Falling Crane- A Caution for Old Style Draftmaster Users
This is no way to drive the Spaulding Turnpike at 60 MPH
On our way home from the Montreal Bike Festival, Jeanne dropped me off in Ossipee and I rode home on my Slipstream. She continued home to Dover on the Spaulding Turnpike home with just one bike on the Crane (see earlier post The Crane), a Draftmaster Hitch carrier set up for two LWB recumbents.
While driving along the Spaulding at 60, she thought she had a blowout and pulled over to the side of the road. Her tires were fine but the locking pin was out and the Draftmaster was dragging on the road. Amazingly, the rack and bike both stayed attached to her car even though the car was traveling at 60 MPH.
Locking Pin in Rack
Both the safety and wheel straps had torn and a good bit of the bottom of the rack had abraded off but thankfully the bike and rack had not torn away. This could have been a much more serious accident.
Original Cotterless Locking Pin
Torn Safety Strap and Abraded Bottom of Rack
If the bike had or rack had been torn off her car and hit a car behind her at 60, I don't know what would have happened but it would have been very serious.
I called ATOC (the company that now owns Draftmaster) and got a call back around 10 PM last night. After discussing, we both came to the same conclusion. Either the hole that the locking pin sits in had worn or the ball in the pin had bound up and the pin could vibrate out. ATOC suggested that I look in the McMaster-Carr Catalog for a linchpin.
They still use what appears to be the same safety and wheel straps and sold me a new set for around $22.
I'd always though the pin looked marginal but it seemed to work. According to ATOC the design was changed in 1997. I think I bought the Crane in 1998 from an Exeter Bike Shop. That timing makes sense given the usual lag from to design to production and the clearing of inventory.
My Draftmaster Hitch Rack is about 8 years old but it has only been used 12 to 15 times. We only use it when we travel with the Recumbents, usually to Montreal. It is stored in my garage and was in pretty good shape.
What I've Done
I have ordered new safety straps and believe with a locking pin this problem will not occur again. I agree with ATOC that the original cotterless pin although very handy and strong is not secure enough for this application.
I found the locking pin shown in the picture, a 5/16 X 2 1/4 pin with wire lock, at Home Depot for $2.25. This pin looks very secure but if someone has a better suggestion please let me know.
New Locking Pin
The rack itself is abraded at the bottom and scratched and has a very slight twist but still looks very usable. This rack is definitely very sturdy and with a locking pin an excellent way to transport two LWB recumbents.