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Best Campervan Bike Racks

Why Bring Bicycles on your Campervan Journeys

We’ve all seen the big motor homes pulling cars and jeeps… and we’ve seen them with motorcycles mounted on heavy racks on the back.

The point of this is to have a vehicle for local travel once you’re set up at the RV space. I’ve always felt the towed cars to be excessive and my first thought is often “just get a bicycle”.

But I get it: You’re driving an entire home, so once that’s parked, you need something to get around in.

This post is part of our ongoing series on Campervan Storage Ideas.  Please also see our post on Rooftop Cargo Bags.

Top Picks for best campervan bike racks at a glance

Kuat Racks NV 2.0 Bike Rack

Our Rating

Thule 963PRO Spare Tire Bike Carrier

Our Rating

RockyMounts BackStage Swing Away Campervan Bike Rack

Our Rating

Kryptonite KryptoLok Bicycle U Lock with 4ft Cable

Our Rating

The Noblest Invention

One thing I love about Vanlife is the dedication to minimalism and simplicity, and nothing is simpler for basic, local transportation than bicycles.

And they’re so much fun to ride! That’s reason enough to pack them along on any trip.

Whether you’re bringing your high-end mountain or road bike, a stack of bikes for mom, dad and the kids, or just tossing an old cruiser on for running around the campground or exploring a new town, the right rack is a crucial additions to your van setup.

The Nuts & Bolts of Buying Campervan Bike Racks

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a bicycle rack. This article will help you navigate the seemingly endless world of rack options.

Checklist: What to know before deciding on a bicycle rack for your van

  • How many bicycles do you need to carry? Due to the weight issue, this will be the primary factor in choosing a bike rack for your van.
  • How important are your rear doors? If you need to access your rear doors frequently (like at rest stops), this is a crucial consideration.
  • What’s your budget? While I don’t recommend going with an ultra-cheap rack (more on this later), you can find some decent options that won’t break the bank.
  • What’s your bike worth? Many serious cyclists have very valuable bikes and nothing attracts a thief like a high-end bike. Unless you want to be constantly fearful of getting your bikes stolen, don’t scrimp on bike rack security.

Campervan Bike Rack Options

Of course there are a number of ways to carry bicycles on campervans and other vehicles.

Read on for a breakdown of the options available for Campervan bike racks…

Roof Mounted Campervan Bike Racks

Roof bike racks are intended to affix to a rooftop rack and carry your bicycles on the top of your van.

Rooftop rack mounted bicycle racks connect and brace your bicycle by a few techniques. Fork mounts hold your bicycle by the front fork, but require front wheel removal. Upright bicycle racks hold your bicycle by the front tire or down tube. On all roof racks, rear wheels sit in a tray and are held down with ratchet straps.

Warning: Not a good idea to go with low quality, poorly rated roof top bike racks. Wind and lateral force from turning mean these racks need to be very solid and very well designed to keep bikes safe.

  • The advantage of roof racks is that they get the bikes totally out of the way. They’re not hanging off the back and they’re not in the van.
  • It can be a struggle to get the bikes on top of a van. If muscling bicycles on and off your van sounds like a bummer, you might move on to a rear oriented rack.
  • If you have a higher roofed van, or you’re uh… vertically challenged, consider carrying a small folding stool for reaching bikes up high.
  • Low overhead at drive through’s, parking garages, eves, awnings… can be a very bad thing if you forget the bikes are up there. Plan to keep a post-it note (or other mnemonic device) on the steering wheel to help remember that your van is about 4 feet higher with bikes on top.
  • Fork mounts can void some bicycle manufacturers warranties. Best to check with your bike maker about this.

⇩ Jump to Campervan Bike Rack reviews & pricing ⇩

best campervan bike racks vansage Rockymounts
Click for pricing and other details about the RockyMounts BackStage 2″ Receiver Swing Away bicycle rack.

Hitch Receiver Mounted Bicycle Racks

Trailer hitch receiver mounted racks come in a variety of prices, styles, weight limits and features. They mount into a 2 inch or 1-1/4 inch trailer hitch receiver and can hold many bicycles, if needed. A trailer hitch receiver is required.

  • Components like fold down arms, tilting poles, swing-away bases, hitch locks, locking cables and bicycle stabilizers come on the various models.
  • If getting in and out of the back of your van a lot is part of your travel routine, you’ll need a swing-away or tilt-out bike rack for your campervan. One concern with this type of rack is that the cheaper models tend to rattle and sway around a bit. Best to not choose the cheap model if you need this feature.
  • If you don’t need much rear door access, the simple hitch mounted rack is my favorite because it’s uncomplicated, locks up easily and holds a lot of weight.
  • Keep in mind that your overall vehicle length will be increased. It will take some practice to get used to backing, parking… Where I live this can mean over-length charges on ferry rides.

Spare Tire Mounted Bike Racks

While rear door mounted spare tires are less common on vans than suv’s, they do exist, and if you’ve already got a tire on your door, you might as well add some bicycles.

Spare tire bike racks tend to be tough, simple to use, lockable, and give easy access to bikes.

Note the strongest option. Depending on the weight limits of your tire mount, it’s best to keep number of bikes to two, maybe a kids bike, too.

  • Easy to install and lock. Simplicity is probably the biggest advantage with these racks.
  • No hitch mount required, this can be the cheapest option.
  • Need to be removed if you get a flat, so make sure you’ve got the right tools on board to remove the rack.
  • Also add length to van.

From The Campervan Podcast: The value of having bicycles on board

Campervan Bike Rack Security

Many racks come with locking systems, but for some, “that’s where they get ya” on price. A roof rack will allow you to use high quality cable and U-locks for bicycles to keep bikes safe.

Hitch mounted racks need locks for the hitch, rack and bicycles, and they’re the easiest for thieves to reach, so get the good locks.

Spare tire mounts are pretty solid and easy to lock bikes to with cable and U-locks.

Carrying Capacity

How much is the trailer hitch on your van rated for? How about your spare tire mount? And, again, the roof rack you want to mount your bike rack on will have a weight limit.

Carefully research your vehicle weight limits before buying a rack for your van. There’s lots of info on forums and manufacturers sites to find these answers.

Best Campervans Bike Racks Compared

While the big brands like Thule and Yakima are always great options if you’ve already got their cross bars, some other nice options are available as well.

Please read reviews carefully and keep important details in mind such as the type of cross bars you have, or plan to buy.

RockyMounts BackStage Swing Away Platform

  • Swinging platform rack, an Industry first
  • Fits tat bikes and up to 48″ wheel base
  • 60 capacity! Carries electric bikes
  • 59 pound weight in a compact size
  • Spacing between bikes is 13 inches

Our Rating

The only campervan bicycle rack that was designed to swing away up to 180 degrees. With this feature, you can have easy access to the back end of your camper van.

It’s incredibly easy to use and can carry two to three bikes up to 60 pounds. It’s also compatible with road tires from 20 to 29 inches and 5.0 inches fat bike tires.

With RockyMounts, you can still load and unload things from the rear of your campervan even when if it’s loaded with bikes.

When opened up the rack measures 46 x 22 x 8 inches. This should be enough space for two bikes but if you have large bikes, you might find it a little tight.

This campervan bike rack is loaded with a handle at the end of the rack so it’s easy to use whether it’s folded or not. You’ll like the compact design since it’s only 12 inches when folded.

Click for more images, details and pricing on the Rockymounts Backstage Swing Away Bike Rack

 

Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack with 2-Inch Receiver

  • Allen’s patented tie-down system employs 22-inch long carry arms to secure each bike on rack
  • Folding carry arms
  • Quick and easy set up and installation
  • Tough construction and powder coat
  • Lifetime warranty

Our Rating

Allen Hitch Rack is perfect for a group of people because it can carry up to four bikes.

You need a Class III or IV 2” hitch that’s professionally installed on your campervan to use this product.

It comes with a No-Wobble Bolt that helps to secure the rack so you’ll experience an easy operation that’s movement-free.

This camper van bike rack measures 25 x 13 x 3.5 inches and weighs 23 pounds. It’s designed to handle weight up to 140 pounds.

The 22-inch carry arms is good enough for wide designs and big frames like mountain and road bikes.

It’s designed to allow you easy access to the rear of your vehicle even with the bike is mounted. You don’t have to unload your bicycle, you can just tilt it back to reach for items.

Click for more images, details and pricing on the Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack

RockyMounts TieRod

  • Carries one bicycle up to 35 pounds
  • Fits tires up to 2.7” wide
  • Tire diameters from 20” to 29”
  • Wheelbases from 34” to 48”
  • 9mm standard quick release bikes
  • Stainless straps forl crossbars: Acura, Chevy, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Jeep, KIA, Lexus, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota
  • Locks sold separately
  • For Thru-Axles see, Switch Hitter or Drive Shaft and Street Rod

Our Rating

The RockyMounts TieRod is a stylish rack that can carry all types of bikes. It’s easy to fit and can accommodate road tires up to 2.7” wide mountain bike tires, and diameters from 20” to 29”.

This campervan bike rack can handle one bike with a load capacity of 35 pounds which should be enough to keep most people happy.

Very easy to adjust and takes just minutes to install onto your campervan. It has rubber-coated stainless steel straps so it can help secure your bike rack as well as your bicycle.
Suitable for all factory crossbars in the market, its made in the USA and covered by a one-year limited warranty.

It’s compatible with bikes’ wheelbases from 34” and 48” and available in nine colors; Black, Silver, Red, Blue, Yellow, Orange, Green, White or Pink.

Click for more images, details and pricing on the Rockymounts Tie Rod

 

Thule 963PRO Spare Me 2 Bike Spare Tire Bike Carrier

  • Stay-Put Cradles with anti-sway cages hold bikes in place for frame protection and stability
  • Attaches to spare tire and fits both regular and oversized tires
  • Integrated locking cable and locking knob secure bikes to carrier and carrier to vehicle
  • Arms fold down when not in use

Our Rating

The Thule Vertex Swing Away has a new arc design that can carry up to four bikes and has enough distance between bikes.

The load capacity of this camper van bike rack is 140 pounds. You don’t have to unload your hitch rack from the camper van, just swing it away to get to the back of your RV.

The product measures 48 x 18 x 11 inches and weighs about 42.2 pounds. It can carry up to 35 pounds per bicycle. And also, it comes with a heavy-duty integrated cable lock to secure the bikes to the rack.

The installation process is simple, just use the tools provided and you’ll have the campervan bicycle rack ready in less than 20 minutes.

If you’re looking for a bike carrier with great value, the Thule Vertex Swing Away is a great economical option for you.

Click for more images, details and pricing on the Thule 963PRO Spare Me 2 Bike Spare Tire Bike Carrier

 

Kuat Racks NV 2.0 Bike Rack

  • Adjustable front tire cradle system
  • Pivot with optional foot assist
  • Trail Doc included
  • Fully integrated cable locks and hitch lock included
  • Front tire ratchet with intuitive release
  • Rear tire strap features co-molded strap to protect wheels
  • No-tool install with hand tight hitch cam system
  • Premium gloss metallic powder with water transferred logos
  • Available in both 2” & 1.25” hitch sizes
  • Dedicated 2″ model can carry an additional 1-2 bikes with one of our NV 2.0 Add-Ons

Our Rating

FOOT-ASSISTED PIVOT SYSTEM
Hands full? Not a problem. The new pivot allows you to gently drop the NV with a tap of the foot so you can get your ride on the rack without lifting a finger.

INTEGRATED CABLE LOCKS
Seamlessly integrated locks—long enough to fit any frame—make sure your bike stays off Craigslist while you enjoy that post-ride beer stop. And when you’re ready to roll again, they stow right back into the rack.

TRAIL DOC
Integrated repair stand makes field maintenance easy. Super simple twist-and-push clamp will hold your bike firmly while you give it a little TLC (Trail Love & Care).

ADJUSTABLE TIRE CRADLES
Bikes not wanting to share space nicely? Easily dial in the fit with adjustable tire scoops. Three positions to choose from so handlebar and seat post clearance is never an issue.

Click for more images, details and pricing on the Kuat Racks NV 2.0 Bike Rack

 

Recap for Campervan Bike Racks

  • Bicycle’s are the tow-along vehicle of Van Life!
  • First, know the number of bikes you’ll be carrying.
  • Are you in and out of your rear doors a lot?
  • Expensive bikes? Don’t scrimp on rack quality.
  • Roof mounted racks get bikes out of the way, but don’t forget about that extra height!
  • Trailer hitch mounting (especially with swing-away) is the most convenient, solid and secure.
  • Spare tire racks are simple and tend to be lower cost, but hold less bikes.
  • Easy to steal bikes represent money to people in need. Lock ’em up! Take no chances.
  • Get to know your vehicle, hitch and spare tire weight limits before committing to a bike rack for your campervan.


Author: Veronica Cavanaugh

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Veronica Cavanaugh Vansage author

2 Responses

  1. […] Once you’re parked and set up, you need to get around. Or you want to bring bikes for the kids and the whole family. Or you’re a serious cyclist…We’ve dispelled the complicated world of van bike racks […]

  2. […] it is important to save space to carry your  bicycle, yoga mat, climbing gear, hiking shoes, or any other gear you need to stay […]

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