If you’ve been searching for the best RV bike rack to bolt onto the back of your van, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve tried and tested the best bike racks for RVs and are excited to share our findings with you in this ultimate buying guide!
While a good roof rack will allow you to carry some extra toys with you as you travel, a well-made RV bike rack allows you to explore the area, or just make a quick trip to the grocery store, without packing up the whole house.
While bikes don’t always make the list of best campervan accessories, any traveler will enjoy the convenience of bringing a road bike along on their next trip.
Adventurous RVers can access thousands of miles of pristine mountain biking trails from free campsites on most National Forest roads, or cruise along the campsite saying hey to the neighbors.
RV accessory providers have realized how much fun a bike can be, and have flooded the market full of all sorts of bike racks to make transporting your toys a bit easier.
While there are tons of pretenders on the market who simply seek to mimic the best in the business cheaply, there are a few RV bike racks truly worthy of transporting your bikes.
WHAT WE LIKE
THINGS TO CONSIDER
SWAGMAN 4 RV APPROVED
If you’ve invested serious cash into your bike, it’s worth spending the extra money to protect it in transport adequately. Any choice that potentially involves a few hundred bucks shouldn’t be taken lightly, so we’re here to help.
We’ve carried bikes across the country, and it taught us not to rely on any old piece of equipment when it comes to our toys.
Make sure to pack a helmet and read on to find out what the best RV bike racks on the market can bring to your next excursion.
The Best RV Bike Racks
Traveling thousands of miles with bikes strapped on the back of our RVs has taught us that little tweaks make a big difference in defining the best bike rack on the market.
Loads of different styles make up the RV bike rack industry, and while other articles may tell you go throw your bikes on top of your van roof racks, we know that’s not actually practical.
So we combed through hitch-mounted racks, bumper mounts, and ladder-mounted racks to get the whole picture.
For an RV bike rack to sit on this list, it combined ease of use, flexibility, weight capacity, compact storage, and affordability to fit adventures of all shapes and sizes.
Yakima Full Swing
Hauling bikes don’t have to block access to your trunk. This Yakima Full Swing hitch-mount bike rack can swing forward while keeping your bikes attached to give you easy access to your trunk, and the foldability of this model doesn’t stop there.
When not in use, the rack further compacts to take up even less space. Expect a simple 30-minute installation process to be the only thing between you and hauling bike frames of any size on your next adventure.
Everything is held together with Yakima’s signature ZipStrip cradles, which take locking down your bikes a step further.
While it may be a little crowded for four bikes up there even with the strips, these handy little straps last longer than their rubber predecessors and hold things down better.
Yakima has been producing the best RV bike racks on the market for years, and this hitch-mounted rack is a testament to their success.
- Provides easy access to trunk
- Reinforced ziplock support
- Powder coated
- Higher price
- Tight to hold 4 bikes
While Thule may be an unknown brand in the RV world, any passionate cyclist will be the first to tell you; when it comes to transporting bikes, Thule is the best in the business.
The company isn’t afraid of branching out and recently released the incredible Thule Range hitch bike rack specifically designed for RVs.
It packs a four bike capacity into your hitch mount that provides the anti-sway cabling that holds down your road bikes.
Pay special attention to bike size if electing for these racks, as they won’t fit most modern mountain bikes.
Other commonly used frame styles have a new RV-approved hitch-mounted rack to choose from, one that promises to ship with heavy-duty support designed to last the decade.
The only reason Thule’s RV bike racks aren’t higher on our list is fit troubles and the high price point, but if a few things line up just right, Thule might have the mounted racks just for you.
- Powder coated
- Very reputable brand
- Reinforced bike straps
- Won’t fit a mountain bike
The pizzazz of the Swagman XC2 has always been a crowd favorite. Proving you don’t need to charge an arm or a leg to protect your bikes, this hitch bike rack is made out of alloy steel with top and bottom supports that can handle all types of bike sizes.
Tires anywhere from 20 to 29 inches and any standard two-hitch receiver provide RV-approved transport to the trails.
Even more importantly, Swagman racks promise to save you some money along the way. Every penny less you spend on your bike rack can go towards a new bike, as long as you don’t sacrifice quality.
Sometimes, cheap alternative products can be more trouble than they’re worth, but this rack is more than just a pretty face. Swagman provides the best of both worlds; durable steel construction and an affordable price.
|Attaches to||Hitch or bumper|
We did notice a bit of sway on this rack, which was quickly remedied by attaching a couple of bonus straps to hold everything down.
If your mentality is that a bit of a shake is all part of the fun of saving some money, this could be the hitch mount bike rack for you.
- Fits more styles of bikes
- Hitch or bumper mount
- Foldable when not in use
- Only holds 2 bikes
- Has minor shake movement
You won’t find anything more straightforward than the two ‘L’s that make up the Surco 501BR ladder-mounted rack. Without manipulating your RV ladder, two clamps lock two bikes down to pivoting arms that provide a quick and secure fit.
It’s probably about time to think about resealing your roof anyways, so any RVs without ladders at the ready can use bikes as an excuse to get easy access to the top of your RV.
On delivery day, you’ll find a lightweight rack capable of supporting up to 75 pounds of bikes that ships fully installed, all you have to do is screw it into place.
As far as we can tell, there isn’t an RV ladder style out there that this lightweight Surco can’t latch on to, so you can be on the road by the weekend with a couple of bikes in tow.
- Ships fully installed
- Lightweight aluminum frame
- Made in the USA
- Ladder design not perfect
- Simple strap secure system
You’ve probably seen Camco’s name on loads of different RV accessories. The company is best known for not cutting any corners and not adding on any bells and whistles. They make quality products that do what they’re designed to do, and nothing more.
Case in point is the Camco 51492 ladder mount bicycle rack, which isn’t breaking any records or budgets.
Best for infrequent bikers, you can use one hand to take down this bike rack, fold it up, and store it away when not in use.
Once the weather turns nice enough for two wheels again, you can support two bikes of up to 60 pounds and still access your roof.
Not many ladder mount racks can carry bikes while still providing roof access, and not many RV bike racks of any style are more affordable than this option.
To provide ladder access, the Camco stores bikes horizontally so smaller Class B campers may notice the bikes sticking out from the sides of their RV, depending on where your ladder is.
It’s not the safest way to transport bikes, but it is one of the most efficient, and if you don’t demand daily use from your RV bike rack, you won’t need anything more than this.
- Very affordable bike rack
- Easily lifted and transported
- Still provides ladder access
- Plastic build
- Bikes stick out
Swagman 4 RV approved
A Swagman traveler is rarely spotted alone, and this bumper-mounted rack will make sure everyone’s got something to ride on your next vacation.
The Swagman 4 RV Approved is built to fit straight on your RV bumper and haul up to 4 bikes, all for less than $200.
Underneath a corrosion-resistant black paint-job is a durable steel bike rack that weighs less than a pound.
With a few holes to drill, you may have to carve out an afternoon to get everything locked into place, but once the installation is complete, your bumper-mounted rack will require little maintenance.
Although the bumper mounts can’t support more than two fat-tire bikes, you can transport all frame sizes and many different tire sizes.
Bumper-mounted racks can do everything other rack styles can pull off, and this Swagman option makes the mounting technique especially good-looking.
- Powder coated
- Fits all bike styles
- Upright bars lock everything in place
- Weighs heavily on your bumper
- Low weight capacity per bike
Choosing the Best RV Bike Rack
The best RV bike rack for your motorhome will largely depend on your available resources, and what you want out of your bikes. Let’s take a look at different variables that make up a bike rack so you can understand where you fit on the scale.
Quality construction comes first, no matter which attachment types or special features you are looking for out of your racks. Don’t find out the hard way that those plastic attachment points cant handle a few bumps and bruises.
A cheap bike rack will save you money in the short term but will corrode and fall apart faster than higher-end models.
To take longevity a step further, we highly recommend looking for powder-coated bike racks, especially if you plan on having bikes strapped to the back rain or shine.
A bike rack made out of quality materials will have this coating built-in to protect the lightweight metals that sustain the rack.
Any old bike rack may be good enough for the weekdays, but RV bike racks must be prepared for a few more bumps in the road than a typical commuter vehicle and will have to hold for thousands of miles.
Trust that any of the RV bike racks on our list take care of the fundamentals, and take a look at these deciding factors to understand which bike rack to invest in.
READ MORE: Check out our guide to full-time van living for the ultimate resource on #vanlife!
There are a few different ways to attach your bike rack to your motorhome, and that’s what we’re going to dive into right now.
If you already have a high-roofed motorhome parked in the driveway, you’re well on your way to a bike rack perfect for RV use.
This type of rack mounts directly onto any style of RV ladder and only requires a few screws to secure two bikes safely. Ladder mounts will be the most affordable RV bike rack option if you’ve got the infrastructure.
As long as your RV ladder is secure, you won’t have to worry about your bikes going anywhere, but this particular attachment type is prone to a few moving parts, as your bike wheels are not often secured to your RV.
No worries! You can easily add on a few bonus straps or bungee cords to better lock down your equipment. Ladder racks are perfect for one or two bikes, as they free up valuable hitch space but don’t quite have the strength to support a family.
Bumper racks are often preferred by bigger RVs with a solid, welded bumper in the back of their vehicle.
Bumpers look tough but are solely there to absorb the first impact, and any lazily attached rear end can crumble under a load of too many bikes.
To clear up the view for your rearview camera, or for RVs who have already filled up their hitch receiver for towing purposes, you can maximize the back of your vehicle with a bumper rack.
Up to four bikes attach to your RV just by drilling a few holes. We don’t recommend hauling four bikes on your bumper for thousands of miles, but casual bikers who want to save their hitches for other purposes can make great use of their bumper, as long as it is welded into the frame of your vehicle.
If you can’t use your hitch but have too many bikes to cram on your ladder, the higher weight capacity a bumper offers compared to your ladder is a perfect fit.
If you can tow a travel trailer, you can undoubtedly tow a few bicycles. Many bike racks hook on to your hitch receiver the same way a tow vehicle would, only with a few fewer pounds hanging on.
The prevalence of hitch receivers on RVs makes this attachment style the most common choice for RV travelers.
Make sure you know the particulars of your RV’s current setup before ordering your new bike rack. Hitch receivers have various opening widths.
Two inches is the most standard diameter, but some RVs feature openings from 1-3 inches.
Hitches are strapped to your vehicle’s frame, making this attachment style the most robust way to hold bikes. That’s why you may have noticed that most four bike carriers are hitch-mounted bike racks.
This attachment style is so typical because of its strengths and the receiver’s convenience. It will be a simple two-step process to secure your bike and unload it when it’s time to ride.
If you are attaching your bike to your RV full time, there are also loads of ways to lock up your hitch mounts, either through your bike rack or through your RV, that provide extra security while in the parking lot.
In a vacuum and without knowing the particulars of your set-up, hitch attachment is frequently the best choice to make for your RV bike rack.
Depending on your specific needs, any one of these mounting styles will support your bike and get you to the trails safely.
Rack Weight Capacity
Modern bike racks need to stay light and strong. Some bike racks go lightweight using plastic parts, which keep the scales low but reduce your bike’s overall weight capacity.
All you have to do is double-check that the rack weight capacity of your chosen bike rack isn’t anywhere near the weight of your bike.
Most two bike racks should expect to support at least 60 pounds, and four bike racks should handle twice as much as that with ease. There is no need to cut things close and outfit your rack to its exact weight capacity.
We recommend a weight capacity of at least 10 pounds more than the heaviest assortment of bikes your RV will be supporting at once.
As you can see from our top products, there is a significant price range in the bike rack industry. The most affordable ladder rack on our list is 40 bucks, and the most reinforced option will run you back 600 dollars.
Most average RV travelers should invest between 50-200 dollars for their RV bike racks. The exact price will depend on what attachments you use and what you expect your bike rack to endure.
If you are buying for a few weekend trips a year and plan on storing your bike rack in a cool, dry place when not in use, you can find a bike rack for less than $100 that will make a great companion.
For RVers who don’t want to take a risk with their high-end bicycles, or anyone planning on overlanding rain, snow, or shine, play it safe and invest the extra money in a bike rack made of durable metal materials with secure connections.
It’s not crazy to spend $300-600 on a rack for serious jobs.
Ease of Use
As with anything worthy of fitting in your RV, motorhome, or travel trailer, your bike rack must be versatile. Ease-of-use features not only make bike rack unloading and loading a breeze, but they also make sure your bike rack doesn’t hinder your experience when not in use.
The best-in-class bike racks will fold up to a compact size, detach in moments, and even bend outwards to give easy trunk access.
All these ease of use options come to our benefit eventually but are more important if you plan on always having your bike rack hooked up to your RV.
It’s easy to find a bike rack that provides the versatility to fit your needs, whether you want a bendable, removable, or compactable attachment to your RV.
To make sure your bikes get to the campsite ready for action, invest in one of the best RV bike racks in the business.
A rack like the Yakima Full Swing, our editor’s choice for its versatility, high-quality construction, and ease of use, will keep your bikes at your back for thousands of miles.
Yakima Full Swing
Yakima leads the way with this convenient, tough, 4-bike rack. A swinging handle lets you easily access your trunk, and the full padded legs better protect your bike.
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