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Carrying Bikes on a Class B

| Updated May 13, 2014

We have a long history of bicycling – including bicycle camping – so we naturally wanted a way to transport our bicycles on our Roadtrek. We could open the rear door and roll them down the aisle. We did that once with our tandem, but it makes it difficult to use anything in the Roadtrek with bicycles inside.  Although we own more bikes that either of us care to admit, we only needed to carry two at a time.  And if we took our tandem, the aisle would be the solution.

Mountain bikes on Stowaway2
Mountain bikes on Stowaway2

We installed a hitch receiver and in 2009 purchased a nice Stowaway2 Swingaway Cargo Carrier and Bike Rack.  It is pictured at the left with our mountain bikes on the rack.  It would swing out of the way far enough to completely open the rear door. The silver box shown was custom made to carry a Honda EU2000i generator and the generator could be run inside the box.  Our Roadtrek was not originally equipped with an Onan generator.  The Honda is a great generator, but using it was not at all convenient.  We eventually installed an Onan – that is a very long story – but we are happy with the outcome.

Cargo Box
Cargo Box took the place of bike rack

The swingaway bike rack worked well, but in 2010 we decided to purchase the Max Cargo Box to handle the oversize stuff we wanted to bring on trips.  There seemed to be many happy users of the Stowaway2 Max Cargo Box on the Yahoo Roadtrek email list (including Campskunk).  It seemed we were often needing extra space for kites or caving gear.  Now we had a problem of what to do with the bikes.

Receiver bolted to bumbper
Receiver bolted to bumbper
Front Bike Rack Empty (Medium)
XPort Rack with strap for support

We saw a Roadtrek in Gulf Shores, Alabama with a rack on the front, and that seemed like a reasonable solution.  We had a Reese 2 inch hitch receiver bolted to the front bumper.  With an extra strap for bracing, it was sturdy enough for a bike rack.  Notice that the rack arm has a rise to it.  If it had been straight it would have carried the bikes too low.

Red Rover with Good Bikes (Medium)
Road bikes on the front

Next we needed a more versatile bike rack than the Stowaway2 version.  We had a variety of bikes we wanted to take at different times.  The mountain bikes or the road bikes or the folding bikes.  We like the folding bikes for casual riding and we don't fret over their safety and security like our more expensive bikes.  Some racks just don't work well for some types of bikes.  After looking at a lot of rack styles, we concluded that the best solution would be a rack that the wheels sat in, and then a clamp was lowered down on the bike frame.  That style of rack could handle the folders and the mountain bikes as well as the road bikes.  At a visit to the local Performance Bike Shop found a sale in progress and we got a XPort rack (now called Transit) that held 2 bikes.  It folds up when not in use.  The wheel holders fit all the wheel sizes we have and are easy to adjust to fit the different wheelbases of our bikes.

Folders 3 (Medium)
Downtube Nova, Dahon Speed 7, Dahon Speed Pro

We worry about transporting our bikes outside any vehicle.  We would rather not subject them to the weather and the risk of being stolen.  So if bicycling is not the major focus of our trip we take the folding bikes.  They are much easier to replace if stolen or damaged.  And they are great campground bikes and are fine for rides of under 15 miles.  The more upright position is great for sightseeing, but not so good for covering miles.

Folding bikes on front
Downtube folding bikes on front

We have both Dahon and Downtube brands.  We actually prefer the cheaper Downtube for our Roadtrek travels.  Small wheel bikes tend to have touchier handling characteristics compared to normal size wheels.  But this varies with the frame design.  The Downtube Nova had a more stable ride than either of our Dahons, which is great for casual riding.  The folding bikes have the advantage of being easy to put inside the camper for ferry crossings and other occasions the extra length is a problem.  It is easy to throw the bikes on the front for a trip and not worry about them.  If you want a folder that fits inside the camper, you will probably want to look at 16″ wheel folding bikes.  But the good ones, like the Brompton, are really expensive.

If you want to transport valuable bikes out of the weather, Let's Go Aero has bike mounting kits for their giant GearSpace 34 telescoping cargo carrier.  It just might be big enough to carry everything you want on the back!  Just be careful your don't exceed your weight limits.  Happy Bicycling!

Mike Wendland

Published on 2014-05-13

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

4 Responses to “Carrying Bikes on a Class B”

September 16, 2015at2:08 pm, Kiki said:

How do you carry the bikes on your new ETrek? Our RV people are very hesitant to bolt a hitch to the front of our (aluminum frame) ETrek.

May 13, 2014at11:19 pm, Lawrence said:

We love this blog. Mike has assembled a great team of “Roadtreking Reporters.” Love your how-tos Roger and Lynn. We have a 2008 210P and look forward to hearing about your mods. This blog is our first and last read of the day. There’s so much here for everyone, not just Roadtrekers!

May 13, 2014at9:59 pm, Lynn said:

Ron & Carolyn,
They do get some bugs on them, especially the first bike. But the road grime they pick it is really not any different than any outside bike rack. A paper towel and some 409 clean them up quickly. We do cover the leather seats on the good bikes, And we would likely get one of those covers for the drive train that bike mail order places sell if we often took the good bikes. Of course rain means you need to lube things more often, but that is true front or rear.

May 13, 2014at7:40 pm, Ron and Carolyn said:

This is very helpful, Roger and Lynn. But don’t those front racked bikes get pretty grimy and covered with squished bugs???

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