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Can You Put a Bike Rack on the Front of Your Truck?

Can You Put a Bike Rack on the Front of Your Truck?

One of the best things about RV travel can be bringing along your bike. But where should you put the bike rack?

Stashing a bike or two in your rig isn’t exactly a good or safe way to travel, and you might not have space on the back of your RV or car.

So can you put a bike rack on the front of your vehicle?

Let’s find out!

Is It Possible to Mount a Bike on the Front of Your Truck?

It’s absolutely possible to mount a bike, even multiple bikes, on the front of your truck or motorhome. The best way to do this is with a front-mounted trailer hitch. Just like the receiver hitch on the back of a vehicle, you can use a front-mounted hitch to mount a winch, tow bar, or bike rack.

The important question here isn’t if it’s possible or not, but whether it’s safe and legal.

Yes, it’s legal to mount bikes on the front of your truck with a bike rack. There are certain legalities to be aware of, though, as well as common-sense safety measures.

First, you need to install the hitch, bike rack, and bikes correctly and safely. This is both a legal issue and a safety issue. If you don’t install a bike rack or bikes properly, they could come loose and cause damage or injury to other drivers or pedestrians.

In most states, you can’t block the license plate with the rack or the bikes. That can be a difficult thing to accomplish. But even if it isn’t possible with the rack you chose, you can get an auxiliary plate to mount in a position where it’s visible. It’s also illegal in most states and unsafe if the bike rack and bikes block the view from the windshield. 

While you might be able to get away with blocking a license plate or partially blocking a windshield in one jurisdiction or another, it’s not a good idea, especially from a safety standpoint. Also, check the laws wherever you’re traveling if you have any doubts about the legality of your particular set-up.

Pro Tip: Blocking your license plate is never a good idea, but why is your license plate info necessary. We uncovered Can you Find a Vehicle Owner By License Plate?

Woman taking off a bicycle from the RV
You can legally hang your bike on the front of your RV, but make sure it does not block your view or license plate.

What to Look for in a Front-Mounted Bike Rack

One of the most important factors in a front-mounted bike rack is stability. You don’t want the bike rack or the bikes to swing around, which could cause damage to your vehicle or others. Let’s take a look at some other considerations.

Think About Your Total Weight

Putting a bike rack on a truck or car for everyday use is commonplace. It’s easy to overlook the total weight. When that same truck is pulling a travel trailer or fifth wheel or if you’re putting a bike rack on a motorhome, weight is a key consideration.

The more weight you add to your truck or motorhome, the more stress you put on its components. Consider the combined weight of the bike rack and the maximum number of bikes you might carry.

Keep in Mind: Different RV types and classes weigh different weights. Learn more about How Much Do RVs Weigh?

Woman riding bike on dirt road.
Remember, your bike will add extra weight to your total RV weight.

Pick a Rack That Sits Low

We’ve already mentioned the legalities and safety concerns for a front-mounted bike rack and bikes. It’s not legal to block your view, and it’s not safe. Use a bike rack that doesn’t impair the driver’s vision.

At the same time, don’t forget about how low the bikes might sit, especially the wheels. You need plenty of clearance, so the bikes don’t bottom out when going through a dip, snag on an otherwise navigable obstruction, or hit a parking curb.

Do Trucks Come with a Front Hitch?

Most trucks don’t come with a front hitch. It’s a rather common aftermarket item to purchase, as people use them not only for bike racks but also for a winch or tow bar. It’s a pretty easy and inexpensive addition to almost any truck or motorhome.

Challenges with Front-Mounted Bike Racks

You could encounter some challenges with your front-mounted bike rack. Let’s take a look.

Obscured Vision

It’s not legal to obscure the driver’s vision with a bike rack. This can be tough to assess without actually installing the bike rack and seeing how it sits.

If possible, try out the rack you intend to use on your vehicle before you buy it. This might not be easy to arrange. Unless you happen to know someone with the rack you’re interested in, one of the best ways to do this is to find a shop that installs and sells racks. They’ll be more likely to let you try before you buy than a big box store.

Your Bikes Will Be Covered in Bug Guts

It can be tough keeping your bikes clean when they ride in front. You know all of those bugs that splatter across your windshield while driving? Unfortunately, they’re now also going to splatter all over your bikes.

That means you’re in for a lot of cleaning before riding. You can get inexpensive bike covers for just about any size of bike. Some even cover multiple bikes. Secure it tightly, so it doesn’t obscure the driver’s vision or come flying off while driving. 

Bicycles mounted on an RV.
Consider if hanging your bicycles on the front or back of your RV will best fit your needs.

Hood Access Might Be Blocked

An important consideration is how often you need access under the hood of your vehicle. If you keep your bikes racked on the front of the vehicle, you can struggle to open up the hood and access things like the oil and other fluids.

Potential for an Overheated Engine

A bike rack and bikes in and of themselves aren’t likely to create enough air blockage to make your vehicle overheat. But if they’re heavy enough to put undue stress on your engine, as well as block airflow, overheating could become a real possibility.

This might become an even bigger issue if you don’t want to clean bug guts off your bikes. A bike cover can help with the bug issue. But the major drawback of a bike cover is that it can block airflow and potentially cause overheating.

Is Putting a Bike Rack on the Front of Your Truck a Good Idea?

Putting a bike rack on the front of your truck or motorhome can be a great idea, as long as you consider all the legal and safety issues. You can mitigate most of the safety concerns with simple fixes. But adding a bike rack might still sound daunting. Despite that, bringing along your bikes can mean more freedom and adventure no matter where you travel.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to your setup and needs. If the extra hassle is too much to manage, you might not want to go this route. However, if you’re willing to put in some extra work, you can bike in some incredible places along your RV journey. Have you ever used a bike rack on your RV?

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