RV Motorcycle Carrier

Back in 2002 we shopped around for an RV motorcycle carrier that would safely haul our Harley Davidson Road King on the back of our motorhome. We decided on one made by Overbilt. Their carrier was definitely overbuilt and worked very well for our situation. We especially liked the fact we could also tow a car up to 5,000 pounds behind the carrier.

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Below we’ll try to outline some of the challenges we ran into with our RV motorcycle carrier. We hope the information will help you should you decide to install a motorcycle lift on your motorhome. By no means are we saying we’re experts on mounting or using this carrier. We’re only sharing our experience in hopes it’ll help if you decide to purchase a motorcycle carrier.

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Considerations on Mounting the Lift to the Motorhome
Overbilt will ship the carrier to your favorite welding shop for installation of the frame to your motorhome. Make sure your motorhome is capable of carrying the combined load of the lift with your motorcycle mounted on the frame. Also, be sure it doesn’t exceed the load capacity of the motorhome, or the load capacity of the rear axle.

Our motorhome had overload air-assisted shocks and we’d air them up to full capacity before loading the bike. A lot of motorhomes have extensions on their frames, such as ours, and they may need to be beefed up before installing the motorcycle lift. In our case, the welding shop had extensive knowledge of beefing up the frame in order to carry the extra load.

Before we bought our RV motorcycle carrier we noticed another motorhome that had the same overbuilt lift with a similar Harley on the back. It was strange because it seemed that the bike was leaning outward (away from the motorhome) and the lift appeared not to be level – it was actually sagging downward a bit. We discussed this issue with the welding shop that mounted ours and asked them to tip the lift upwards an inch or two to compensate for the combined weight of the motorcycle and lift on the suspension. Well, unfortunately they should have tipped the lift further upward. We had the same problem with all the weight on the suspension. The bike tipped outward when it was tied down to the lift - even with the air shocks fully inflated.

We eventually went back and had the welding shop cut the tray off of the carrier with a welding torch. They then reinstalled it by tipping it up toward the motorhome 3/4" and rewelded it. That helped bring the bike to a level and straight position.

The problem with it leaning outward became worse when we would strap it down. This problem wasn’t the fault of anyone. No one knew how much the motorhome would sag with the added weight. Suppose if there had been a way to put a thousand pounds on the tail end of the motorhome and then mount the lift to it we would have been able to get it right the first time. However, remounting and tipping the tray upwards did solve the problem.

Strapping the Bike to the Lift
When we first started to travel with the bike on the lift we’d use heavy-duty ratchet type tie downs to secure the bike to the carrier. These worked well for short trips. However, on our first 500-mile trip we got out and discovered that the bike had almost fallen off because the tie downs had become loose from all the bouncing around.

We called Overbilt and they pointed us to a product called the ‘Biker Bar.’ It was a bar that slid through some custom hidden brackets that were mounted to the bottom of the frame of the bike and then through another bracket that was mounted to the carrier itself.

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Biker Bar

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This was the perfect solution, as it basically bolted the bike to the carrier and made it virtually impossible to come off. We still put a few tie-downs on the bike just to be safe and for peace of mind. This combination worked great.

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Update
After three years of some great motorcycle rides we decided to sell the Harley and the RV motorcycle carrier so we could buy a bigger motorhome.

When we took the motorhome to the welding shop to remove the carrier we had a chance to do a little inspecting of the underside after it was lifted on their rack. As they were cutting off the motorcycle carrier we noticed that a rear shock mounting plate on the motorhome had begun to crack. We don’t even like to think about what kind of disaster could have happened had it cracked completely while we were going down the road.

The welding shop beefed up the shock-mounting bracket and fixed the problem. However, we’d recommend inspecting the underside of your motorhome every so often - especially if you have hit any large bumps while traveling. That extra 1000 pounds back there bouncing around can really do some damage to your frame and support members if you’re not careful.

While attending some RV shows we noticed some other manufactures worth mentioning. Especially Hydralift USA. Their lift raises the bike up high enough so that you can directly use the hitch on the motorhome, thus shortening the overall length of your motorhome and tow vehicle. That really appealed to us. However, it may cost a bit more.

Again, overall we were very satisfied with Overbilt and would recommend them.

A Few RV Motorcycle Carriers
Here are the links to Overbilt, as well as other popular manufacturers of RV motorcycle carriers.

Overbilt Lifts - Overbilt Lifts
Hydralift USA - Hydralift USA
Cruiserlift - Cruiser Lift

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