DIY light bar frame to fasten a light bar on a bike rack.

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Jun 28, 2019
Littleton, CO
For my big trip from Denver to the Alabama coast (and back) recently, I wanted to add lights on our bike rack. The rack is a Thule hitch-mounted swing-out unit that holds four bikes. We wanted a USA-made bike rack with high-quality steel where the rack could swing away from the tailgate without spending way-too-much money. The swing-out option works great because it gives plenty of space to access the cargo hold when bikes are on the rack.

I wanted to add a light bar to the bike rack because the bike rack extends about 5 feet from the tailgate. I wanted to be sure other drivers would see the bike rack well in time and to also provide another set of running lights. I wanted to avoid someone hitting me from behind and making the claim they could not see my rear lights due to the bikes.

As I drove through Dallas in rush hour and on I-20 between Dallas and Shreveport, I was very glad to have more running lights.
I thought drivers in Colorado were crazy.
I was wrong.
Dallas and I-20 from Dallas to Shreveport take the award.

After looking for online to add a light bar, I found nothing that would work. Then God gave me an idea to build my own. Maybe this post can help someone else in the same situation.

This light bar frame is VERY EASY to build and VERY CHEAP too! I used pvc piping, screw clamps, and packing foam. That's all! I used the packing foam to protect the screw clamps from damaging the bike frame, the screw clamps are attached to the bike rack and hold the light bar frame. I did NOT glue the pvc piping. I tightened by hand with enough movement allowed so I could adjust the angle on the fly as needed. If you do this, verify you have the frame fully assembled with the tightness you want BEFORE you drill the holes for the lights. No worries if you make a mistake because it's pvc piping and cheap. The white connectors were at my local Home Depot in the pvc aisle and the grey pipes are from the lawn/sprinkler piping aisle.

The led lights are DOT/SAE certified and are waterproof. They are on when the headlights are on and the turn/hazard functions work. They have side marker lights. The lights are very bright. These are the Optronics TLL28RK Red LED Combination Tail Light set. Great price on Amazon. I got the trailer-light-harness plug-in from Etrailer along with wiring and wiring connectors.

I had the lights on during the entire drive even in the day.

Attach files

These pics are not the best. If there's interest, I'll re-take them. If needed I'll post a video of how easy and fast it is to attach the light bar frame and remove it. I can attach or remove it less than 2 minutes.




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Nice work. FWIW In Europe lights are required on such racks and come std. for exactly the reasons you noted.
Thank you. I wish they were required here but my guess is Thule and all the other bike rack manufacturers do not want to deal with the hassle of complying with the lighting laws for every state. It ridiculous here in the US that small children can be forward facing in a car seat but in Europe they are rear facing longer.

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