Before the Bolt-It-On tiedown system arrived, when we jammed a lot of bikes into the Dirt Rider Gearbox trailer, it looked like some strange giant spider with a nylon-strap web had attacked the bikes. It wasn’t pretty or quick, but it did work.The Bolt-It-On system actually doesn’t bolt on. Nothing is permanently bolted to the trailer. The system starts with a beefy square-section bar (standard sizes ranging from 67 inches to 96 inches wide, and custom widths available) with holes in it. You order the bar to fit your trailer. All of the accessories required slide onto the bar, and they lock into the holes. Each part has a spring-loaded knob to pull up, and that allows it to be slid onto the bar and located. Releasing the knob locks it in place. Each system comes with at least one tiedown chock, tiedown loops, two triangular legs and two long hooks that are threaded on the opposite end. You position the triangular feet near each end of the bar, and they provide the stability for the system. Close to the feet should be a D-ring in the floor to attach the threaded hooks, too. Make sure the hooks are pulling straight. Threading the hooks tight plants the feet and the bar solidly. All that is left is to slide the various chocks and hooks to the optimum spot, lock them in and tie the bikes down. You may set the bar up to tie bikes to both sides. That was our plan, but there were no D-rings in a position to allow that in our trailer. Perhaps later we will add some, but for now the bar allows three bikes to tie easily, and four if you use a little care. When we get to the ride site, the bar is out in five minutes or less, carried easily by one person, and the floor space is all clear to set up the living space. Nice! We went to one ride with four bikes, but handed off one there. In 30 seconds the bar was configured for three bikes.
We have no complaints with the bar at all. It is on the pricey side, but the slide-lock components must be expensive to make compared to bolt-on or weld-on items. The system starts at $279, and our system would have been $359 for the three-bike setup plus two additional wheel chocks at $40 each and one additional extended wheel chock at $55. As it turned out we needed only the single extra extended chock until we mount new D-rings (Bolt-It-On also sells heavy-duty D-rings). The fact that the makeup of the bar is nearly endlessly variable is nice as well. Once we saw the weight the bar would hold, we climbed under the trailer to check the mounting of the stock D-rings. If we were planning on hauling street bikes or hitting rough roads, we’d make sure the D-rings were mounted to the frame rails under the trailer. The Gearbox D-rings are screwed into the frame rails, but we’d want them bolted for max confidence.The Bolt-It-On is a strong, good-looking product that is a genuine no-tools install for any trailer that doesn’t need the D-rings mounted/remounted. And it carries bikes in close proximity while keeping them from touching. Basically, doing just what it is supposed to do. We used the bar in a toy-hauler type trailer, but it could easily work for enclosed cargo, utility and flatbed trailers. -Karel Kramer