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Old 10-31-2013, 10:05 PM   #1
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Need help carrying a bicycle

I have a Coachmen Freelander 30 QB Class C. It's about 30'6" long. I'd like to carry a bicycle and a small motorcycle and I've been puzzling out methods to do this but haven't yet found what I consider to be a really good solution.

I've seen a trailer hitch mountable carrier that will hold my bicycle and motorcycle, but it adds 4' in length to the rear of vehicle which I'd really rather not do and it might be too much weight for my hitch anyway. I purchased a bike rack that hangs from the roof ladder thinking I might be able to keep the motorcycle on a trailer hitch carrier while hanging my bicycle from the ladder, but my ladder is so far to the side of the vehicle that my bicycle sticks out past the side of the RV a good distance which is something else I wish to avoid, especially on a RV that's 100" wide to begin with.

I think I've seen a photo of a bicycle on the front of an RV but recall reading there can be issues with blocking the headlights or turn signals, etc.

I'm wondering if anybody has faced the same problems and solved them, or if anybody has any ideas I might consider.

Thanks much!
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Old 11-01-2013, 12:13 AM   #2
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Utility trailer?
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Old 11-01-2013, 12:31 AM   #3
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Taking bicycle

We are able to lay our bicycle on the bed for travel. Very cost effective. Just have a good lock for when you are at the campground.
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Old 11-01-2013, 12:32 AM   #4
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Utility trailer?
I should have said I don't want to tow anything. If I was going to do that I'd tow a car. I'm new to RVing and the thought of being 45' long front to rear isn't something I want to do. Plus, the longer I get the fewer places I can go.
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Old 11-01-2013, 12:39 AM   #5
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A reminder that many Class C motorhomes have limited CCC cargo carrying capacity. When you add weight behind the rear bumper, you are actually placing more weight, than that of the object, on the rear axle. In turn, you are taking weight off the front axle.
Folding bikes have always been a nice option for RVers.
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Old 11-01-2013, 07:27 AM   #6
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They're spendy, but there's a company that makes a heart duty cargo rack for motorcycles with a twist, they have caster wheels that carry most of the weight.

The big advantage is the caster wheels allow you to back up without jack-knifing since it stays directly behind you.

There's also a front wheel carrier motorcycle rack, you only carry the front tire, the back wheel runs on the ground, it acts like a trailer.
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Old 11-01-2013, 02:29 PM   #7
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A reminder that many Class C motorhomes have limited CCC cargo carrying capacity. When you add weight behind the rear bumper, you are actually placing more weight, than that of the object, on the rear axle. In turn, you are taking weight off the front axle.
Folding bikes have always been a nice option for RVers.
Good points.

Maybe if I change bicycles instead of carriers I can make the ladder carrier I have now work.
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Old 11-01-2013, 04:06 PM   #8
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They're spendy, but there's a company that makes a heart duty cargo rack for motorcycles with a twist, they have caster wheels that carry most of the weight.

The big advantage is the caster wheels allow you to back up without jack-knifing since it stays directly behind you.

There's also a front wheel carrier motorcycle rack, you only carry the front tire, the back wheel runs on the ground, it acts like a trailer.
That carrier with "caster wheels". Is that essentially a trailer? Do you have any additional info on this?

Ideally I'd like something that doesn't add any more length to my rig than the width of the motorcycle's handlebars plus a few inches. It would also be nice if the carrier was quickly easily removed and installed by one person. This would make getting into shorter parking spaces easier than a carrier that is difficult to remove or one that is heavy.

I've seen a couple carriers at discountramps.com/carriers.htm. The AMC-400 which has a ramp for the motorcycle, and the 410ACR which tilts and onto which it may be easier to load a motorcycle. They are $129 and $299 respectively. I've also seen one on Amazon for as little as $85. Cost is less a factor, however, than convenience, function and weight.
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Old 11-01-2013, 10:11 PM   #9
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You haven't said what kind of motorcycle or the weight. There are narrower and even foldable handlebars for motorcycles that might come in handy to accommodate a tighter fit.

I have also seen bicycle racks that hang the bike "standing out" from the vehicle. So it would be sticking out from the back but wouldn't be too wide.
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Old 11-01-2013, 11:19 PM   #10
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You haven't said what kind of motorcycle or the weight. There are narrower and even foldable handlebars for motorcycles that might come in handy to accommodate a tighter fit. I have also seen bicycle racks that hang the bike "standing out" from the vehicle. So it would be sticking out from the back but wouldn't be too wide.
I'm looking at a little Yamaha XT250 which weighs 291# gassed up.

Folding handlebars? Whooda thunk it? On your suggestion I spent about 10 minutes Googling around but couldn't find any for motorcycles :( That said, I'm not sure the width of the bars will be an issue. I don't know exactly how wide they are, however. They've gotta be the widest part of the bike, I'm sure.

I'm don't understand what you mean about the bicycle rack. Standing out?
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Old 11-01-2013, 11:23 PM   #11
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I'm looking at a little Yamaha XT250 which weighs 291# gassed up.

Folding handlebars? Whooda thunk it? On your suggestion I spent about 10 minutes Googling around but couldn't find any for motorcycles :( That said, I'm not sure the width of the bars will be an issue. I don't know exactly how wide they are, however. They've gotta be the widest part of the bike, I'm sure.

I'm don't understand what you mean about the bicycle rack. Standing out?
Imagine the wheels touching the rear of the vehicle as if the bike was riding up the back...
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Old 11-02-2013, 07:29 AM   #12
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That carrier with "caster wheels". Is that essentially a trailer? Do you have any additional info on this? Ideally I'd like something that doesn't add any more length to my rig than the width of the motorcycle's handlebars plus a few inches. It would also be nice if the carrier was quickly easily removed and installed by one person. This would make getting into shorter parking spaces easier than a carrier that is difficult to remove or one that is heavy. I've seen a couple carriers at discountramps.com/carriers.htm. The AMC-400 which has a ramp for the motorcycle, and the 410ACR which tilts and onto which it may be easier to load a motorcycle. They are $129 and $299 respectively. I've also seen one on Amazon for as little as $85. Cost is less a factor, however, than convenience, function and weight.
First off, given your rig, putting even a small ~300 pound bike on a carrier that is completely hitch-mounted is not an option. It will put too much weight on the rear axle because of the amount of rear overhang. Those carriers are intended for a larger Class A unit with a more robust rear suspension and shorter tail overhang. Here's the one like I was talking about. The closer to that tail wheel you put the bike, the less weight that the motorhome carries. http://www.cruiserlift.com/swivelwheel46.html
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Old 11-02-2013, 01:59 PM   #13
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First off, given your rig, putting even a small ~300 pound bike on a carrier that is completely hitch-mounted is not an option. It will put too much weight on the rear axle because of the amount of rear overhang. Those carriers are intended for a larger Class A unit with a more robust rear suspension and shorter tail overhang. Here's the one like I was talking about. The closer to that tail wheel you put the bike, the less weight that the motorhome carries. SWIVELWHEEL-46
Cool. Thanks for going to the trouble of posting that image for me, as well as your thoughts about the weight of a motorcycle on the back of my rig!

On the latter point, prior to my post I had corresponded Ron Ross who is the tech that answers questions sent to Coachmen. He seemed to think I'd be fine adding 400 pounds on my hitch in the form of a motorcycle and carrier. I'd written to him:
"A question about trailer hitch tongue weight: if, for example, I put a motorcycle carrier weighing 100 pounds with a 300 pound motorcycle on a hitch with a 500 lb. tongue weight rating will I be OK? You see, my concern is that if I hit a bump the downward force of the carrier and motorcycle might momentarily surpass the stated 500 pound limit even though they weigh only 400 pounds combined. When hitch ratings are published do they include calculations that account for going over bumps and the increased forces so generated?" Mr. Ross replied, in part: "the hitch receiver, in this scenario, should hold up fine."

Now, while weight on the axle was not discussed what Mr. Ross had to say would seem to make sense from the standpoint that my rig was supplied by Coachmen with a Class III hitch with a 500 pound tongue weight rating. If it was unsafe to provide the vehicle with a hitch of that capacity I would be very surprised that Coachmen would do so. Putting a carrier and motorcycle on the hitch weighing 400 pounds or less would be well within that limit. So, unless I were to load my rig beyond it's capacity in other regards--gross vehicle weight rating, gross axle weight rating--I think I should be OK. Am I wrong? I do very much appreciate that you pointed out the significance of placing a load behind the axle as it hadn't really occurred to me.

I looked at the swivelwheel you mentioned. I can see its advantages. On the other hand, even the smallest one would add something like 5' to the length of my rig. This would reduce the number of campsites available to me. Of course, removing the trailer would shorten my rig, but it would have to be put somewhere, and such space may not be available. A small hitch mounted motorcycle carrier could easily be slid under the rig and shouldn't take too long to remove and install if the right one is selected.

Thanks again!
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Old 11-02-2013, 09:11 PM   #14
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A couple of points, first off, the parking isn't an issue, per se. The rack folds up vertically once in the bike is off of it. It only adds a little bit.

Second, the axle weight is an easy calc to do.;
Measure center of front wheel to center of back wheel (wheelbase, in inches, we'll call this "A").
Then measure center of back wheel to end of hitch (overhang, we'll call this "B").
Now, add weight of bike and rack (call it 400 lb. for this example, we'll call this "C").
Then add the wheelbase ("A") to the overhang ("B") and get "D".
Now, multiple ("C") times ("D") to get "E".
Now take "E" and divide by "A".

That number is the weight in pounds that is added to the rear axle.
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