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Calling all bike on car carriers

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member
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!
 

IronGiant

Moderator
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?
 

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member
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?

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.
 

MrSossidge

Distinguished Member
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.
 

IronGiant

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

=adrian=

Distinguished Member
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)

9QNyIMn.jpg
 

=adrian=

Distinguished Member
Key thing to remember with the one above is to attach an additional registration plate to the last bike.
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

TrsFMUH.jpg


PS that's not my car
 

DevCode

Well-known Member
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

TrsFMUH.jpg


PS that's not my car

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.
 

IronGiant

Moderator

=adrian=

Distinguished Member
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.
 
D

Deleted member 27989

Guest
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.
 

aVdub

Banned
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
 

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member
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.

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.
 
D

Deleted member 27989

Guest
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.
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.
 

aVdub

Banned
How much cheaper out of interest?

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


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.
 

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member
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.

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 :-/
 

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member
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.

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.
 

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