There’s no doubt about it. Traveling in an RV can be one of the most rewarding experiences, especially when you’re RVing with your family and loved ones. The opportunities to see unique places, visit stunning beaches and beautiful mountains, are just some of the adventures that await you. Having a bike to pedal your way through these paths is even more fun. Since the inside space in most RVs is limited, the perfect solution is to buy an RV bike rack to accommodate your bikes.
Selecting an RV bike rack involves finding the one that suits all your needs. The perfect bike rack would be compatible with your RV and your bikes should fit the bike rack as well. Thus, the key to finding the best fit is doing a thorough research, asking questions, and studying your own bikes. We know you’d rather prefer having fun in your RV than doing tons of research, that’s why we’ve done the hard task for you. In this article, we’ll be revealing everything you need to know when choosing an RV bike rack as well as some of the best one’s available today.
Choosing the Best Bike Rack for Your RV
The process of selecting a bike rack for your RV starts with knowing the requirements of your RV. Will you be mounting it in the front? How many bikes will you be carrying on your trips? If mounted at the front, won’t it affect your driving? Do bikes have similar styles and sizes? Will you be using them often or just occasionally? These are some of the questions that you’ll have to answer.
There are three styles of bike racks you’ll find in the market today. Each comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages and you’ll have to choose one depending on your requirements.
Bumper Mounted Racks
This type of bike rack is perfect for those who have a square bumper and are not traveling with more than one or two bikes. It can be easily adjusted so that your bike doesn’t serve as a restrictive factor when driving. You should, however, be aware that bumper mounted racks are mostly suited for RVs that are made with steel with a wield that spans the entire length of the bumper.
A bumper mounted rack also allows you to carry up to 2 or 4 bikes, allows for optimum strength and doesn’t require a lot of effort to install. It also makes accessibility easy for children or people who are shorter. Before choosing bumper mounted bike racks, be sure to consider the type of journey you’ll be embarking on, the road, the parking space, and how good your own driving skills are.
Ladder-Mounted Bike Racks
This is one of the easiest solutions to taking your bike with you during an RV trip. Just as its name suggests, the ladder mounted rack is fitted on the ladder at the rear of your RV. Your bikes, which can be up to two or more, are then held in place with their front tires facing vertically facing down. It provides a secure set-up for your bikes especially when you’re parking or when your RV hits obstacles on the road.
Ladder mounted bike racks are also quite fast and easy to install for those who have the upper body strength to fix it in place on the ladder. However, the biggest disadvantage is its height as kids and shorter people won’t be able to gain easy access to the bikes. Another disadvantage is that you need to have a ladder on your RV and for those who have a ladder, you’ll need to dismount it whenever you need to use the ladder for another purpose.
Hitch mounted racks are the best solution when it comes to RV and bike racks. It has a unique design and can easily accommodate up to 4 bikes. There are usually two styles; platform mount, or hanging. Your choice of hitch mount style will depend on your RV and your bike design. The biggest advantage of hitch mounted bike rack is its ability to fit easily with other vehicles. You can easily dismount them from your RV and transfer them to a truck or other vehicle. It can be very useful when you are using your RV to tow your car, the hitch can be detached from your RV and gotten onto the car with ease.
Now that you understand how to choose a bike rack that fits the requirements of your RV and bike styles, let’s look at some of the best RV bike racks available today.
Swagman RV Ladder Rack
We start with one of the most popular brands in this category, Swagman. Swagman is one of the top manufacturers of RV bikes racks and is trusted by many users. However, if your RV does not have a ladder or its ladder is on the side, then this is probably not the type of bike rack you’re looking for.
The Swagman RV Ladder Rack can accommodate up to two bikes, provided their individual weights are not more than 35 pounds. This simply means that the maximum load this rack is designed for is 70 pounds. It is also known to be lightweight and corrosion-resistant as it is made of aluminum.
The rack also has a unique hook design which makes installing it quite easily. When installing it, fit it on the top rung, so the tires of your bikes won’t be touching the ground when hung on the rack. The rack also comes with straps which allow you to secure the bikes after hanging them. This will ensure you enjoy your trip without the fear of your bikes falling off from the back.
As is the case with most Swagman products, the bike rack gives you peace of mind as it comes with a lifetime warranty.
Swagman Traveler XC2-RV 2 Bike Carrier
The name “Swagman” appears again on our list and with good reason. The brand is one of the best in the market, and all their products justify their dedication and have helped maintain their reputation. The Traveler XC2-RV 2 Bike Carrier is also one of the products that do this great job. We are not surprised though, this rack also has a limited lifetime warranty from the company.
The rack mounts on 4 – 4.5-inch bumpers which makes use of the bumper adaptor. It also works with a class III hitch receiver when it is not used with the bumper adaptor. Thus, it gives you more than one choice in terms of mounting. This may not seem as much, but it is very useful in cases when you need to use every single space available.
The Swagman Traveler can take up to two bikes, with a maximum designed load of 70 pounds. The rack mounts horizontally which means you won’t have to disengage the wheel. Because of this, the rack has a sliding wheel that can hold any wheel within 20 to 29 inches. It also has racket arms which can be adjusted to allow them to hold onto the bike.
Swagman 2-Bike RV Bumper Rack
This rack does exactly what its name says, and even more. It falls in our category of bumper-mounted racks and works perfectly with square bumpers with 4 – 4.5 inches. It installs around the bumper using a 6.5 and 8-inch long bolts. With a frame made from heavy-duty steel, it can handle and survive huge amounts of stress. It is also painted in black color and powder-coated which makes it corrosion-resistant. The bolts used to fasten it in place too are not left out as they are also made with heavy duty steel.
As you may have likely guessed, the Swagman 2-Bike RV Bumper Rack can carry up to two bikes, but individual weights of each must not be more than 30 pounds. It can accommodate just about any bike design, including mountain, road, hybrids bikes, and also bikes of different frames and wheel sizes. There is also an upright bar in the center which helps to prevent your bikes from falling during towing.
The cable lock provides additional support and helps to prevent wobbling. Considering its features and qualities, and comparing the price of this bike rack with others, the Swagman 2-Bike RV Bumper Rack is a steal.
Surco 501BR Ladder Mounted Bike Rack
Another top bike rack on our list is the Surco 501BR Ladder Mounted Bike Rack. Made from heavy gauge aluminum, it has a smooth feel due to the satin finish around its body. It is suitable for any van with a ladder that has a tube of at least 1-inch on it. It ensures the ladder is accessible without the need to unmount it every time. It can hold up to two bikes with ease and there are no exact limits for the maximum load, although you have to be careful the amount of load you hang on it. The rubber cradles on the rack allow you to securely fit in your bikes, with flexible rubber straps also available for you to hold them in place. Considering all the features it comes with, the Surco 501BR is a cheap bike rack.
Swagman Mighty Rack
Swagman has dominated our list of the best RV bike racks and another product on our list is the Swagman Mighty Rack. The Swagman Mighty Rack is the perfect choice for those who are interested in keeping their ladder on their RV. It does this in a simple, but ingenious way. The rack mounts around the spare of your RV and onto the bumper. Even when you don’t have a spare tire, you can still use the rack. You’ll only need to mount it straight onto the bumper.
The installation is quite straightforward too and only involves positioning it around your spare and then locking in the U-bolts around the bumper with a lock washer which keeps it from coming loose, and a nut. In case you need access to the spare, all you have to do is take out the pins that hold the upright bars of the bike rack and heave them off. You don’t need to be an expert to be able to hook it up, everything you need, including; bolts, U-bolts, nuts, washers, etc. are supplied with your purchase.
The rack can accommodate two bikes, each with a weight of 35 pounds – a total of 70 pounds maximum weight. The J-hooks supplied with the rack helps you to secure your bikes, and hold them down with the handles. If you don’t want to completely eliminate wobbling, just use the straps provided and tighten them around the frame.
Accessories to Complement Your Bike Rack
While your bike rack may have all the features you need, it can still fall short during certain periods. The weather, for example, can suddenly change and cause damage to your bike. Just as rain or mud stick to your RV, they can also cling to your bikes. One of the easiest solutions to this is the use of a bike cover. You can purchase a bike cover at a low cost and save your bikes from getting damaged. Most bike covers are big enough to accommodate two or more bicycles. If the safety of your bike is your major concern, you can purchase a lock and chain to secure each bike.
Pedal Your Way through Adventures
When it comes to carrying bikes along with you on your RV travels, bike racks make it a dauntless task. Whether it is a ladder mounted, bumper mounted, or hitch mounted bike rack, you have to decide depending on your needs. Be sure to check out the strength of your ladder, bumper, as well as other areas to ensure that they are safe for mounting.
As with any product, searching for the best takes a bit of time and requires some patience. We hope we have been able to shed some light into choosing bike racks to suit your purpose. Now, the adventures await you. Happy RVing!