Do it yourself RV has picked up my article on the Swagman RV-Approved Bike Rack for publication. This post is designed to accompany that article. Do it yourself RV has published a few of my other articles and partnered with us to get the word out about different things that will help protect consumers by getting the most value for the dollar. Here is a link to that article. Do-It-Yourself-RV-Bike-Rack
The internet has rules (who knew)
Even though I have authored both articles, savvy internet people have told me that having the same article in two places is bad. So this article is different than the article hosted by Do It Yourself RV. To get the full story you need to read both.
This bike rack is strong
To get my point across take a look at the following picture. I am standing on the bike rack.
Because of the motion of the RV going down the road, even though the bikes weigh much less than I do, bikes can stress the rack more than I did when standing on it. I included all the details in the companion article. Maybe this article is the cliffs-notes version. One thing I am going to share in both places is don’t attach any bike rack to a trailer bumper. This will fail quickly.
I get to use some of the same photos in both articles but this article has more photos.
This bike rack is not a folding bike rack by design. Some of the bike racks I have included at the end of this article fold. I didn’t need a folding bike rack and things that move also add weak points prone to failure. The only part that folds is the upper support hooks and in the above picture, it is in the folded position. I may try folding this upper support arm when loading the bikes just to make it a little easier.
On the back of our RV
We travel with the bikes positioned between the RV and our tow car. When we travel and when we are parked the bikes are covered. We could travel with them attached to the car, but then they stick out even further and they would have to be uncovered.
Between the RV and the car
We position our bikes for travel (and storage) on our bike rack on the back of our RV. So when traveling, they ride between the RV and the car.
This is the first time I successfully installed and used the Swagman RV-Approved Bike Rack. My first attempt failed. Sadly I had to switch back to the old rack so I could solve the problem.
My failed attempt then success
I would love to tell you that the bike rack switch was easy and quick. For me, the transition wasn’t as easy as I had hoped. The bike rack is a huge step up in quality. The failure had nothing to do with the bike rack. It is quality from end to end. The failure was a compatibility issue with how I use the bike rack. As I explain how I overcame the compatibility issues I will show a couple of pictures so that you can understand why my old bike rack didn’t have these problems.
Double hitch receiver
The bikes ride on the upper part of our double hitch receiver and the distance between the lower receiver and the upper receiver was insufficient to both use the Swagman RV-Approved Bike Rack and the Roadmaster tow arms.
Not tall enough
I couldn’t use my old double hitch receiver because it wasn’t tall enough. I used a framing square for this picture as a substitute for the bike rack. (Not all RVers carry a framing square, but I do.) I didn’t have enough room between the two receivers of the double hitch. There was plenty of room to use the tow arms but there wasn’t enough room to stow the tow arms.
If you want more information about our towing setup you can check it out at this link. How to tow – what we tow
Fresh out of the box
Bolt through connection
In the following picture, you can see our old bike rack and double receiver hitch assembly.
Robust doesn’t mean unlimited weight
I don’t know how much weight my bike rack will carry. As a test, I put one of my friend’s extra-long cruiser Pedego Ebikes on the rack. Because the wheelbase was much longer than my mountain bike’s wheelbase I could only put one of the bikes on the carrier. Since his one bike also weighs twice the weight of my mountain bikes (heavy Wal-Mart mountain bikes). I think one of these extra heavy cargo e-bikes bikes might be the limit.
Links to items mentioned and used in this install
Two-inch hitch receiver
To use the bike rack on the car we had to install a two-inch hitch receiver. This made it easy to move the bike rack from the RV to the car when we wanted to take the bikes with us without moving the RV. This isn’t the exact two-inch hitch we used but it is close and strong enough to support our bikes. e-trailer Trailer Hitch Receiver 2″ for a Subaru Forester. You will need a hitch to match your car. Subaru Forester 2-Inch Receiver
Dual Hitch Receiver
If it were in stock at the time I was looking for a new drop hitch (sadly it was not) I would have chosen the Roadmaster Dual Hitch Receiver Adapter. My current drop receiver is not a full ten inches. This would have made everything a little better. Roadmaster dual hitch receiver 10″ Drop/Rise
On the lower receiver, we use the Roadmaster Falcon All Terrain, Non-Binding Tow Bar. This has proved flawless in towing our Subaru behind our RV. Falcon All Terrain
Swagman RV Approved Bike Rack
The bike rack we chose was the Swagman Dispatch Bike Rack for 2 Bikes for all RVs Swagman Dispatch Bike Rack
Swagman E-Spec Bike Rack
An even more robust (and ) more expensive RV Approved bike rack is the Swagman E-Spec Bike Rack for 2 Electric Bikes Swagman E-Spec Bike Rack
Swagman Escapee Bike Rack
Another good (more expensive) bike rack for RVs is the Swagman Escapee Bike Rack for 2 Bikes. This bike rack verticle hooks hold the wheels rather than the frame making it suitable for carbon frame bikes. Swagman Escapee Bike Rack
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