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Old 05-24-2007, 08:16 AM   #1
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Motorcycle carrier on back of 25' Excella

Hi All,

We're fairly new Airstreamers and are still learning something with every trip we take

We will be doing extensive workamping/travel in a couple of years when my husband retires and we'd like to be able to visit in an area without having to use our truck (Chevy Silverado 2500 HD diesel). While it gets reasonable mileage (20+ mpg when not towing), we want to reduce our fuel consumption where possible, so are thinking of getting a small motorcycle. (We're both experienced bike riders). Can we safely add a rack to the back of our Airstream large enough to carry a small motorcycle, about 250cc, and possibly two bicycles. If so, are there any brands/types which are recommended?

Any help would be greatly appreciated

Danny and Leslie
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Old 05-24-2007, 08:20 AM   #2
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Nope, nada, not even close. I know that isnt what you want to hear.
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Old 05-24-2007, 08:24 AM   #3
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Greetings!

This topic has been broached before, and the search will point you to a few threads.

That said, NO! I would NOT put even a bicycle on th eback of an Airstream. The frame will not support it and you will most likely get rear end sag and a cracked frame as well due to the bouncing factor of that weight on the frame as you go down the road. Plus, it will add way too much weight in the rear and throw off the tongue weight that is essential for proper and safe towing.

Either go for a rear mount for your truck or put it in the bed and use a ramp. Lots of good ones out there, especially for smaller bikes. Seems to be the only option. I'll be traveling with my 500lb bike in the back of my van when I hit the road.
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Old 05-24-2007, 08:38 AM   #4
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You will read a considerable number of posts that tell you you can not carry bikes on the back of an Airstream. However having done it for years I will take exception to the blanket statements. Post #5 of this thread will give you the reasons behind my comment.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f396...ack-32628.html

I normaly carry 2 adult bikes and have added 2 smaller ones for the grand kids when needed. Maybe a bit to close to the Beverly Hill Billies for Wally types but I am not going to a 5 star hotel.

As for a small cycle you could consider a receiver mounted on the front of your truck and carring the cycle there. The prime consideration there would be air flow interruption to the truck's radiator. A small cycle of the step through type would be a better choise if you go this route.
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:49 AM   #5
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Yeah-we have used a front hitch before. This works out great. I would not put anything on the flimsy bumper of our Excella.
Between the bed, and a front hitch, you should be fine...

Bill
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Old 05-24-2007, 10:30 AM   #6
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Ok, now it's time for someone to do a real engineering analysis here. I have explained the limitations of the bumper and how to overcome that. As for the limitations on the frame. Ever time I board a Canadian ferry I lift anywhere from 1, the center axle, to all 3 of my axles off the ground thus supporting 1/2 the weight of the trailer, 4,000 plus lbs., on the rear extended frame. Do you realy think 50 lbs. of bicycles is going to make a difference?

I am sure every Airstream owner has stood on his rear bumper to clean or replace a rear marker light. I am sure you all have not completed Weight Watchers. Step back and think about this.

It's been over 45 years since I took any mechanical engineering courses and I will yield to any current deffinative study rather than comments from Salesman or Company Lawyers.
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Old 05-24-2007, 10:40 AM   #7
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Your better off adding a hitch and rack to the front of truck. If possible.
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Old 05-24-2007, 11:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE
You will read a considerable number of posts that tell you you can not carry bikes on the back of an Airstream. However having done it for years I will take exception to the blanket statements.
Thanks HowieE,
My nature is to blow a blood vessel at absolute blanket statements, even from experts (actual or self proclaimed). So I just close the thread a look else where, therefore I almost didn't open this one because I knew what was coming.

Having vented, I'm glad I did open this thread because I like how you've attached the bike holder!
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Old 05-24-2007, 12:04 PM   #9
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Engineering or Scientific Observations?

Our Excella 25 from late 80's has 2" receiver hitch assembly welded to frame, and frame of ours is very beefy... I confess we used bike rack and hauled bikes to Salem last summer, and our trailer didn't fail... I don't have nerve to mount scooter or dirt bike on rear rack, however...

I doubt you'll find great existing engineering, other than a chorus of negative recommendations for the following reasons:

1. Airstream used and uses a variety of designs for frames, of varying strength over the years.
2. The lever arm/distance from axles to rear bumper is variable
3. The integrity of wood subflooring and structural attachments is variable dpending on age and condition (the joint between wood and shell affects load bearing ability at rear..)
4. Bikes and racks are of variable weights (carbon road bikes lighter than heavy mountian bikes)
5. Axle sag or rebound and shock conditions affect bounce and response to dynamic loads at rear axle.

All that said, there are numerous empirical observations of rear separation and sag of Airstreams, which lead most of us to avoid adding cantilevered loads to the rear bumper as good practice... Howie's linkage of hitch to upper monocoque structure (rear window) is a way of limiting load on the bumper and rear end of frame, and seems to work for him. A front mount on truck seems to be the preferred alternative, if you have shell or too much stuff already in the truck bed...
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Old 05-24-2007, 01:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danlesr
Hi All,

We're fairly new Airstreamers and are still learning something with every trip we take

We will be doing extensive workamping/travel in a couple of years when my husband retires and we'd like to be able to visit in an area without having to use our truck (Chevy Silverado 2500 HD diesel). While it gets reasonable mileage (20+ mpg when not towing), we want to reduce our fuel consumption where possible, so are thinking of getting a small motorcycle. (We're both experienced bike riders). Can we safely add a rack to the back of our Airstream large enough to carry a small motorcycle, about 250cc, and possibly two bicycles. If so, are there any brands/types which are recommended?

Any help would be greatly appreciated

Danny and Leslie

You would also have a negative effect on the tongue weight of the trailer, unless you moved the axles rearward.

Andy
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Old 05-24-2007, 02:27 PM   #11
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Way, way, way back when, ...... Airstream used to sell a bicycle rack for the rear bumper, but that was a looong time ago.
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Old 05-24-2007, 04:48 PM   #12
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Am I missing something?? You might get away with carrying a bicycle on the back of a trailer but not a motorcycle. The first or second time you hit a big bump like over a railroad at 60 mph your gonna be sorry. A short time ago there was a thread about wrecking a Airstream from uncontrollable sway so there is more at stake here than just a bent up trailer frame. Andy's right on with the change in tongue weight. Can cause big control problems under emergency conditions.

The front truck mount is a good solution!!
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Old 05-24-2007, 06:53 PM   #13
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I have a Sovereign with a bent frame in the rear, a prime example of why you should never put anything heavy back there.
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE
I am sure every Airstream owner has stood on his rear bumper to clean or replace a rear marker light. I am sure you all have not completed Weight Watchers. Step back and think about this.
I'm not a mechanical engineer, and I don't play one on TV.... but isn't there a big difference between a static load out that far from the axle and a dynamic load?
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:46 PM   #15
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Motorcycle bracket

I owned a 1984 29' Excella that had a bicycle carrier (capacity two) installed on the back bumper/frame. The PO and installer was an engineer but even so there was what appeared to be the early stages of rear end sag. BTW, the trailer was a mid-bath model.
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Old 05-29-2007, 12:58 PM   #16
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Thanks everyone for your great input . We just got back from the long weekend (tcpc).

We had heard a comment about not putting a rack on the back of the Airstream, but wanted to get some opinions from the folks who know. We're thinking using the truck bed will be better than the front of the truck. No concerns about air flow that way.

Again, thanks
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Old 05-29-2007, 02:14 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danlesr
Hi All,

We're fairly new Airstreamers and are still learning something with every trip we take

We will be doing extensive workamping/travel in a couple of years when my husband retires and we'd like to be able to visit in an area without having to use our truck (Chevy Silverado 2500 HD diesel). While it gets reasonable mileage (20+ mpg when not towing), we want to reduce our fuel consumption where possible, so are thinking of getting a small motorcycle. (We're both experienced bike riders). Can we safely add a rack to the back of our Airstream large enough to carry a small motorcycle, about 250cc, and possibly two bicycles. If so, are there any brands/types which are recommended?

Any help would be greatly appreciated

Danny and Leslie
Hi Danny & Leslie;
it was my problem to take the motorcycle and the Airstream during the holidays... So the only solution to carrying both was to buy a Pick-up truck with a long bed... I've found ( in FRANCE and it's not easy...) a Ford F150 for that and it was a good solution. I've ordered a strong aluminum ramp to park the Harley Davidson in the bed and the rig can go safely... Just I've mounted a Timbrens suspension to keep the level right when all is charged ( HD & AS on the F150 ). So I suppose you 'll nt replace your chevy for a pick-up truck... so you can't take both in one time....

Bruno.
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Old 05-29-2007, 05:03 PM   #18
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Experience Hurts and Teaches

Our 68' had no evidence of rear end sag when we bought her. I proceeded to lash a vintage evinrude outboard motor to the back bumper on a home-made plywood/carpetted "gurney" for use on our aluminum canoe. Figured 75lbs max and tightly secured to the bumper will not present a problem......This was my pre-AIR days. The 11 hours up and back from Lake Chataua, NY with my outboard rig was enough to start the rear frame to droop on the side holding the motors heavier top end. The damage is obvious when you can pull up and down on the bumper and feel it "give" not to mention the sheared off rivets on the effectd side between belly panels and rear panel around access hatch.

DONT DO IT - I WOULD NOT STRAP A ZIP DEE CHAIR ON THE BACK.

I installed a front hitch and can easily carry a bicycle rack or cargo rack that will hold a light motorcycle/moped/scooter for hops around camp. This leaves the truck bed open for cargo etc and we dont have to try and lift out bikes from the side when the trailer is still hitched up.

Another option is pictured at link below - last thing in the trailer and first thing out (not good idea if motor/gas is involved). Bradk states "this contraption has soft rubber feet to prevent sliding. It sits right at the base of the dinette in the trailer and keeps the bikes secure. I bungee the rear tires together and put them on the welcome mat. Many trips with no tips or movement. Very good system."

http://www.airforums.com/attachments...2/feb07003.jpg

One last idea to explore is a cargo rack above the truck bed with the bicycles mounted above - we carry our canoe in this fashion and still have room for 2 bikes on the left and right side of the boat.

Good luck!
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Old 05-29-2007, 06:05 PM   #19
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Re: The front hitch/motorcycle carrier. Before you get to far into the front hitch thing check the bike dimensions. I have found that scooters and motorcycles block the headlights and have been using the back of the truck. I have placed the folding aluminum rack (8'X42") on the front hitch. You will also find that the front hitch set up normally requires a 2500lb truck.
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Old 05-29-2007, 07:48 PM   #20
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General Disarray is exactly right. The dynamic loads are what kills them, not the static loads. In other words, 50lbs on the bumper in the driveway is 50lbs. Whoopdeeedo. 50lbs on the bumper on the highway hitting bumps is magnified by the acceleration. So that 50lb static load could very easily be like a 300lb dynamic load on big bumps. (could be more or less) Not only that , it gets repeated over and over and over. Aluminum doesn't like fatigue loading either. So you hammer the thing apart.

I do believe that the OEM rear connection could have been better. But this is the way they are.

And for a motorcycle, the real problem is the handling. I was looking to build a new frame for my own trailer that would absolutely not bend. However, the problem of handling still comes up. You want the mass to be centered just ahead of the axles. You put 350lbs on the back bumper and its 12' aft of the axle centerline. Every time you make a side to side oscillation, that weight out on the end is trying to wreck you.

It's like holding 25lbs on the end of a barbell vs. holding the 25lb plate in your hands and trying to dance the twist. WAY easier with the plate in your hands.

In EngiNerd terminology, we call that "polar moment of inertia." You want the mass centralized.

You could always build a new frame, enlarge the door to about 40" wide, and park the bike in the trailer when you travel

I actually saw one that did that....it was pretty cool!
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