Originally Posted by MJBear
Thanks for all the information from everyone. Carrying toys along is the biggest (and only) problem when traveling in an airstream. Our kayaks sit flat and take up all the space on the cap and truck cab, so bikes up there aren't an option. If Thule made a rack for our truck then our old Thule system would work and bikes could be in the middle - but that is more cumbersome and less accessible than where they are inside. They are ok inside the cap, but as I said, not at all convenient for those stops when you stay hitched and would like a bike ride and also they take up most of the space.
I do understand, Andy, your explanation of the torque when hitting a bump, but you referred to hanging them on the bumper and the problem there makes good sense to me. But if they are welded to the frame and do not have much "swing" that should be minimized and if they aren't fastened to the shell it shouldn't effect the movement of the shell to frame.
As for a front mount on the truck I would think they would get terribly dirty?Wouldn't they block lights? They for sure couldn't be covered. I guess folding bikes is an option as well. Also thinking about an inflatable kayak for some trips that aren't specifically for the purpose of kayaking.
With our previous trailer, a 27' Award, which we had for about ten years, I carried our two bicycles on a hitch rack fitted to a 2" receiver mounted on the front of our truck.
You are right that it does have some impact on your lighting, but not a major one. In any case, we rarely travel at night.
Technically, I am not sure if it is 100% legal because of the lighting issue and also because - if you want to be picky - the handlebars & seats do intrude slightly into your field of vision.
Having said that, we have never been stopped for it in ten years of cross country travels.
When we bought our Airstream last Fall, I was initially pleased to find that it had a 2" receiver on the rear. I planned to move the bikes to the back of the trailer.
We toured the AS factory when we bought our trailer and I spoke with the tour guide about using the hitch for bicycles. I knew that the manual that came with the trailer stated the AS position that nothing should be carried at the back of the trailer.
His opinion ( as a long time AS owner and employee for many years) was that bikes should cause no problem and that the wording in the manual was aimed to stop folks hanging heavier and heavier loads off the back. So I still figured I would do it!
Then I read the wealth of info on this forum, mostly negative with respect to trailer hitches on the rear of the AS.
I understand the arguements, but am still not entirely sure that the forces would cause separation.
Nevertheless, we paid a bundle for the trailer and so in the end I decided not to chance it. Since I was not going to use the hitch, and since it was pretty heavy itself and reduced ground clearance significantly, I cut it off before our first long trip with the trailer and I continue to carry the bikes up front on the truck. It is the solution that works best for us. We have a cap on our truck, but fully use that space for storage to keep clutter out of the trailer. The truck is a 4x4 and I think it would be just too much of a struggle to get bikes up and down off the roof.
Ps - I suspect the previous owner must have pulled a small trailer behind the AS, perhaps a motorcycle or boat, as there was a wiring harness as well as the hitch. As far as I could tell, it had caused no damage at the back of the AS, but who knows - I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that maybe he only used it once!