Matt Hawkins from Cleveland, OH, was looking to make an accessible and more secure solution to haul his fat tire e-bikes in his Ford Maverick. Surprisingly, he couldn't find a bike rack that you didn't have to connect to the trailer hitch or one that didn't require the removal of the front wheels.
Matt started working on plans to make a metal rack that would bolt to existing tie-down locations, but it would be far too heavy, need too many specialized tools to make, and would be a pain to remove when he needed to haul something else. He had seen some lightweight PVC bike racks others had built but needed his to be more durable, as e-bikes come in at nearly 75 lb. each and have much wider tires than any existing in-bed PVC pipe bike racks he could find.
Matt saw the specs on FORMUFIT PVC pipe and fittings; being 5x more robust than plumbing-grade PVC, as well as being UV and impact-resistant, it was a no-brainer. And to Matt's surprise, FORMUFIT PVC was available in bright colors, so he wouldn't have to paint his project when completed.
Rather than using the FORMUFIT SketchUp components, Matt used the FORMUFIT specifications sheets and imported the pipe and fitting data into Fusion 360, a CAD program. Then, building his project digitally, he could measure and ensure that everything would fit perfectly in the bed of his Maverick and that the rack would support up to two bikes with the requisite 4" x 28.75" tires or be able to mount a single bicycle in the center.
For general stability in the truck bed, Matt opted to use 1" Size PVC as his base size. He used a combination of 1" Internal Dome Caps and 1" External End Caps to fit everything snugly into the back of the truck bed. As he describes it:
"The open ends of the PVC pipe that touch the walls of the beds use internal dome caps and external caps. Since the inner dome caps go inside the tube, I used this for the horizontal ends near the cab. The flat back section uses external-style end caps that provide more surface area to hold it into place."
Regarding ordering the parts needed, Matt selected the following items for his project, which was primarily 1" PVC pipe and base fittings:
"I ordered three two-packs of 1" Size PVC pipe @ 60", 22 standard tees, two 90-degree elbows, two internal dome caps, and two external end caps, which cost about $150.00 with free shipping. It showed up really fast! If you make no cutting mistakes (I made a couple), you should have one 60" piece left."
Assembly was straightforward. After he cut his pipe to size, he applied clear PVC glue to the tubes, and used a rubber mallet to drive the pipe into the correct insertion depth. He completed the three sections that held the tire first, then made the connections between those sections next. Matt left the ends that touched the bed last so it would have an exact fit and could adjust for spacing. Finally, he finished it with the internal and external caps and used velcro to secure it to the factory tie-downs in the front of the bed.
Matt sums up the project and the end result with the following:
"It works great! It doesn't weigh that much and has just enough flex to accept the front tires firmly until I strap the bikes down. I never imagined it would work so well or look so good. So let's see what you can make with FORMUFIT!"