After reading the responses, talking with fellow campers whilst camping, and talking with Floyd (who gave me excellent advice beyond bike-racks, for which I am thankful) I went ahead and ordered the Lippert Jack-it 2 bike rack. I wanted something that was commercially available, as I have no welding skills, as well as something that would fit a Scamp
. The Jack-it took 6 weeks to arrive, but I got it yesterday and installed it today, mounted bikes and took a spin. Here is my assessment:
The rack fits the 16' Scamp
well. There is about 4" clearance between the bike pedal and the Scamp
if the pedal is in the downmost position (the worst for clearance). The rack installation was easy. Its orientation will not impede access to propane
tanks (you would want a cover that opens from the top) or battery
. According to my ‘step on a scale’ measurement, the Jack-it weighs about 34# and according to its spec, can handle a maximum 100# load. If you add a couple of standard general “around town” bikes, you will increase your total tongue weight
load by around 100#. I would not recommend this rack for bikes weighing
more than 35# simply because of the issues involved in mounting the bikes. As others have observed about the Jack-it, mounting the bikes onto the rack, and in particular the bike on the camper side, is not easy. You are working high and tight. You definitely need to tie the front wheel to the frame so that it doesn’t flop while you are putting it on the rack. Further, since the mounting is on the wheel, you cannot easily adjust the pedal position while the bike is in place. Determining the best orientation for the bikes (I ended up having each tilted with the back wheel lower than the front) is a trial and error activity dependent on the bikes themselves.
Once mounted, the bikes road well with very little movement on country roads and on the interstate. Their highest point was about the same height as the Scamp, so I had no concerns about additional wind resistance or clearance.
For the Jack-it, the tradeoff is difficulty in mounting bikes weighed against the nice fit of the rack with respect to everything else going on between the TV and camper and the good ride. Overall, I am well pleased with this commercial offering. For those of you with welding skills or campers with more room in front, I would consider a tray-mounting type rack.