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TBUTLER

Bicycle Racks

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The following is a response I gave to a query about bicycle racks in the "introduce yourself" thread on the FORUM. I decided to post it here so it is more visible in a category that would be useful for others looking for information on bicycle racks.

Regarding bicycle racks, I would look for one that can be folded down to allow access to the rear of the toad (assuming you are putting the bike rack on the rear of the toad). We got a bike rack for the ladder on our motor home to carry our grandson's bicycles last summer and it was quite unsatisfactory. I wouldn't recommend that route for anyone.

Traveling with a Pontiac for the first two years full time we used a set of Thule roof racks which worked fine. When we went to the Chevrolet Trailblazer it had a 2" receiver and I searched and found a rack that would accommodate our Bike-E recumbent bicycles. Our Bike-E's were difficult enough to put on the roof of the Pontiac, I wasn't going to wrestle them onto the roof of the SUV.

The rack I found was marketed under the name Draftmaster. The original company has since sold the product to Atoc, Inc.. That is a really cool rack which lowers the bikes to the pavement for access to the rear of the toad or for unloading the bicycles. It swivels back up with a lift from you when you are packing up to go. I have found it possible to remove the rack including the bicycles from the receiver so I can take them off the toad without having to unload each bicycle. This is useful when we need the toad but won't be using the bicycles. The down side of the Draftmaster is that it requires removal of the front wheel as did our Thule roof racks.

Now I am seeing many bike racks that store the bicycles with both wheels attached. Some are made to clamp onto the frame of the bike (won't work with our box frame Bike-E's). Others have some kind of platform for each wheel or sometimes just a solid platform. Camping World sells one that works well. Yesterday I was directed to a trailer supply shop that has a web outlet. In fact, I think the web business is their primary business. Anyway, their lobby was filled with bicycle racks of all sorts. You might take a look at their web site etrailer.com for an extensive selection of bicycle racks. They carry Thule and Yakima and other major manufacturers racks and their selection is the most comprehensive I've ever seen. I didn't see the Draftmaster though!

I found it easier to shop the web for bicycle racks as most bicycle shops only carry a limited variety. Once you have identified a few possibilities then you can shop bicycle shops (or outdoor shops like REI) to look at the actual rack and assess its quality and suitability.

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I added a spare tire carrier to our rig and modified a bike rake to mount above and behind the spare. Since then I added a 3" receiver to the Jeep and install teh bike rack there. Definitely you want one that will fold down and I suggest staying away from the window mounted units.

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