I was looking for a way to carry our bikes when we’re towing our Jayco Swan, so it got me wondering: which is the best bike rack for a Jayco camper trailer?

So I read every Facebook thread and forum post that I could find on the internet. This is what I found:

There’s 4 main ways people carry their bikes when towing a Jayco camper trailer: on the roof, on the drawbar, at the towball, and off the rear bumper. There’s a few popular options for each of these methods, and they have very different pros and cons.

Here’s a summary of the each of them:

1. A-frame bike rack mounted on tow ball

These A-frame bike racks are bolted onto the towbar of the car:

This means that you can use this bike rack on the car when you’re not towing…

Jayco Camper Trailer with A-Frame Bike Rack on Tow Ball

…but the tow ball is still accessible for when you want to hitch up your Jayco camper.

Pros:

  • Easy to install. These are simply held on the towbar with the tow ball.
  • Cheap. Even the best quality ones aren’t that expensive.
  • Same bike rack when you’re not towing. You can leave this on the car for when you go on day trips.
  • Bikes can stay on car during set-up. You can take the bikes off first OR wait until set-up is complete.
  • Easy to lift bikes onto rack. You don’t need to lift the bikes very high to get them onto the rack.
  • Can still access front boot of camper. Bikes are far enough away from the camper so the lid still opens.
  • Doesn’t limit roof or drawbar accessories. Still have jerry cans, a gas bottle, solar and air-con.
  • Easily removable. Permanently mount the base and use the quick release to add and remove the rack.

Pacific A-Frame Bike Racks Not To Be Used When Towing Jayco Camper Trailer

Cons:

  • Can’t tow with all brands. Some (like the Pacific) aren’t designed for being able to use the tow ball.
  • Limited number and size of bikes. More than a couple of bikes and it can limit your turning circle.
  • Every kg is added straight onto your towbar. Something to consider if you’re tight for tow ball capacity.
  • Can’t open rear door of 4WD. Depends on your car, but our Pajero door swings out so won’t open.
  • Can shift and bikes rub on car. You need to keep checking the tow ball is tight.

Summary: A-frame bike rack mounted on towbar

This is a good option if you’ve got some towbar capacity to spare…

Cycling Deal A Frame Bike Rack - Compatible with a Tow Ball Trailer

…and you’ve only got a few bikes to carry so it doesn’t impact your turning circle.

If this option is for you then one that you CAN tow while you’re carrying bikes is this one from CyclingDeal

[the only thing that stopped us is that it’d stop us from getting to the fridge in of our car]

2. Dual hitch receiver (plus hitch mount bike rack)

These dual hitch receivers are like a double-adapter for your towbar:

Insert one of these and you can use your normal tow-hitch in the bottom receiver, and a hitch mount bike rack in the top.

Jayco Camper Trailer Towing with a Dual Hitch Receiver

The pros and cons are quite similar to the A-frame bike rack, with a few differences:

Pros:

  • Easiest to install. You don’t even need any tools for this one.
  • Less likely to move. Unlike the A-frame there’s no risk of loosening and bikes rubbing against your car.
  • Cheap. A dual receiver is a bit over $100, and you also save because it’s the…
  • Same bike rack when you’re not towing. Easily swap the bike rack from the car or dual receiver.
  • Access the boot of the car when not towing. Most hitch mounted bike racks are hinged to fold down.
  • Easy to lift bikes onto rack. A little higher than the A-frame type, but you still don’t need to lift too high.
  • Can still access front boot of camper. The bikes are far enough away from the camper
  • Doesn’t limit roof or drawbar accessories. Still have jerry cans, a gas bottle, solar and air-con.
  • Compatible with different hitch types. Unlike the A-frame you can use this option with a DO35, Treg, etc

Jayco Camper Trailer wtih Dual Hitch Receiver for Bike Rack - Tough to Hitch

Cons:

  • Can be fiddly to hook up your camper. There’s not much clearance between the top and bottom receivers.
  • Harder for the bikes to stay on car during set-up. It can still be done, just a little trickier. 
  • Every kg is added straight onto your towbar. Something to consider if you’re tight for tow ball capacity.
  • The dual receiver adds extra weight. These are about 7 kg, which is also added to the tow ball weight.
  • Increases length of the towbar. Extra leverage increases tow ball download
  • Decreased clearance. Extra length can add to difficulties with drains and driveways if you’re already low.
  • Limited number and size of bikes. Can limit your turning circle depending on your set-up.
  • Can’t open rear door of 4WD. A little better than the A-frame, but still doesn’t work with our Pajero.

Summary: Dual hitch receiver plus hitch mounted bike rack

This is a cheap option to try if you’ve:

  • Already got a bike rack
  • Only have a couple of bikes to carry
  • Have some towbar capacity to spare

Mister Hitches Dual Hitch Receiver for Jayco Camper Trailer Bike Rack

Dual hitch receiver: The one that’s most recommended is here from Mister Hitches via their eBay store

3. Fiamma Carry Bike XL A: Our choice for carrying 2 bikes

SPOILER ALERT:

The Fiamma Carry Bike XL A is the option we went with after reasearching the pros and cons of 10 different options for the 4 different methods of carrying bikes on a Jayco camper trailer

(we bought ours here from Outback Equip via eBay)

These bike racks bolt onto the drawbar.

Then, you place the bike with its wheels in the channel and strap the frame to the upright support pole

Jayco Swan Camper Trailer with Fiamma Carry Bike XL A Caravan Bike Rack

[this rack is what we ended up going with after watching this video and weighing up the pros and cons of all of the different options]

Pros:

  • Easy to install. Attaches with U-bolts so there’s no drilling or welding required.
  • Good turning circle. The bikes are further back at the body of the camper.
  • Less impact on tow ball weight. Weight’s further back so it’s split between the axle and tow ball download.
  • Stable towing. Bikes are fixed, low to the drawbar, and back near the body of the camper.
  • Easy to load bikes. Wheel them up onto the channels then use the supplied straps. Done.
  • Reasonable price. Around $250 is pretty good considering the heartache it’ll save us.
  • Can still access the boot of our car. This is a big one for us because we can access our car fridge .
  • Tilts forward to access boot. Still get the jockey wheel out for set-up.

Jayco Swan with Fiamma Carry Bike XL A Rack

Cons:

  • Carrying capacity. Limited to 2 bikes only.
  • Limits accessories on drawbar. We’re needing to sacrifice our jerrycan holder for our installation.
  • Need to remove bikes during set-up. Our bikes now need to become ‘first off, last on’.
  • Need a separate bike rack for the car. No really a factor for us because we don’t do day trips with bikes.

Summary: Fiamma Carry Bike XL A

After weighing up all of the pros and cons, this seemed to be the best choice for us:

The price is right, we only need to carry 2 bikes, we’d like to be able to access the boot, and rarely use a jerry can

(and on the odd occasion that we need one we’ll just carry it inside like we did when we did a lap of Australia)

Pajero Turning Cirlce with Fiamma Carry Bike XL A Bike Rack Mounted on Jayco Swan Camper Trailer

Fiamma Carry Bike XL A: We bought ours from Outback Equip (get one here via their eBay store)

But when our youngest is a bit bigger and we need to carry 3 bikes?

We’ll upgrade to a…

4. iSi Extreme Duty Bicycle Carrier for Jayco Camper Trailer: The best bike rack but not cheap

This is the bike rack that’s specifically made with a Jayco camper trailer in mind…

…and the most common comment from people who’ve bought one seems to be:

“Worth every cent, wish I’d bought one sooner”

These are made and sold by a Melbourne based company… check them out here

Pros:

  • Easy to install. Attaches to the drawbar with a mounting bracket that bolts on (no drilling or welding).
  • Doesn’t limit accessories on drawbar. It goes up and over jerry cans, gas bottles, etc.
  • Carrying capacity. Has the option to take up to 4 bikes.
  • No impact on turning circle. The bikes are up high and back out of the way.
  • Less impact on tow ball weight. Weight’s further back so it’s split between the axle and tow ball download.
  • Folds forward even with bikes on. Access the front boot AND slide the beds out while leaving bikes on.
  • Bikes can be left on during set-up. Rack is designed to hold bikes even when folded forward.
  • Can still access the boot of the car. Bikes are up and out of the way (far enough back to open most doors).
  • Can be switched between car and camper. Rack disconnects from the main stem and can go on the car.
  • Can be changed to other caravans. If you swap to a caravan, just change the mounting bracket.
  • Stable towing. The rack is rigid, so even with the bikes elevated the load is in phase with the camper.
  • Doubles as a washing line. When it’s folded down under the bed it becomes a good rack for drying towels!
  • Australian made. These guys are well known for great customer service and being helpful during ordering.

iSi bike rack - folded down for bed to slide out on Jayco camper trailer

Cons:

  • Expensive. It’s a pretty big outlay at around $1,700 for the complete set-up.
  • Heavy. Weighing in at around 20 kg, this rack (plus the weight of the bikes) can eat into your overall payload.

Summary: iSi bike rack for Jayco camper trailer

The iSi is undoubtedly the best bike rack for a Jayco camper trailer…

iSi bike rack the best option for Jayco camper trailer

…and although it’s not cheap, all the reviews show it’s worth it.

We’ll end up getting one once we need to carry a 3rd bike

(gives some time to save!)

5. Drawbar modification (with A-frame bike rack)

Some people have made some clever modifications to mount a standard A-frame bike rack on their drawbar.

Modified Attachment for Drawbar for Bike Rack on Jayco Camper Trailer

I wish I knew who made up this one… because I’d get them to do one for me!

Some look like they might snap, others look like they could hold a truck. So…

Where do you draw the line?

I’m not an engineer… so I wouldn’t know.

Pros:

  • Cheap. This option involves purchasing a standard bike rack then making a few modifications.
  • One bike rack for camper and car. Transfer the whole rack or have a 2nd base (depends on your set-up)
  • Open the boot of the car. Same A-frame bike rack, but now you can access the boot of your car.
  • No impact on turning circle. Unless you have 4 big bikes on the rack.
  • Less impact on tow ball weight. Weight’s further back so it’s split between the axle and tow ball download.

Bike Racks Bolted to Drawbar of Jayco Camper Trailer

Cons:

  • Tools required. Depending on your method of choice there could be drilling, cutting, grinding and welding.
  • Quality control and safety. How many bolts (and what type?) are needed to withstand the forces that these things go through? Will the modification affect the chassis? I’d hate to be over-confident and be the cause of some bikes bouncing down the highway.
  • Additional weight. Some of the heavily manufactured ones look like they add a few extra kg to the drawbar.
  • A bit harder to lift the bikes. Some people find it tricky to lift the bikes over the drawbar to that height.
  • Limits accessories on drawbar. You’d still need to sacrifice the jerrycan holder for the installation.

Summary: Drawbar modification with A-frame bike rack

If you know what you’re doing then this could be a cheap way to eliminate most of the drawbacks of using an A-frame bike rack:

Modified Attachment for Drawbar for Bike Racks on Jayco Camper Trailer

The same bike rack but with a better turning circle, decreased tow ball download, and the ability to get to your car’s boot.

6. Coast Alu Star Bike Racks: Designed especially for Jayco camper roof racks

Standing the bikes on the roof of your Jayco camper is a great option for many…

Alu Star Bike Rack for Roof of Jayco Camper Trailer

… but one of the biggest problems people have faced is getting the bike racks to fit

(the tubes of the standard Jayco roof racks are really thick)

Standard Bike Rack Not Fit Roofrack on Jayco Camper Trailer

These bike racks have been specifically designed to fit Jayco and Coast roof racks

Pros:

  • Ease of installation. These are pre-assembled and attach straight onto Jayco and Coast roof racks.
  • Reasonable price. Around $130 each isn’t too bad.
  • Lightweight. These weigh just on 2 kg each.
  • Weight centred over axles. Less impact on tow ball capacity. Not unstable like on the rear. 
  • Easily increase bike carrying capacity. You can get an extra rack instead of changing the whole set up.
  • No impact on turning circle. With nothing even near the drawbar, the bikes are right up out of the way.
  • Access both car and camper boot. The bikes are right out of the way.

Bikes on Roof Racks Crushed by Foyer

Cons:

  • Need to come off when setting up. The roof lifting mechanism of a Jayco camper is only rated to 79 kg.
  • Need to be tall (or use a stepladder). It can be hard to lift the bikes and hold them while securing them.
  • Limits air-con and solar. We don’t have the space (or weight capacity) for bike racks.
  • Need to remember height clearance. Need to keep an eye out for low trees, car park shade covers, etc.
  • Bikes against 100 km/h winds. Some people have had the racks snap, so an extra tie-down is a good idea.

Summary: Coast Alu Star Bike Racks

These are a great option if you’re tall, have roof racks, and there’s not much else on the roof of your Jayco camper:

They’re pretty cheap, don’t impact towing, and you can access both boots.

Alu Star Bike Rack - Specifically Designed for Jayco and Coast Rofof Racks

Coast Alu Star Bike Racks: Best place I could find to buy was them was here from Outback Equip via their eBay store

7. Yakima Frontloader Roof Mounted Bike Carrier: No contact with the frame

I won’t go too much into comparing this one to the rear, drawbar, and tow ball options…

…because the Yakima Frontloader just seems to be the best of the roof mounted options

[so I’ll keep it brief and just look at the pros and cons compared with the Coast Alu Star Bike Rike]

Alu Star vs Yakima Frontloader Roof Mounted Bike Racks for Jayco Camper Trailer

Pros:

  • No contact with bike frame. Rack only attaches to the wheels (protects paint jobs and carbon fibre).
  • Easier to load. The wheel holder holds the bike upright while you secure the bike to the mount.
  • Built in security cable. Slides out of the Frontloader’s frame.
  • Takes different sized bikes. Listed as 20-28 inch bikes… but lots load 16 inch kids’ bikes with no problem.
  • Bolt straight onto Jayco and Coast roof racks. No modifications needed. 

Cons:

  • Twice the price of the Coast Alu. But worth it if you have expensive bikes.

Summary: Yakima Frontloader Roof Mounted Bike Carrier

The Yakima Frontloader has the same pros and cons as the other roof-mounted bike racks…

…but it’s the option of choice if you don’t mind paying more to protect expensive bikes

(and for easier loading)

Yakima Frontloader: Check current price here on eBay

8. Rear bumper modification (plus hitch mounted bike rack)

Okay, it’s time to get controversial:

The only viable option for a bike rack on the rear of a Jayco camper is if the bumper has been reinforced

Why?

The rear bumper is rated to 30 kg… and the spare wheel weights 27 kg

Jayco Camper Trailer Rear Bumper Weight Capacity

(and just because someone else has a bike rack on the rear bumper and it hasn’t fallen off… doesn’t mean it won’t some day)

And once this mod is done… it opens the back of the camper up for some pretty awesome bike racks…

Modified Bumper and Hitch Mount Receiver for Bike Rack on Jayco Camper Trailer

…including the Shingleback.

Pros:

  • Cheap. This option involves purchasing a standard bike rack then making a few modifications. Even getting a professional to do it is only a few hundred dollars.
  • One bike rack for camper and car. Easily transfer the bike rack to the car’s hitch receiver.
  • Bikes are completely out of the way. No impact on turning circle. Open the boot of the car. Open the boot of the camper. No impact on drawbar or rooftop accessories.
  • Carrying capacity. Whether you are carrying 2 or 4 bikes, you can just buy a bike rack to fit.
  • Don’t need to remove bike rack. Once the bikes are off the bed can slide out during set-up.

Bike Rack Welding Snapped Off on Jayco Camper Trailer

Cons:

  • Tools required. To make this work there needs to be drilling, cutting, grinding and welding. Even then…
  • Quality control and safety. How good is your welding? Where should the reinforcements be attached? Will the modification affect the chassis? Are you better off getting a pro to do it?
  • Additional weight. Some of the heavily manufactured examples look like they eat up some weight from the available 300 kg payload.
  • Decreased tow stability. Moving the bike racks further back from the axles can affect tow stability and cause sway… especially noticeable in emergency manoeuvres.
  • Obscuration of lights and plates. Depending on the bikes and your camper you may need an extra number-plate and light-bar.

Bike Rack Welding Snapped on Jayco Camper Trailer

Summary: Drawbar modification with A-frame bike rack

If you know what you’re doing then this can be a good way to get the bikes out of the way:

You’ll end up with a bike rack that can easily swap between the back of the camper and the back of the car

Reinforced Rear Bumper for Bike Racks on Jayco Camper Trailer

[just make sure it’s done properly for the safety of other road users]

Bikes Fallen Off Back of Jayco Camper Trailer

9. Bolt-on hitch receiver adaptor on rear bumper

Bolt On Hitch Receiver Adaptor

These attach to become a receiver for a standard hitch mount bike rack

Bolt On Hitch Receiver Adaptor for Bike Rack on Jayco Camper Trailer Bumper

If you want to get one, they’re a pretty cheap option here from Mister Hitches on eBay

But remember:

A bolt-on hitch receiver on the bumper of Jayco camper trailer is not a standalone option:

It needs to be combined with a rear bumper modification

[because the bumper of a Jayco camper trailer is only rated to 30 kg and the spare wheel has already taken most of this]

10. Spare-wheel mounted bike rack

I have to admit that these racks look pretty good.

Bike Rack Mounted on Spare Wheel of Jayco Camper Trailer

You often hear:

“But mine hasn’t fallen off”

But… unless you’ve reinforced the spare wheel mount and the bumper then this isn’t a good option.

The bikes will be bouncing up and down on your bumper…

Spare Wheel Bracket Snapped on Back of Jayco Camper Trailer

…and then one day they might be bouncing down the road.

Bikes Dragged By Caravan Causing Fire

I haven’t linked to any sparewheel bike racks in this article.

Why?

I did a lot of research for this article and there are so many examples of people having their bikes fall off the back…

…so there’s no way I could recommend this type of bike rack for a Jayco camper unless some serious modifications are made.

Summary: The best bike rack for Jayco camper trailers

There’s pros and cons to having your bikes on the roof, drawbar, towball, or rear bumper.

So what’s most important to you:

  • Keeping your set-up and pack-up as easy as possible?
  • Being able to put your bikes on the car for day trips?
  • Keeping weight off your tow ball?
  • Saving some money with some DIY?
  • Keeping things safe by eliminating bounce and sway while towing

The best thing to do is identify what you’d like to achieve and then look for the best option that suits you.

Our choice: Best bike rack for our Jayco Swan

We want to carry 2 bikes, can’t mount on the roof, and I don’t have the welding skills.

And, because I don’t mind losing the jerry can holder, the best option for us came to be the Fiamma Carry Bike XL A.

Pajero Turning Cirlce with Fiamma Carry Bike XL A Bike Rack Mounted on Jayco Swan Camper Trailer

If this is the best option for you, after much research we bought ours here from Outback Equip via eBay

Well, thanks for reading! If you’ve got a Jayco camper you might also find this one of interest…

Read35 Most Popular Jayco Camper Trailer Modifications