Finding the best way to attach bikes to your RV is a challenge. You can’t just grab the rack from your car and hope for the best.
Bicycles aren’t cheap, so a safe connection is vital.
All of the options for carriers give us the spins. So hop on with us as we break down the easiest way to attach bikes to your RV.
Do You Need an RV Approved Rack to Attach Bikes to Your RV?
For folks used to transporting bikes on the top of an SUV or the back of a car, we’re sorry. You’ll need special equipment to bring your cycles along for the ride in your camper.
It’s not just about mounting points. There are other forces at work.
RVs are much larger vehicles than your traditional adventure mobile. Each bump on the road is magnified and can damage un-rated racks. As such, bike carriers designed for cars can’t handle the additional forces on your rig.
The last thing you want on vacation is to pull over and pick up the pieces. A toy hauler might be in your budget to solve the problem. However, most of us will make do with a traditional rack.
For RVers, we’ve got some specific tips and styles to go over. So strap in.
Can You Attach Bikes to the Back of Your RV?
Driving down the highway, it’s not uncommon to see a rig with several bicycles hanging on the ladder with bungee cords. Maybe that flies for some, but we love an approved way to attach bikes to an RV.
Not only does it look like a mess, but it’s not the safest route either.
A ladder-mounted rack is a quick and painless way to carry your two-wheeled transportation. Approved carriers are easy to install and can hold enough bikes for your whole brood.
Of course, you need a ladder on your rig first, but that’s a standard attachment.
Connecting to the rungs on your ladder, they’re also easy to load and unload. If you’re the type to clip in as soon as you set up camp, invest in a good brand. Camco, Swagman, Stromberg Carlson, and Surco all come highly rated. Issues with cheaper models can ruin your fun.
Here’s our favorite ladder-mount RV bike rack.
One of the more secure ways to attach bikes to your RV, bumper mounts are a popular option. By connecting to a 4×4 inch bumper, these racks will hold a lot of gear. And if you need your ladder clear or for lawn chairs, it’s a great way to go.
Most models attach to your bumper with bolts, so if you plan to leave the cycles out, it’s a good choice. You’re all set after you pair the rack with a lock and cover.
Swagman has several of our favorites. You’ll find two and four-mount options available.
Hitch Receiver Mount
This is another solid option for transporting cycles if you already have a receiver. A bonus with this style is the option to move from RV to SUV. Any vehicle with a hitch mount will accept them. For nomads, they’re a great option that’s easily removable.
Platform and mast are the two versions you’ll see on the market. The first style provides a stable, low-to-no-sway method of transporting your toys. The second has a mast that sticks up and allows them to hang. They’re both excellent choices for those wanting a convenient way to attach bikes to an RV.
Pro Tip: We compared different RV bike racks and uncovered which ones were Decent, Better, and Best.
Use a Hitch Riser to Attach Bikes to the Front of Your RV
Because of the height of many RV bumpers, a hitch riser is a good idea. This piece of equipment allows you to raise and lower your bike rack. Specially designed for trailer motorhomes, your bicycles sit between your vehicle and the camper.
Prepare yourself, though. It’s a pricey way to bring your alternate transportation.
Most models move bicycles off the rig and onto the A-frame tongue of the trailer. To make this seamless, you’ll want to ensure your tow vehicle can handle the extra 100 or so pounds. You’ll also have to be able to lift the cycle over your head to use the rack. Therefore, this is an excellent option if your ride is light.
How to Attach Bikes to Your Tow Vehicle
You don’t have to attach your bikes to your RV. The options are vast if you’d prefer to carry them on your tow vehicle. Especially if you’re leaving your rig at the campsite to explore trails, these ideas reign supreme.
Like a hitch riser, the extender adds to the shank of your receiver. Bikes sit outside of the vehicle, so you don’t have to waste storage area. They’re also not so high that you’ll have difficulty loading and unloading.
It’s important to note that the extender still requires a rack, which adds to the cost. And your towing capacity will drop because they add to your tongue weight. Because of this, many avoid this setup unless there aren’t other choices.
RV trailers can get heavy, and you may be over the limit if you attach bikes. If you’re concerned about reducing your tow weight, a front hitch might be for you. Adding a mount to the front of your tow vehicle isn’t a big issue. Things get dicey when you start thinking about visibility. Front mounts are convenient but can limit visibility if the cargo sits too high.
Another drawback is when you stop for gas or the night. Your ride is right out front, where it’s impossible to miss. Even with the proper locking mechanisms, it’s a gamble.
Even the simplest things get complicated if you try hard enough. Mounting your bikes on the roof of your tow vehicle is precisely this scenario. Before you can attach them, you’ll have to purchase the right roof rack system for your SUV. They’re easy enough to find, but the price tag isn’t anything to sneeze at.
The benefits of a roof rack setup include keeping space open in the bed or interior of your truck. You also won’t have to subtract weight from your overall towing capacity. The pros end here, however, because the cons stack high. At the top of the list are cost, the height of the rack, and how many bugs your wheels catch on the road.
Pro Tip: If you drive a truck, you will want to know Can You Put a Bike Rack on the Front of Your Truck?
Hit the Trails With Your Bikes in Tow
Bringing along two-wheeled transportation is a cheap and efficient way to get the most out of your adventures. Many parks have trails, and exploring small towns on your bicycle is one of life’s great pleasures.
With the right rack, you’ll be able to attach bikes to your RV with ease. All you need to do is find the system for your lifestyle and hit the road!
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