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RV-Approved Bike Rack for Use on Small Tear Camper Trailer  

Question:

I had read in several places that a bike rack could not be used on the back of my Little Guy tear camper. Now I see here that certain racks are rated for use on travel trailers. To clarify, would that include a small trailer such as mine, or would apply to only larger, fifth wheel type trailers? THanks

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Expert Reply:

Good question indeed.

Bike racks made for use on standard passenger cars should NOT be used on rear of any size of trailer. The reason is leverage.

On passenger vehicles the rear axle and the hitch where the rack installs are not very far apart. But on a trailer it is often the case that the trailer's axle(s) will be much further away from the hitch. This extra distance, during driving, means additional leverage/stress will be applied to the rack. In the same way that adding length to a tire iron with a piece of pipe will give you more leverage to loosen a lug nut, the extra distance/length from the axle to hitch means more lateral and vertical stress on the rack.

For this reason the racks made for use on RVs and trailers typically have sturdier construction and tend not to have feature like a folding mechanism which would introduce a point of weakness. You CAN use an RV-rated rack on a car but not the other way around. All bike racks approved for RV/trailer use are displayed on the linked page. These include hitch-mount types and others too.

The Swagman XP # S64940 is a great 4-bike rack for trailer use. I own one of their Original 3 racks # S64152-2, but they also make a 4-bike version # S64400.

No matter which rack you select you will want to make certain that the total combined weight of the rack and all bikes on it does not exceed the rating of the 2-inch hitch on your trailer.

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