Bike racks for caravans

Mar 14, 2024
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Read one or 2 posts previous but thought I’d start a new one about people’s experiences of bike racks with caravans. All positive & negative feedback welcome to help make informed decision.

Is it possible to get one that could work still with tow even when towing a caravan.
Roof rack positives and negatives when towing caravan.
Fit one to back of caravan.

Ideally I’d have looking for one flexible enough to use with or without the caravan in tow.
 
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Nov 30, 2022
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Have a look at This device I have been considering one for a while. This is on ebay, they do cost a bit more new, but they have the advantage of being transferable between vehicles and not adding extra weight to a caravan.
A word of caution, you DO need roof cross rails to fit this device onto.,
 
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Mar 14, 2024
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Have a look at This device I have been considering one for a while. This is on ebay, they do cost a bit more new, but they have the advantage of being transferable between vehicles and not adding extra weight to a caravan.
A word of caution, you DO need roof cross rails to fit this device onto.,
Looks a good practical job. I need 2 adults and 2 kids going into the future but this is definitely something I would be looking at. Thanks
 
Aug 12, 2023
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Been down this path while upgrading caravans to carry ebikes outside. We bought 2nd hand Adria with long drawbar.

Thule make front racks that will work on a lot of UK vans with shorter drawbar but there is price to pay. For ebikes there is Thule Superb Standard for Euro longer drawbar and Superb Short for UK vans.

Issue with short is spacing between bikes is very tight and they will most likely be rubbing or may not even fit. My standard towbar thule platform rack carries our bikes with about 25mm clearance, rails on the short were 50mm closer so doubt our bikes would even fit. On Short bikes may need removing to access front locker as bikes can hit handbrake etc when using tilt. This is only time I can think of that side gas lockers are a plus.
I highly recommend trying before buying but difficult to do given most racks are mail order and lot of suppliers don't allow returns.
Thule don't allow covers while towing, I suspect rack isn"t designed for extra wind loading.

Didn"t look at Fiamma racks as not rated for 2x ebikes but spacing issues are still likely to apply given short drawbar.

As for carrying bikes on rear only do it if van has factory fitted mount points and then they are weight limit to 2x light bikes or 1x ebike. In case ebike maybe place 2nd on front rack which doesn't have to ebike rated as only carrying one.

If you want to carry bikes in caravan see my youtube video.
View: https://youtu.be/pMCoMbU1o2A?si=edQ1F9mgrIrMEQZ_
 
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Nov 30, 2022
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The biggest issue with mounting bikes, of any description, anywhere on a caravan is the impact they will have on the available payload which is usually barely enough to cover what most consider to be the "basics"
 
Aug 12, 2023
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The biggest issue with mounting bikes, of any description, anywhere on a caravan is the impact they will have on the available payload which is usually barely enough to cover what most consider to be the "basics"
Front racks are 10kg plus another 40kg for 2xebikes without batteries.

Besides longer drawbar the euro caravans tend to have higher payloads 200-300kg isn't uncommon on smaller vans compared to UK which typically 150kg.

When carrying bikes longer drawbar helps reduce downward mass on towbar as additional mass is further away from towball compared to UK vans. Still need balance load but don't need as much counter mass in back of van.

Given how often MTPLM is uprated by pen stroke I don't have any problems exceeding conservative MTPLMs if extra weight is mounted on Alko chassis directly eg bikes and motor movers. Exceeding payload in fragile flexible cabin is where issues occur as it can damage structure.
 
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Jan 20, 2023
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I have one on the back BUT use it with a lightweight racing bike. Even that needs consideration as it eats into your payload (I have upgraded mine). I haven’t had any negative effects but my car is a lot heavier than the caravan.IMG_6669.jpeg
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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Because of a number of national traits, caravans for the UK market tend to have more bells and whistles compared to other nationalities. We tend caravan differently, and this means UK payload capacities are squeezed. Trying to add two adult E-bikes yet alone even more kids bikes is going to radically reduce the caravans payload capacity.

Also due to the limited locations where bike racks might be placed, such as the A-frame or the read bulkhead wall, is going to adversely affect the the stability of the caravan when it is towed.

I generally advice not to fit bike racks to caravans, but to fit them to the car instead. Where ever they are fitted you need to be extra careful about checking the loading does not exceed any of the vehicles load limits.

One advantage of looking at mounting on the car, is you can of course take the bikes with you for days out whether you've got the caravan or not.

Most racks will be roof mounted, and the will affect the airflow over the car and that will detract from your normal MPG, and they can be noisy due to windage.
 
Aug 12, 2023
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EBikes are heavy enough when placing on normal rack let alone roof of SUV. The other negative is 60mph wind blown rain being driven into vitals. EBike seals aren't designed for that level of waterproofing. Still issue on caravan drawbar but vehicle offers some protection. I'd still look at adding some protection around motor and cling film wrap control/display.
Roof top bikes have a record of being taking out by low branches, carpark overheads and garages.

Ideal setup is van where bikes are safe and dry. Not lot choices when it comes to AWD vans and have to live with van on daily basis.

There are folding and compact ebikes that can fit inside larger SUVs or wagons with back seats down. These ebikes are a compromise and aren't ideal for longer rides.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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EBikes are heavy enough when placing on normal rack let alone roof of SUV. The other negative is 60mph wind blown rain being driven into vitals. EBike seals aren't designed for that level of waterproofing. Still issue on caravan drawbar but vehicle offers some protection. I'd still look at adding some protection around motor and cling film wrap control/display.
Roof top bikes have a record of being taking out by low branches, carpark overheads and garages.

Ideal setup is van where bikes are safe and dry. Not lot choices when it comes to AWD vans and have to live with van on daily basis.

There are folding and compact ebikes that can fit inside larger SUVs or wagons with back seats down. These ebikes are a compromise and aren't ideal for longer rides.
On a SUV maybe the bikes can be carried mounted on the towbar or even a bracket that attaches to the rear door on the SUV.
 
May 7, 2012
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Bike racks on the back of caravans need to be safely secured. Swift do have fittings for them which should help if you have one. The next major problem is that they come out of your load allowance, so you need to factor this in and you may end up with the MTPLM being exceeded. Possibly you would need to upgrade this if possible.
Secondly the back is the least safe place from a stability point of view and you need to be aware of this. Weight at the very rear is inadvisable and the caravan will need careful loading to counter this.
You can mount them on the hitch or A frame in many cases, but this can produce problems with the weight on the hitch, tow ball or cars back axle, so you need to be sure you have the ability to do this without exceeding the weight limits.
On the car roof is the best place in most instances but it will be hard work getting them up there.
You do need to check out the weight points and see what works best for you.
 
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Nov 6, 2005
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There are hitches that have 2 towballs one for trailer and 2nd above it for bike rack. Will need to check hitch downmass rating for SUV.
EU/UK regulations can differ considerably from Australian Design Rules (ADR) - does New Zealand regulations follow the former or the latter?

Within EU/UK regulations it's possible to get bike racks which fit between the bolted towball and the towbar cross-member - BUT - the weight of the rack and bikes as well as the caravan noseweight needs to be within the car's noseweight limit - only a handful of towcars would allow that in EU/UK - it's different under ADR where tongue-weight (noseweight) limits are higher but then it needs care not to exceed the rear axle limit!
 
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Aug 12, 2023
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Just fitted Thule Superb Standard rack to drawbar. While straight forward took lot longer than expected as I didn't have ratchet 10mm spanner. The 4 threaded Ubolts are very long to cover different frames. I choose to cut some down and leave one as is for security. Threading a nylon nut down 8x 70mm threads with 10mm spanner takes a long time. Which means any thief will also be at it for quite some time unless they carry ratchet spanner.

If you want to fit plastic nut covers that come with kit will need to cut bolts down. Worth using some standard nuts finger tight to attach and centre it before replacing with nylon nuts.

I choose to remove plastic drawbar cover. On Adria it was just glued on with windscreen sealant, use heat gun to soften and it can be plied off. Rack can be fitted with cover in place just need to drill some holes for U bolts.
 
Aug 12, 2023
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Most UK caravans do not have the room to fit an A frame bike rack.
Surprisely lot more than you think especially short version, see post #4 further up. But its big compromise. Other thing I forgot to add is reduced turning circle as car could hit bikes /racks this is more issue reversing than going forward. If van has MMs best use them and avoid possible damage.
 
Aug 12, 2023
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Just fitted Thule Superb Standard rack to drawbar. While straight forward took lot longer than expected as I didn't have ratchet 10mm spanner. The 4 threaded Ubolts are very long to cover different frames. I choose to cut some down and leave one as is for security. Threading a nylon nut down 8x 70mm threads with 10mm spanner takes a long time. Which means any thief will also be at it for quite some time unless they carry ratchet spanner.

If you want to fit plastic nut covers that come with kit will need to cut bolts down. Worth using some standard nuts finger tight to attach and centre it before replacing with nylon nuts.

I choose to remove plastic drawbar cover. On Adria it was just glued on with windscreen sealant, use heat gun to soften and it can be plied off. Rack can be fitted with cover in place just need to drill some holes for U bolts.
With nothing in front locker and 28kg battery in rear (where battery box is) there is barely any downmass on towball. If I'm careful with my loading downmass should be ideal with both bikes (40kg) and 10-20kg of gas bottles in locker. Because of Adria long drawbar I'm going guess that 60kg will be around 50kg on towball.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Surprisely lot more than you think especially short version, see post #4 further up. But its big compromise. Other thing I forgot to add is reduced turning circle as car could hit bikes /racks this is more issue reversing than going forward. If van has MMs best use them and avoid possible damage.
Which is why I wrote "Most UK" If you were to do the research I sure more than 50% ( id guess actually more than 90% ) of UK caravans would not have enough space for an A frame mounted bike rack. Virtually all UK caravans use short A frames. I cannot comment regarding vans made for other markets.
 
May 7, 2012
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With nothing in front locker and 28kg battery in rear (where battery box is) there is barely any downmass on towball. If I'm careful with my loading downmass should be ideal with both bikes (40kg) and 10-20kg of gas bottles in locker. Because of Adria long drawbar I'm going guess that 60kg will be around 50kg on towball.
I would load them on an d check before you go anywhere so you are ready to adjust loading if needed before you tow it. Needing to make changes when you are ready to go is not good.
 
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