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Hitch for bike rack....front of truck or rear of 5th wheel


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#1 Vladimir

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:42 PM

We need to put a bike rack somewhere.

The RV dealer suggested installing a hitch on the rear of our Cameo. Appears to be around $400.

The other alternative is to put the hitch on the front of my 1 one Ram.

We are definitely looking for a hitch system. The other bike racks systems have to many issues.

Comments?? Any advice??
Vladimr Steblina
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#2 dartmouth01

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:02 PM

I did a bit of research on this a few months ago. I've read about people who have had bike racks tear bumpers off of 5th wheels, and I know the bumper on mine isnt going to be strong enough without some serious beefing up. I've also read of people putting them on the front end too, but there is some concern about legality (if your headlights get obstructed). My bigger concern is how dirty and bug gut infested the bikes would get. I've also read of people welding a hitch reciever to the pin box, so thebike rack is between the cab and the front of the 5th wheel. My concern about how dirty they'd get was the same here, plus it was going to be some extra work finding a welder to do the job. I've ultimately put together the parts needed for a Thule rack system on top of my truck. I don't know how well it will work yet, but I've had Thule racks before and I've been happy. The bikes point into the wind so bugs only really get on the forks and handlebar. Also I can put a cargo box on top for some extra space. It's a long way up to put them up there, but my bikes are pretty light and the sidestep helps. Hope this helps

#3 Vladimir

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:19 PM

Thanks for pointing out the headlight issue. Missed that one, will check to see if I have the room.

No bumper on the 5th wheel. The $400 is for welding a hitch to the frame of the Cameo.

I like you solution of mounting a rack on top of the truck. Looked into that. We might do that just to get the rocket box there if we ever need the space.

Unfortunately, the bicycles weigh 44lbs and 51lbs (they are electric). AND it is a LONG WAY up to the roof of my Dodge RAM!!!
Vladimr Steblina
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#4 Stanley P. Miller

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:23 PM

Front of your truck mounting will mean you almost never use your bikes as getting them clean enough to ride won't be worth the effort. Even behind the fiver is too dirty to make them practical unless you get a cover that will pretty much seal them away from the dirt. We tried hauling ours back there and after a few months of not riding them and grumbling that the only time they came down was to have the chains lubed we got a big nylon cover and a bunch of bungee cords to keep it from flapping.

If I was doing it again I'd go for a mount off the pin-box. I'd do it the easy way though, have a hitch receiver welded to a plate with holes drilled to match some spare holes in the pin-box. I'd still cover them up there but it would be a lot better spot than hanging off the back of the fiver and they won't need to be darned near hermetically sealed since they will be out of the path of the exhaust, blowing road dirt and any splashed water.

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#5 Jim & Sandie

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 08:30 AM

I agree with the bug and dirt issue. You will never get them clean if they ride up front. We already had a hitch on our fifth wheel and had another receiver box welded on top of the hitch stinger. We also had electric bikes when we started out but they just got too heavy to load and unload as we got older. So now we have regular bikes.
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#6 Newt

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 08:58 AM

Posted Image

I installed a receiver hitch similar to this one on Arctic Fox TT. I had the side to side adjustment welded and then bolted it on.

Posted Image

We have hauled our bikes many miles with the Arctic Fox and 2 fifth wheels using the Swagman rack. Other mfg make a similar one.

Posted Image

When it's time to move up to new bikes/racks, it will be this type. It gives much better support for the bike.

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#7 bobsallyh

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 10:00 AM

I have hauled our bikes, cheapies, for years on the front of our tow vehicle. '74 Ford PU, '84 Dodge Van, '95 Dodge PU, and now our '03 Dodge PU. Added a front reciever from Hidden Hitch on the '03. Then a Reese two bike carrier. Works very well. Yep, bugs, etc. but no different than the front of truck, front fifth wheel cap. Rear of fiver picks up everything left that the front didn't in my opinion. Also no way to see what is going on behind until some motorist is beside you blowing his horn, then usually to late. If you mount them on the trailer and want to ride them only taking the tow vehicle then your back to square one. As far as bagging them on the rear of the fiver, ain't gonna happen. I have a personal ratio of what I will do versus the convience. I do like Stanley's pin mount idea, but there again that ratio comes into play in lifting and fooling with them either over the bed of the truck or unhooked. Bottom line is for us, no front hauling, the bikes are sold or stay in Yuma.

#8 mptjelgin

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 02:52 PM

I built a receiver hitch that mounted on the kingpin of our fifth wheel, using existing holes. To mount the bikes, I placed them in the bed of the truck, and then stood up in the bed to mount them onto the bike rack. The lift onto the rack wasn't bad, but then I wasn't lifting electric bikes! I doubt if they got any dirtier than they would have on back of the trailer, and I could see them in the rear-view mirror going down the road!

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#9 Kevin H

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 12:42 AM

With bikes that heavy, I would go with the $400 on the rear of the trailer. Much easier to load and unload. When we haul ours (not electric) on the back of our motorhome we use a motorcycle cover to protect them. Works great.

Good Luck and Happy Trails!

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#10 TCW

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 08:40 AM

Unfortunately, the bicycles weigh 44lbs and 51lbs (they are electric). AND it is a LONG WAY up to the roof of my Dodge RAM!!!


With that much weight, I'd go with a front receiver and a cargo carrier rated for a decent amount of weight. They make bike rails and holders for some of them. When the trailer is unhooked you can switch the carrier to the rear receiver. The front receiver also comes in handy to attach a portable electric winch.

[attachment=3428:Front receiver.jpg]

Edited by TCW, 25 February 2012 - 08:40 AM.

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#11 Newt

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 08:40 AM

With bikes that heavy, I would go with the $400 on the rear of the trailer. Much easier to load and unload. When we haul ours (not electric) on the back of our motorhome we use a motorcycle cover to protect them. Works great.

Good Luck and Happy Trails!

-- Kevin


There is a bicycle cover made for the rear racks. We bought one from CW 3 or so years go. It's starting to look a little ratty, but, still protects the bikes.

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#12 Vladimir

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 11:00 AM

With that much weight, I'd go with a front receiver and a cargo carrier rated for a decent amount of weight. They make bike rails and holders for some of them. When the trailer is unhooked you can switch the carrier to the rear receiver. The front receiver also comes in handy to attach a portable electric winch.

[attachment=3428:Front receiver.jpg]


I am leaning to a front hitch as of this point. I was looking at the draw-tight hitch. Anybody with recommendations on the brand of hitch??

We already have a good 2inch bike carrier from Thule.

Our RV dealer was concerned about the amount of "bounce" at the rear of the 5th wheel. Talked to several people on the road and they confirmed what he said. You need a very good bike carrier for the rear of the 5th wheel. Also with the weight of the electric bikes that would make the problem that much worse.

For hauling the bikes are actually 6.5 lbs lighter. That is the weight of the battery pack.
Vladimr Steblina
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#13 WilliamD

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 12:50 PM

I am leaning to a front hitch as of this point. I was looking at the draw-tight hitch. Anybody with recommendations on the brand of hitch??

We already have a good 2inch bike carrier from Thule.

Our RV dealer was concerned about the amount of "bounce" at the rear of the 5th wheel. Talked to several people on the road and they confirmed what he said. You need a very good bike carrier for the rear of the 5th wheel. Also with the weight of the electric bikes that would make the problem that much worse.

For hauling the bikes are actually 6.5 lbs lighter. That is the weight of the battery pack.

I had a Reese hitch put on my GMC and I like it. BillD

Edited by WilliamD, 27 February 2012 - 01:20 PM.

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#14 Kevin H

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 02:12 PM

...We bought one from CW 3 or so years go. It's starting to look a little ratty, but, still protects the bikes.

I'll take a look at ours. I don't recall the name but I do know it has a lifetime warranty. It cost $85 a year ago.

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#15 Earl

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 10:39 PM

We have a pin mount system and love it but I would never try to get electric bikes up there. Way to heavy. I'd go with the rear mount on the fiver. I don't think there is any problem at all if you weld a good hitch onto the frame. The problems all come from people who attach the rack to the bumper.

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#16 Stanley P. Miller

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 11:12 PM

We got a good bit of bouncing from our receiver mounted bike rack on the back of the fiver, added some shims to take the slop out of the receiver/rack coupling and it became tolerable.

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#17 TNMURP

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 05:44 PM

Just wondering, is there any reason not to load the bikes inside the fiver. Just guessing.
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#18 TXBobcat

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 07:19 PM

I copied this from a friend and it works quite well.
I made it of 1 1/2" angle to mount a 9" receiver held up on small pieces of 2" angle. Had it all welded then took it to be powder coated. Drilled 4 holes in the top of my pin box and use grade 8 bolts to secure it to the pin box.

Bikes don't get to dirty and you can put a plastic bag over the seats. I use the Swagman rack shown in Newt's post above. Easier to mount than others I have tried.

Posted Image

Edited by TXBobcat, 26 February 2012 - 07:20 PM.

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#19 Vladimir

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 07:46 PM

Just wondering, is there any reason not to load the bikes inside the fiver. Just guessing.


That's where they are now. They are loaded back against the rear window. I am concerned about hitting a bump and having the handlebars pop out the rear window!! So they are padded with a sleeping bag and against a folding table to distribute the force if I hit a bump.

I have a Yakima bike holder that I thought about adapting for the rear of the fifth wheel. We are not a home now so I will look at that option when we get home. Basically, you all have seen those Yakima bike holders on top of cars. Well, I was thinking about fastening the bike holders to 2x4's that lay on the rear of the 5th wheel. The bikes are held by the wheels and a clamp that holds the downtube. It is a slick system. You do not have to remove the wheels. We used them on top of the tent trailer.

I does mean that we have to break down the rear of the 5th wheel everytime we move our camp spot.

I do like the idea of a front hitch since we could easily load the bikes and drive to a bike path or trail.

Bobcat, that looks like a slick system. So how long did it take to drill the holes??
Vladimr Steblina
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usbackroads.blogspot.com

#20 TXBobcat

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 11:23 PM

That's where they are now. They are loaded back against the rear window. I am concerned about hitting a bump and having the handlebars pop out the rear window!! So they are padded with a sleeping bag and against a folding table to distribute the force if I hit a bump.

I have a Yakima bike holder that I thought about adapting for the rear of the fifth wheel. We are not a home now so I will look at that option when we get home. Basically, you all have seen those Yakima bike holders on top of cars. Well, I was thinking about fastening the bike holders to 2x4's that lay on the rear of the 5th wheel. The bikes are held by the wheels and a clamp that holds the downtube. It is a slick system. You do not have to remove the wheels. We used them on top of the tent trailer.

I does mean that we have to break down the rear of the 5th wheel everytime we move our camp spot.

I do like the idea of a front hitch since we could easily load the bikes and drive to a bike path or trail.

Bobcat, that looks like a slick system. So how long did it take to drill the holes??


Not very long. I bought a 90* attachment for my 1/2 drill, used a new carbide bit and it worked great.

I have other photos if your intrested. PM me with your email and I will send them to you.

BC

Travel Safe and may God Bless
BC
======== Fulltiming =============================
Bob & Pat Curry & Trevor
06 F250 CC SRW LB 4WD * 08 Bighorn 3400RE #9948
Mor/Ryde 7k IS, 8k DB * 17.5 Rims w/G114 GY Tires
Bigfoot Auto Leveling * Refinished in 2012 with ZEP
Escapee 96030 * Fulltime since 10-08-2007
Enjoying all of the wonders God has provided for us.