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Unconcealed Carry: How to Take Your Bikes When RVing

| Updated Jun 23, 2015

Many Class B RV travelers enjoy taking their bicycles or motorcycles along with them while they travel. It is rather easy to bring your bikes if you have set up to carry them safely. The chief safety issue is weight. Most bicycles weigh under 30 pounds, so carrying two on the rear or front is straightforward. If you have a 2-inch hitch receiver on the rear of your rig, there are several bike carriers that work well.

It will pay you to do an Internet search for “bicycle racks” to investigate the many available models. When you narrow down the selection, visit your local bike shop to see carriers first hand. Rear carriers can hold up to four bikes. Don't worry about the cantilevered weight on a rear hitch receiver — most will carry several hundred pounds, provided the hitch is properly bolted to the vehicle's frame.

Cargo BoxOur 1995 Dodge Roadtrek 190 Popular was an unusual case. Our local U-Haul dealer who installs Reece hitches said he could not fit one because a “basement” storage compartment blocked access to the frame members. Our nearby RV dealer said “no problem.” They sawed off the end of the storage compartment, moved the end piece in a few inches, bolted it on an sealed the new joints with silicone sealant. Then they bolted on the standard hitch receiver into the frame and wired the rear lights into the tail light circuit with a pigtail standard trailer plug. We could now carry any of the many bike carriers. But we bought a SwingAway box instead. It fitted into the new hitch receiver and its electric plug matched the pigtail plug that powered the rear turn, stop, and tail lights built into the cargo box.

The cargo box was for taking along bulky items — cave exploring equipment and clothes, kits, dog supplies, outdoor furniture, awnings, and ground rugs. (Mike bought a SwingAway box for the same reasons, but didn't need it when he got a new larger Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL with more storage space.)

But we still wanted to carry along two bicycles! The idea of a rear cargo box AND a rear bike rack haunted us — imagine six feet of stuff cantilevered off the rear end of your camper. You'd need a fireman on top to steer the rig around corners, like a long fire ladder tower truck.

Folders on FrontBack to the Internet search for bike racks and to RV supply catalogs. We found a Receiver Adapter in an RV parts catalog. It has a hitch receiver welded onto a flat steel plate. Four holes 3/8-inch in diameter in each corner of the plate made it mountable. We took it to our RV dealer and they bolted it to the front bumper assembly. “Don't put a lot of weight in it,” they warned. They said it would hold a bike rack.

We purchased an Xport folding rack (from Performance Bike Shop) that fit into the front receiver. The capacity of the rack is two bikes of any size (not tandems). Our campground folding bikes are shown, but mountain bikes and road bikes fit. The bikes ride below the windshield so there's no forward view obstruction nor do bikes block the headlights or radiator. We added a nylon ratcheting cargo strap to steady the carrier's vertical stem– it hooks into two hood braces beneath the hood of our camper.

Motorcycle on RTHow about motorcycles? Friends of ours solved that one by using their 1999 Roadtrek Versatile 200 to haul a cargo trailer containing two dirt bikes. They used those bikes on their annual trip to the southwest. We saw one of the sturdiest looking motorcycle carriers on a late model Roadtrek 190 Versatile. It carried a Honda motorcycle on a carrier specifically designed for Class B and larger RVs. It was made by Komo Creation.

There were dual 2-inch hitch receivers supporting sturdy steel wheel supports. One of those supports could be hooked onto the end of the bike support serving a roll-on roll-off ramp. We asked whether the extra weight on the rear affected the handling. The owner said, “No difference.” The owner and his wife take the motorcycle to run errands to the grocery and on sightseeing excursions away from their camper. They had started in Quebec, we talked with them in Salisbury, MD. They were headed for Key West, FL. Komo makes a wide variety of other carriers, too.

Once again, if you think you want to carry bikes, do your homework on the Internet, talk to suppliers, and read your vehicle's manual to learn its weight-carrying capacity. On some Class Bs you may be at or near the safe weight limit and maybe have to leave your diesel motortrike at home. Or you can buy a toy hauler and take your vintage steam thrashing tractor with you.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2015-06-23

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 “Unconcealed Carry: How to Take Your Bikes When RVing”

July 23, 2015at12:12 pm, Marjorie King said:

You must have been reading my mind–I noticed the front-mount bike rack on one of your other posts. Glad to have the details. We will give it a try. We are always using the rear-view camera to check on our bicycles when we travel!

June 30, 2015at3:29 pm, Gary Anderson said:

We pull a small trailer when we take the Motorcycle. Its a Droptail Trailer that folds up for storage in my garage. It will carry 2 full dressed Harley’s. I only carry one so I added 2 fork mounts to the bed of the trailer and another 2″ receiver hitch to the rear of it. We fork mount our bicycles on the trailer on either side of the Harley and then take our Thule bicycle rack on the rear of the trailer for when we drop the trailer and still want to drive somewhere with the bicycles.

June 23, 2015at6:13 pm, Mike Wendland said:

Post a picture, Sandy!

June 23, 2015at5:33 pm, Sandy Moran said:

We just bought a Komo carrier in Quebec and it’s perfect. We traded the stowaway! The Komo carries our two inflatable kayaks, Jims kick boat for fly fishing along with all his fishing equipment,our two full size foldable bikes,our Coleman table grill,our leveling blocks and all of our electric/water hookups for camping and lastly our two campground chairs,all under 225 lbs. we love that the doors open out and we still have the swing away option to be able to get in and out of the back doors. They are a great company!

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