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Old 05-23-2016, 03:32 PM   #1
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Question about bike racks

Well, I've had my RV trailer for about 7 months now, and I'm kicking myself for some of the options I declined when I ordered it. If I had to do it all over again, it would have nearly every option listed, including the 2nd AC and the cargo tray on the rear bumper for bikes.

But since I don't have the cargo tray, I'm curious about these bumper attached bike-racks (with the U-bolts to hold them onto the bumper).

Anyone have experience with these? My questions:

1. How many bikes can you put on one before you have to worry about weight?

2. Are they very secure? Looking at how they're attached, seems like they would wiggle off maybe over time?

3. I already have a 5-bicycle rack that goes into a 2" hitch receiver. Would it be better/cheaper to just have a 2" hitch reciever welded to the frame? What are the pro's and con's of doing this?

4. Any other options I should consider?
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Old 05-23-2016, 04:11 PM   #2
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I'm glad I'm not the only one with an option regret! I got my 284BHBE with a bunch of options, but I kind of regret not getting the cargo tray. From everywhere I've looked, it seems like using the back bumper for bike/cargo is a no go because of the structural limits of the bumper. I have read on another thread that the jayco cargo tray isn't that great either, but it doesn't look that bad to me. I was thinking about looking to see if any of these are the factory option and if I could install it myself https://store.lci1.com/products/stor...acks-receivers If not, I'll probably have a 2" receiver welded on and just use a rack I already have... Please update if you find something that works!
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Old 05-23-2016, 04:21 PM   #3
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Let me reassure you that passing on the Cargo Tray accessory was NOT a bad move. I had it, didn't like it at all, and ultimately uninstalled it an gave it away for a case of beer. IF you have a bike or two it might be workable, add 3 or 4 bikes and it was a mess. It was like a Tetris game to fit them, No good way to secure them once they were on the rack and it didn't extend far enough away to keep them from hitting the rear of the TT while traveling. I have plenty of dents to prove it too.

Welding a 2" receiver is the way to go. I used a local custom hitch shop to fabricate a frame to frame supported 2" receiver that has been bullet proof. It cost me ~$300, very well spent $300. Now I have the receiver I can use any of the hitch accessory bike racks and cargo trays I want with no concern.

The bumper bolt on accessory is ill advised. While you will find some folks who use it, and I have a camping friend using one, those bumpers are just not stout enough to withstand the dynamic forces applied when bikes or cargo trays are used.
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Old 05-23-2016, 04:29 PM   #4
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General advice is to NEVER use your bumper (or ladder, if your RV has one) to hold a bike rack. Many, many people have had their bumpers rip off while going down the road. Sure, some get away with it as they may have extra strong bumpers - but in general, just don't.

Curt, among others, makes an aftermarket Class Two receiver that can be installed. It appears to be what Jayco installed at the factory for my fifth. The downside is that the receiver is only rated for a max of 300 lbs of weight on it (towing of 3,000 lbs), so you can't go too crazy adding on things.

Note also that virtually every bike rack mfg. specifically states that their racks are never to be used on a trailer. Sometimes it is in the fine print of the manual and/or warranty, not otherwise noted. There are only a couple of specific mfgs that do rate theirs for trailer use, and they only do so for a couple of models. Swagman is one.

Depending on the receiver, you may have to use an extension to get the bike rack back far enough to prevent bikes from hitting the rear of the trailer. This can add wiggle, so you need to find "anti-rattle" devices to clamp everything tight and prevent the parts from moving.

Finally - your bikes will be very far back from the rear wheels of the trailer. Much further than when used on a passenger vehicle. This means every bump is magnified by a huge amount. That up and down pounding can take its toll. (Hence why the rack mfg's tell you not to use their racks on a trailer.) (and why bumpers rip off!). Bikes mounted in a hanging rack, will therefore also be banging around a lot more, so look for ones that hold by the wheels.

A five bike rack seems to just be asking for big trouble - lots of weight, sticking back even further. Look into getting an approved two bike rack for your new receiver. Then look at the solutions out there for mounting additional bikes on the tongue of your trailer, or on the front of your tow vehicle. Or look at cargo trays, to see if any of them may accommodate the bikes - but watch the total weight, including the tray.
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Old 05-23-2016, 05:38 PM   #5
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I had a fabrication shop cut off the original bumper of my 2012 26BH. He welded on a 1/8 " thick steel bumper and also reinforced the cross member frame of the trailer. He then cut a hole thru the center of the bumper, put the receiver unit thru and up against the frame in the back behind the bumper. Welded the receiver to the bumper and to the reinforced frame. He then Welded an eye between the receiver and the frame. We carried 5 bikes with no problem. Now, we have a 28BHBE that came with a receiver bolted to the frame. Our modified 5 bike rack fits this also.
We use 2 straps, 1 to keep the bikes on the bike rack and the other to keep the bike rack from having too much weight at the front.
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Old 05-23-2016, 06:42 PM   #6
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Lots of good input here, thanks all.

Sounds like I need to start looking for plan C...
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Old 05-25-2016, 12:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clubhouse View Post
Let me reassure you that passing on the Cargo Tray accessory was NOT a bad move. I had it, didn't like it at all, and ultimately uninstalled it an gave it away for a case of beer. IF you have a bike or two it might be workable, add 3 or 4 bikes and it was a mess. It was like a Tetris game to fit them, No good way to secure them once they were on the rack and it didn't extend far enough away to keep them from hitting the rear of the TT while traveling. I have plenty of dents to prove it too.

Welding a 2" receiver is the way to go. I used a local custom hitch shop to fabricate a frame to frame supported 2" receiver that has been bullet proof. It cost me ~$300, very well spent $300. Now I have the receiver I can use any of the hitch accessory bike racks and cargo trays I want with no concern.
I second Clubhouse. Having ordered the bike tray, it is sturdy enough but there is no quick and efficient way to stop the bikes from moving around. I use a bunch of cut up styrofoam pool noodles with zipties to protect the bikes at every spot they could rub which is a PIA. The rack is okay for hauling firewood etc. but does not work very well as a bike rack.

At the top of my priority list this year is to install a 2 inch receiver and get a good quality rack so that upon arrival at our destination I can remove it from the trailer and put it on the truck to make it easier to transport bikes to go biking in the vicinity of where we are camping or get dropped off to do some one way rides back to the camper. A proper bike rack would make loading bikes so much quicker and more secure.

If anybody has photos of what they had welded up as a receiver or even the stock receiver on the new Jaycos it would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-25-2016, 01:30 PM   #8
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What are you putting in your truck bed? Do you have a cap?
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Old 05-25-2016, 01:39 PM   #9
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x2 on the comment about ensuring a bike rack is RV rated. I ordered a 5 bike rack from Thule a few years ago that now sits in my shop gathering dust because it isn't RV rated and I'm not willing to risk wrecking my RV and/or 5 bikes.
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Old 05-25-2016, 01:50 PM   #10
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Another option...

Order a set of safety struts from www.mount-n-lock.com

I installed a set three years ago and have been running a two position Swagman Dispatch rack (RV rated) ever since. For the bumper to come off now .... it would have to shear the metal struts.

I agree that welding a custom hitch is the ideal solution. But for those that can't afford that option ... is is a pretty darn good "Plan B".

Pic is of one strut on my Eagle 5'er.






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