Some might say, “hey, what’s the problem, a truck has a bed, so put the bike in there!”, though as we all know, if it was all that obvious, we would sure do that.
Using the bed for storing a bicycle or two can be plain impossible if you tow a trailer, mainly a fifth wheel. In some cases, it may also be filled with other more important stuff, even if you are only bumper pulling a travel trailer, so sacrificing bed space for a bike doesn’t make sense.
Sure, there are many ways to mount one way in the back of the trailer itself, such as the ladder or so, but not everyone likes this route, as you really can’t see the load properly.
Mounting the bikes in front of the truck is probably one of the last ideas that come to owners’ minds, and today i’ll be analyzing this method and telling you how to get it done.
There’s always a but, isn’t it? In this instance, the first thing you have to be entirely sure about is finding out if it’s even legal to do so in the place you live.
Every state has their own laws when it comes to putting anything in the front which may obstruct your vision, and the only way you can find that out is by studying the local law.
An actual sign which can at least give you an idea if it is doable or not is spotting other drivers with the same setup, however don’t take my word for it – you really have to be certain it’s legal in your part of the country.
Install a hitch
Once you are sure that it’s not against the law to carry bicycles in the front of your vehicle, well, the first thing you have to start with is the hitch.
Chances are your pickup does not have anything resembling a hitch receiver there, and that means you will certainly need to buy one.
A front hitch is a great accessory anyway – when not hauling bikes, you can put a rack in there on which you’ll be able to carry all sorts of equipment of your liking.
The CURT products (view on Amazon) is really all you should be looking for, to be honest.
Choosing a rack
The process gets a bit complicated once the topic goes onto the actual rack on which the bicycle, or should i say bikes in your situation will be held on, as there is quite a selection to go for.
The goal here is to find a product which doesn’t sit excessively high, as we want the view obstruction to be kept at the minimum, for our own comfort and safety.
I suggest considering the more known kind, like Thule T2.
Configuring the setup
Locking the bike in your new rack as it is and going for the ride right away most likely won’t work – odds are, the setup will first need to be adjusted properly for your type of truck.
Get in the vehicle, and look through the windshield – be certain that anything from a seatpost, handlebar or whatever is on the bicycle isn’t literally blocking your sight.
If you find the seatpost sticking out rather tall, you can always adjust it as you see fit, that is by either removing it completely or only lowering. In case you feel that the bicycle is also just sitting high, taking off the front wheel and bolting the fork to the frame with a mount works wonders.
Also, try your best to not block as much of the headlight section as you can, as failing to do so will only impair the quality of lighting.
What to expect when traveling with bicycles in such way
In regards to the good, being able to always see the bikes right in front of you when going from place to place is amazing – if one of them seems to be budging overly much, you just get out and tighten it, that’s it. Its just having them right in front of your view and not having to worry about them being yanked or falling off the back is what makes it all worth it.
With that said, there are definitely a handful of negative aspects of hauling bikes with this method as well.
The main one is probably the impact on viewing angles. It doesn’t matter how well you position the bicycles in the rack, they still will make it harder for you to see the same amount when compared to having nothing on there. The light from the pickup truck will also end up bouncing off the bikes right at you, and that gets tiresome fast if you ask me.
The load can end up getting covered with dead bugs, and general road grime. You can always clean that sort of stuff up, though the constant impact could potentially ruin the finish.
This is not a really huge fact, but if you would ever end up needing to access under the hood, the bicycles there will certainly make it more of a challenge.
Lastly, they can impact the radiator’s function, and if there are more than one strapped to the front, the vehicle may even start overheating.
Mounting the bicycles right on top of the cab can be a great alternative if you’re not really into doing the same on the front, it’s just that having them that high means there will be more work involved to take them off.
If possible, installing a bike right right inside the trailer you’re pulling can be the ultimate solution to the issue. They’ll be protected from rain, won’t be likely as stolen, its just that they will certainly take up that space.
For those who tow a 5th wheel, welding a hitch receiver onto the actual pin box and hooking up a bike rack there may be exactly what you’re looking for – here’s a link on a person’s journey on getting it done!