Mounting bike rack on roof

Rosco1971

New Member
Jul 15, 2012
7
Can anyone advise if it is a good idea to mount the bike rack towards the rear of the trailer to keep the weight off the tongue? Or should it be centered or towards the front of the trailer? Pros/Cons? We will be carrying 4 bikes (2 adult/2 kids).

I have included a link to some pictures of our setup including some custom brackets we had made to fit in the rails of the roof so we didn't have to drill any holes in our 2008 Fleetwood Cheyenne.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

<iframe src="https://skydrive.live.com/embed?cid=138DB2DABD929570&resid=138DB2DABD929570!117&authkey=AOBakLqguGgyqR4" width="165" height="128" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe>
 

regis101

Active Member
Feb 21, 2011
288
You're answering your own question.

You would want to know the total weight of the rig and measure tongue weight.

Add the bikes and rack for a new gross weight.

Then put the racks and bikes onto the roof and slide it back and forth until you come up with that magical 10-15% tongue weight.

A bit higher is fine. Just make sure the front end of the tow vehicle doesn't come up too high.

You can also customize tongue weight by shifting items around that are inside the camper. Don't forget to add water to the holding tank if you use it.

And then you have to make sure that you do not exceed the trailers intended gross weight. If so, then you'll be taking things out of the trailer and be putting them in the tow vehicle.

Then you have to make sure that the gross combined weight of everything does not exceed the tow vehicles load limit.

And the band played on...
 

Rosco1971

New Member
Jul 15, 2012
7
Thanks regis101 for the information.

Anyone have personal experience with mounting the bike rack towards the rear of the trailer. I currently have the rack sitting on the top (not bolted down yet) with the front bar centered over the axle of the trailer and the back bar towards the rear of the trailer.

Thanks!
 

regis101

Active Member
Feb 21, 2011
288
Well it seems that you're not understanding the GTW weight and TW issue.

I give tons of info about where (you) need to place the rack and bikes and I read into it that you're only worried about the aesthetic.

It seems that you have rails and have the option of mounting the cross bars anywhere along them?

So to reiterate, you have to find the sweet spot.

No worries.
 

Rosco1971

New Member
Jul 15, 2012
7
I do understand the info you gave, GVW and TW, I'm just not sure how to weigh as I don't have access to scale to figure it all out. And no, I'm not worried about what it's going to look like, the rack and bikes are going to be on top whether it is towards the front or back. I just thought someone had some advice as to the position as to not add any weight to the tongue.

I'll see if I can figure out where to find a scale.

Thanks again!
 

Rosco1971

New Member
Jul 15, 2012
7
I guess I'm going to buy a bathroom scale tomorrow! Hahaha

Thanks again for the extra info. Is it ok to bounce some weights off you just to make sure I'm doing it correctly?
 

campfreak

Super Active Member
Jan 13, 2011
2,025
I have mine centered right over the trailer wheels, so it doesn't affect the tongue weight at all. That puts it pretty close to the center of the roof, and I figure that is a good idea to spread the load as evenly as possible there, too.

Greg
 

regis101

Active Member
Feb 21, 2011
288
Are you surmising or did you verify? I did that also at first when I built the rack and found the TW increased.

I have four cross bars and have the four bikes in tandem, two on each side, near the edges. I also took side to side weight into consideration due to the galley with fridge and furnace being on the drivers side. Meaning that the 37# bike mounts to the right rear.

DSCN0708.jpg
 

campfreak

Super Active Member
Jan 13, 2011
2,025
No, I admit I am surmising. I have lots of tongue weight, plenty of TV, and a WDH, so I am not that concerned about it, but if the bike rack is centered over the trailer wheels, how could it affect the tongue weight? I also have 4 bikes, going straight across, so it's a little easier to center it.
 

outdoorxman

The mountains are calling me and I must go.
Jul 31, 2006
418
Kansas City Area
I would start I the middle of the roof and move it forward or backwards depending on how the trailer tracks. Base it on the adult bike length.
 

regis101

Active Member
Feb 21, 2011
288
It is easy to think that if you center the bikes over the wheels, TW wouldn't be affected. But that can only be true if you know where the center of gravity of the four bikes as attached to the rack is located.

I actually did a mock up in the garage with some Thule cross bars and our four bikes in parallel. The result was that if the four bikes were all facing front, then the center of gravity was a bit back from the bottom bracket of the bike(s). Kinda makes sense since the gears and chain and seat and post tip the CG in that direction.

Splitting hairs, maybe, but nonetheless.

Being over the wheels is a safe bet, IMO, if no other info is available. Some would even state that to err on the side of heavy TW is better than too light of TW meaning that being center of the trailer or a bit forward is fine also.

I like to think I have our rig fairly balanced and it tracks well. I'm in that 13% range and this drops the hitch ball a bit over an inch. All it takes is a small bit of time shifting the intended cargo around. I have ours in tandem mostly so I can get to them with out a step ladder to reach the middle. The rear bikes are as far back as possible and the front two are as far back but not to crash into the rear two.

Peace of mind , if nothing else. As a construction worker, I build. I do not assemble. But that's just me.

Happy trails,
 

campfreak

Super Active Member
Jan 13, 2011
2,025
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I have 2 bikes facing forward and 2 facing backward. That balances it out even more.
Spacing them so that you don't need a stepladder is a good idea, I might have to try that when I get tired of carrying and climbing the stepladder, which will probably be soon.

Greg
 

regis101

Active Member
Feb 21, 2011
288
Here is a scenario.

Your trailer is 2000# and the tongue weight is 200#. This gives you a 10% TW. That's good. You add 100# of cargo and it's placed above the wheels. The gross trailer weight goes up but the TW stays the same. You now have less than 10% TW. Not good.

Sowhatdyado? Slide the cargo weight forward until you get back to 210# on the tongue for the 10% minimum.

Granted, most of our rigs are tongue heavy and that's an easy out for the majority.

The bottom line is you need to know how much is being towed and how to tow it.

It took me a few tries with our PUP getting the tongue weight in the 12-15% range. I was heavy from the factory at around 22%, empty. But I now have the inside cargo placed just so and the bike rack and bikes was another new learning curve for a new TW of 13%.

It tracks like it's not there and the TV handles well.

Besides, keeping the TW in check allows me to pick it up and toss it around. If I need more ballast, I summon the kidz to jump on the back.

Peace,
 

campfreak

Super Active Member
Jan 13, 2011
2,025
Ok, I see what you are getting at, and it makes sense, but that puts you at 9.5%. Way too many other factors to consider before making that a big deal. I'm sure that 10% is just a guideline. That said, I really do need to weigh my trailer. I'm probably over 15%.
 




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