Thule Easy Fold tail lights, License mount and backup camera

Shark413

Member
Region
USA
I just recently converted one of my bikes to electric and I have a Lectric XP on order for the wife. These bikes weigh over 50 lbs each and my old Hollywood rack couldn't handle the weight safely. I decided on the Thule Easy Fold for a couple of reasons, it had to support heavy Ebikes, I wanted it to be light weight/compact for storage, name brand, and last it had to have tail lights and a license plate holder. On the last point, I don't know why racks don't come with tail lights/license plate holders when nearly every State requires that the plate/lights not be obstructed. I know 99% of the time its not a problem but I don't want to be that 1% guy that gets pulled over when I am going on a vacation (kind of ruins the mood). And secondly if my vehicle gets stolen and the plates aren't visible it makes it harder to identify/recover. So that being said the Thule Easy fold covers most of the items I wanted except the tail lights. For some reason the non-US version comes with a nice set of functional tail lights (Thule refuses to sell these to anyone in the US). So I decided to just add my own lights and while I was at it I beefed up the license plate holder.

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Stock rack very compact and light weight. But no tail lights.

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I had some CF laying around that was the perfect size for the light mounts.

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The bottom of the carrier is just a thin aluminum sheet, I removed it to run the wiring front to back.

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Right side done.

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Both side done.

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Used a Curt tail light trailer kit which plugs into the stock hitch 4 pin plug.
 

Shark413

Member
Region
USA
Regarding the license plate holder, The Thule Easy Fold provides a spot that is basically two holes in the plastic of the bottom handle. I guess it works but I wanted some stronger and more thief resistant. I bought a fiber reinforced frame and mounted it using four bolts and some aluminum spacers I made for the upper support. The actual license plate mounts with four separate screws (security type) and the whole thing it very solid. With the plate on you cannot access the bolts that hold the frame on and by using four security type screws to hold the plate on hopefully this will discourage anybody from taking my plate. This is going on my Toyota Tacoma and knowing I maybe taking the plate off/on I want to replace the stock plate attachment on the Tacoma which is basically a plastic panel that the plate screws into. After a few on/off cycles the plastic will wear and become loose. I did a little cutting and added metal M6 rivet nuts that are far more durable and secure.

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This is the frame I added.

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It's mounted at four points. I had to make spacers for the upper mounting bolts.



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I now have a very sturdy frame to mount my license plate to. I also plan on added a backup camera mount.


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Here is a picture of the rivet nuts I added to replace the stock plastic mounting points.
 

Shark413

Member
Region
USA
Ok I finished the backup camera install today. Took more CF scrap and made a simple post that I attached with some stainless M5 bolts. Then I used 3M Dual Post velcro (very strong, holds tight) so I can remove it when I take the rack off. I extended the camera wire 24" so it could reach to the back of the rack, when not in use the camera mounts to the truck just below the tailgate with the wire tucked under the body and held with a velcro strap. Picture looks better than the stock Toyota camera and I can see behind me when the rack is mounted with bikes loaded.

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CF scrap that I trimmed to make a post to hold the camera.

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Post mounted with Dual Lock velcro applied

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Camera mounted

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Went for a test drive, screen on top right is the camera mounted on the rack.
 

Shark413

Member
Region
USA
Howz about a parts list!

Here you go.
Curt Led tail lights Part #53201 Amazom https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07YXH8FHX/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
VPware license plate frame, Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BZO4KAQ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Backup camera I went with a wired version because wireless versions suffer from static and interference issues. Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08LPSNV23/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Thule Easy Fold Part #903202
Spacers and CF parts homemade.
 

Elkman

Active Member
I like what you did with the Thule rack modifications. With my 1up e-bike rack I needed to bolt on a 4"x 40" aluminum plate to the rear of the rack to provide space for the Curt taillight kit and to adding a license plate holder. Initially I am using a license plate holder that pivots 90 degrees so the plate is visible when the rack it vertical and no bikes on it and also visible when the rack is horizontal and with two bikes loaded on it. I may replace it with a piece of stainless steel piano hinge to have a stronger mount for the license plate.


I agree that it is ridiculous that one can spend $700 or more on a bike rack and then with all that are being sold in the USA, need to make modifications for brake and tail lights and for adding a license plate holder. In my state the license plate needs to be readable at a distance of 50 feet at night but I plan to ignore the license plate light with the rack mounted. Seldom will I be driving at night with the rack mounted and so the odds of being pulled over by an overly zealous LEO is remote. One downside to the $30 Curt taillight kit is that it doese not provide for a license plate light and I would need to buy a 4-pin connector and replace the Curt plug to have power to the license light.

Not trivial to have a rear end collision and be blamed for having bikes blocking the tail and brake lights or to be cited for no visible rear license plate with the $200 cost that would entail. In the past I have used my pickup or large SUV to transport the bikes without needing a rack. This kept them from being stolen with no bikes lost in the past 53 years that I have been doing this with my expensive road bikes. But now with two 65 pound e-bikes a rack and a ramp is necessary or a trailer.
 

Shark413

Member
Region
USA
I bought a cheap Amazon led license plate light that bolts to the license plate frame. For power I was going to tap into the 4 pin trailer running light wire to power the light only when the running lights are on. But I haven't got around to hooking it up because I really don't use the rack at night. I guess eventually I will do it just to be 100% legal.