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September 2002

Product Review

Motorcycle-Carriers.net's
Add-A-Bike
"
Quite Possibly The Slickest Way Yet
To Carry A Dirt Bike"

by

 Rick " Super Hunky " Sieman

 


I have a bunch of dirt bikes in my garage and a big old Ford ton truck to transport them with. The trouble is that with the big 33-inch tires and my short busted up old legs, loading up a bike in the back of the truck is a real chore. If there's no one there to help me, then I have to back it up to the slanted driveway just right, get a milk crate situated just so and place the loading ramp exactly right.


Click on pictures for larger image. Click larger image for an even larger image.



The carrier comes in a huge box with the parts well wrapped in bubble wrap. Welds and paint are first class.

Assembly is simple, but the instructions are minimal with no illustrations. First step is to bolt the upright section to the receiver base plate. Two bolts do the job nicely.

Next the U-channel section is bolted to the base plate. Four half-inch bolts with quality lock nuts are used.

The entire assembly can now be easily slid into your 2-inch receiver.

Then, if everything goes right, I'll get a good run at the truck with the bike, the ramp won't slip off the tail gate, the crate won't shoot out into the street and the bike will get up in the ramp without me splitting my pants.

If it doesn't go right, I'll end up wedged under the truck, with my lips wrapped around a leaf spring and the bike stuck under the rear end differential. Not a pretty picture.

And consider this: the big old truck rides like well a big old truck. Not exactly fun for a long trip.

So when I want to take the bike a few hundred miles or so to a race, I get my Dodge Caravan and remove all the seats to make room for it. Then, to get the bike to fit inside, I have to slide the fork tubes up in the triple clamps as far as they can go, then let the air out of the front tire to get it to squat down a bit more in the front. I also have to rotate the bars down and loosen the levers.

Now comes the fun part: getting the bike inside the van without ripping the headliner or poking a hole in a side window. Some kinda fun.

Also, you have to consider that every bike I've ever seen will leak gas from somewhere when it's jiggled around a lot. This means you're going to be inhaling some high-octane fumes during your trip to the track.

All this, in the most roundabout way possible, brings us to this carrier. When we received the product release on it, I was perilously close to firing up my MIG welder and fabricating something - anything - that would carry the bike on the back of the van. But I wasn't quite sure how to start and what would work.


A loading ramp comes with this carrier and all it takes is a short run to get the bike up.

Once the bike is level on the U-channel, move it around until the footpeg contacts the upright.

This prevents the bike from moving forward.

Slide the curved bar over the upright, press down on the saddle to compress the suspension and lock the bar into place with the pin.

That's it! Take it away.

Fortunately, this carrier prevented me from creating something really weird, heavy and ugly.

Designed by Tripp Higginbotham, it's a compact unit weighing only 35 pounds. The welds all look good, bolts are high quality stuff and the ramp (which is the heart of the carrier) is rigid and strongly made.

Assembly was straightforward, but the instructions that come with this carrier are weak and a less than stellar mechanic might get confused. A simple line drawing of the assembled unit would help.

Note: On-line instructions will be available very soon !
Clicking the pictures to the right will give you excellent photos to assembly the carrier in the interim.

The concept behind this carrier is unique, yet simple: First of all the bike loads in less than 30 seconds or less and needs no tie downs what so ever by using only the bike's suspension system for securing the bike to the carrier. The carrier itself slides into a universal class 3, 2-inch receiver hitch attached to the vehicle.

As the makers claim: "The vehicle you drive is the only limitation for weight, as the carrier will handle any off road bike out there with plenty to spare. The biggest off road bike I know of is the big Honda 650 4 stroke at about 350 lbs. You can spin doughnuts, run it through whoop de doos, slam on the brakes, or floor the acceleration. The bike is NOT coming off that carrier. The bike cannot move forward on the carrier because the foot peg is in contact with the Vertical Pressure Arm. It cannot move backward, up and down, or side to side, because the Vertical Pressure Arm has the bike pinned in against its own suspension."

We followed the instructions loading our KDX 200 on the carrier: In loading the bike, start about 10 feet out, walk the bike briskly (not run), the momentum of the bike will carry it gently up onto the U-channel rack. Lower the Vertical Pressure Arm, compress the suspension with your arm, pin the Vertical Pressure in place (holding the bike against its own suspension), stow the ramp in the channel between the two tires and go.

As advertised, the bike stayed on the rack as we drove around some local bumpy dirt roads. Still, when the van rocked from side to side on one very bumpy road, I could see some flex and the bike would rock a bit.

I figured this could be eliminated by using some simple bike tie-downs, so I ran one around each wheel and the rack, then hooked the other end to the van. Just to play it safe, I hooked a third tie down to the foot peg that was resting against the upright section.


We added a pair of tie-downs to our rig and it reduced the wiggling on the carrier to almost nothing. A third tie-down was added to the peg where it touched the upright, just because we're paranoid.

My next trip down that bumpy road was a lot better, with very little rocking or twisting evident. At that point, I felt confident enough to say I would take the bike on a long trip without any worry.

What else? Well, I'm going to slip a section of foam tubing over the Pressure Arm, just to make it easier on the saddle cover.

Other than that, this motorcycle carrier is exactly what many people are looking for. Highly recommended. This baby will get some serious use.

Information:

  • Accessories. There is a two tail light assembly (12-volt) available as an option that includes taillights, brake lights and directional signals wired in a pigtail with universal connector.
  • This carrier includes a ramp that stows in the channel between the bike's tires, an acrylic patch on the Vertical Pressure Arm to protect against the foot peg contact, a 5/8" bolt receiver pin assembly that eliminates any loose play in the receiver/stinger couple and pre drilled holes in the channel for fast license plate transfer if desired.
  • Retail Price: Retail at $349.00, competitive with other class 3 hitch carriers out there now. This price includes shipping & handling anywhere in the contiguous 48 states.

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mmmmm

 

 

 

 


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