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Mod #22: Bike Rack

Posted By Mark Corgan On June 26, 2008 @ 6:03 am In exterior | 21 Comments

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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