Swagman RV Approved Bike Rack

Swagman RV-Approved Bike Rack

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.

I didn't do this as a test but rather as a proof of what I already knew.  This bike rack is strong.
I didn’t do this as a test but rather as proof of what I already knew. This bike rack is strong.

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.

Construction

I get to use some of the same photos in both articles but this article has more photos.

Every part of the bike rack that you see in this picture is made of steel except the wheel straps.
Every part of the bike rack that you see in this picture is made of steel except the wheel straps.

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.

This is what our bike rack looks like just before we attach the car to the Roadmaster tow arms. In this picture, the bikes are ready to go.
This is what our bike rack looks like just before we attach the car to the Roadmaster tow arms. In this picture, the bikes are ready to go.

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.

Here is a picture of the bikes on the rack between our RV and the car. (The last two pictures were of my old bike rack but this still illustrates the layout.)
Here is a picture of the bikes on the rack between our RV and the car. (The last two pictures were of my old bike rack but this still illustrates the layout.)
Here I have attached the bikes to the bicycle rack (Swagman RV-Approved Bike Rack) but have not yet installed the covers on the bikes or finished installing the red electrical cord which is currently laying on the ground.
Here I have attached the bikes to the bicycle rack (Swagman RV-Approved Bike Rack) but have not yet installed the covers on the bikes or finished installing the red electrical cord which is currently laying on the ground.

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.

This is a picture of our old bike rack that is made out of 1 1/4 steel tubing.
This is a picture of our old bike rack installed in the upper slot of the double hitch receiver. Notice the bend in the 1.25-inch tubing just as the tube exits the upper receiver. The bend allows for extra clearance between the bike rack and the tow bars. This bend also creates a weak point at the location of maximum stress… not good.

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.

In this picture, the Roadmaster Falcon All Terrain Tow Bar is in the stowed position. The result was I had to buy a new taller double hitch to go with my new bike rack.
In this picture, the Roadmaster Falcon All Terrain Tow Bar is in the stowed position. The result was I had to buy a new taller double hitch to go with my new bike rack.
Here is my finished configuration with my taller double hitch receiver. It made all the difference in the world in terms of success.
Here is my finished configuration with my taller double hitch receiver. It made all the difference in the world in terms of success.

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

After removing the Swagman RV-Approved Bike Rack from the box I had to do a little pre-assembly In this picture the parts are all laid out with the packing plastic removed.
After removing the Swagman RV-Approved Bike Rack from the box I had to do a little pre-assembly In this picture the parts are all laid out with the packing plastic removed. At the top of the picture, you can see the tire cradles. At the bottom of the picture is the support bracing.
Our car with the bike rack installed carrying our bikes. Yes, the bikes stick out slightly on both sides of the car. This doesn't happen on the back of the RV.
Our car with the bike rack installed carrying our bikes. Yes, the bikes stick out slightly on both sides of the car. This doesn’t happen on the back of the RV.

Bolt through connection

In the following picture, you can see our old bike rack and double receiver hitch assembly.

This plate and U bolt with these large nuts on the top prevent movement between the bike rack and the hitch receiver.
This plate and U bolt with these large nuts on the top prevent movement between the bike rack and the hitch receiver. Our new Swagman bike rack doesn’t need this bandaid to make it work. Plus to use it on the car I don’t have to remove the clamp. This makes the swap from the RV to the car much faster.

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.

Pedego cargo e-bike installed on the back of our car. I don't know how much it weighs but since I lifted it I know it is really heavy.
Pedego cargo e-bike installed on the back of our car. I don’t know how much it weighs but since I lifted it I know it is really heavy.

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

e-trailer Trailer Hitch Receiver
e-trailer Trailer Hitch 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

Roadmaster Dual Hitch Receiver Adapter
Roadmaster Dual Hitch Receiver Adapter

Tow Bar

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

Roadmaster Falcon All Terrain, Non-Binding Tow Bar
Roadmaster Falcon All Terrain, Non-Binding Tow Bar

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 Dispatch Bike Rack
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 E-Spec Bike Rack for 2 Electric Bikes
Swagman E-Spec Bike Rack for 2 Electric Bikes

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

Swagman Escapee Bike Rack
Swagman Escapee Bike Rack

About the links

The links above are freely provided. We do not get income or commissions. No, we don’t make paid endorsements.  We don’t make recommendations but instead, we will tell you what we like (or dislike).

Just like the rest of the stuff on our blog, we hope that it helps you and are so happy you find these articles worth your time. Thanks

1 thought on “Swagman RV-Approved Bike Rack”

  1. This cleared up lots of questions that I had about how to set up a bike rack on the back of the RV including what to look for in a good bike rack. Thanks

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