a very slight droop of the tracks towards the right side. The actual droop is only 0.75 degrees, but because the track is six feet long, it shows when compared to the horizontal surfaces of the trailer. This droop is because I worked the tray that holds the tracks from one side to the other. I should have worked from the middle out to both sides. I'll probably be replacing that particular piece over the winter.
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Old 10-02-2019, 07:42 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Ephraim View Post
If you look close enough, you'll see a very slight droop of the tracks towards the right side. The actual droop is only 0.75 degrees, but because the track is six feet long, it shows when compared to the horizontal surfaces of the trailer.
Yeah, well, I didn't want to say anything... , just kidding, no way I would have noticed that! I hope you have successfully headed off the armchair engineers, pretty sure this thread was careening towards "you are a threat to everyone around you on the road and will doubtlessly kill innocent children and unicorns with that rack".
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Old 10-02-2019, 07:49 AM   #10
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Now don't get all riled up.
Most of us "Facebook" quality armchair engineers are willing to share direct experience to spare others what we have learned the hard way.
I have owned a Classic 30 (which is really a 31' Airstream) like yours and five other Airstreams, including a 1976 Sovereign 31' with frame separation, which I repaired.
I am pleased to know you have studied the issue on these fora before you built the bike rack. It sounds like you have mitigated the issue of extra weight by putting heavy stuff in the tow vehicle. Since you know about force vectors and lever moments, please notice that anything mounted on the bumper and extending to the rear of the bumper will act on a longer lever moment than an object of the same weight in the rear storage compartment. You may also want to learn more about the frame members in your Airstream. All the best and safe travels. I hope to meet you at an Airstream Rally.
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Old 10-02-2019, 08:03 AM   #11
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Now don't get all riled up.
Most of us "Facebook" quality armchair engineers are willing to share direct experience to spare others what we have learned the hard way.
.... I hope to meet you at an Airstream Rally.
Not to worry

There is lots of wisdom in these forums - Even from some of those who would qualify as nothing but armchair engineers. Discernment is the name of the game.

When I was in college, I studied martial arts, and the instructor kept saying: "Don't throw away something until you understand why it doesn't work for you." I think he attributed that to Bruce Lee, but I could be mistaken. The concept is not to discount knowledge until you understand the "why." That works in all areas of life.

I've even heard nuggets of wisdom on these forums from one person who declared that anything on the back of the trailer, no matter how insignificant, would cause it to flip over and roll. As I said, discernment is the name of the game while gleaning information here.
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Old 10-02-2019, 09:53 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgschwend View Post
If you are using set screws you may want to add self tapping screws to ensure the fittings stay together.

When you do a search here on bike racks you will find a bit of contention. Read those for your enjoyment and knowledge base.
Knowledge base ?
You mean it will scare the bejeezees out of him.
Let me be the first one.
Your bike rack is not an approved Airstream product.
I am a physics professor and my calculations reveal your installation to be very dangerous and could couse the loss of life and limb.
Your beautiful 2019 Classic will break in half and be completely destroyed.
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Old 10-02-2019, 10:13 AM   #13
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Very nice rack and job!. I built one for my Rad Rover which is over 60lb, I went with mounting on the front hitch as I was concerned about the weight on the bumper. I'll be watching to get your feelings about it after your trip.
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Old 10-02-2019, 10:36 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by franklyfrank View Post
Knowledge base ?
You mean it will scare the bejeezees out of him.
Let me be the first one.
Your bike rack is not an approved Airstream product.
I am a physics professor and my calculations reveal your installation to be very dangerous and could couse the loss of life and limb.
Your beautiful 2019 Classic will break in half and be completely destroyed.
You forgot to mention that it will sway horribly and flip over on the freeway causing a multi-car pileup.
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Old 10-02-2019, 11:19 AM   #15
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Ephraim is to be commended for his ingenuity. I researched all options for carrying bikes. The approved Fiama puts the bikes too close together and limits access to the rear compartment on the Classic 30. And there are stories of its frailty. I started by putting the bikes on my diamond plate bed cover but that requires wheel removal and it limited access to the bed--and took about 15 and a step stool minutes to fully tie them down. Finally I put a hitch on the front of the truck and use my bike rack. Once I got used to the bikes in front of your field of vision it is the right choice for me. If Ephraim's bikes fall off the person behind him runs over them; I'll run over them myself.
This thread may become as controversial as those regarding diesel vs gas and what's the best hitch? Sorry about the orientation of the pics. I could not get the software to rotate them.
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Old 10-02-2019, 11:32 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franklyfrank View Post
Your bike rack is not an approved Airstream product.
I am a physics professor and my calculations reveal your installation to be very dangerous and could couse the loss of life and limb.
Your beautiful 2019 Classic will break in half and be completely destroyed.
However all is forgiven if you add a Micro-Start and a Hensley hitch. For bonus points, tow with a F-450.
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Old 10-02-2019, 11:34 AM   #17
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Closely monitor your rivet points on the frame where support arms connect. We have the dealer installed Fiama on our 2016 25 FC RBT and have approximately 25,000 miles on our rig. About 10,000 with two 30lb 29er MB's. While traveling this summer I discovered the rivets on one support arm had disconnected. We were in Kansas City heading for Tampa so we shipped the bikes back to avoid any damage. The dealer reattached and claimed that the instaler probably was using not spreader rivets which gradually came loose.
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Old 10-02-2019, 01:20 PM   #18
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Home made bike rack

Your bike rack looks great. Hopefully you can get many miles of use. I am also frustrated by the lack of bike options on Airstream trailers.
My wife and I rarely go on a trip without two bikes. I also constructed a home made rack, not as engineered as yours. Our trailer is a 2018 sport 16 and the rack is on the lowered dining table. Materials were about $50, scrap board in garage, and some old fashion labor.
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Old 10-02-2019, 01:30 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Sport 16 STL View Post
Your bike rack looks great. Hopefully you can get many miles of use. I am also frustrated by the lack of bike options on Airstream trailers.
My wife and I rarely go on a trip without two bikes. I also constructed a home made rack, not as engineered as yours. Our trailer is a 2018 sport 16 and the rack is on the lowered dining table. Materials were about $50, scrap board in garage, and some old fashion labor.
What do you do with the cushions for the dinette?

The last few trips we took, I brought the bikes in and leaned them across the front couch (Well padded with about 12 moving blankets). It was OK, but having to move them in and out every day was not fun. I do like that strap that you have to hold them in place.
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Old 10-02-2019, 01:34 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by fclewis View Post
Closely monitor your rivet points on the frame where support arms connect. We have the dealer installed Fiama on our 2016 25 FC RBT and have approximately 25,000 miles on our rig. About 10,000 with two 30lb 29er MB's. While traveling this summer I discovered the rivets on one support arm had disconnected. We were in Kansas City heading for Tampa so we shipped the bikes back to avoid any damage. The dealer reattached and claimed that the instaler probably was using not spreader rivets which gradually came loose.
The mounts are put into the frame with self-tapping bolts, not rivets. If those don't hold, I can remove the bumper and put a nut/washer on the back side with very little effort.

The same with the upper struts. The ZipDee awning is held in place with a nut accessed from inside the trailer with a cover plate riveted over the hole in the interior. I deliberately placed the mounts high enough to do the same thing if I need to.
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