We’ve hand-picked 2020’s best selection of motorhome cycle racks to save you some time when preparing for your next multi-wheeled adventure. Whilst there are many styles available from an equally large number of manufacturers, including Swagman, Thule, Fiamma, Omnista and Westfalia, the 5 racks below have earned their spots at the top of our list. We’ve classified them by the types of mount; tow-bar (hitch) mounts, bumper mounts, ladder mounts and rear-door mounts. Each have their own advantages, so don’t be intimidated by your options!
What factors should I consider?
The following questions can help narrow your focus when shopping for a campervan bike rack . If in doubt, hire a campervan for a weekend with a bike rack to test the different systems.
How many bike frames can it carry?
What mount type will work best with my motorhome?
Can I still use my motorhome with the rack installed?
How often will I be loading the rack?
Is there a secure locking system?
With these considerations in mind, let’s take a look at the best of each mount option on the market, starting with bumper mounts.
The bumper-mounted bike rack
These are easy to reach, which will make you more likely to want to take your bike out for a spin. However, they do require a bit of setup and don’t work well with every motorhome. It’s best if your bumper is highly reinforced with steel construction. The good news is, once installed, they can hold up to four bicycles at a time and will leave you with good visibility. It’s worth remembering, however, that motorhome manufacturers put weight restrictions on bumpers, which must be followed for a safe voyaging experience. If you are unaware of your bumper’s load restrictions, consult your manufacturer for information to ensure safe use, and only install on continuous-weld steel bumpers.
One of the best and most affordable bumper-mounted, two-bike racks on the market comes from the motorhome bike rack industry leader, Swagman. The TRAVELER XC2 offers a maximum carrying capacity of 15kg, and the adjustable supports allow a perfect fit for wheels from 20 to 29 inches in diameter and up to 3.5 inches wide. It also works with different mount systems and is suitable for different sized trailers and campers thanks to its mount adapter: you can easily fit it into a 2-inch class 3 hitch or you can mount it on a 4.5-inch continuous bumper. The rack itself is durable, with a black powder coat finish to protect it against corrosion and rust. Swagman also test their bike rack products to make sure that they can handle the extra stress of being towed. Though fairly light, this rack is sturdy and designed to keep your bikes safely in place whilst driving on bumpy, unsurfaced roads. It’s also easy to use, with push-button ratchet arms that make for quick loading and unloading of the bikes and ensure your bikes stay secure on the rack. Moreover, when you’re not using the bike rack, you can fold down the upright bar, which provides you with easy access to the rear of your vehicle without having to take it off your vehicle.
The hitch and tow bar-mounted bike racks
Tow-bar (or hitch-mounts) take advantage of the receiver tube or tow ball on the back of your vehicle, and are by far the easiest to load bikes onto. Unfortunately, these racks start out at higher prices, and these hike as you add in features like built-in locks, lightweight materials, integrated repair stands, and tail lights. It’s worth adding the locks, however, not only for the frames but also to secure the campervan bike rack . Some hitch-mounts fold up and out of the way when not in use and feature a tilt or swing release, making them perfect if your motorhome needs to be opened from the back. Keep in mind, though, that these racks extend the length of your car considerably, and take extra care backing up. You'll need to practice your motorhome parking again once you've set it up.
The Thule T2 Pr XT is our favourite tow-bar rack. It’s so well designed that other brands have borrowed its features, like the remote tilt release handle and tool-free mounting system. It comes with trays for two bikes, but you can buy extension racks with another two trays. Bikes are secured with an extendable half-wheel hook design and a simple ratchet strap at the rear. It works with just about any wheel size and tyres up to 5 inches wide. For the latest version, Thule has increased the spacing of the wheel trays and increased lateral adjustment to help fit a wider variety of bikes. worry about compatibility issues when going with this rack.
When you want to access the rear of the vehicle, you can tilt down the rack. And, you can fold it up when it is not in use, so it never blocks the rear doors of your van. Again, it carries two bikes, but can be extended. It has an easy securing mechanism, is easy to install, and is guaranteed to allow no frame contact with the vehicle. It’s also the only rack we’ve seen available in different color options, which counts if style is high on your checklist!
For a group or family-friendly hitch mount option, the Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Rack is our top pick. It also fits 2-inch receiver hitches, and is equipped with a no-wobble bolt to keep the rack from moving inside the hitch. It’s easy to operate and super secure for a wide range of frame sizes and designs; the tie-down cradle system individually secures and protects the bikes whilst the carry arm allows you to transport a kid-size mountain bike or adult road bike with equal confidence. And you don't have to remove your bikes to access the back of your truck or SUV, as the rack tilts back for easy lift-gate access and folds out of the way completely when not in use, the four-bike carrier is coloured with a black powder-coated finish. The carry arms also fold, to allow better flexibility in using your van when the rack is installed. The tie-down system accommodates a wide range of bicycle frame sizes and styles, due to its rotation, and the no-wobble bolt allows you to fully tighten the rack in place.
The ladder-mounted bike rack
A ladder mount is definitely the simplest campervan bike rack to install. It simply hooks onto the ladder of your motorhome. However, these tend to sit higher up on your vehicle, which is worth noting if you’ll be loading and unloading a bike alone. One of the most popular options in this category is also from Swagman. The 80630 2 Bike Ladder Rack is made of aluminum, and is sturdy yet resistant to corrosion and rust. Since it’s so lightweight, it easily hooks on and off, and fits to most motorhome ladder rungs. The construction is designed to withstand the extra strain put onto the bicycle rack when used on a motorhome. It easily holds two bikes, again with a total weight of up to 32kg. The dual arm design has soft cradles provides secure support for the bikes, and includes two rubber straps to offer even more security, helping to safely lock bikes in position. Foam on the vertical bars helps keep the rack from vibrating during driving, and each end of the two arms is equipped with reflectors for added safety. There are also some great resources on Youtube for installing motorhome racks to guide you through the process.
The rear door-mounted bike rack
If your van has two rear-doors, there are specially-designed bike racks such as Fiamma’s Carry-Bike 200, that allow doors to open without the rack being removed. Installation is easy, with or without drilling depending on the model of your van. It can also be used without bikes to attach a rear trunk and increase the storage capacity of your motorhome. It comes with grab bars, mounting brackets and bike retention accessories. The max load is 50kg and it comes with telescopic vertical supports allowing height adjustment too.
If you’re planning on touring around Europe, remember that you will need to fit a motorhome bike cover over the bikes which features a red and white marker board. Also, double-check your local laws and regulations, because if the rack obscures your license plate, you may need an official accessory plate that can be illuminated and visible in poor light conditions.
Though our selection of motorhome bike racks is diverse, they’re all dependable options for your next adventure and will save you the hassle of wrestling any bikes into your vehicle. So, all you need to worry about is where your wheels will take you next! Need to save up for a bike rack? You could always make money with your motorhome.