Can it be done?: Swing-out Tire Carrier and Carry 4 Bikes


I have also been kicking around the idea of a building a new bumper/tire carrier. We seem to have the same thought process with the bike rack on the swing out, but I'm worried about the bounce of a couple downhill bikes and rack weight. I think over time it would put some substantial fatigue on certain welds and the hinge. I mainly only use a rack I made to mount 2 Yakima trays, but I do have a home made 4 bike rack similar to a north shore. For long trips I would just use the towing receiver for the rack, but short trips it would be real convenient on the hinge to access gear at the trailhead.

Picture with both options I'd want to use (can't resist)


Bad Mofracki
You would need a seriously reinforced gate and hinge, and probably a much more secure latch to handle that load. It would need to be a custom design because I don't think anything out there is designed to handle that much weight. Bouncing around on roads would quickly stress metal and welds unless they were designed with that load capacity in mind. A stand of some sort would probably also need to be added to gate, since putting that much weight that far off of a single hinge will very quickly stress, bend, and break the metal/welds.


Hooray bikes!
My only word of caution to any who consider this, is that while your tire carriers are built to be burly, they're built to support the weight when it is "balanced" more on top of the hinge access, but much like inch-pounds vs. foot-pounds, the same principle applies to your tire carrier and potential bike rack.

AHeppner - while true, your actual load may be 250lb approx., the force will be much greater. I think centering the receiver in relation to the bumper (or, likely the center between hinge and latch). As long as both are equally as burly, it ought be fine.

FWIW, check out MWE Racks first, a hitch-based device like that is much better suited for this setup, especially if you're wanting to haul up to 4 bikes.

Either way, with something like this, wiggle and play is your enemy in a setup like this (or any tire carrier, really). And the load, while being about 250lb, also equates to a very substantial amount of force at the hinge; so even though it's a 1" or larger bolt/chunk of steel, thousands of repeated micro bounces and stressors build up over time and lead to failure. So just making sure that those are managed as best possible is key. One thing to keep in mind, is look at the position where your spindle would be located, vs. where your hitch bolts to your frame, the spindle will likely be 8-12" ouside of the frame, where as the hitch is centered between the two, very solid, mounting locations--that adds to the stability we see from a hitch vs. a tire carrier.



character zero-wish I had known before-a warden was my first choice, but got a killer deal on the kona. I'm back on smaller wheels from a 29er, and it is great!

Dances with wolves-thanks, I'm loving this kona, I've been making PR's on EVERY ride

I wanted to add the jerry can mount to mine as well, but decided not to because of the weight issue. I've seen multiple other swings with 35" spares and jerry cans/high lifts/tools-so I figured a 265/75 spare/high lift and my rack would be fine. It's very nice to take your bike out camping and when you're around town and not have to remove it from the rack every time to access the bed.

I used the heavy duty spindle from comp4x4

This thing is pretty beefy and should hold up.

I'd like to replace my Thule with a north shore rack, the thule sticks out there!

character zero

character zero-wish I had known before-a warden was my first choice, but got a killer deal on the kona. I'm back on smaller wheels from a 29er, and it is great!

Dances with wolves-thanks, I'm loving this kona, I've been making PR's on EVERY ride

I'd like to replace my Thule with a north shore rack, the thule sticks out there!
The kona is nice for sure...nice to see that you are enjoying it and it is paying off in speed! Just keep me in mind in case you want a knolly in the future, I'll PM you my email address.

The NSR is nice, but I can see some benefit to the wheel-cradle setup that I've seen some other mfg use for a similar style vertical rack...I do get some fork arch wear from the NSR. Older forks with thinner crows seemed to suffer more (old Pike vs. Lyrik).


New member
I realize this thread is old, but I ended up here while searching for info about making a swinging bike rack and it helped me with my final design. I ended up using the heavy duty spindle kit from Comp 4x4 and built a custom bumper that holds a 6-bike Recon Rack. Used a pop-pin to keep it in place when it's open. Swings super smooth, even with 6 bikes on it, and doesn't sway while driving. Super pleased!

Anyway, I figured I should pay it forward and include links to a couple videos I did about my rack in case it helps someone else. Disclaimer: these videos are NOT how-tos, but more about issues I ran into and how I fixed them.

Update: Turns out I can't post links (maybe too new of a user). If anyone is interested, the videos are under the 'van build' playlist on my YouTube channel (the base URL then "/sydandmacky").

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Hey that’s my cruiser up in the first post. I bolted up a hitch that ran through my cross member and all the way up to the next one where it was then bolted up again. After about 50k miles or so, that fatigued the oem cross member so much I had to cut out what remained of it. 4/6 welds cracked, and the nuts and washers started extruding themselves from the backside of the cross member.

No idea if the OP ever got anywhere, but putting that weight on a swing out is not good. Even if it were a double shear set up, I don’t think anything would be really up to that task unless it were extremely overbuilt and that’s a maybe.


Cut out and replaced with 2x4x1/4”

All done

I also built a bike rack using a couple old spare roof trays that would bolt up to my cooler basket swing out. It works great, but is kind of bouncy. I wouldn’t take it on any rough trails and long distance trips like I would with my northshore. The northshore folding down allowing the two swing outs to open isn’t that big of a hassle for the security and solidness it offers instead while not sticking out any further than this two bike rack




OK, so I have a tiny SUV that only fits four people anyway. I have a hitch-mounted rack in case I wanted to use it, but I haven't mountain biked for years. So, I'm asking this question out of pure curiosity instead of anything else.

But that pic at the top of the page: who's carrying 5 bikes like that, and doesn't realize that there will be massive stress involved due to the weights involved? I can't imagine that you could do any amount of serious off-roading while carrying the bikes, or does everyone already realize that?

Further, it's my rough knowledge of physics that suggests that driving around, highway or no, with those bouncing on either end of your rig, would do bad things for multiple parts of your vehicle. Yes?


Renaissance Redneck
I lived in Whistler for 25 years, and still work there. I’ve seen pretty much every combo imaginable for carrying bikes on the highway and there is one constant that nobody seems to figure out... What do you expect is going to happen when you hang 4 bikes off the back of your rig and completely obscure your turn signals and brake lights? Yup, that’s right. You get slack jawed morons trying to figure out where to turn off the busy highway constantly almost stopping, then realizing that they haven’t hit the bike park yet and pulling back into the flow of traffic with no visible lights. This has led to MANY an expensive bike meeting it’s maker early when some poor guy rear-ends the moron, crushing all the bikes on his rack. The crappy part is, you lose your bikes, your trip is wrecked, and you get a ticket for having obscured lights, or, the guy behind gets a ticket for rear-ending you (depending on how bright the cop is).

Sorry for the long winded rant, but I just wanted to point out something that should be obvious, but apparently isn’t. If you build/buy a big rack, at least consider adding a set of stop/turn lights to it that plug into your trailer light socket.


New member
I'm looking at doing something similar on my van and I spoke to Brandon at Coastal Offroad and he showed me this setup. Which pretty much checks all the boxes, - the 1up racks are about 50lbs. CoastalOffroad has a dual swing setup which would allow you carry the fuel on a separate swing out, worth checking out!



Been thinking more about bumper, swingout, and carrying bikes lately since im getting back into biking. Does anyone have a dual swingout with one side carrying the spare tire and the other side carrying 2 bikes vertically? Would that be too much weight? Id figured depending on your tire size it would be roughly the same weight as 2 bikes right? bout 70lbs.