DIY Surfboard Bike Rack

For those who travel around town by bicycle, they know riding with a surfboard under the arm can be cumbersome and awkward. In this episode of Surf Sufficient, our friend Travis Newhouse helps make that bike commute to the beach much sweeter. By adding a surfboard rack to your rig, your shred sled can be stowed comfortably as you head out for a stoke.

These instructions are a guideline. Each bike and surfboard are different. Be sure to measure your own bike and surfboard, and dry-fit the pieces before you glue them together. We want you to have a safe ride to the beach – make sure the rack will not inhibit your movement on the bike, and that your front tire can turn freely without contacting the surfboard.

Materials:

  • 4 – 1″ PVC T-joint
  • 6 – 1″ PVC 90 degree elbow
  • 4 – 1.75″ diameter hose clamps
  • 10′ PVC pipe (Schedule 40)
  • 6′ foam pipe insulation for 1″ pipe
  • PVC cement
  • bungee cords

Tools:

  • hacksaw
  • sandpaper or file
  • measuring tape
  • flathead screwdriver

Instructions:

  1. Measure the diameter the bike’s seat tube and down tube.
  2. Transfer measurement to the opening at the top of the T-joint, and cut off the top of the T-joint.
  3. Place one T-joint on the bike near enough to the pedal to measure the distance to the outside of the pedal. Include enough clearance for your foot, but shorter distance will result in a stronger rack. On this bike, the distance was 8.5 inches.
  4. Attach T-joints to bike with hose clamps. For now, tighten only enough to remain in position.
  5. Cut 2 pieces of PVC pipe to the length measured in Step 3. Clean up the ends of the cuts with sandpaper or a file. Insert PVC pipe pieces into T-joints.
  6. Install two 90 degree elbows onto PVC pipes, with opening facing the ground.
  7. Cut two 3″ pieces of PVC pipe, and insert into 90 degree elbow. (TBD)
  8. Install T-joints onto short pieces such that the openings are facing each other.
  9. Determine the length of the crossbeam by measuring distance between the T-joints. Be sure to include 1″ at each end for the portion of the pipe that fits into the joint. Cut PVC pipe to length for the crossbeam, and insert the crossbeam into the T-joints.
  10. Cut two 11″ pieces of PVC pipe, and insert into the ends of the T-joints that face the ground. The suggested length is to fit most surfboards and bikes. Make sure the rack will not extend too close to the ground.
  11. Install 90 degree elbow at the bottom of the pipe, with its opening facing away from the bike.
  12. Measure the thickness of your surfboard. Be sure to consider the bulk of a travel bag, if you use one. Add approximately 1/2″ for the thickness of the foam padding. Cut two pieces of PVC pipe to length, and insert into the opening of the 90 degree elbow.
  13. Install 90 degree elbows on the ends of each short piece, with opening facing up.
  14. Cut two 12″ pieces of PVC pipe, and insert into the 90* elbows. The length of this piece should be less than the width of the board when mounted in the rack. This will ensure the bungee cord can hold the board in the rack.
  15. With all the pieces dry-fit, check the fit of your board in the rack.
  16. Before disassembling, mark the alignment of pipes and joints that extend out from the bike. Draw a line on the pipes and the T-joints attached to the bike, and also at the top 90 degree elbows.
  17. Glue the pipes to the T-joints attached to the bike. Be sure to align the marks made in Step 16.
  18. Glue the 90 degree elbows to the pipes extending from the bike. Be sure to align the marks made in Step 16.
  19. On a flat surface, glue remaining two T-joints to the crossbeam. Use the flat surface to ensure the T-joint are aligned in the same plane. Also, glue the two 3″ pieces into the T-joints.
  20. Glue the crossbeam into 90* elbows.
  21. Glue the 11″ pieces of PVC pipe into the bottom of the T-joints.
  22. Continue to glue pieces: 90* elbow followed by short piece of pipe, then another 90* elbow, and finally the 12″ vertical piece.
  23. Attach the foam insulation to the rack.
  24. Drill holes for the bungee cords. Ensure that the holes are low enough to avoid metal hooks contacting the surfboard.
  25. Enjoy your ride to the beach!
Camera/Edit James Campbell
Producer Cyrus Sutton
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  • Noémie Fortin-Brunet

    This could be super useful for me to carry canvas and other art materials to school. Thanks for the video!

  • Grant

    After building this rack at home and using it heavily for several months to get to and from the break with my board, I’ve got some feedback for those considering making their own.

    (1) Depending on your type of bike, finding a place to mount the rack that will be clear of your peddle stroke may prove challenging. For my mountain bike, this took a significant amount of adjustment for the bike to be ridable with the rack. I highly recommend tying two sticks on your bike frame to approximate the position of the mounts, and then checking to make sure your leg will clear the mounts while you peddle before you start building.

    (2) Adding pipe insulation to this rack is not very effective padding for your surfboard. I noticed that after several rides, the pipe insulation began to compress in the areas where the board contacts the rack, especially along the rails. After a few more rides, the material was completely compressed and essentially offered no padding for the board at all. This insulation is cheap so I suppose you could just replace the worn areas every few weeks, but I recommend working out a better way to pad your board.

    (3) Beware, this rack is not very durable. I guess this is a no-brainer for any structural application of PVC piping. I bike 10 miles to the break every morning, and I found that PVC developed cracks and eventually failed completely after about 2 months of use. If you are looking for a cheap rack for occasional use then this is probably acceptable, but if you’re serious about biking with your board then look for something sturdier.

  • Loran

    Thanks a lot for the video.
    We made the rack following the instructions.
    That was a success, have a look at the joined pictures.

    However, we had to make some adjustments to the model.
    See the second picture : we added a metal pipe between the rack and the bike rear structure.
    The purpose was to depart the rack enought to be able to pedal freely.
    Without this pipe, the weight of the board pull the rack back to the pedal (although we took a margin as indicated in the video).

  • Jeremy Sudibyo

    This thing is too cool for school – can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate you guys putting up this instruction video!

  • Jay Sparr

    my question is how much did all of this cost you to build? Since surfboard shops sell very high quality bike racks from brands known worldwide and they are not too expensive.