How to Install Rear Bike Racks

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You can save a decent amount of money by installing your rear bike rack yourself. Install rear bike racks with help from the co-owner of Berkshire Bike and Board in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: BMX & Mountain Bikes
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Video Transcript

Hello, my name is Steffen Root, here at Berkshire Bike and Board in Great Barrington, Massachusetts and today I'm going to show you how to put on a rear rack for your car. First this we need to do is make sure that the rack will fit the automobile. We're dealing with a 2011 Subaru Outback Wagon. We have checks all the way across the board so we know it works with this vehicle. This particular bike rack carries two bikes. It's made by Thule. It's pretty simple. The arms fold down when you're not using it which is nice so you're not extending the back of your car very much. It is manufactured out of steel tubing with nice rubber cradles to protect the bike and to separate them individually so they don't run into each other while traveling. Once we've pulled the rack out of the box and assembled it, which is pretty straightforward and easy following the step by step instructions that are provided, we need to clean the vehicle wherever the rack is going to make contact. 'Cause wherever there is dirt or dust we can actually have scratching so we want to clean the vehicle wherever there's going to be contact of the rack to the vehicle. So clean the top where the straps are going to be. Clean the glass window. Clean the bumper where it's going to make contact. First thing we do is we place the bottom pads on the bumper and just set the rack up against the car. Then we take the top straps, so they're not twisted. Extend the cord. Pop it into the top of the car. Do the same with the second strap and add tension to the straps so the bottom strap is just above the bumper. So, when we put pressure down on it we're going to get close to hitting the bottom bumper. Now that we have the bike rack on the car, our top straps are supporting the rack, we need to put the bottom and side straps. Depending on the rack that you have, you may only have bottom straps so you don't need to put the side straps. But our rack has bottom and side straps. First, we're going to install the side strap. First we need to find a safe place that's mounted on metal and not glass or plastic. So that is a good place for us. The next we do is we take our bottom strap and depending on what kind of vehicle you have, we can either attach it to the trunk or to the bottom of the car. In this particular case we have plenty of room so we're going to attach it right to the bottom of the trunk. We do need to open the tailgate a little bit. So I open the tailgate. Hook it on. Let the tailgate just rest closed, then add tension to the strap. You repeat the same procedure on the other side of the car, hooking in the side and the bottom straps. One note, is to make sure that all the straps are tight and secure even after all of the bikes are loaded because the straps will become a little slack once there is the weight of the bicycle. And that is how you install a bike rack on the back of a car. My name is Steffen Root, co-owner of Berkshire Bike and Board in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.


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