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Old 08-17-2012, 04:23 PM   #1
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Bicycle carriers

Last fall when my wife and I bought our new Coachmen Apex 18.9 FBS we had a hitch receiver attached to the bumper with the intention of using it for a bike rack so we can bring our bikes with us when going out camping. Yesterday I bought a hitch mointed bike rack (a good one a Thule Vertex). Today I was reading the instructions, which by the way I do not always do, and see very clearly that it says DO NOT USE ON A TRAILER OR OTHER TOWED VEHICLE. I called Thule and spoke to their customer support. The guy I spoke with talked about extra sway on the back of a towed vehicle and that they do not recommend using it that way. Now that he has said that I see that no manufacturer recommends use of a hitch mounted rack on the bumper. Does anyone have experience with a hitch mounted bike rack on the bumper of their trailer? Is the rack manufacturer just doing a CYA or is there a real concern? What alternatives are there? I know there are roof mounted racks but it appears cumbersome and potentially dangerous to the finish of my car to be putting bikes on top.
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Old 08-17-2012, 04:36 PM   #2
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Last fall when my wife and I bought our new Coachmen Apex 18.9 FBS we had a hitch receiver attached to the bumper with the intention of using it for a bike rack so we can bring our bikes with us when going out camping. Yesterday I bought a hitch mointed bike rack (a good one a Thule Vertex). Today I was reading the instructions, which by the way I do not always do, and see very clearly that it says DO NOT USE ON A TRAILER OR OTHER TOWED VEHICLE. I called Thule and spoke to their customer support. The guy I spoke with talked about extra sway on the back of a towed vehicle and that they do not recommend using it that way. Now that he has said that I see that no manufacturer recommends use of a hitch mounted rack on the bumper. Does anyone have experience with a hitch mounted bike rack on the bumper of their trailer? Is the rack manufacturer just doing a CYA or is there a real concern? What alternatives are there? I know there are roof mounted racks but it appears cumbersome and potentially dangerous to the finish of my car to be putting bikes on top.
The bumpers and frame are not strong enough to support the rack and the bouncing bikes. Pull the front wheels and build a rack to put them inside.
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Old 08-17-2012, 04:36 PM   #3
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I had Thule bike rack on my car roof top for years and never damaged the paint...I am short so I just pulled the car to the curb and gained a few inches of height to lift them up to secure in place. I loved my Thule bike rack! Now I have an SUV and too tall to lift up, so I got cargo carrier (that fits it the receiver) to carry the bikes. Now if I take the trailer, the bikes would just go on my gear deck.

I have seen those dual receivers and wondered how they would work for pulling the trailer and carrying bikes...my guess is it would all depend on the tongue weight your rig is capable of carrying safely? Or put them inside?
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Old 08-17-2012, 07:58 PM   #4
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if you did a search on "bike racks", on any RV forums, you'd find that it is NOT recommended for any ultra-lite trailer's bumper or frame. your Apex is an ultra-lite.

travel trailers don't have shocks, therefore the bikes will bounce up and back, putting stresses on the cheap welded bumpers.

if you have a receiver welded and braced to the frame and bumper, you void the frame warranty.

non-ultralite trailers have much stronger and thicker frames so you can do this much easier and safer.
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Old 08-17-2012, 08:05 PM   #5
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X2. The forces (from the rack bouncing) on the back of a trailer will cause damage to "most" trailer's bumpers and/or frames. As Bikendan said, some 5ers and even some non-ultra-lite trailers with stronger frames can do this. They'll even offer the option sometimes for a rack on the back.

Handbuilder, those dual receivers might work for you with your trailer. They limit the tongue weight, as you thought, so it's wise to do your homework before you buy one.
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Old 08-17-2012, 08:18 PM   #6
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I installed a hitch receiver on the front of our truck. I used to haul our bikes on the back of our trailer. Although I never had any problems doing this the thing that bothered me is that I could never see the bikes while traveling. Never knew if they were still there. Being in the front of the truck is much better now. I can keep an eye on them as we travel down the road. The receiver was a no drill and quite easy to install.
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Old 08-18-2012, 02:27 PM   #7
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Bike Racks

Thanks to all who responded to my plea. I am now looking at the swagman that actually fits between the car and the trailer. Seems very secure and because my trailer is so light and bikes are also I think it is a good alternative. FYI roof top racks from both Thule and Yakima are back ordered until at least mid-September.
Everyone who responded has been so helpful and I have learned more about bike racks in the last 24 hours than I knew there was to learn...not bad for an old man.
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Old 08-18-2012, 04:47 PM   #8
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I am now looking at the swagman that actually fits between the car and the trailer. Seems very secure and because my trailer is so light and bikes are also I think it is a good alternative.
i looked at that and couldn't use it with my WDH.
not sure if it can be used on any WDH, just a regular stinger shank when towing light things, like a boat trailer.
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Old 08-19-2012, 01:40 PM   #9
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I hope it works with WHD

I do not have the rack...i ordered one though. I seems like it would fit and work. The demo was you remove the hitchball and slide the rack over the bar. I'm thinking it should work if I slide it on the bar and then slide the hitch, bike rack and all, into the receiver. I have a couple of inches off room there which should be enough. The rack appears to ride high enough that the bikes should not interfere with the installation or operation of the weight distribution or sway hardware. Hope so anyway. I do love camping and do so hope that all this comes together so we can bring our bikes along on the many cool trips we have planned.
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Old 08-20-2012, 10:15 PM   #10
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To use a hike mounted bike rack on the back of the trailer you need a hitch that is welded to the frame. Those bolt on receivers would work if the bumper was strong enough which it not. The swagman bike rack is the only one i found and use that states it is guaranteed for use on the back of a trailer.
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Old 08-20-2012, 10:26 PM   #11
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To use a hike mounted bike rack on the back of the trailer you need a hitch that is welded to the frame. Those bolt on receivers would work if the bumper was strong enough which it not. The swagman bike rack is the only one i found and use that states it is guaranteed for use on the back of a trailer.
welding a receiver to the frame, will void the frame's warranty. if yours is expired, then go for it.
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Old 08-20-2012, 10:48 PM   #12
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You guys wouldn't believe the amount of bike racks I saw at the campground we stayed at last weekend, mine being one of them. I'd say 1/2 of the 136 campsites had one. Not saying it's right or wrong, nor did I inspect to see how they were mounted, but they are used that way alot.
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Old 08-21-2012, 01:35 AM   #13
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I bought a 2 inch receiver adapter for a 4" bumper at Campers World - why would they sell them if you can't put one on your TT?

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Old 08-21-2012, 02:30 AM   #14
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I bought a 2 inch receiver adapter for a 4" bumper at Campers World - why would they sell them if you can't put one on your TT?
because the frames/bumpers are different between regular trailers and ultra-light trailers. have you looked at the weight differences between regular trailers/5th wheels and their ultra-light cousins? part of that is due to the heavier frame/bumper.

CW isn't responsible if you decided to put one of those on a poorly-welded bumper on an ultra-light trailer.
they are selling those to be installed on the right RV.

even bike rack manufacturers advise against putting a bike rack on the back of a trailer. only Swagman makes one recommended for that.
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Old 08-21-2012, 03:19 AM   #15
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My folks used this rig for thier bikes for a couple of years. I don't know much about it, but the lightweight WDH worked fine with it (we installed bags to level TV after this shot was taken). Not sure it would work in your case.

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Old 08-21-2012, 06:59 AM   #16
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I find it funny that sometimes people come here looking for validation of their ideas; yet when conflicting opinions are presented spend many posts trying to convince the person that their idea is OK.

We won't be the ones having to deal with frame damage or the insurance company when your bike carrier, and bikes, departs the camper and causes a crash or worse.

Without shocks, the bouncing of anything back there will act as a lever arm all the way forward to the rear axle attachment points. Broken bumper welds will be the least of your worries.

NOT RECOMMENDED - leave them in or ON the truck or inside the camper during travel. You, of course, can do as you please.
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Old 08-21-2012, 07:02 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by herk7769
I find it funny that sometimes people come here looking for validation of their ideas; yet when conflicting opinions are presented spend many posts trying to convince the person that their idea is OK.

We won't be the ones having to deal with frame damage or the insurance company when your bike carrier, and bikes, departs the camper and causes a crash or worse.

Without shocks, the bouncing of anything back there will act as a lever arm all the way forward to the rear axle attachment points. Broken bumper welds will be the least of your worries.

NOT RECOMMENDED - leave them in or ON the truck or inside the camper during travel. You, of course, can do as you please.
I feel the same.
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Old 08-21-2012, 07:33 AM   #18
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Anyone follow a travel trailer or 5th wheel down the road with bikes hanging on the back ?? It is not a pretty sight. I either drop way back, or get around them as quickly as I can. I don't want to be back there when those puppies end up in the road.

On our most recent trip, we spotted a trailer that had bikes on a rear carrier that were strapped to the travel trailer. Those bikes were still swinging wildly, even with the straps. It was a section of rough interstate, but travelers have to be prepared for those type of roads.

As others have stated, the best place for bikes are on the inside or the tongue of the camper, or on/in the tow vehicle.
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Old 08-21-2012, 07:38 AM   #19
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Anyone follow a travel trailer or 5th wheel down the road with bikes hanging on the back ?? It is not a pretty sight. I either drop way back, or get around them as quickly as I can. I don't want to be back there when those puppies end up in the road.

On our most recent trip, we spotted a trailer that had bikes on a rear carrier that were strapped to the travel trailer. Those bikes were still swinging wildly, even with the straps. It was a section of rough interstate, but travelers have to be prepared for those type of roads.

As others have stated, the best place for bikes are on the inside or the tongue of the camper, or on/in the tow vehicle.
Just passed one the other day.......
Was driving alone so no video arggggg.
I WILL get one on video !
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Old 08-21-2012, 09:22 AM   #20
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I agree unless your tailer came with a frame mounted hitch don't hang bikes off the rear bumper. Talk to your deal if it is okay to install one on your trailer they will let you know. If they say yes have them do it not to void the warranty.
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