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Cosmetic Modification (Interior/Exterior/Lighting) Discussions about cosmetic mods.


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Old 02-27-2013, 08:22 PM   #1
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Custom Tow-Hook Bike Rack

The FR-S / BRZ's one limiting factor to ownership is...that it can't accept a rear mounted bike rack. Well, no more!

When I first picked up my FR-S, I started reading about various designs and ideas, starting with MINI and BMW, both of which have options for a tow hook bike rack. I studied whether these options could be adapted to work for the FR-S, but sizing wise, it was just going to be too complicated.

Next, I used trusty Google and came up with only one hit: a Smart car forum. It seems those little car owners have run into the same issue as us, but a few have found a solution that seems to work.

Not long after though, I started working on some design ideas and taking measurements. It was at this time that I noticed some members here popping up with homemade tow hook mounting options for the FR-S / BRZ. This was reassuring, so I finally worked up the nerve to send mine into production.

Here's the results:







And here it is with the bike removed:





These are roughly 23.75" long each, with roughly 18" of material left to attach a bike rack to. They are made of 303 Stainless Steel and are each milled from 1.125" stock - so no welding or anything that could weaken the bars.

In my case, I designed this for use with the 1UP USA roof rack attachment as it seemed to have the most robust design for mounting across the back of the car. It's completely aluminum with stainless steel hardware. The bike is held solid! But the bars are 1.125" diameter to accept Yakima and Thule products as well. The bars drops to 1" for a 1.125" section of the bar length to provide a ridge to prevent movement of the 1UP rack.

Anyways, while this isn't a for sale thread, I do have 2 sets of bars left that I'll be looking to unload. I had to machine from a 12ft stock, so I produced as many as possible within that. PM me if interested.

More images below...
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:22 PM   #2
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Here's a few more images of how everything mounts up to the car...



Here's the purpose of that little hole at the end. Gives some leverage to get everything snugged down and secure. --v



Where the bars transition from 0.75" to 1.125", this portion sandwiches against the re-bar to provide added support to the bars and help to distribute the weight from the threads. I'll be using nylon washers between the bars and the re-bar to prevent metal on metal wear and minimize vibration that could result. --v



Here's how the 1UP rack mounts in the "channel" created for it on the bars. --v





And finally, here's the clearance of the rack to the car. --v



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Old 02-27-2013, 08:52 PM   #3
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Sweet bike!
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:58 PM   #4
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Hows it hold up on the road? the connection to the "tow" rods looks like pot hole would tear some stuff up. Id be afraid they would bend with time because of our stiffer suspension. Nice design, but im afraid of it.
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:35 PM   #5
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Sweet bike!
Thank you!

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Hows it hold up on the road? the connection to the "tow" rods looks like pot hole would tear some stuff up. Id be afraid they would bend with time because of our stiffer suspension. Nice design, but im afraid of it.
I wouldn't call our suspension "stiff". It's compliant, yes, stiff no. The spring rates are not all that high on this car.

That said, your worries are still valid. That's why I opted for only one bike on this versus two. The material used (303 SS) is extremely strong in terms of SS goes. Not saying there isn't a chance for failure but that's a risk you take with anything. I'm confident that for the 30min to 1hour of driving I will be doing to the trail, this rack will hold up. It's not meant to be installed permanently.

I'll be doing a road test when it's not snowy and slushy out to see how it does. Need to take it to the shop and get a tune-up!
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:39 PM   #6
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That looks really well done. Nice job!
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:53 PM   #7
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Check your state laws to see if you need a license plate relocator bracket so it can be displayed in front of your rack and bike. Obscuring the plate could get you in heat in some states.

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Old 02-27-2013, 09:54 PM   #8
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Check your state laws to see if you need a license plate relocator bracket so it can be displayed in front of your rack and bike. Obscuring the plate could get you in heat in some states.

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I'm in Canada.

But your right, worth looking into for those concerned. I'm not concerned myself though.
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:01 PM   #9
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no Fear of it sliding loose?
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:05 PM   #10
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no Fear of it sliding loose?
Fear of what sliding loose?
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:43 PM   #11
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Fear of what sliding loose?
Where the bracket is butted up against the "tow hook" bars. The recess in the bar does not look deep enough to prevent the assembly from chipping the edge or wearing it off over time.

Like I said, nice design, but it does not look like it can handle the fatigue and stresses of constant use over a long period of time.

Simply, I do not trust this design with my bike on my car. I would like to see a long term test with the rack before I come anywhere close to purchasing something like it.

Seriously, if it was a bit beefier, I would buy it in a heartbeat. A 23" 29er is difficult to cram in the car as it is.
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:53 PM   #12
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Where the bracket is butted up against the "tow hook" bars. The recess in the bar does not look deep enough to prevent the assembly from chipping the edge or wearing it off over time.

Like I said, nice design, but it does not look like it can handle the fatigue and stresses of constant use over a long period of time.

Simply, I do not trust this design with my bike on my car. I would like to see a long term test with the rack before I come anywhere close to purchasing something like it.

Seriously, if it was a bit beefier, I would buy it in a heartbeat. A 23" 29er is difficult to cram in the car as it is.
Fair enough. I decided to go this route because of fear of damage from the Yakima roof rack option which I had prior. First run with it showed that over a short period of time, the chances of the bike ripping the rack and door trim off the car was extremely high. The mount option for this car is terrible.

The recess is small, yes, but it's tight against it. I can't show you through words, but it is extremely sturdy. I'm extremely confident in the strength of it and while others may doubt it, that wasn't the point. It was to transport my bike and my bike alone. Since it accomplishes that, I'm happy. If anyone else wants to give it a try, I have 2 extra. If not, let your creativity fly and see what you come up with.

But aside from tow hook mounting, suction cups to the car, and a roof rack that will inevitably damage something in the long run, there aren't a lot of options out there. Either way, I hope you find a solution that works for you.
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:15 AM   #13
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I currently don't own a bike, but i miss riding one from time to time. I have thought about buying a foldable bike that i could put in the car with the back seats down though.
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:25 AM   #14
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I always wondered if you'd be able to do something like this with a set of wheels instead of a bike.

Also that's a sweet parking spot. You don't have to worry about someone sideswiping your car or opening their door into it.
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