Calling all bike on car carriers

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by imightbewrong, Jul 9, 2017.

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  1. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    We are looking to take four kids bikes away with us for the summer this year - seeing what the options are for carrying them with the full Caravelle. The obvious choice seems to be adding a tow bar and tow-bar mounted bike carrier. If I put tow bar into google, places like Halfords and specialist centers come back at £350-£550 fitted (!) then it's another £200-£300 for a four bike carrier.

    So that adds up to £550-£750 to carry the bikes - seems like a lot - is there something cheaper I am missing?

    A caveat is that SWMBO needs to be able to manage the loading and unloading pretty easily on her own.

    Suggestions welcome!
     
  2. aVdub

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  3. IronGiant

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    Unless you are confident fitting a towbar kit yourself, then £350-500 sounds about right. A towbar has to be capable of towing up to the max permitted weight for your vehicle which could be a couple of tonnes for a Caravelle. Also bear in mind that if you want to be able to open the tail gate, then you will need an articulated carrier. I assume you are thinking towball/bar carriers due to possible height restrictions on ferries ruling out rooftop ones?
     
  4. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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  5. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    Thanks. Height is not an issue - we already go in the coach section of the Eurotunnel. We roll with a roofbox - we won't be able to get four bikes on top with that I don't think.

    We will look a the articulated ones but it's not a must-have for us as we have boot access from the cabin to let us get access to enough things for short stops.
     
  6. =adrian=

    =adrian=
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    Wouldn't it be cheaper to rent 4 bikes at the destination?
     
  7. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    Not for five weeks for a decade
     
  8. MrSossidge

    MrSossidge
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    Roof mounted for a caravelle and wife friendly won't work I don't think.

    My wife is fairly strong but can't really manage to get a mountain bike on the roof of our car, although she can just about manage her racer.
     
  9. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    Roof rack is already taken up with a roof box, so not enough room for 4 bikes as well.
     
  10. =adrian=

    =adrian=
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    THere is also this kind of option (which I'm thinking about buying too). You don't need a towbar and they are much cheaper in general (although finding one that can carry 4 bikes could be problematic)

    [​IMG]
     
  11. brydo666

    brydo666
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    Key thing to remember with the one above is to attach an additional registration plate to the last bike.
     
  12. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    Yes that's an alternative if such a thing ticks all the boxes.
     
  13. RBZ5416

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    Have a look at Thule's Backpac 973 which should come in around £450 with the add-ons to accommodate four bikes. As above, you may need to factor in extra lights or a number plate if they're obscured. You also need solid metal to hook onto. If the van has a plastic spoiler then you're limited to towball.

    Thule Rear Mount for Volkswagen Caravelle T5, MPV 2003 to 2014
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017
  14. =adrian=

    =adrian=
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    It depends on the car. For my hatchback car, I've seen ones that rise up, so registration plate is still visible.

    IIRC there is also something in the road law about bikes obscuring taillamps

    [​IMG]

    PS that's not my car
     
  15. Bubblin

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    Every bike rack I've used bar the tow ball one damaged my car. No matter how hard their strapped down, pot holes, dirt and more attract all manner of scratches to my bumpers and roof.

    So my advice is a tow ball mounted bike rack or leaves the bikes at home unless you don't care for your car.
     
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  16. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    If you cannot get a clear view of all lights and numberplate then you need a supplementary board. Some towbar platforms come with one as standard.

    e.g.
    BUZZ RACK BB4 - 4 bike wheel support rack no. BRP304.

    For the Thule equivalent add another £400 :eek:
     
  17. =adrian=

    =adrian=
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    Thanks. No towbar on my car, so I cannot use those, unless I fit a towbar first. Might be changing my car later this year though, so a bit pointless exercise.
     
  18. Bl4ckGryph0n

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    It is really easy to fit a tow bar yourself. I would do that and go down the detachable route. Plenty of online companies selling them. £120 odd pounds, one hour of your time and you have the best solution.
     
  19. aVdub

    aVdub
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    Could you not manage until you arrive in France and visit a local Carrefour or Decathlon, which as we did worked out cheaper than buying similar in the UK
     
  20. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    How much cheaper out of interest?

    I can't see us finding room for four bikes in the interim though.
     
  21. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    Do you have a link? I'm a poor tow bar searcher and they are coming out at hundreds when you factor in it being detachable and compatible with reversing sensors (?).

    One for £120 plus a £200 to bar rack would seem good.

    The other alternative is the OWM VW tailgate mounted one which comes in at £530 - quite pricey but all the T5 owners in the various forums rave about it.
     
  22. Bl4ckGryph0n

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    Volkswagen Transporter Van T5 Facelift 10-15 Removable Flange Towbar

    I got my Nissan Navara rear tow bar from them and fitted it myself. My front one was from Watlingstreet in St Albans and a specialist detachable offset one. Also well worth contacting, proper engineers at that company.
     
  23. aVdub

    aVdub
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    Well it was a few years ago but the saving for the roof system was over half on the UK prices.

    Might be worth a scout/phone/internet check and if cheaper break the bikes down to just frames and wheels until bought and fitted in France....Like I say it might be worth checking as it was something we did quite often when we went over.
     
  24. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    Thanks - do you know which towball is needed, if any? Need to check how the thing mounts I guess.

    These need wiring in though is that right? Or is that a separate operation.

    Edit: ah right I see that's a £30 kit.

    So I can get that for £150 - but if go to the Halfords or various other places they come at c. ££500 fitted. Not sure I can do a £350 fitting job :-/
     
  25. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    Sounds useful but I don't think SWMBO is going to want to build purchasing, installing and re-assembling the bikes into her solo trip.
     
  26. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    Note that the Towsure link doesn't include a tow ball or wiring kit so comes out at £157.87 once you add those. Still less than half the fitted price. For bikes you only need the £8.94 EC approved 50mm towball and the 7 pin universal wiring kit at £29.94
     
  27. aVdub

    aVdub
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    My mistake I didn't notice she was on her own....Yeah probably a pita to do all that on your own.
     
  28. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    Yep thanks I added those in - and I guess I need a light board? Will something like this just plug in or do I need to go and get a City and Guilds in electronics? :)

    4ft Trailer Lighting Board - Trailer Boards - Trailer Lighting - Towing & Trailer
     
  29. Bl4ckGryph0n

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    Oh if you can use a wrench you can do it. Most cars are already prepared once you start looking for it. Even the wiring loom you may find is just plug and play or worth it to get a plug and play adapter for a tenner.

    If you can take the wheels on/off a bike and adjust steering and saddle then you can do this as well :)
     
  30. Bl4ckGryph0n

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