Ebike came loose from rack at 75 mph.

neutron

Active member
Local time
7:43 PM
Joined
Dec 6, 2022
Messages
168
I was coming back from a nice ride on the C&O canal towpath and the arm that clamps the crossbar to the rack on the car came loose! I didn't notice it until another car came up beside my waving frantically and pointing towards the back of my car. I looked in my rearview mirror and no bike was visible! I was in the middle lane of a 3 lane interstate doing 75 mph so you can imagine my fears as I maneuvered to the shoulder not knowing what to expect. I could only imagine my bike being run over and doing damage to the vehicles hitting it at 70 mph+. Traffic was extremely heavy and fast and the shoulder was very narrow. It was a very unpleasant experience opening the door with traffic inches away, zooming past at alarming speed. I managed to get to the back of the car to find my bike being held onto the rack with just the straps that hold the wheels in place with the bike tipped over on it's side and the handlebar dragging on the ground. There was about 2" of handlebar and grip ground off. The mirror was broken off and the brake lever was broken off and the remaining stub ground down. I guess I should be happy that the rest of the bike seemed okay.

I'm going to have to replace the brake lever, grip, and mirror, but I think I can salvage the handlebar. I cut off the handlebar beyond the damaged area and turned a hardwood plug to fit into the hollow end and stick out the same distance as the handlebar originally did. The new grip should cover the plug and joint with ease. If for any reason the plug doesn't feel secure, I'll turn an aluminum plug instead. I have a wood lathe and a metal lathe so no problem there.

I should mention that KBO was very responsive to my inquiry regarding the parts. They got back to me in less than 12 hours. They have the brake lever in stock in the U.S. with a 4-7 day shipping time and the grips in the China warehouse with a 7-10 day shipping time. They also had the handlebar in stock in the U.S., but like I said I'll try and salvage mine. They sent me the link to order the parts and no shipping charges or tax. KBO customer service is very good from my experience. This is the second time I've had to deal with them and both times they have been very responsive.

I'm going to try an attach some pictures and I hope they are clear enough to show the damage.
IMG_20240619_171258719_HDR.jpg
IMG_20240619_171246610_HDR.jpg
 
I see you left the battery in while transporting. Don't do that in future. Thats a brick of dead weight that makes your bike rack work harder.

Myself personally, I use cargo loops and a come-along to tie down both handlebars. Also I limit my speed on the highway to about 55. I've got too much money wrapped up in my bikes to risk them on a 200 mile trip where I'm only saving 20 minutes driving at 70+. Also its not just the speed. Potholes and undulations make for magnified effects on a rack extended out from my bumper way out past the back axle.
 
Thanks for sharing your story, Neutron! That sounds terrifying.

Your experience should serve as a good reminder for all of us to regularly check our bike racks to make sure the straps have good integrity, and all screws and fasteners are all torqued to specs. If you’ve got a hitch mounted rack, it’s a good idea to check on the hitch regularly as well.

Glad your story didn’t have a scarier ending than just having to replace a handlebar!
 
When I saw that title I thought to myself how excessive of a speed that is with a heavy bike back there. I don't go that fast with regular bikes on my rack, much less an ebike. 65 mph is the fastest I have gone.

I am not visualizing exactly how the bike is held in place on your rack. Was the arm not attached correctly? Did a nut ir bolt come undone?
 
I see you left the battery in while transporting. Don't do that in future. Thats a brick of dead weight that makes your bike rack work harder.

Myself personally, I use cargo loops and a come-along to tie down both handlebars. Also I limit my speed on the highway to about 55. I've got too much money wrapped up in my bikes to risk them on a 200 mile trip where I'm only saving 20 minutes driving at 70+. Also its not just the speed. Potholes and undulations make for magnified effects on a rack extended out from my bumper way out past the back axle.
I had one come off as I gently turned in the carport. Luckily no damage, but since, I've strapped the wheels down
into the wheel mounts. Checked the KBO site, i.e. the Tornada. That looks like a good bike for 1 grand, very akin to
M2C, Magum, & NCM fattys. I have 5 of those Dorado batteries in assorted Ah, but no fat bike. I'll think about it.
What type rack was used? How well do you like the bike?
 
I would replace the handlebar. There is a lot of strain and weight involved here, it’s not just looks and appearance.
You wanted to shop for an upgraded handlebar anyway, didn’t you?
Fur sure, I would also be concerned that the frame might have gotten warped on impact.
 
When I saw that title I thought to myself how excessive of a speed that is with a heavy bike back there. I don't go that fast with regular bikes on my rack, much less an ebike. 65 mph is the fastest I have gone.

Yup. Living in NYS, the maximum speed is 65 on the I-90. The fastest I’ve gone with my e-bike on my hitch mounted rack is 55-60, and that made me a bit uncomfortable, and I had a compulsion to keep checking my back-up camera to visualize the bike.

I recently took a short trip to Cleveland (without my bike), and once in Ohio, the posted limit went up to 70 mph. Even with nothing in tow, driving that fast made me kind of nervous. Just not used to it, I guess.
 
Yup. Living in NYS, the maximum speed is 65 on the I-90. The fastest I’ve gone with my e-bike on my hitch mounted rack is 55-60, and that made me a bit uncomfortable, and I had a compulsion to keep checking my back-up camera to visualize the bike.

I recently took a short trip to Cleveland (without my bike), and once in Ohio, the posted limit went up to 70 mph. Even with nothing in tow, driving that fast made me kind of nervous. Just not used to it, I guess.
Definitely, my prefered rate of spd. remains under 20 mph
 
The biggest sin I see is people driving around with bikes on a rack held in place with {gasp} bungee cords. Those things are just an accident waiting to happen.
 
The battery was not on the bike. That picture was taken back home in the shed. I put the battery on to function check everything and make sure there was no additional damage. As far as speeding, yes I was speeding and had just passed a slower vehicle and moved back into the center lane. On I 70 in Maryland you get run over if you're not doing 70 which is the speed limit. Most traffic on that road is well over 70.

I may end up replacing the handlebar but I thought I'd try a fix first. I'm pretty sure I can do a repair that will be as good as a replacement. If not, I'll replace it. If I do a replacement it will be with the same one as I really like the original. I have an adjustable stem, so I'm happy with the position of the handlebar.

I'm still not sure how or why it came loose. I thought I had the bar clamped down tight and I had a strap wrapped around the rack and looping around the clamp bar. From now on I will use a strap and ratchet instead of the strap that came with the rack.
 
I see you left the battery in while transporting. Don't do that in future. Thats a brick of dead weight that makes your bike rack work harder.

Myself personally, I use cargo loops and a come-along to tie down both handlebars. Also I limit my speed on the highway to about 55. I've got too much money wrapped up in my bikes to risk them on a 200 mile trip where I'm only saving 20 minutes driving at 70+. Also its not just the speed. Potholes and undulations make for magnified effects on a rack extended out from my bumper way out past the back axle.
The battery was not on the bike. Picture was taken once I got home.
 
I had one come off as I gently turned in the carport. Luckily no damage, but since, I've strapped the wheels down
into the wheel mounts. Checked the KBO site, i.e. the Tornada. That looks like a good bike for 1 grand, very akin to
M2C, Magum, & NCM fattys. I have 5 of those Dorado batteries in assorted Ah, but no fat bike. I'll think about it.
What type rack was used? How well do you like the bike?

The rack was a Weize 150 lb capacity 2" hitch. It's a heavy duty rack and I only transport one 62 lb bike. The bike is a KBO Breeze step over so it has the top bar that the clamp attaches to. The bike didn't come off the rack. It just tipped over 90 degrees so that it was parallel to the road if you can visualize that. The wheels were still strapped into the wheel holders, just not upright. The end of the handlebar was the only thing keeping the bike paralllel to the road which is why it took the brunt of the damage. If it hadn't been for those straps, the bike would have been in the road, probably with disastrous consequences. And yes,I really do like this bike. It has been great fun for me.
 
I guess you haven't been on interstate five recently. When the speed is posted 70 most of the cars are running 80+ miles an hour. This is pretty typical of anywhere. Everybody seems to drive beyond the posted speed limit.
Lawd no! I go out of my way to avoid I-5, 405s, any place with more that 25k people. This old turtle is content
to drag his tail in the mud.
 
I guess you haven't been on interstate five recently. When the speed is posted 70 most of the cars are running 80+ miles an hour. This is pretty typical of anywhere. Everybody seems to drive beyond the posted speed limit.
I5 is on my route from home to where my office is (about a 160-mile distance) and the story is exactly the same there. 80 mph will not be enough to get you stopped by the CHP. Its the normal rate of speed. The adjacent Hwy 99 I usually take is also 70 for much of the distance I travel and that one - because its not as remote - is more typically at 75.

I've done quite a bit of traveling around much of the country (usually going from an airport to a remote location where a convention is at, where my company was a vendor/sponsor) and I have seen VERY different attitudes on the posted speed limit. In a lot of states the limit is adhered to as if it was handed down by Moses on a tablet. Even in remote areas where clearly... obviously ... nobody is around to give a damn. And in other states its merely a guideline. Here in CA its common knowledge that 10 mph over the speed limit is going to be ignored, and you are only at a 'maybe' at 15 over if you get radar'd.

A buddy of mine who is a CHP officer once told me he ignores people going 10 and 15 over down the LA side of The Grapevine on I5 because he's waiting for the guy doing 90 who is actually a danger to others, rather than just going with the faster flow of traffic.
 
We were in Texas this spring visiting my wife's family and to see the solar eclipse, we were towing a small camper so we like to keep it around 60 to 65. It seems like everywhere you go in Texas the speed limit is 75. Two lane highways even county roads, we got off the main highway to go over to Caprock Canyons state park and on the narrow paved two lane county road with no shoulder the speed limit was still 75 a road like that would be 50 or 55 in Colorado or even less in New Mexico. And just like everywhere people drive at least 10 over so when you are only going 60 people are just constantly flying around you.
 
That is one reason I don't like those racks with the lock down arms,
I use a Black widow mc rack, rated for 500+ weight and has a 6" wide rack arms and the wheel will drop into a deep wheel pocket, when the 1/2" bolt is removed at each end.
I also use 2 soft straps one on each side of the seat post column and 2 ratchet straps to hold the bike up right, with a ratchet strap 2' long NO hook thru the spokes and around the carrying frame to hold the tires in each wheel pocket.
After several hundred of miles, at a posted 80mph, and very rough off road trips, my 100# e bike has survived, without any problems, so far. But I do keep a very close eye on her when hauling. ymmv
 
Back
Top