Choosing the Best Bike Rack: Four Different Types
There are several types of bike racks for campers, but not all of them are suitable for an RV. Four popular types that are suitable are hitch receiver racks, bumper racks, ladder racks, and front-mount racks. These four types can sometimes go by different names, but the names that we’ve listed indicate where the product will be attached to your RV. Here is a quick description of each one.
Hitch racks are, you guessed it….installed onto your hitch receiver. These are also easy to install and free of height restrictions. They do stick out a little more than trunk racks but not too excessively. These are one of the most popular bike racks for trailers. They can also be attached to a vehicle’s hitch receiver if you need your RV’s hitch to tow a vehicle.
Bumper RV bike racks are another of the most popular frames used for recreational vehicles. As the names suggests, this type will attach to the bumper of your RV. It must be a square bumper for the rack to work. You’ll also need to make sure your bumper is in good condition and that it is stable so it can support the bicycles and the mount.
Like the other racks, this one is straightforward to install. It sticks out a little more than hitch receiver racks, but not so much that it becomes awkward. If you get this type, keep in mind that it needs to be installed on a continuous-weld steel bumper.
One consideration when it comes to rear-mounted frames is to accommodate for the spare tire (if this is where your vehicle’s spare tire is located. There are several products available that will fit around the spare tire. Always do your homework and make sure to measure the area where you want to attach the mount and compare it against the product’s dimensions. The downside to this type is you won’t have easy access to your spare tire should you need it in an emergency.
If your RV has a ladder, you can use an RV ladder bike rack. Ladder bicycle mount are great for people who need to tow a vehicle behind their RV. Utilizing a ladder mount frees up the hitch as well as the bumper space so you can easily tow vehicles. They are also usually the cheapest type to purchase. Ladder racks aren’t generally as heavy-duty as the other racks, so you may not be able to carry as many bicycles.
Front-mount racks are less popular because they only work for Class C motorhomes. However, if you have a Class C and you like the idea of keeping your bicycles in view, you may like a front-mount rack.
Key Considerations When Buying an RV Mounted Bike Rack
Once you’ve picked your favorite type of bike rack, you can’t run into the store and just pick one based on price alone. There are quite a few features that you should consider before spending money travel trailer bike racks and then being disappointed in the purchase. We’ve listed some of the most important criteria and features below.
Number and Weight of Bicycles
The first thing you need to know how many bicycles you’ll be hauling. You need to get a rack that holds that number of bike frames. A good rule of thumb is not to get an RV bike rack with too many slots because you don’t want it to stick out more than it has to. If you only plan to haul two bikes, don’t go out and get a product that can hold five-plus bicycles.
Know the combined weight of all your bicycles before you begin shopping. The average weight of an adult bicycle is between 21 pounds and 29 pounds. RV Bike racks have weight limits, just like anything you use to haul items. Most models have a weight limit of 30 to 35 pounds per bicycle. If you get a product that can’t handle the weight of your bikes, you may find your bikes missing by the time you get to your destination.
With ladder racks, you also need to consider the weight limit of your ladder. In this case, you’ll have to add the weight of the frame along with the weight of the bicycles. The good news is that ladder racks are usually made from lightweight aluminum material and rarely weigh over ten pounds.
Bicycle Sizes and Shapes
You’ll want to consider whether your bicycles are the same sizes or different sizes. If they are different sizes, make sure you get a bike rack that can accommodate large bike sizes as well as small ones. You should also check your tire width and circumference since the accommodations for wheels widely vary from model to model.
One shape-related factor to check is the bars on the body of your bicycles. Are they straight or slanted? Some products don’t accommodate slanted bars, so you’ll have to check for this also.
While you’re checking the size of your bicycles, check the size of the bike racks. For hitch bike racks, the average slot size is 2″ x 2″. For a bumper rack, most bike racks fit a 4″-4.5″ square bumper. A ladder mounted bike rack can be slightly more versatile, but only slightly! Most ladder racks are designed to fit your standard-size RV ladder, which is about 11 inches wide, but you should still measure the ladder and rack width just to be on the safe side.
Another concern is the material that the travel trailer bike rack is made from. Most ladder bike racks will be made from aluminum, while most other bike racks will be made from steel. Keep in mind that aluminum is nowhere near as durable as steel, so don’t expect ladder racks to be able to handle heavy bikes. Also, powdered steel is better than painted steel because powdered steel fights against corrosion.
Now that you know what to look for in a bike rack, it’s time to browse. We’ve provided a list of seven great bikes to get you started on your search for the best RV bike rack. Keep reading to find out more about these fantastic bike racks we’ve selected for you.
Seven Best RV Bike Racks Reviewed
Rage Powersports Apex Bumper Bike Rack for RVs Model #BC4BM
We’ll start the list off strong with the Powersports Apex bike rack. It’s a bumper bicycle rack that fits average size bumpers of 4 to 4.5 inches. It’s made with painted black heavy-duty steel and can hold one to four bikes with a maximum weight limit of 35 pounds each (total 140 pounds).
The bike rack can accommodate bicycle wheel diameters up to 1.75 inches wide. The average bicycle tire width is about .9 inches – 1.18 inches for road bikes, so you’ll be able to accommodate these with no problem. We like the two 26.5-inch angled brackets to give the rack extra support when it’s full.
The rack weighs 35 pounds and measures 40″L x 20″W x 3″D. It would be lovely if the steel were powder-coated, but we can let that slide being that it’s an excellent quality rack.
- Extra support bars.
- Extremely sturdy.
- Straightforward installation.
- No straps included to hold bikes.
- Slots are too small for typical mountain bike tires.
Swagman Approved RV Ladder Rack
Most Lightweight Rack
If you’re looking for a good, lightweight, easy to use ladder mounted frame, this ingenious hook design is a great choice. At 5.32 pounds with only two ladder hooks to install, you could hook this up with one hand. You’ll have a great, sturdy bicycle mount while keeping your hitch free.
The rack holds two bikes at a maximum of 35 pounds each. It’s made of aluminum, which is good for resisting corrosion. This model measures 21″L x 8″W x 14D” so it will easily fit a standard RV ladder. With a full bicycle load, you’re looking at only a little over 75 pounds, so your RV should be able to handle this with ease.
The only change we would make to this is to make it a folding ladder mount. This way, when it’s time to store it, it won’t take up very much space. However, this isn’t a big deal, and it’s a great product.
- Great hook design.
- Comes with two straps for securing.
- Limited lifetime warranty.
- Foam on ladder absorbs vibrations.
- Bicycle clamps made of rubber – not highly durable.
- Clamps are a little too close together.
Quick Products RV Bumper-Mounted 2 Bikes Rack Model #QPRBM2R
Most Compact Option
Let’s start by saying that this product is one of the most compact bumper bike racks you’ll find for RVs. It measures 26.5″L x 23″W x 3″D. The more compact the product is, the easier it is to install and handle. The best part is that despite the smaller size, it’s still a great mount.
This model can hold two bikes up to 30 pounds each. It weighs just over 21 pounds, so you’re with a full bike load you’re looking at 81 pounds. The best feature of this model is that the platforms are adjustable so you can set it to the perfect length for your bikes. It would be nice to have some extra support bars at the bottom, but since it’s only a two bike mount, you can do without the extra bars.
- Powder-coated steel construction.
- Compact and easy to install.
- Very affordable.
- No extra support bars.
- Stabilizer post gets wobbly over time.
Yakima Roadtrip Hitch Bike Rack for RV
Most Heavy Duty
If you have heavier bikes, fat tires, or mountain bikes, or you simply want a top of the line product, the Yakima Roadtrip is perfect for any of these scenarios. This four-bike hitch mount can hold up to 160 pounds (40 pounds per bike) easily. The mount features an anti-sway design to minimize swaying and rattling while driving down the road.
The design and construction of the product is impeccable. It’s made from heavy-duty, powder-coated steel and features SuperCush ZipStrip™ cradles to hold your bikes in place securely. To sweeten the deal, Yakima offers a limited lifetime warranty for the model.
The product measures 28″L x 13″W x 41″H and only weighs 29 pounds (great for a hitch mount). We will admit this model is at the higher end of the price scale. However, it’s an excellent investment and most likely one that won’t need to be replaced anytime soon – if ever.
- Limited lifetime warranty.
- Powder-coated steel.
- Cradles are heavy-duty and won’t break easily like others.
- Must have additional tube top for bikes with slanted top bar.
- Very expensive.
Swagman Traveler XC2
Best Overall RV Bike Rack
We’ve named the Traveler XC2 as the most versatile because it can be used as either a 4.5″ continuous steel welded bumper or a 2″ x 2″ Class 3 hitch. The versatility makes it useful for attaching to either your RV or your vehicle.
This model holds two bikes at up to 35 pounds each. The unit itself weighs 39 pounds, so you’re looking at a maximum load of 109 pounds with this product. It’s made of heavy-duty steel with a powder coating, so you don’t have to worry about rust and corrosion.
The best feature of this model is the mechanical, push-button ratcheting hooks on the stabilizer posts. This makes it extremely easy to load and unload the bikes. It also provides extra security for keeping the bikes in place while traveling.
- Use on your bumper or hitch.
- Includes everything you need including extra adapters.
- Mechanical ratchet hooks are sturdy and supportive.
- Limited lifetime warranty.
- Easy access to your bikes
- Very expensive.
- Bike handlebar may scrape your window.
Swagman RV Approved Original 4 Hitch Bike Rack
Best Hitch Rack
If you need a four-bike hitch mount, the Swagman original hitch mounted bike rack continues to be one of the most popular choices around. Like all of Swagman’s products (not including ladder mounted models), the model is manufactured from high-quality, powder-coated steel. It also has that limited lifetime warranty so you can rest assured that your investment is protected.
The mount can hold up to a total of 140 pounds (35 pounds per bike) and measures 45″L x 19″W x 5″D. It weighs 33 pounds, so your total max load with bikes would be 173 pounds. The design of this product is impressive. It features a swedge design to make it easy to install/uninstall, and it has soft krayton foam to protect your bike bars from rubbing and scraping.
- Krayton foam fights against bike damage.
- Limited lifetime warranty.
- It’s incredibly sturdy.
- Needs a threaded hitch pin instead of standard (inconvenient).
- Sticks out of hitch a little more than others.
Camco RV Ladder Mount
Sometimes you just need something to hold your bikes. That’s where the Camco RV comes in. It’s cheap, it’s easy to use, and best of all, it works very well. Most budget products take a hit in the quality department, but the Camco is durable and secure if you don’t overdo it with the bike weight.
The two-bike rack can handle up to a maximum of 60 pounds (30 pounds per bike). Since it only weighs a little over eight pounds, your RV ladder bike mount can easily handle this load. The ladder mount will fit any standard RV ladder. It measures 23″L x 11″W x 3.7″D. It comes with extra straps to secure your bikes, and it also folds up for easy and convenient storage.
- Folds up for flat storage.
- Comes with secure locking pins.
- Quick and easy set-up.
- Built-in bar holders are soft and not as durable as we would like.
- Ladder may sway a bit as you drive.
Last update on 2021-02-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API