Fifth Wheelin'
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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Have Fifth Wheel--Will Haul Bikes

One of the bigger issues among bike-riding 5er owners--where do you haul your bike? It's a problem with several solutions, but many of them have their own set of issues.

For us, hauling a couple of bikes meant a front-of-the-truck bumper mounted bike rack we picked up at Camping World. In order to have clear visibility from the wheel we'd take the seats off the bikes, otherwise those 'rump cushions' were right in the line of sight. Yes, you had to put up with bugs and dings on your bike, because if you covered them with a protective bag it obstructed cooling.

Other fifth wheel folks put racks on the rear bumper of their fifth wheel--provided their bumper design allows for it. Some fiver manufacturers forswear this by warning that nothing should be mounted to their particular breed's bumpers. A possible response? Add a hitch receiver to the trailer frame and use a hitch receiver style bike rack.

Some we've seen get what looks to be way out. They weld a hitch receiver to their fifth wheel hitch on the trailer and carry their bikes right out their leading their fifth wheel's front cap. Wow! It must be a real picnic to balance yourself on the pickup bed and manhandle your bike up on that rack, but hey, if you're a dyed in the wool biker, you do whatcha gotta do.


  • We have a travel trailer with a receiver hitch. I thought that would be the perfect setup because I can move the bike rack between trailer and truck. I was surprised to learn that many of the bike rack manufacturers won't warranty their racks when used on the back of a trailer. They claim that it stresses them too much. Obviously most of us do it without any problems, but in talking with my local dealer he said he'd seen failures. Something to keep in mind.....

    By Anonymous Mike Chandler, at 6:51 AM  

  • I have used a Hon folding bike for years. It stays clean when folded and zipped up in its vinyl case, and can be carried easily in an outside compartment. Easy to operate and fun to ride.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:42 AM  

  • To whom it may concern

    For those wanting to carry a bike in front of their vehicle be advised that it is illegal.

    I got arrested once and told to remove my bike.

    You can take a chance doing it, you will pay the price if you are being caught.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:32 PM  

  • We had a receiver welded to our fith wheel pin box, and use a receiver bike carrier. I can easily place both of our bikes on the rack while standing on the ground. The bikes are out of the way, don't block access to our rear ladder, yet the are accessible when needed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:39 PM  

  • I'm one of those that has a pin box mount.
    I use a 2 step ladder/stool for mounting the bikes. My significant positions the bikes on the ground & I just lift the bikes into position. I'm 64 & I a find the process quite easy.
    I have tried mounting the bikes after hookup using the truck bed as my platform... this I found is quite awkward.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:53 PM  

  • Has anyone tried a ladder rack? I've been looking and trying to decide between a hitch rack and a ladder rack.

    By Blogger Elaine, at 4:14 PM  

  • I heard a few bad things about a ladder rack system for two bikes. BUT I just knew the people having these problems were probably not doing something right - I KNEW we could make it work. Wrong!! Since then, I've heard of even more problems and a couple of success stories, but I don't know how they did it. We got ours at Camping World - don't remember the brand, but it wasn't cheap. My advice is to get anything but a ladder rack. Good luck!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:42 AM  

  • I bought a bike rack designed to go over the spare tire, mounted on the trailer bumper. After reading all the comments on it, we did several fixes to make it stronger. The rack was fine until we hit a minor dirt road, the bouncing ripped the bumper from its welds and bent it back, dragging the bikes off the rack. We discovered within a few minutes but by the time we went back to find the bikes, they were gone. DON'T trust this type of rack, this was not even 60 lbs. and the bumper failed. The mfr. of the trailer is immune from claim because of course they put right in the warranty that anything hung on the bumper voids the warranty. So we lost $1000 worth of bikes even tho it was their bumper that failed and the rack was designed for this use.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:05 AM  

  • We use a bike rack on the back of our Motorhome and boy am I glad we do. We got rear ended by a truck and the only damage was to the bikes, they were totaled, but no damage was done to the Motorhome

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:55 PM  

  • Never Again!! I had a custom fabricated receiver hitch welded to the frame of my travel trailer. I used a Thule 4 position receiver bike carrier to carry 4 bikes. The receiver survived, but the rack failed. Thule specifically warns against mounting their racks to the rear of a trailer. The exaggerated bounce at the rear of the trailer is equivilent to the bounce you get from sitting in the back of a school bus. That is way to much stress on any rack or hitch. I now use a roof mounted "upright carrier", also made by Thule. It is a bit of a hassle climbnig on top of my Ford E350 van, but much more secure.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:49 PM  

  • A year or so ago I was heading south on I95 and had just crossed into SC when I managed to find myself behing a Camper with 4 or five bikes mounted on the back bobbing up and down, I wasn't comfortable being behind this rig but before I could get around it the whole bunch of bikes came flying off in one unit, bouncing then splitting into separate projectiles.Fortunately the road was three lanes with a good breakdown lane so I was able to get around them without getting hit. As far as I could see in my rear view no one wrecked but who knows what happened a few minutes later. They didn't even know they had lost them. I had my husband call the state police as soon as I could calm down enough to talk to him.
    Kay, Chesapeake, va

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:25 AM  

  • With respect to the person who claimed that carrying bikes on the front of a vehicle is illegal, this is certainly not the case in all states. In Florida, for instance, you can carry any load on the front of a vehicle so long as that load does not extend further than 36" in front of the front bumper and does not obstruct the driver's vision. Check your state's vehicle regulations.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:10 PM  

  • I find it odd that trailer manufacturers are so quick to tell us not to mount anything on their bumper. Maybe it's because there's no room, having already mounted a spare tire there.

    We had to have our bumper re-welded because of the spare tire cracking an original weld. Once a PROFESSIONAL welder did his thing, we were able to mount one of those "attach it to the bumper" bike racks and haven't had a problem in years.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:27 AM  

  • We have traveled through Mississippi, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, South Dakota and Wyoming with a front mount bike rack with 2 bikes on it and have never been challenged. I do think that if they block the headlights that could be a legal issue. We found that Keystone- Outback unconditionally will not honor a warrenty if you mount a bike rack on the back bumper.

    By Blogger William, at 9:07 PM  

  • I have had two trailers that came from the dealer (factory?) with a receiver welded to the bumper. My feeling is that if it was there when I bought it, it is covered by warrantee.

    I have since purchased a Fifth wheel toy hauler, and am looking to mount a receiver on my pin box as my toys take up the entire garage!

    Of course if I weld to the pin box, that destroys my warrantee on that! Oh well, what can you do?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:52 AM  

  • Could anyone who put a bike rack or receiver on their pin box post a picture? Hard to envision what it looks like. Thanks!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:30 PM  

  • I never buy attachments. I build my own. So I build my own bike carrier that fits on a 2" trailer hitch. I have been using it for the past 10 years. I can carry 2 bikes and one more is a tandom. Since I now tow my Miata behind my 5th wheel on the same hitch, I now travel with the bikes located on the truck hitch under the 5th wheel. Before this I tried to carry the bikes in front but I felt it was way to harsh on the front end. I found that while the bikes were attached to the front, my truck front end vibrated. It was a 2500GM at the time. I am lucky my older 5th wheel has lots of room to attached the 2 bikes on the truck hitch between the front of the trailer.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:30 AM  

  • Please descibe your "pin box mount" receiver. Is this a manufactured item or just a receiver welde to the pin box. I have a welder and I'm not afraid to use it!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:41 PM  

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