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Old 08-31-2016, 12:36 PM   #1
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RV Bike Racks

I'm looking for a bicycle rack to put either on the rear hitch of a Class A motorhome, or a hitch on the toad. I see that most racks are not approved for use on RVs because of the extra swing force. For example, Thule customer service told me that none of theirs are approved.

There are a few brands like Swagman that are approved however. But even those brands don't have approved racks that allow the rack to fold down. I need it to fold so I can check the oil, etc in the rear engine compartment while the bikes are attached.

Does anyone have any recommendations on an RV approved, folding bike rack?

I've been looking at the Swagman Trailhead 4, which has an approved non-folding model or a folding unapproved model. Does anyone have the folding model? Can you recommend it? The lock pin for the fold down mechanism seems pretty substantial.
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Old 08-31-2016, 02:15 PM   #2
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I have to put an 12" extension between the receiver and my bike rack when it's on the coach to allow for the engine bay doors to open and to allow safe room to get the bikes on without dinging the coach. Extension is available at any auto parts, trailer or Harbor Freight store. Weird, my bike rack will not go into the receiver on the mh, so slightly too big, but it will go into the extension, which fits nicely in the mh receiver. Weird, maybe that's part of the "not recommended" thing you spoke of.
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Old 08-31-2016, 10:41 PM   #3
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I've seen the manufacturer's comments about racks not being approved for use on motor homes. I don't buy the whole "swing factor" explanation. "Swing factor" comes into play when making turns. I can say without hesitation that I put more stress on a rack when I'm driving my toad with the rack on the back than it will ever get on the back of my coach. I don't mind cornering with a little speed in my toad ... I learned that it's best to slow to a crawl when turning in the coach. Fast turns means drawers and cabinets fly open ... I creep around corners now.

That said - I'm convinced that the manufacturer's "not supported" claim is CYA on their part - not because there's a real difference in the forces applied to the rack when mounted to a coach. My bet is that they never really tested it. I have therefore elected to disregard their recommendation and use a hitch rack.

Our setup uses an "over and under" dual receiver setup - with the Sterling All Terrain tow bar used to "flat tow" our toad in the bottom receiver - and a Thule Vertex bike rack in the upper receiver. With the toad in tow, three bikes on the rack and the coach turning the tightest circle I can make - the bikes never come closer than 6 inches from any part of the Jeep.

The dual receiver extension is locked into the coach's receiver, the bike rack is locked to the dual receiver extension ... and the bikes are locked to the bike rack.

We've only used this setup on a couple of trips so far - but so far so good. I'll keep a close eye on the bike rack. According to the Thule documentation - the rack has a maximum capacity of 140 lbs worth of bikes. My heaviest load (which is 3 bikes) is less than 90 lbs - which is only 65% of it's stated capacity.
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Old 09-01-2016, 04:11 AM   #4
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Norman - I would tend to agree that it probably doesn't make a difference. But I just had a bike fly off my Thule rack at 70 mph on a highway in NJ causing about $200 in damage to my bike only (very fortunately not hitting anyone else). So I'm a little sensitive to this issue even though it may not have been due to this extra force. Regardless I'd like to do what i can to keep that risk to a minimum because I do a lot of traveling with 2-3 expensive bicycles.
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Old 09-01-2016, 04:57 AM   #5
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1upusa makes great racks that fold down so I can open road rear door with out removing my bikes. They are a wheel based rack so no bike damage either.
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Old 09-06-2016, 10:32 AM   #6
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These Iupusa racks are very expensive and heavy. I don't see any manufacturer information about being RV or tow vehicle approved either.
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Old 09-06-2016, 12:37 PM   #7
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We used a Thule T2 Classic to carry 4 bikes on the back of our toad for a trip to AK and back. The bike carrier was great to use and it did it's job, but it is noticeably worse for wear. It will definitely take some work, and maybe some parts, to tighten it back up.

We used a hanging type Thule on the back of a TT for a previous cross country trip. The trip just destroyed the rack. The parts to fix it were so expensive that I just disposed of it instead.

Conversely, we've had a rooftop T2 on our Excursion for 4 years. It is still like new. I don't pretend to understand the forces involved, but hanging off of the trailer hitch of a tt or a toad does seem to destroy a bike rack.
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Old 09-06-2016, 01:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EVO-Bob View Post
I'm looking for a bicycle rack to put either on the rear hitch of a Class A motorhome, or a hitch on the toad. I see that most racks are not approved for use on RVs because of the extra swing force. For example, Thule customer service told me that none of theirs are approved.

There are a few brands like Swagman that are approved however. But even those brands don't have approved racks that allow the rack to fold down. I need it to fold so I can check the oil, etc in the rear engine compartment while the bikes are attached.

Does anyone have any recommendations on an RV approved, folding bike rack?

I've been looking at the Swagman Trailhead 4, which has an approved non-folding model or a folding unapproved model. Does anyone have the folding model? Can you recommend it? The lock pin for the fold down mechanism seems pretty substantial.
Hi
Can you explain what they mean by not approved?
Are there implications about approved and not approved.
Who approves this stuff?
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Old 09-06-2016, 01:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EVO-Bob View Post
These Iupusa racks are very expensive and heavy. I don't see any manufacturer information about being RV or tow vehicle approved either.
For my multiple thousand dollar bikes I want sturdy, reliable, and easily foldable. I don't find them too too much more than other well built carriers that are functional and protect my bikes. Make sure your talking apples and apples.
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Old 09-06-2016, 01:48 PM   #10
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My take is not approved meaning Thule, Yakima etc do not spend the time testing their racks on every motorhome, it's just not realistic for them to test a rack on all the different RV's when you consider how few they sell.

No reason a rack that works on a car or SUV can't work in a RV. I have a Thule rack for my bicycles, I forget the model but it locks onto the tires, I do not like the kinds that mount to the top tube didn't scratching/damage to the frame.

If a bike falls off a rack at least 9 out of 10 times it was mounted to the rack wrong.

my rack does pivot however it would be a pit doing that with bikes on the rack. On my jeep the lever I push to lower it interferes with the spare tire thus if I need access to the back it's easier to just remove the rack. I am sure in the wranglers with the all season street tires (smaller size) it would work w/o and issues.
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Old 09-06-2016, 02:15 PM   #11
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Lightbulb Leverage

I think the reason that bike racks (and cargo boxes) are "not approved" for RV use is simple physics. The leverage caused by the rack and cargo weight on a hitch 11' behind the rear axle, versus the same weight only 2-3' behind the rear axle of a car or truck is significant.

Consider the increased effect of the weight on the end of the longer lever against the tongue weight rating of your RV hitch, which is probably no more than the rating for any other vehicle.

When the weight at the end of that long lever bounces up and down, it would be very easy to exceed hitch tongue weight ratings.
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Old 09-06-2016, 03:07 PM   #12
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Ok
I still don't see who is supposed to approve a rack!
I have a Jeep that I mounted a rack on. I found a rack and modified it to fit.
The reason I modified it, is because the rack that a a friend has on his is a THULE and it looks great when on the Jeep.
Put bikes on them and the sway left to right. So he made additional brackets and has all kinds of straps.
I have one bolt to hold the rack also a THULE on my Jeep. I get no sway or anything else. I modified it from THULE's horrible design.
Is mine approved? Yup! Who approved it? Me.

Anything an Engineer has Designed most times can be approved on.

On a more serious note:
Sounds to me like the manufacture is the one who does the approving on the subject of discussion!
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Old 09-06-2016, 04:22 PM   #13
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I have years and years of traveling with bikes on the Thule T2 hitch rack for races. (Actually have the forerunner to the Thule) It is the only hitch rack that I will use.

https://www.thule.com/en-us/us/bike-...9044-_-1689772

If you value your bike, you will use a platform rack, not a hanging rack. They are not only easier to use, they don't subject your bike to swinging & banging.

These racks are heavy but they work. There are a lot of stress forces present.

Who cares if they "approve" them for an RV or not. If you have a hitch that will support the weight (such as a 200lb tongue weight) then you will be okay with this rack.

Lock up your bikes with a good strong cable to at least delay the thieves in their efforts. But don't lock them up while you travel unless you have padding because the motion will leave marks on the frames, etc.
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Old 09-06-2016, 04:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasTom View Post
I have years and years of traveling with bikes on the Thule T2 hitch rack for races. (Actually have the forerunner to the Thule) It is the only hitch rack that I will use.

https://www.thule.com/en-us/us/bike-...9044-_-1689772

If you value your bike, you will use a platform rack, not a hanging rack. They are not only easier to use, they don't subject your bike to swinging & banging.

These racks are heavy but they work. There are a lot of stress forces present.

Who cares if they "approve" them for an RV or not. If you have a hitch that will support the weight (such as a 200lb tongue weight) then you will be okay with this rack.

Lock up your bikes with a good strong cable to at least delay the thieves in their efforts. But don't lock them up while you travel unless you have padding because the motion will leave marks on the frames, etc.
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