We just love tinkering with our caravan and improving the usability and functionality of all aspects of the van wherever possible.
One modification we did late last year was to custom build a rear bar for the caravan to carry our bike rack. We already had the Shingleback 3-bike vertical bike rack however, there was no way we could retro-fit it to the van. This led us to talk to Andrew from Shingleback and assisting in the design of the new Shingleback 2B90 bike rack (which we love!). This was the smallest possible design that we could come up with that could transfer between the caravan and the Landcruiser when needed.
We didn’t want to mount it to the rear wall of the caravan as we had been advised by a Jayco representative that it wouldn’t support the weight of our e-bikes. We also were not keen on the other bike rack designs, we really like the vertical design of the Shingleback. It just makes sense.
We ummed and ahhed about whether we could fit it on the front drawbar or if it had to go on the back of the caravan. We measured, and measured, and measured again. We checked clearances, lengths, and weights. We purchased some ball-weight scales to determine what the difference in weight would be for each option. And we weighed up all our options carefully.
After much to and fro, we decided that our best option was to mount the bike rack on the back of the caravan. This meant that we needed to design, manufacture and fit a new rear bar to the back of the caravan, reinforced and extending inside the chassis so that it could carry the extra weight.
Enter Shane from Kawana Machining on the Sunshine Coast who did a stellar job (with a small amount of assistance from yours truly, although if you ask Shane I think he would say that I got in his road more than not :-)).
We talked about moving the spare tyre, currently mounted on the rear wall, to either sit underneath the caravan or inside under the bed. In the end, we were able to leave it where it was. Getting the clearances just right so that we were within legal limits in length as well as clearing the spare tyre was challenging, but we did it.
The finished product
In the end, we have a fantastic bike rack that fits within the legal length limits of the caravan, and by tilting the rack down we can still access the spare tyre (and it makes it so much easier to load the bikes on as well).
How do you think it came up?
If you want to know more details about how we did it, let us know in the comments below. And stay tuned for a coming video on how we use the bike rack when on the road.