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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Inspired by other threads I'm starting my crossbar setup for the tonneau cover installation. First of all I have some specific goals in mind with mine. One I want the crossbars to be almost invisible when not in use. Two I want flexibility to position them based on need. Three be able to carry bicycles without spending hundreds of dollars or using the hitch. I have a very specific use case that requires me to carry the bicycle while towing the trailer. With all of these things in mind here are the parts I have on order and then my plan.

Crossbars (Cheap, black, and the right width)

Spacers that I think will look good and come in different sizes so I can raise the bars just enough to clear the handle.

Threaded knobs that will quickly allow repositioning or removal of the crossbars.

Cheap and very small footprint solution for the bicycle on the crossbars

Now my idea is to cut the crossbars so they fit in between the buttresses at the front of the bed. Hopefully the overall width of both bars isn't any wider than the roll top portion of the tonneau cover. If all goes as planned you can unthread the knobs and slide the crossbars all the way forward, hiding them when not in use. Carriage bolts will be used to go from the underside of the T-Rail up through the spacers, through the crossbars and tightened down via the threaded knobs. Allowing for a quick tool-less way of moving the crossbars around. Then the bike rack solution getting mounted to the crossbars so without any bulk the bicycle can go directly on top of the crossbars with the front wheel removed. I'll post pictures after the parts start arriving and I have a chance to start making it.

Thanks to others for posting pictures of similar setups like the 2x4 solution. These inspired me to find a way to do all of this for hopefully under $100.
 

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Definitely let us know how it turns out! The 2x4 solution I posted has worked out AWESOME for what I need, and I've got some improvements in mind, too.

One challenge is that the trim above the bed (between the bed and the roof) is angled inward -- so it prevents putting long bolts in the area above the tonneau cover toward the window in the rail. I'll be eager to see your setup for sure!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Definitely let us know how it turns out! The 2x4 solution I posted has worked out AWESOME for what I need, and I've got some improvements in mind, too.

One challenge is that the trim above the bed (between the bed and the roof) is angled inward -- so it prevents putting long bolts in the area above the tonneau cover toward the window in the rail. I'll be eager to see your setup for sure!
That's good to know. I'm hoping that with any luck if I get carriage bolts the exact length needed that maybe they'll fit. If not that's ok because assuming the width can be managed I'd be ok sliding them to the front until needed. Your 2x4 solution is what simplified everything for me with the carriage bolts coming up and through. I actually had purchased and returned the crossbars listed above. Then when I saw your post it made me realize that this was an easier way to simply attach them to the T-Rail.
 

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Perhaps consider something like this instead of carriage bolts. But these are metric M6. Not sure on fitment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Perhaps consider something like this instead of carriage bolts. But these are metric M6. Not sure on fitment.
The reason I don't want to do something like that is because then you have to worry about the length of the bolt threading down into it. With the bolt coming up and through you can be long and not worry about it or cut off excess. Threading down in and through something like this would cause it to hit the bottom of the T-Rail. Just my personal preference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Definitely let us know how it turns out! The 2x4 solution I posted has worked out AWESOME for what I need, and I've got some improvements in mind, too.

One challenge is that the trim above the bed (between the bed and the roof) is angled inward -- so it prevents putting long bolts in the area above the tonneau cover toward the window in the rail. I'll be eager to see your setup for sure!
Out of curiosity what length were the carriage bolts you used for the 2x4 solution? My best estimate without having the crossbars here yet will be 3 1/2" in length. So I'm hoping with any luck this stays below the taper you're describing.
 

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Out of curiosity what length were the carriage bolts you used for the 2x4 solution? My best estimate without having the crossbars here yet will be 3 1/2" in length. So I'm hoping with any luck this stays below the taper you're describing.
I used 4” bolts. Because the 2x4 is kind of bulky, there are two issues with moving that rail forward. The first is the length of the bolt required to pass through the 2x4 and still be long enough to secure a nut on top (also remembering that I raised mine as well so the handle of the tonneau cover can pass underneath — another factor! :) )

The second issue is that shortening the length of the 2x4 so that it will fit in between the plastic trim pieces at the front reduces the integrity of the wood — a drawback of wood over metal for sure!
I’m fairly convinced that I’m going to reinforce the maintenance panel of the tonneau cover, mount the bike fork mounts onto the maintenance panel directly, and eliminate that cross member entirely. That will require drilling into the maintenance panel — eee! I’m up for it, but I haven’t had the time just yet!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I used 4” bolts. Because the 2x4 is kind of bulky, there are two issues with moving that rail forward. The first is the length of the bolt required to pass through the 2x4 and still be long enough to secure a nut on top (also remembering that I raised mine as well so the handle of the tonneau cover can pass underneath — another factor! :) )

The second issue is that shortening the length of the 2x4 so that it will fit in between the plastic trim pieces at the front reduces the integrity of the wood — a drawback of wood over metal for sure!
I’m fairly convinced that I’m going to reinforce the maintenance panel of the tonneau cover, mount the bike fork mounts onto the maintenance panel directly, and eliminate that cross member entirely. That will require drilling into the maintenance panel — eee! I’m up for it, but I haven’t had the time just yet!
I went and looked and I see what you’re talking about with the angle. I’m still optimistic that because I’m using metal crossbars that I’ll be able to cut them down closer to the holes for the carriage bolts. I’m also hoping that maybe the crossbar itself is slightly shorter than the 11/2 inches you have for height in the 2x4’s and maybe cutting it as close as possible to the handle that it all might still work. Even if it doesn’t I’d still be able to easily position them as far forward as allowed when not in use. I’ll keep my fingers crossed until all the parts arrive. 🤞
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ok parts arrived and the original plan of tool free isn't going to work just given the design of the bars I ordered. So since I'm giving up on that part I'm going to stick to Allen bolts to attach and the bike setup came with those t-rail threaded blocks like pictured above. However they don't fit into the t-rails with the end caps so I'm trying to figure out the easiest way to remove those. I noticed from the previous project the rear covers were removed. I was wondering if that is easier or if the front ones just pop off then back on. Any details about this would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok, I got the install done. I do have to use a 7/16 wrench to loosen them and slide them forward. I cut the bars to be the exact width and overall I'm happy with how it turned out. The rear wheel mount does sit slightly forward of the rear axle of the bicycle but that is all the length you have on the bed.

Bicycle Wheel Tire Bicycles--Equipment and supplies Crankset


Bicycle Tire Wheel Crankset Bicycle hub

Wheel Tire Bicycle Bicycle tire Crankset



Automotive bicycle rack Tire Wheel Bicycle Land vehicle


Wheel Hood Grille Automotive tire Bicycle tire

Bicycle Wheel Tire Bicycles--Equipment and supplies Crankset
 

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Ok, I got the install done. I do have to use a 7/16 wrench to loosen them and slide them forward. I cut the bars to be the exact width and overall I'm happy with how it turned out. The rear wheel mount does sit slightly forward of the rear axle of the bicycle but that is all the length you have on the bed.

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Great job! I'm glad to see that it looks like it worked out well. You definitely should build a second fitting to hold your motorcycle up there. ;-)

Did you figure out how to get your end caps off? I detailed that in my 2x4 post, let me know if you want me to resend. It's I think three torx screws and a little prying with a screw driver, and then you can access the channels from the tailgate side.

It also looks like you weren't able to get your rails up to the rear window -- did you run into the same problem I had with that angled trim piece or did you opt to do something different?

Finally, how is the strength of the rails? I am curious because I do three-bikes-across, myself; I'm sure your rails are really sturdy and can handle that, though I've encountered some metal solutions that bent.

Again, great job, and thanks for sharing!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Great job! I'm glad to see that it looks like it worked out well. You definitely should build a second fitting to hold your motorcycle up there. ;-)

Did you figure out how to get your end caps off? I detailed that in my 2x4 post, let me know if you want me to resend. It's I think three torx screws and a little prying with a screw driver, and then you can access the channels from the tailgate side.

It also looks like you weren't able to get your rails up to the rear window -- did you run into the same problem I had with that angled trim piece or did you opt to do something different?

Finally, how is the strength of the rails? I am curious because I do three-bikes-across, myself; I'm sure your rails are really sturdy and can handle that, though I've encountered some metal solutions that bent.

Again, great job, and thanks for sharing!
Thanks, I didn't figure out how to get them off but I also realized that I was still going to need to use 1/4-20 carriage bolts instead of the t-rail nuts that came with the kit since the bolts don't fit through the rail. Since I did that and I used 2" carriage bolts I didn't need to take them off. The rails are reasonably strong but I don't think they'd hold 3. Two I think would be fine.

I did run into the same problem with the angled trim piece and since there wasn't room to get a socket through the top to tighten I didn't do it. However I'm reconsidering this setup now. I think I'm going to use an angle grinder to try and trim the ends even more and at an angle that matches these to get the front bar all the way forward. If I can get it in there then I also think I'm going to open the top so I can get a socket in to tighten them. If all of that works out then I might ditch the rear bar all together. The cover can support 200lbs. So I'm thinking that if I can squeeze another 6" out of the front bar in terms of positioning it more forward I might be able to rest the rear tire directly on the cover and just use straps to go into the bed and anchor the rear wheel to the tie downs then close the tailgate. It's very optimistic, but if it works then I don't have any interference at all with normal bed operation and don't have to modify the vehicle at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ok, I couldn't leave it alone I really wanted a stealth look and zero impact to the bed use when I'm not hauling bicycles. So some very precise measuring and careful selection of carriage bolts helped me achiever everything I wanted except the tool free moving option. I just purchased a dedicated 1/4 drive ratchet, extension and elbow though that will stay in the storage compartment.

So I now have the bicycle as far forward as you can get one. I had to cut 5mm from the edge of the hole at a 15 degree angle. That allowed the bar to slide between the angles previously described. They both stack on top of the bed cover so there is zero loss of bed space while not in use. Then I also had to make some precise angle cuts just large enough to allow the socket to get down to the bolts to tighten them. Still need to paint the cut ends so they don't rust and look better. All in all though I couldn't be happier with how it all turned out. Again under $100 although it will probably jump to $135 because I'm going to go ahead and order a second pair of the bike mounts just in case I want to haul two. Since they're always out of the way, why not. Only the rear bar needs to move when setting up to haul bikes. So two bolts and about 4 turns total of the socket to go from hidden to in use. Loosen the two bolts slide it into position, tighten two bolts and ready to go.

Now onto the pictures. These are the cuts I had to make and you can see how close I had to make them and the notch for the socket to fit.
Automotive parking light Grille Hood Automotive lighting Automotive tire


Then here is how the bicycle now fits since it is about 6-8" further forward.
Tire Wheel Bicycle Bicycle wheel Crankset


Then tucked away.
Hood Bumper Automotive design Automotive exterior Gas


Automotive lighting Automotive exterior Automotive tire Window Bumper


Hood Car Automotive tire Automotive lighting Window


Then even from the overhead you cannot see them while stored.

Tire Wheel Vehicle Automotive tire Hood
 

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Ok, I couldn't leave it alone I really wanted a stealth look and zero impact to the bed use when I'm not hauling bicycles. So some very precise measuring and careful selection of carriage bolts helped me achiever everything I wanted except the tool free moving option. I just purchased a dedicated 1/4 drive ratchet, extension and elbow though that will stay in the storage compartment.

So I now have the bicycle as far forward as you can get one. I had to cut 5mm from the edge of the hole at a 15 degree angle. That allowed the bar to slide between the angles previously described. They both stack on top of the bed cover so there is zero loss of bed space while not in use. Then I also had to make some precise angle cuts just large enough to allow the socket to get down to the bolts to tighten them. Still need to paint the cut ends so they don't rust and look better. All in all though I couldn't be happier with how it all turned out. Again under $100 although it will probably jump to $135 because I'm going to go ahead and order a second pair of the bike mounts just in case I want to haul two. Since they're always out of the way, why not. Only the rear bar needs to move when setting up to haul bikes. So two bolts and about 4 turns total of the socket to go from hidden to in use. Loosen the two bolts slide it into position, tighten two bolts and ready to go.

Now onto the pictures. These are the cuts I had to make and you can see how close I had to make them and the notch for the socket to fit.
View attachment 4179

Then here is how the bicycle now fits since it is about 6-8" further forward.
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Then tucked away.
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Then even from the overhead you cannot see them while stored.

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That is absolutely fantastic! I may have to pursue a version of your rails on my V2 so I don’t have to drill into my maintenance panel! I may double-up on the metal or something to shore up the strength to accommodate the third bike, but this is very encouraging. Great work!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That is absolutely fantastic! I may have to pursue a version of your rails on my V2 so I don’t have to drill into my maintenance panel! I may double-up on the metal or something to shore up the strength to accommodate the third bike, but this is very encouraging. Great work!
Thanks. I think honestly the thing to do if you want three bikes is simply by square tubing instead of “crossbars”. It would allow you to make the same cuts I made but pick the gauge of steel thick enough to support all of them. Really these crossbars are nothing more than that with notches cut in them. You could just as easily bolt the bike carrying components to square tubing though. Best of luck, be sure to share whatever you decide to do. The ideas and sharing are what then spark more ideas from others. Great stuff. So glad I found the initial 2x4 thread. That was what got me thinking differently about the install. I originally had a completely different plan and it wouldn’t have turned out this good.
 

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Totally agree, it's awesome when we can all build on each other's experiences and ideas. You should totally manufacture your solution -- I think you can charge about $600 for it by the looks of it. ;-)

I found some really rigid stock that might work, but haven't found the perfect solution just yet -- but it's out there somewhere! I need to add a place to lock a cable to mine at some point, and I'm debating adding a rear wheel tray of some type (I currently just secure the back wheels with bungee cords). One of the bikes is longer than the others, and the rear wheel overhangs a bit like yours did before you moved the front rail forward. Baby steps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Totally agree, it's awesome when we can all build on each other's experiences and ideas. You should totally manufacture your solution -- I think you can charge about $600 for it by the looks of it. ;-)

I found some really rigid stock that might work, but haven't found the perfect solution just yet -- but it's out there somewhere! I need to add a place to lock a cable to mine at some point, and I'm debating adding a rear wheel tray of some type (I currently just secure the back wheels with bungee cords). One of the bikes is longer than the others, and the rear wheel overhangs a bit like yours did before you moved the front rail forward. Baby steps!
I was trying hard to get the rear bar to be inline with the axle. I can but it makes the handle harder to operate. I may try moving the front bar another inch forward and that would do it. Gets tight though trying to get to the bolts. Tested it today though and worked perfectly. Highway speeds, corners, all didn’t budge the bike at all. Got home unloaded the bike couple quicks turns and the bar is tucked back away.
 

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I was trying hard to get the rear bar to be inline with the axle. I can but it makes the handle harder to operate. I may try moving the front bar another inch forward and that would do it. Gets tight though trying to get to the bolts. Tested it today though and worked perfectly. Highway speeds, corners, all didn’t budge the bike at all. Got home unloaded the bike couple quicks turns and the bar is tucked back away.
Glad your bike didn't budge. I rode 100 miles down to the beach the other day, and my friend who drives like a maniac picked me and my bike up with the Santa Cruz -- and everything was solid even with him driving all the way back. Encouraging.

My spacers are tall enough at the moment on the rear rail that the handle hasn't been hard to operate. I do know shorter is better so there's less torsion on the bolts, although I have noticed that the front bar gets the bulk of the torsion and the rear bar is all compressive force. I suppose the rear bar doesn't have to be the same height as the front bar in order to accommodate handle operation while keeping the front bar low profile.

Automotive design Automotive tire Bumper Automotive exterior Wood


I'm very concerned with security, also -- so I thought as a next step, I would make my rear rail a little bit more of a pain to remove deliberately so that I can run a thick cable under the rail and through the frame of my bike(s). Not sold on that solution, though, just yet. I have yet to move my rear rail out of the way even once, so I suspect that I'm rarely going to do that in the long run -- so being a little harder to move won't be too much harder on me at least.

Another solution for the cable lock is using the stake holes on the sides of the bed. I will probably cut those out this week at some point to at least get measurements to figure out if I can find a manufacturer that already makes tie-downs that fit.

I initially was hoping on standing the bike in the back at the very beginning of this project - pretty much asking for trouble, so the rails are far far better in any case! BTW, don't know about your bike, but my bike, without the front wheel, will actually fit in the cab in a pinch. But it doesn't look as cool, either. :)

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