How to Flat Tow while using a Motorcycle Rack – RV Motorcycle Carrier
Hauling a motorcycle behind an RV while flat towing a vehicle might seem like a complicated task. Being able to flat tow with a motorcycle and not have a trailer is awesome and easy. When it comes to setting up an RV up for this option it is important to know what bike you plan on getting and the weight. I purchased a 2007 Kawasaki KLR 650 which is around 400 pounds with a full tank of gas.
Ignore the dirty RV backside and motorcycle, we drove through a snow/salt covered mountain pass! The Jeep when flat towed flings all the dirty water at the RV, while the RV flings water at the Jeep.
There are only really two options out there when it comes to setting up an RV to haul both vehicles without a trailer. Some options are very expensive and can cost upwards of $5000 while others can be done for under $1000 (we chose this option). If you are going to be hauling a heavy motorcycle such as a Harley Davidson, Indian or big cruiser this means you are going to need an expensive carrier. If you only have plans to haul a dirt bike or smaller enduro under 600 pounds, staying under $1000 won’t be an issue. We have seen a few people carrying small KTM’s, while flat towing a vehicle.
Can my RV Tow a motorcycle and car?
This is the first question that must be answered before modifying an RV to be able flat tow with a motorcycle. Every RV comes with a manual which should highlight the towing specifications. If your RV is older, use google to find out the specifications for that exact year RV. The most common way to do the motorcycle carrier and flat tow setup, is with a diesel or gas Class A motorhome.
Class A motorhomes usually have the biggest frames, best towing capacities and a big enough gas or diesel motor to pull it up mountain passes. Another option that is newer to the RV world, is a super C. Most of the regular Class C motorhomes will not be able to handle the weight of any motorcycle over 350 pounds, while also flat towing a car or truck. The newer Super C motorhomes generally have a tow rating of 10,000 pounds which means hauling a large motorcycle and flat towing won’t be an issue.
5th Wheel campers also have the ability to haul a light motorcycle and flat tow a car or trailer. Make sure you check the specifications for towing from the manufacturer, before modifying anything. A lot of the older 5th wheels are not properly rated to have the weight of a motorcycle on the rear bumper or hitch. MOST 5th Wheel campers will need to have a custom hitch mounted or welded to the frame to be able to support a motorcycles tongue weight. Cruiser lift makes a heavy duty carrier for 5th wheels that comes with wheels to haul any bike over 500 pounds.
When it comes down to it, the most common and trustworthy option is going to be a Class A motorhome or Super C diesel. Motorhomes generally have the most towing capacity, and offer the ability to tow a larger bike such as a Harley while also towing a truck or jeep behind it. Most Class A GAS motorhomes will only be able to haul bikes under 5oo pounds, while the diesel pusher Class A can haul larger motorcycles.
We bought a Kawasaki KLR 650 which is somewhere around 400 pounds with a full tank of gas. We flat tow a Jeep Wrangler and KLR 650 with our 2004 Winnebago Sightseer. Our $250 motorcycle carrier holds our KLR perfect on the road and it doesn’t rattle around!
How To Carry a Motorcycle and Flat Tow Jeep Behind RV – Cheap!
There are a two main options that people have to make this possible, and some are very expensive. If you are planning to haul a motorcycle that is under 500 pounds, the best option you have is to get a custom double hitch. Motorhomes already come with a hitch on the rear rated anywhere from 5,000 to 20,000 pounds depending on what brand RV you have.
Most welding and fabrication shops will be able to weld a second hitch below your existing factory one. They will also most likely want to add a support bar to the existing hitch and weld it to the frame. This will add extra strength to the hitch, as it is always better to overbuild something rather than not make it strong enough.
The second option is to get something such as a cruiser lift which can carry a up to a 1,000lb motorcycle. The Cruiser lift is operated with an electronic winch cable to lift and lower the motorcycle. This is a great option for anyone with a heavier bike and Diesel pusher Class A. Cruiser lift does also make a 5th wheel option that has a single or double rear wheel to support the weight.
Towing a Motorcycle and Flat Towing with a Double Hitch on our Class A
Why did we decide to go with a double hitch? This is one of the two options you have when it comes to hauling both a motorcycle and flat towing. This is generally the cheaper option and allowed us to get a cheap motorcycle carrier from Amazon. We are pulling our Jeep Wrangler from the bottom receiver, and hauling the motorcycle from the top reciever. This allowed us to get a cheap motorcycle carrier that was under $300, to hold our 400 pounds Kawasaki Enduro.
The dimensions of our motorcycle carrier had it stick out around 28 inches from the end of our RV receiver. We ended up cutting the “arms” above (with the d-rings) from 10 inches to 5 inches. We had a welder re-weld the d-ring back on at 5 inches. We did this so that our Jeep would not clip the long “arms” when making tight turns when being towed.
We added a anti-rattle device to both our motorcycle carrier and our 28 inch extension. This makes it so there is essentially NO movement from the carrier or extension on bumpy roads. It also keeps the load more secure and safer since there is no movement.
We decided to have an entire NEW hitch built and fabricated from a welding shop in Missoula, Montana called Bitterroot Welding & Hydraulic. They didn’t think our stock hitch would be strong enough and for liability reasons on their end. The shop indicated they felt safer making one from scratch, rather then modifying the original one, which was fine with us.
The welding shop made us a brand new double hitch that now had two receivers, one for the motorcycle rack and one for flat towing. They built the hitch out of 4 inch tubing instead of the factory two inch, which makes it a-lot stronger. They charged around $600 which was a-lot, but was well worth having peace of mind when pulling our motorcycle and Jeep with our RV.
Cruiserlift on Class A – Flat Towing with a Motorcycle
If you are looking to flat tow a vehicle while hauling a Harley Davidson or other large motorcycle cruiser lift is your best option. There are other companies out there that make similar products, but require hydraulic lines and other more expensive means. The cruiser lift is solid, safe, easily repairable and keeps your motorcycle protected. Most Diesel Pushers and some Gas Class A motorhomes are able to use the cruiser lift. Call cruiser lift, before purchasing to make sure it will work with your motorhomes towing capacity.
Cruiserlift cost around $3,300 for the lift itself. You will also need to get a 3 point hitch welded at a fabrication shop. A normal RV hitch only has a single point that a carrier can attach to, while a 3 point hitch has 3! This gives the cruiser lift a much more solid and stronger attachment point to the RV. A local weld shop should be able to fabricate a 3 point hitch for under $600.
Another cost associated with the cruiser lift is the install of the product itself. Some people who are technically gifted can install the product itself, but others might need to take it to a shop or certified cruiser lift installer. This can cost around $500 if the welding shop themselves cannot install the lift and wiring.
In total, the cruiser lift will most likely cost around $4500 to $5000 to install with the 3 point hitch. Cruiser lift also sells an 32 inch extension bracket so you can flat tow a vehicle behind the RV. One of the biggest CONS that we have with the cruiser lift and most heavy motorcycle carriers is there ease of use. In order to take the bike off the carrier, the flat tow vehicle needs to be disconnected. The hitch extension also needs to be removed to allow for the rack system to lower to the ground.
Traditional carriers are side loaded and unloaded with a ramp. This makes it easy to unload and load while on the road, quick and easy. With our double hitch system, I don’t need to remove our hitch extension or our Jeep Wrangler. This makes it great for easy access and going for a motorcycle ride without spending 30 minutes taking everything off.
The Pro’s of a Cruiser Lift – RV Motorcycle Carrier
- Can haul a 1,000 pound motorcycle (Harley Street Glide and other large bikes)
- Lowers the bike to the ground via electronic winch (easy to load and unload)
- Raises the bike higher off the ground so it doesn’t scrape on rough roads
- Strong and trusted design compare to other carriers
The Cons of a Cruiser Lift – Class A Motorcycle Carrier
- Will cost around $4500 after install and 3 point hitch
- Must completely detach flat tow vehicle and remove hitch extension to remove bike
- Only compatible with large Class A or some 5th wheels (need wheel carrier)
- Takes longer to setup than a traditional motorcycle carrier for small bikes
Flat Towing and Carrying Motorcycle – Hauling Motorcycle with RV
Being a full-time RV person, and having the ability to flat tow with a motorcycle is awesome! We have a Jeep Wrangler for every day “things” and a Kawasaki motorcycle for weekend fun and off-roading. One of the main reasons that we love living on the road so much is that life feels a-lot more simple. Not having to haul a 20-25 foot trailer everywhere, and find somewhere to park it makes life a-lot easier. The less things we have to do to set up and leave makes camping that much more enjoyable.
We enjoy being able to quickly detach the Jeep, and having the motorcycle attached the the RV. Instead of always being 50+ feet long with a trailer, detaching the Jeep brings us to around 34 Feet in length. The simplicity of hauling a motorcycle while flat towing is the best and easiest option in our opinion.
At the end of the day, check your RV’s towing specifications. If you plan on hauling a motorcycle under 500 pounds you should be fine with a cheap $300 motorcycle carrier. If you plan on towing a larger bike than you will need a cruiser lift or something similar with a 3 point hitch.