A few years ago we shopped around for a RV motorcycle carrier that would safely haul our Harley Davidson Road King on the back of our motorhome. We decided on one made by Overbuilt and sold by Blue Ox. Our 1,000 lb Rated Blue Ox Motorcycle Carrier was definitely built to hold the weight of the Harley 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.
The picture below is of me finishing hooking up the bike and car to our motorcycle lift for the very first time. We were so excited to be heading out to stay on the Rogue River in Shady Cove Oregon for a month and then off to Colorado and Utah to tour the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks on the Bike.
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.
Strapping the bike to the lift – Very Important!
When we first started to travel with the bike on the lift we used 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 nearly fallen off because the tie downs had become loose from all the bouncing around. From then on, we checked the tie down straps at every fuel stop. Here is the new and improved version of the straps we used. They are made by Keeper 05723 1 1/2″ by 8′ Heavy-Duty Motorcycle and ATV Tie Down, Pack of 2 and we highly highly recommend them.
Considerations on mounting a 1,000 pound motorcycle carrier to the motorhome – Very Important!!!!!
The motorcycle carrier manufacturer will ship the motorcycle carrier/lift to your favorite welding shop for installation to the frame of your motorhome. That is a REALLY BIG DEAL, and one of the reasons I am writing this post.
First – please be certain and verify that 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, at the time, 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 – or so we thought.
Before we bought our Overbuilt-Blue Ox RV motorcycle carrier, we noticed another motorhome that had the same 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 to be unlevel – it was actually sagging downward a bit (about 4 inches). We discussed this issue with the welding shop that mounted ours and asked them to tip the lift upward about 3 inches 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. That was really dangerous because the bike was in a partially ‘falling over’ position when you tied it down to the lift.
We eventually went back and had the welding shop cut the tray off the carrier with a welding torch. They then reinstalled it by tipping it up toward the motorhome 3/4″ and re-welded it back on. 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.
After three years of some great motorcycle rides, we had some work done to the motorhome which required putting it on a lift. While the motorhome was up in the air I took the opportunity to do a little inspection of the frame and how the Overbuilt-Blue Ox Motorcyle RV Carrier was holding up. Much to my surprise, I noticed that a rear shock mounting plate on the motorhome had begun to crack. Some of the support brackets holding the motorcycle carrier on were cracked, too. Yikes! We don’t even like to think about what kind of disaster could have happened had it cracked completely while we were driving down the road.
The welding shop beefed up the shock-mounting bracket and the other mounting brackets for the lift, which seemed to fix 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 900 to 1,000 pounds back there bouncing around can really do some damage to your frame and support members if you’re not careful.
Also, here is link I found of someone else who almost had a major disaster with another motorcycle lift that was not welded to the frame properly.
Click here if you’d like to read his story.
In my opinion, for the money, the Overbuilt-Blue Ox lift did a good job. I would recommend it as long as it is welded on correctly and is within your budget. You can purchase or view the 1,000 pound rated Blue Ox Motorcycle Carrier here on Amazon.
Overbuilt/Blue Ox Motorcycle Carrier
♦ Low Cost – plus, parts are pretty easy to find and repair over the expensive hydraulics.
♦ It uses 12-volt motor and cables to lift bike instead of more reliable hydraulics.
♦ Tow vehicle goes behind carrier extending the overall length going down the road, which can drag on the road – especially when driving on an incline (for instance, when pulling into a gas station driveway that is higher than the road and has an incline).
♦ Motorcycle picks more road grime by being close the ground – unlike the Hydralift mentioned below.
Number 1 Choice:
Hydralift 1,000 pound rated Motorcyle RV Carrier. If money were of no concern, I would definitely go with the Hydralift 1,000 pound Motorcycle Lift with Free Shipping. Click Here.
Hydralift 1,000 pound Motorcyle RV Carrier
♦ 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.
♦ Uses more reliable hydraulics to lift the motorcycle.
♦ The motorcycle stays cleaner because it’s higher above the ground.
♦ Higher Cost
1,000 pound RV Motorcycle Carriers
There are a few other 1,000 pound rated Motorcycle Carrier manufacturers out there. Here are just a few that I know of for heavy bikes: Hydralift, Cruiserlift, Overbuilt, Blue Ox, and Mighty Hauler.
The bottom line – if you have a heavy) bike like ours, you’ll want to be sure to get a competent welding shop to install it. The last thing you want is to have that thing break off while you’re going down the road.
Like some of us, I shop a lot on Ebay and just the other day I ran across this company on Ebay that manufactures RV Motorcycle carriers that are rated for 900 pounds. The carrier is not a lift type – you actually roll your bike on. It might be a low-cost option to consider. Click the link below for more information:
Wow! This RV Motorcycle Carrier is rated for 900 pounds and costs only $649.99. Check it out here!
OK, how about another idea?
If all this about putting an expensive motorcycle carrier on your rv sounds like a major pain and you don’t want to deal with finding a competent welding shop and insuring they get the welding done correctly – you might want to consider a simple folding motorcycle trailer that will hook up to your existing 2” receiver for a lot less money. There are some really good ones out there. Remember … if something breaks and your lift won’t go back up – you and your motorhome could be stuck where you are until you can get it fixed. Not to mention the possibility of the lift cracking or breaking off if you hit a bump as I mentioned above. Again, we’re not the experts –just sharing a bit about our personal experience.
Here’s a new motorcycle trailer that is highly rated on eBay that is less than $1,700 and will carry 1,000 pounds. Check it out.
NEW! Folding Single RAIL Motorcycle Trailer used for Harley Honda Gold Wing
Or, this New one on eBay that holds 700 pounds for less than $800.
New! Folding Motorcycle Trailer Portable Collapsible Foldable – Single Rail
Another good option if your bike weighs less than 600 pounds
I haven’t personally used this RV Motorcycle Carrier, but my friend bought this one on Amazon because it had such great reviews and he is really happy with it. His bike weighs about 450 pounds. If your bike weighs less than 600 pounds you might want to consider this motorcycle carrier. Check it out here. It’s rated for 600 pounds and the best thing I think is that he only paid 215 bucks for it.
One other thing you must have if you end up purchasing a motorcycle carrier or hauler that’s hitch mounted is one of these.
Anti Rocking 2″ Hitch Wobble Stabilizer. They help keep your motorcycle and carrier from bouncing all around. It is a ‘must have’ if you have a motorcycle carrier. I have a couple of them and they are great for bicycle carriers or cargo carriers, too.
More Hitch Mounted Motorcycle Carriers
Below are some great deals on hitch mounted motorcycle carriers by eBay.
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