Mod #22: Bike Rack

Mod #22: Bike Rack

Submitted on: 06/26/08

     Category: exterior
Mod Rating: 12345

(57 ratings)

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Mod Description:

If you have an SUV as a tow vehicle or tow a 5th wheel, you’re probably looking for an easy way to haul your bikes. And you’re in luck. There are many options for transporting bikes on 5th wheels, travel trailers, and tent trailers. There is the over-the-spare-tire rack, the ladder-mount, the traditional bumper/receiver mount, and the non-traditional a-frame tongue mount. All are good in their own right as long as you understand their limitations.

Mod Difficulty:

Many stories abound on whether or not it is even safe to install a bike rack on a towable RV. Some say the bumper-mounted racks will bounce too much, break the welds on the bumper, and send the bikes flying in to traffic behind you. Others will simply say that they have never had any problems for years.

If you’re going to use the bumper-mounted rack, the trick is to ensure that the square tube bumper is of sufficient thickness and is welded correctly to the frame of the RV. Many bumpers are very thin and are poorly welded. This is fine for its intended purpose of sewer hose storage but not necessarily for a bike rack. A rack with more than two bikes on it can create a lot of twisting leverage on the bumper, fatiguing the welds over time, eventually resulting in weld failure. If in doubt, have a professional welder beef up the welds and reinforce the bumper. This holds true with the “over-the-spare-tire” bike rack as well since the bumper is probably not designed to handle more than the spare tire weight.

The ladder mount is an easy way to transport a few lightweight bikes. Most ladders are rated for upwards of 250 pounds, which can accommodate most humans and pretty much any two bikes, provided they are secured where they cannot bounce. Like the bumper/receiver mount rack, it’s the bouncing that can cause ladder detachment and/or structure failure.

For travel trailers, a really great way to mount a bike rack is on the tongue. There are purpose-built racks that mount to each side of the a-frame and place the bike carrier above the propane tanks. They are quite solid and take the worry out of transporting your bikes since you can easily keep an eye on them from the rear view mirror. The only downside is that the bikes are a little harder to secure on the rack since the rack sits up fairly high. You might need a hand hefting them up there.

Tent trailers provide an even more secure way to transport bikes. Rack mounts made for cars can be bolted to the roof of the tent trailer and up to four bikes can be hauled this way. Since the racks are built for total mounting security, this is the ultimate way for tent trailer owners to carry their bikes.

TipTransporting your bikes on your RV can subject them to road grime and bug splats. Get yourself some bike covers. There are general purpose covers and custom fit types and they will do wonders for keeping the gunk off your bikes.


ModMyRV recommends these parts for this mod:
Pro Rac Systems Inc. Tent Trailer 4 - Bike Carrier
X-Country 2 Bike RV Bike Rack
Swagman RV Bumper Bike Rack Adapter (2-Inch)
TopLine Ladder Mounted Bike Rack for Round/Square Step Ladders
Swagman Ladder Rack Bike Cover
Swagman Hitch Mount Bike Cover

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21 Comments For This Mod

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  1. samlaura1998

    one thing i didn’t see mentioned was one of those hitches that goes on the front of the truck. i know you were talking about carrying bikes on the trailer but i thought i should mention that i saw a bike rack mounted there and thought it was a great idea.

  2. lsgyger

    I’d love to find one of the racks for over the propane bottles. I’ve run a search every way I know how on Google and can’t find the rack. Who makes the one in the picture?

  3. ModMyRV

    If the picture you are referring to is the travel trailer then try here:

    http://www.toppoprails.com/Traveltrailer.htm

    If it is the popup, then try here:

    http://popuptimes.com/store/page4.html

    Happy modding!

  4. lake

    I have a rack on the back of my 5er, I am thinking of putting it on the front of my truck.I blieve this would save the bikes from all that beating on the back.

  5. fncampn

    I use a front-mounted receiver/hitch on my F350. Not for bikes, but to haul my generator. At 150 lbs., it’s not so easy to get in to the back of the truck. Besides, that’s where my bikes go. ;)

  6. lake

    I am going to try a front mount on my next trip in mid August. Mine or on the back of my 5er and I don’t like them there.

  7. ModMyRV

    I found and added to this mod a few more pictures of a custom tongue mounted bike rack from a mod done by RV.net member MaddogBC. You can see his mods here:

    http://photoshare.shaw.ca/view/13006334697-1208018208-47772/

  8. MaddogBC

    Nice Racks!

  9. ModMyRV

    Ha! I get that a lot. ;)

  10. Bob Vaughn

    I tow my TT with a pickup….I have a roll and lock cover on my bed so I chose the Yakima bike rack that goes on the bed rails…I have to lift the beach cruisers that we have into these tracks and the front wheel locks into holder then the back wheels can be cinched to the rails…there is a lock that attaches to the sprocket so no one can steal them…..When the bikes are not on the racks everybody asks me what those things are….

  11. ModMyRV

    Pictures Bob! We need pictures. You can’t just tease us like that.

  12. Bob Vaughn

    It is supposed to Monsoon tomorrow so it will will be monday before I can take a photo…I tried to down load a photo off the Yakima web site but it would not down load….

  13. Bob Vaughn

    I now have the photos so how do I post them….they are jpeg photos….

  14. Bob Vaughn

    Here is a link to the photos of the bike rack on the bed of my pickup truck
    http://community.webshots.com/album/570349064yTkXdA?vhost=community

  15. Bob Vaughn

    The beauty of this bike rack is it is locked to the bed rails of the truck but can be unlocked and removed in a few minutes. I have a roll n lock cover on my truck and will remove the bike rack when I want to haul something large…..I keep covered storage tubs inside the bed so nothing gets wet….

  16. Lynn

    WHat about a front mount bike rack for a Class A motorhome. I’ve seen them on buses. Do you have one like that?

  17. ModMyRV

    I’m sure this could be easily done. You would need a front-mounted receiver and a “standard” bike rack, like those you see on the backs of RVs and cars. The front-mounted hitch would likely have to be fabricated but it would be fairly easy for a competent welder to fab something up for you. Do you have a fabricator nearby you could ask to see what could be done to add a front-mounted receiver?

    Also, if you have a front-mounted generator in your A, the rack might pose a bit of a challenge as the generator would still need to be able to slide out. Just a thought.

  18. Brandon

    There also is a brand new system out on the market that holds the bikes up vertically (The owner is my neighbor so I thought I would give him a good comment on here). It is called Vert Rak. They are based in Grand Rapids, MI. They have RV bike racks that bolt directly to the 4″ bumper and allows you to leave your spare tire in place. They also have SUV racks that bolt directly into a 2″ receiver and a 2 place rack for a 1 1/2″ receiver. Vert Rak has 2,4,and 6 place racks. They are now only the second rack distributor in North America that has a 6 place rack. They are the first for an RV. These types of racks are SO nice because the bikes don’t touch each other, and have easy loading/unloading, as you do not have to disassemble any part of the bike. You simply put the tire in the top hoop, and strap it in, and then strap in the bottom tire. The owner of the company is very flexible, and will do any custom rack that you need for a great price. For example, right now he is working on a rack for a Hummer H3 that will hold two bikes, 3-4 golf bags, AND will fit over the Hummers spare tire. They have all different options for RV and SUV bike racks. Their website is http://www.vert-rak.com or you can call them at (616) 868-0011.

    PS- I am thoroughly enjoying my 6 place Vert Rak for my SUV. Absolutely wonderful.

    Here are pictures of the rack on FB.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Alto-MI/Vert-Rak/129115073781369

    Enjoy!

  19. mjleggo

    I noticed two different style A frame mounts in the pictures above for the Tongue mount but can only find the one style at top pop rails in canada. Has any foound sources other than the link above for different vendors? I have changed tow vehicles and need to figure this out before spring!

  20. Bruce Dean

    Another rack to add to your list is for families that use their pickup trucks to pull their trailers - RempRack’s Pickup Bike Rack puts 5 bicycles in only 3ft of truck bed space. Bikes are tight, secure, and compact — and right where you can see them. It takes up NO space when not in use.

  21. Ryan

    If you’re looking for the new site for the over the propane bottle rack (aka top pop rails) it’s:
    http://www.arvika.ca/index.php/us/

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