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A bike rack carrier for the caravan

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.

The problem

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.

Fitting the bike rack to back of caravan

The solution

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.

 

Bike Rack Carrier for Caravan

7 replies
    • needtimeaway
      needtimeaway says:

      Hi Rob, Yeah the Shingleback Bike Racks are great…

      You just need to make sure you keep within your legal length restrictions for your caravan, this is why we went with this type of bike rack on the Caravan as compared to the one we sometimes use on the Landcruiser.

      Here is a view of the Bikes on the rack – https://fb.watch/9lhRcf7bdZ/

      Reply
  1. Laurence Lewis
    Laurence Lewis says:

    Hi, a couple of questions if I may. How did it impact on your ball weight? Do the bikes get dirty back there or do you hav3 a cover? Any fatigue on the welds with corrugations ? Last one – wh6 vertical and not horizontal? So many questions. It looks good.

    Laurie

    Reply
    • needtimeaway
      needtimeaway says:

      Hi Laurie,
      I can’t remember off the top of my head right now, but I was surprised how minimal the impact to the ball weight was. And yes, the bikes did get very dirty on the back of the van, so I would recommend a cover of some sort. We have changed our setup a bit and no longer store the bikes there, but if we did I would definitely be investing in getting a cover made. Not only to keep the weather away from the bikes, but also to keep them out of sight (we have two electric mountain bikes, and “out of sight is out of mind”). The bike rack is so well made, we haven’t noticed any fatigue on the welds. And finally, we decided on the vertical rack instead of the horizontal for a couple of reasons. Firstly we had a preference to that design for ease of loading and they are more secure vertically (if the fastenings come loose, the bike is still securley held by the front wheel loop). But we also had overal length limits meaning that if we used a horizontal rack, we would have exceeded our legal length. A vertical bike rack tucks them closer to the van and within our legal limits.
      I can’t recommend enough the Shingleback racks – they are fantastic and very rugged.
      Happy travels, Allan

      Reply
      • Russ
        Russ says:

        Hi Allan, nice setup. We are also looking to fit a Shingleback 2B90 to the back of the van for similar reasons you had. We are not sure about locking/security options and wear and tear though as we have rather expensive eMTBs. You mentioned you’ve changed your set up for “out of site”? Does this mean you now keep the bikes in the van or do you have another system?

        Reply
  2. Danny
    Danny says:

    I would never ever mount bikes on the Van rear. I use a grip sport tilting rack on my van A frame, horizontal, no special engineering required. I can see the e bikes through the rear vision mirror, not much road dust or dirt ( but agree a proper cover would be best for that and for security). Ball weight did increase around 30kgs.
    Bikes ride so much softer on the A frame too.

    Reply
    • needtimeaway
      needtimeaway says:

      I agree Danny, having them at the front of the van is probably better. However, our Jayco had a VERY small drawbar and there simply wasn’t room allowing for a turning circle.
      Enjoy your travels!

      Reply

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