One of the best things about owning an RV is never having to settle down. Any and all towns can be home once you hit the brakes. That does lead to one particular challenge of life on the road, however: how to get around once you’ve parked your rig. Unless you’re really into the toad (slang for the vehicle you tow behind your RV) life or have the means for a toy hauler, the answer might look like choosing the best RV bike rack for your rig.
Overall, bicycles are by far the lowest maintenance and most affordable second vehicle to enhance RV living. As a result, RV bike rack set-ups are a common sight on highways across America— including the occasional overloaded rack that has you nervously looking for a safe place to pass ahead before something can come loose.
Choosing the Best Bike Rack for Your RV
Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to find a bike rack for your RV that keeps several bikes safe and secure and doesn’t turn bike loading into a head-scratcher is a gem. With an eye on ease of installation, ease of use and capacity, here’s what to look for as you start your search for the perfect way to carry a few extra wheels on your rig:
Ease of Use
Getting your bicycle on and off the rack without undue frustration or harm to yourself or your vehicle is, arguably, the key feature you want to look for when picking out a bike rack for your RV. Any product that requires gymnastics is a deal breaker.
Look for features that simplify the process of taking bikes on and off the rack, like sitting at a manageable height, or give you peace of mind day-to-day, like built-in security features. Other help you avoid taking the rack on and off your vehicle unless you really need to.
The Inno Aero Light 2 hitch rack, for example, has an easily-accessible foot pedal that tilts the bike rack post post so you can access the trunk while the rack is still on your hitch. It also features a pull down lever that collapses the folding arms that cradle your bikes in case you need to get them out of the way.
Ease of Installation
Installing a bike rack for something simple enough that, like the saying goes, a child could do it— like the INNO Aero Light 2. Kisatchie Bayou camper Paul W. noted that the process of putting the rack on their car was simple enough his eight year old helped out.
That model is a hitch-mount bike rack. That’s pretty ideal for many types of RVs, many of which may be too tall for roof-mounted bike racks. Unless you’re planning on bringing your RV bike rack in addition to a toad, a hitch mount is an excellent way to make use of available space. And fortunately, many hitch-mount bike racks are as easy to install as the Aero Light series, since they don’t require much lifting or wrangling with your vehicle’s trunk or cross bars.
There are different types of hitch-mount bike racks to choose from, too. Either vertical hang or tire-hold bike racks comes in capacities anywhere from one to four bicycles, meaning you can easily bring along the whole family’s gear on your RV bike rack.
Vertical hang bike racks hold your bicycle by the tubes, gently supporting it on the sturdiest part of the frame. Tire-hold style bike racks, on the other hand, have trays to support your bike’s wheels and tires and u-shaped frames to steady the rest of your bike. Which you choose depends mostly on what type of bike you have, how far you are traveling, and how you personally prefer to load your bike.
Some prefer vertical hang bike racks for dual suspension bikes without adapters, for example. Others prefer tire-hold bike racks because they secure your bike without touching the frame or forks. That makes them a good fit (pun intended) for carbon frames, bikes with large forks, and 27.5″ semi fat bikes. If you don’t have specialty cycling gear, however, which you choose comes down to what type of RV you’re driving and personal preference.
With these three guidelines in mind, you can more easily narrow down what the best type of RV bike rack would be most compatible with your rig, your gear, and your adventure style. If you’re driving long distances regularly, for example, you might prefer a tire-hold bike rack to avoid the vibrations rubbing the paint on your bike tubes.
If you have an RV style, however, that necessitates accessing the back of your rig, however, the tilt feature of the INNO vertical hang bike racks might be appealing. It all depends on where you want to go and what you plan on doing once you arrive.