Roof & Bike Racks
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Having a bike rack on your camper or caravan is essential for enjoying bike rides while traveling abroad. It saves a lot of space in the camper's garage, especially when the tow bar of your car is already occupied by your mobile home. Fortunately, there are convenient bike racks specifically designed for campers and caravans. Whether it needs to fit on the back of your van camper or be mounted at a height of one and a half meters on a fully integrated motorhome, there is always a suitable bike rack for your camper. For caravans, the consideration is more towards a bike rack on the drawbar or one mounted on the rear wall of the caravan.
In campers, bike racks are typically mounted in two main locations: on the rear wall or inside the garage.
Most campers do not come with a standard tow bar. Therefore, special bike racks are available for campers that can be mounted on the rear wall. Examples of such bike racks for campers include the Fiamma Carry Bike Pro and Thule Elite. One advantage of carrying bikes on the rear wall is that they don't take up space inside the camper's garage. This is particularly beneficial for campers with no or limited garage space. Moreover, it saves a significant amount of storage space, which is convenient when carrying additional belongings. When considering the purchase of a bike rack, take into account the height at which it will be mounted on the camper's rear wall. If it is mounted too high, it may be challenging to load the bikes. Some bike racks come with a lift system, allowing the bikes to be rolled onto the bike rack, which reduces the need for heavy lifting.
If you have a spacious garage in your camper, you can transport your bikes inside. A bike rack specifically designed for camper garages makes transportation easier as the bikes can be securely fastened. Additionally, the garage space in campers is often lower in height compared to a rear wall bike rack. This makes it easier to access the bikes. Many of these racks come with a rail that can be used to roll the bikes into the camper's garage. One advantage of having a bike rack in the camper's garage is that the bikes remain securely stored overnight. This provides peace of mind, especially when not staying at a campsite with the camper.
When choosing a bike rack for a caravan, there are two main mounting options to consider: the rear wall or the drawbar.
A drawbar bike rack is mounted on the A-frame that connects the caravan to the car's tow bar. This area generally provides ample space to accommodate several bikes. Most drawbar bike racks can be mounted without drilling. However, it is essential to ensure that the bike rack is attached to a section of the frame without plastic or fiberglass components. Depending on the bike rack model, it may have a tilting mechanism that allows access to the storage box located on the drawbar. Pay attention to whether the bike rack can be tilted with or without bikes loaded. One advantage of a drawbar bike rack is that it is positioned relatively low, making it easy to place bikes in the wheel cradles.
If a drawbar bike rack is not suitable for your caravan, there are also bike racks available for mounting on the rear wall. It is important to check if the rear wall of the caravan can support the weight of the bike rack, especially when fully loaded. Rear wall bike racks for caravans are often similar to those used on camper rear walls. One potential drawback is that they may obstruct the view through a rear window. Additionally, lifting the bikes onto the frame may require some effort. However, bike racks with a lift system can largely mitigate this challenge. The frame of the bike rack is typically mounted on the rear wall using four points of attachment.
To transport bikes with your van camper, you can opt for a hitch-mounted bike rack. Alternatively, there are also specific bike racks designed to fit on the back of van campers. This way, you can keep your tow bar available for a trailer, camper, or additional cargo box.
When searching for a bike rack that mounts on the rear door of a van camper, there are several considerations to keep in mind. Since such bike racks bear significant weight, it is essential to ensure that the rear door's gas struts can support this weight. Therefore, it may be advisable to replace the gas struts with a set capable of handling the additional load. Additionally, there are bike racks designed to mount on the tow bar. These bike racks can be tilted to allow access to the rear door of the car or van camper, enabling easy retrieval of stored luggage. Lastly, there is a distinction between bike racks designed for rear doors and those suitable for vans with double rear doors.
A lift-assisted bike rack is particularly useful when the bike rack needs to be mounted at a higher position. The lift mechanism allows you to bring the wheel trays down to ground level, making it easy to load and secure the bikes. The lift provides support when raising the bike rack to the transport position, where the bikes can be secured, and you're ready to go!
Thule is one of the leading manufacturers of bike racks for campers, caravans, and van campers. Some Thule bike racks come equipped with a lift system. Thule offers various bike rack models, including Caravan, Excellent, Elite, Lift, and Sport. These models come in different variants and colors, catering to various specific applications.
Fiamma also offers a range of bike racks that are ideal for use with campers, caravans, and other recreational vehicles. Some Fiamma bike racks are equipped with a lift system, allowing them to be mounted at higher positions on the vehicle. The Carry Bike series includes variants such as PRO, Lift, and Caravan. Furthermore, Fiamma offers Carry Bike bike racks designed specifically for Volkswagen models T4, T5, T6, Crafter, Mercedes Sprinter, Viano, Fiat Ducato, and many more!
Many bike racks come standard with two wheel trays, accommodating two bikes. When making a purchase, check if the bike rack can be expanded with additional wheel trays, allowing you to transport more bikes. These expansions typically include one or more wheel trays along with the corresponding frame clamps to secure the bikes.
Due to their thicker batteries, wider pedals, and overall broader build, not all bike racks are suitable for electric bikes. Therefore, bike racks with extra-wide wheel trays are available to accommodate electric bikes. Some bike racks come standard with these wider wheel trays.