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Old 07-28-2020, 10:52 AM   #1
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2020 22' Caravel
Cincinnati , OH
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Bike Rack

Help me, I don't get it!
We had an 1989 AS 25 foot Excella 15 years ago, and as I remember, AS didn't approve Bike Racks then.
IMHO, Bikes and RVing go together like "Peas & Carrots." How is it possible, that in 2020, it is still a somewhat controversial topic.
We are planning on getting a Caravel 22FB (New/used) and have researched the Bike Rack topic a lot in preparation of getting the Caravel, and are still getting different answers. The "AS Service Center," just last week, said it wasn't possible on this model. This week a major "AS Dealer" said it was a dealer installed Accessory. Why the mixed answers, confusing!?
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Old 07-28-2020, 11:41 AM   #2
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1986 31' Sovereign
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Historically, Airstream and the majority of Air Forum members have held that the stress of a frame or (god forbid) rear bumper bike rack would eventually cause damage to the trailer because the weight is carried so far back that the moment arm of the bikes would occasionally (bumps, potholes) be enormous.

Later, Airstream introduced a bike rack particularly for most AS trailers that used a connection to the frame coupled with a connection to the semi-monocoque shell that solved this problem. Many folks have this rack and it seems to work although you will see reports of parts breaking, especially on the upper tubes.

Having said all this, there are folks on this forum who have welded up a rear hitch to carry a bike rack and report no problems.

Me, I carry my bikes on the front of my truck using a front mounted hitch because there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer and I am not brave enough to be a “pioneer”.
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Old 07-29-2020, 11:31 AM   #3
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2020 22' Caravel
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Carrying Bikes

My point is, AS has known for years the popularity and necessity of Bikes as it relates to Camping! I would think that the ability to carry Bikes would be designed into their Trailers from the "First line on the page." We plan on doing it "one way or the other," on our next Airstream - Caravel 22FB, hopefully sometime this year! I've located a new/used Fiamma Rack (Max Capacity 77 lbs) so that will take care of one of the 65 LB Electric Bikes on the Rear, while we hope to mount another Electric Bike on the Trailer's Front A Frame. This Front/Rear locations should cancel each other out and not contribute to any Sway condition.
Lastly, we plan on using a Hensely Swift Cub Hitch, which literally guarantees a NO SWAY condition! Note, we would use the Hensely Hitch regardless of the Bikes.
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Old 07-29-2020, 11:45 AM   #4
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I’m sure Airstream has considered a more robust bike rack but for some reason, cost, engineering difficulty, complexity decided that the Fiamma was the way to go.

Good luck with your planned approach. Always nice to have your bikes on a road trip.
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Old 07-29-2020, 12:27 PM   #5
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Apollo Beach , Florida
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I agree with n2916s. I ordered a front receiver hitch for my F250 and bought a receiver mounted bike rack that I've already successfully used with the rear hitch. The hitch will arrive on Friday, will be installed by Saturday, and we will be off on a cross-country trip to Wisconsin. Sure the bikes will take a beating from road grime, bugs, and stones, but so does the truck. I studied the positives and negatives of all the bike carrying options and decided the front hitch was the way to go. An added benefit of having a front and rear hitch is that four bikes can be loaded on the truck, when not towing the Airstream, using our other family member's receiver mounted bike racks.
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Old 07-29-2020, 12:47 PM   #6
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The challenge with most racks is when you start adding e-bike weights to these. Most racks were build to handle 20 to 30 lbs bikes but when you want to attach a 50 lbs bike or 2, it exceeds some part of the rack's design. It could be the load bars or the feet and how they are mounted. The Fiamma will run into weight issues with a couple of e-bikes.

I recall that my load bars on my Honda Element had a 50 lbs max stamped on them. It may be the reluctance of rack manufacturers to put these out there and see them get overloaded and fail. I know that it is very hard to limit what people will put on the racks after they have gone on their merry way.
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Old 08-18-2020, 12:25 PM   #7
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2020 19' Caravel
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We took delivery of our 19' Caravel in June and had the Fiamma bike rack put on by he dealer before we picked it up. It has worked well with our two bikes (non-electric) that probably are a total of 50lbs combined. They are "fitness" type bikes that have straight bars and no problem putting them on nose to tail. Very solid and never notice an issue and since I can see them in the camera the whole time I can tell they aren't moving at all.

One thing is that it can make access to the rear storage compartment (not the bumper) a little tricky. And even more so when the bikes are on the rack, but it is doable.

I would definitely buy it again. I had looked at a solution that had a mount that went up and over the LP tank storage but the Fiamma just seemed better for me. I don't quite have a vehicle that would take to a front mount hitch very well but I would have considered it if possible as it would allow me to use my "normal" hitch mount bike rack not only on the road while traveling, but when at the campsite in case you have to drive to the trailhead.

Cheers!
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Old 08-18-2020, 12:46 PM   #8
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Sailorguy, how many bikes are you looking to transport?

Various options, or combination of options, as used by members
1) TV Front hitch
2) TV rooftop
3) TV bed/bedtop
4) Trailer tongue/over propane mount
5) Rear bumper mounted bike rack/custom hitch (watch for weight/balance/structure
6) Within trailer
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Old 08-18-2020, 12:48 PM   #9
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we have a FIAMMA bike rack made for As on our sport 22FB. we had to install the bumber first

it works very well. no issue.

BTW, we replaced the AS swing
molded bracket with a 3rd part SS welded brackets. Many people have issue with the stock FIAMMA bracket as it can crack and fracture
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Old 08-18-2020, 01:33 PM   #10
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I use a front mounted hitch and carrier. I have e-bikes. They are heavy. So being on the back of AS would be hard with the forces. I know people are concerned about bugs and rain. But I also have a method (very easy) to put them in the camper. But I have a 28' and have plenty of space.

And we still carry our bike rack on the front even when the bikes are in the trailer.

It was a hard choice because I don't like a "buggy" bike. But it was the one with the least negative consequences and the most positive benefits.

THE BIGGEST problems with the FIAMMA:
1) Expensive.
2) Light construction. Not capable of e-bikes. Might be for light bikes.
3) Cannot be tranferred to the tow vehicle when wanting to transport them while camping and the trailer is left behind.
4) Harder to get into rear storage.
5) Adds weight to the rear which could cause a little more sway.

It's nice getting to a site, and the last thing I have to worry about are the bikes on the front of the pickup.
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Old 08-18-2020, 02:34 PM   #11
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we have two TERN S10 vectra e bikes.
they fit on the FIAMMA. never had an issue.

i did modify the wheel trays to be a few inches farther apart
the FIAMMA weigh limit is VERY conservative
the materiel used is large diameter alum with hefty SS bolts throughout,
thus I don't consider it "light weight"
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