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Discussion Starter #1
I realize this question is a little subjective, but I'm looking for feedback from folks who use and abuse their rear racks regularly.

This summer when I go to Maine, I'm taking the TW as my primary go-to vehicle. But instead of towing it, the bike will be secured to the deck on the back of my old bus turned RV. Last time I used the bus to go coast-to-coast and carried a 220cc scooter. The scooter was literally craned onto the deck by strapping the handlebars and back rack (which bolted directly into the frame).

BusCrane.jpg

Looking at the TW rear fender, I can't really see a way to do the same without having a pretty strong tail rack. The little one I have on there now just bolts onto the subframe and that doesn't seem strong enough.
Obviously, there is the Cycle Rack - you all have great things to say about it. But are there other tough racks that are bolted directly to the frame and would allow me to lift the bike without fear of breaking a frame weld?

Your advice, as always, is appreciated!
 

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35.JPG I have a cycle rack on my tdub. when installing it, I welded a piece of 1" flat bar under the seat, from side frame rail to side frame rail. I also added 1" flat bar from the back of the rack to where the signal lights bolted in. now the back of the bike is strong, but even with these changes, I wouldn't use the rack for an attaching point for a crane lift. I like Rocky's idea better, then you are grabbing on to 34.JPG something that was designed to carry weight
 

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Discussion Starter #5
My vote would be for the CycleRack.....probably the strongest of all, and also carries the most stuff. You could also rig up a bridle of heavy nylon webbing that would go down and around the swing arm on both sides....something like a towing strap but shorter.
:blink: <face-palm> Doh! What a ditz I feel like right now. Of course!!! :stupid: I could just strap onto the passenger peg brackets. :tongue3:
That's what I get for becoming fixated on one-way, linear thinking.

Thanks Rocky! You just saved me some money better spent on actual vacation :)
 

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I pick up my Suzuki S50 as well as the TW200 with a rope or sling through the wheels. It works fine and you can easily rig up a small spreader bar out of a 2X4 to keep the ropes or straps away from the fenders if you are worried about them. Or run the lines down around the bottom of the bike. You don't need a rack to pick it up.
 

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.... I could just strap onto the passenger peg brackets. :tongue3:
Even better, then the strap would not contact the seat or plastic. Or maybe it would....maybe something like this would prevent that:

0000741_430-heavy-rescue-spreader-bar.png
Easy to mimic with a piece of wood. I'm assuming you will be removing or de-tensioning the straps when tying down the bike to the rack.

Cool bus!!! :D
 

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The weakest part of the CR rack is the flat strap under the seat that the rack attaches to and not the rack itself. Before I bought my MC lift jack I always used the CR with a block and tackle attached to a beam in my garage and attached directly to the CR just in front of the side welded J shaped tubes. Keep in mind the two bolts are just standard 6 MM bolts and that cross brace on the frame is just a shaped, thin strap with relatively poor welds to begin with that often break. Probably fine for any down weight we put on our racks but not so good to use the rack as a hoist point unless you beef it up from below. My buddy Bucknutz is strong as an Ox and has lifted the back of my bike many times from the back of the CR.

GaryL
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Even better, then the strap would not contact the seat or plastic. Or maybe it would....maybe something like this would prevent that:

View attachment 27735
Easy to mimic with a piece of wood. I'm assuming you will be removing or de-tensioning the straps when tying down the bike to the rack.

Cool bus!!! :D
Rocky, that sling is similar to what I used on the handlebars of the scooter, with a final single point on the rear rack.
Basically, I winched the scooter up into place, chocked the front wheel, strapped down the handlebars using regular ratchets, wrapped the rear wheel to keep it from bouncing, then removed the lift straps, secured the crane, and moved on to the next city. It took a while, and could be challenging when the campground parking space wasn't on level ground, but ultimately, it was well worth the effort. I got to ride a lot of pretty country (Black Hills, Devil's Tower, Salt Lake City area, Lake Tahoe, the outskirts of San Diego, then up and down the Dragon's Tail in Maggie Valley a couple dozen times).

As soon as my refund check comes in, I start the bus prep, part of which includes checking out the crane. I will have to replace the wire (original bare wires is rusted into a nasty mess) and will do a couple of trial lift and fits to make sure the TW works as well as the scooter did. The trip is still almost six months out, but time flies and there's lots to do.

Thanks for all your advice, gang! I really appreciate the excellent feedback. :)
 

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It is hard to believe the denial of cycle rack owners. The only rack I've ever heard of breaking on the forum is the cycle rack brand rack. And not just once, but several times. Over and over again. Not because of crashes either, just to carry a load and ride, the things break.

Not only are they oversized and ugly, they break at the drop of a hat. I'd advise to stay clear of the cycle rack.
 

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It is hard to believe the denial of cycle rack owners. The only rack I've ever heard of breaking on the forum is the cycle rack brand rack. And not just once, but several times. Over and over again. Not because of crashes either, just to carry a load and ride, the things break.

Not only are they oversized and ugly, they break at the drop of a hat. I'd advise to stay clear of the cycle rack.
How many Cycleracks have you owned and used Ski Pro?

I have purchased 7 of them and between me and my local buddies here there are over a dozen CRs in use right now and never once have any of them ever broke. Bucknutz has carried a few 150 pound deer out on his and will attest to their strength and durability, there are pictures here with his deer strapped on. I do know that a while back CR had an issue with a misaligned jig but true to their nature CR replaced any that were defective and they do come with a lifetime guarantee.

Is this just a basic trashing of cycleracks or do you have specific info to back up your claims which I believe to be completely false?

GaryL
 

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I may also suggest rhe sample size. Seems CR are perhaps 10 to 1 vs other racks. And as Gary suggested CR may also be used a bit more aggressively. I do agree they are not the prettiest hit then again the TW may be defined as form over function
 

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i've seen three broken CR in our norcal group, mine being one of them.

that said, i think that they work really well and add to the versatility of my tdub. joemama welded and modded mine up in 30 min and now i don't see any other problems occurring. should it happen? probably not, but i still think it's a great design overall.
 

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How many Cycleracks have you owned and used Ski Pro?

I have purchased 7 of them and between me and my local buddies here there are over a dozen CRs in use right now and never once have any of them ever broke. Bucknutz has carried a few 150 pound deer out on his and will attest to their strength and durability, there are pictures here with his deer strapped on. I do know that a while back CR had an issue with a misaligned jig but true to their nature CR replaced any that were defective and they do come with a lifetime guarantee.

Is this just a basic trashing of cycleracks or do you have specific info to back up your claims which I believe to be completely false?

GaryL
Moab — page 227 — post 2261 - (I believe Fred makes a habit of this, and we all know how gently he rides his TW)

As for the rest — “utilitarian” design at best — but if you need something to carry 150 pound Deer around the place, then the Cyclerack is the only contender.

As for myself, I can only speak for the Manrack — smaller (but perfectly formed), and just as capable of lifting the TW up by its arse.

Of course, there are sacrifices that have to be considered when using a Manrack — you can’t get your feet trapped under it when you go over for instance, nor snag small trees at the side of the trail as you go past for use as fire wood later …….

Then there’s always that “niggling little comment” from other people who see your bike with a Cyclerack on it and say - “Nice bike, shame about the rack” — as you quickly explain that you regularly haul dead Deer around the streets trying to justify it.

A bit like the Clarke tank really — “Butt ugly” — yet useful ……

So whilst Skipro’s post does seem to be a bit “negative”, it’s not entirely without merit — and his comment that - “The only rack I've ever heard of breaking on the forum is the cycle rack brand rack” — would seem to be perfectly true.

Two entirely different racks of course, each built for two entirely different purposes — but the seat bolt attachment on the Cyclerack does seem to be a weak point. Stick a 150 lb Deer on it — no problem. Load for a day’s ride Fred style, and the problems “can” start.

Then there’s the issue of being rear ended by a Transit van — absolutely useless — the rack was the only thing that survived ……. :p
 

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Mine has never broken, despite being used all the time as attach points for my rear tiedowns, and many miles in rough terrain with 100 lbs or so on it. 12,000 miles so far. I have little doubt that it could be used as a attach point for lifting the rear in Luvnot's case (which is at most a minute or two long). However, I don't bash my bike hard in rough terrain, mostly because my back can't take it. :(
 

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I had my Cyclerack break BUT it was after 5k miles with a heavy bag and often 2 gal kolpin can on the back. I called CR and told them of the break and they sent me a new one (and even covered the shipping). I've now reinforced the rack down to the rear subframe with some long bolts since it appears that the slight but constant flex was the reason for the break. So far, so good. I'm quite sure that had I not had all the weight of the gas and bag it would not have broken. BUT they have amazing customer service... who gives a replacement for free? They do!
Cycleracksbreak2.JPG cyclerackonmuley.jpg
 

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IMG_0350.JPG IMG_0352.JPG IMG_0353.JPG IMG_0354.JPG IMG_0355.JPG

Count me in as a member of the broken Cycleracks club. Mine actually broke on what turned out to be my very last ride on my (now sold) TW. It wasn't even a particularly rough run, must have just been the straw that broke the camel's back. I only had a tail pack on with a few tools, a full Nalgene bottle, and a few odds and ends. I was riding down some washboard when the tail pack started smacking me in the back, I thought my straps had come loose but it was actually the weld on the rack.

As you can see from the pics, the center of the weld broke some time ago and rusted, and then the ends broke and the rack failed.

That said though, the rack did hold solid through a few thousand miles of being loaded with 50-70 Lbs of camping gear while riding over rough terrain, being used as a handle to lift the rear end of the bike, being used as a crash bar in a series of end-over-end backflips down a mountain, and all kinds of other abuse over almost 10,000 miles.

They didn't exactly replace mine for free, I had to pay the shipping on my replacement and pay to ship my broken rack back to them. Still, I can't really complain. This rack was a real trooper through years of hard use and at the end of the day we all have our limits. It broke and they sent me another one, no questions asked.
 

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Well, I've ridden with Fred, his now broken. I've ridden with Joeband and his broke while we were on the trail. A road actually. Add in the 2 others joeband knows of personally, DonBento who just posted here as well as JS5owner and that makes 6 without even having to do a search past this thread.

Not only do they break, there have been several posts where new buyers have complained that the rack was poorly aligned and they had to use brute strength to get it to even fit. Preloading tension onto the TW200 mild steel frame isn't my idea of a quality product.

How many have I owned? None. Wanna know why? Because I did my research on here, found that several have broken, seen an actual break in the field, read numerous posts of how poorly they are shaped to bolt up without a lot of drama and determined that they are bad as-is and need welding skills to make them do what they were claimed to do. For the bloated price they charge, these things should be everything their manufacturer claims.

These racks are not breaking because they are ridden and used hard. They are breaking on relatively easy rides and unremarkable loads. They have a fatal design flaw as well as poor quality control. There is plenty of documentation right here on the forums to determine if I'm just trashing these racks or not. You can search and you can read. Like I said, it's hard to believe the denial of cycle rack owners. Stating that my comments are completely false; that is denial. It just is.

I'm sorry if anyone feels offended because of my previous or current post. It was not my intention to incite anyone to attack me personally with challenges of how many I've owned or if I were just basically trashing without merit.
 

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Some of you here fail to see the whole picture where rear racks are concerned. Clearly, there are probably only 5 or 6 decent rear racks available for the TW. Most are just basic and light weight carry platforms that rely upon the capacity of the rear sub frame. Count those right out for any sort of heavy duty capability. Then of course we have the Cycle rack, Happy trails, Man Racks and possibly a few others I am unaware of plus some well made home made racks. By and far the Cycle rack is the most popular here hands down. That likely equates to many more CRs on our TWs than any other brands. Just go by the numbers and if there are 20 CRs for every one Happy Trails or Man Rack then it stands to reason there will be more reported defects. I am pretty sure if we did a poll right here we would find there are dozens upon dozens more Cycle racks than any other brand within our group of those who need a heavy duty carry all rack. Keep in mind also that no one ever complains when they have praise for a product but they sure do get rather vocal when they have an issue.

As I have stated, I have purchased 7 cycle racks and have never had an issue with breakage. I do admit that I do not load them down to the max as many here do. I have seen many other CRs on local TWs and again none broken so far but we did have one that was poorly aligned and was replaced without question. The two TWs that I sold to Turbo rob and his GF Kath left NY fully loaded and went across this country on an epic trip of well over 10,000 miles in just a few months and to the best of my knowledge the CRs held up perfectly. Apparently there are others here who have had issues but I will bet that any of the other racks available are no more bullet proof than the most popular CR. What I do know for 100% certain is if your CR does break it takes a simple phone call to Don and Marc and a new one will be on the way in very short order.

Buy what ever rack suits your needs but be aware that any rack can break and any rack can be subject to a manufacturing defect or poor weld and the support after the sale is what will count in the long run. Our TWs are a real Pack Mule type of MC but since Yamaha never designed a rear rack for heavy packing we must rely upon after market racks for our adventures. I have been very satisfied with the CR brand. Yes it is rather large and obtrusive but they fit my needs. If you are happy with your Happy Trails or Man Rack then go enjoy yourself. There are a couple guys here who make some seriously heavy duty rear racks as well and you are free to search them out and buy what ever you like. Just being a rear rack on the back of a hard driven TW is not a particularly good place to be so if you are subject to loading the rack down and then pounding the crap out of your TW and bottoming out the rear on rough trails you might want to consider the amount of force the rack is subjected to and buy accordingly.

So, why not just answer the original question? What is the absolute strongest rear rack readily available for the TW? Those who need such a rack surely want to know and that rack surely should be the number one selling rack. All of that Big and Ugly crap goes right out the window when it comes time to load up and take off with a couple hundred pounds strapped on.

GaryL

GaryL
 

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I think that the “big and ugly” bit is ultimately the Cycleracks downfall design wise — the rear platform of the rack is simply too wide to take the stress, and as you say, it doesn’t take much of a defect to make any metal fail.

Compare the CR to the Manrack, and as the Manrack’s designed to be neat and compact, it’s much less likely to be over loaded or have inherent stress points.

If you “visualise” where the stress is likely to occur on a CR, you can (hopefully) see that the rear platform is going to “twist out” — either putting the strain on the sub-frame mounts, or onto the part where that rear platform joins to rear peg struts. It’s not the weight of the rear load that causes this, it’s the off-balance to the side loads that’s the problem.

That, in combination with poor quality control (and numbers sold) is why they keep getting flagged up as “weak”.

CR in my opinion, has “shot itself in the foot” by making the rack that wide without further strengthening the component parts. Even with the tubes going down to the rear pegs, those extensions do nothing but add strength vertically, while the length of those tubes makes the rack just as vulnerable to side play and twist.

The CR design has both its strengths, and its weaknesses — the weakness being that they can fail.

The Manrack has its strengths and its weaknesses — in both cases it’s the size of the thing — but they’ll never let you down like a CR. What you see is what you get with a Manrack — no “sudden surprises” - (and they fit, right out of the box).

It took a chunk out of my wallet to get a Manrack posted to me over here, (which HM Customs took great pleasure in adding to), but at least I knew what I was getting into. When you buy a CR, you are taking a gamble — and not just over the fitting.

“Happy Trails” — not such a big chunk of the market — (sounds like a kids holiday park) — but if TWilight and Borneo can’t break one, then they sound good to me.

So — in answer to the OP — Happy Trails if you carry large loads — Manrack for smaller width loads — both brands are tried, tested — and trusted — (and pass with flying colours) ……..
 
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