Cycle Carriers

Mar 19, 2019
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HI, I need to carry 3 cycles whilst towing. I think I've seen caravan rear mounted, but only for 2 bikes, so I'm leaning towards roof mounted as I don't want to damage the interior of the caravan, I already have the roof bars, and I'm told it's better to add weight to the car not the caravan.

You can pay £67 for four roof mounted cycle carriers, which I assume will do the job https://www.amazon.co.uk/WOLTU-FZU1118-4-Universal-Mounted-Lockable/dp/B07479FYQN/ref=sr_1_3_sspa?keywords=roof+mounted+cycle+carrier&qid=1553153782&s=gateway&sr=8-3-spons&psc=1

Or you can pay £170 for one!
https://www.halfords.com/cycling/bike-racks/roof-mounted-bike-racks/thule-upride-roof-mounted-cycle-carrier

What do you really need? I will use them probably 3 or 4 times a year, when towing the caravan, all other times the bikes are on the car I will use a towbar mounted carrier.

Thanks
 
Nov 11, 2009
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colinbal4 said:
HI, I need to carry 3 cycles whilst towing. I think I've seen caravan rear mounted, but only for 2 bikes, so I'm leaning towards roof mounted as I don't want to damage the interior of the caravan, I already have the roof bars, and I'm told it's better to add weight to the car not the caravan.

You can pay £67 for four roof mounted cycle carriers, which I assume will do the job https://www.amazon.co.uk/WOLTU-FZU1118-4-Universal-Mounted-Lockable/dp/B07479FYQN/ref=sr_1_3_sspa?keywords=roof+mounted+cycle+carrier&qid=1553153782&s=gateway&sr=8-3-spons&psc=1

Or you can pay £170 for one!
https://www.halfords.com/cycling/bike-racks/roof-mounted-bike-racks/thule-upride-roof-mounted-cycle-carrier

What do you really need? I will use them probably 3 or 4 times a year, when towing the caravan, all other times the bikes are on the car I will use a towbar mounted carrier.

Thanks

You are correct in your assumption that it is better to have the weight on the car, although some UK vans now do come with rear mounted bike carrier points. I would go for teh cheapest car roof mounted solution as you will only have all four on the car 3-4 times a year.
 
Oct 12, 2013
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The kids bikes are put on the inside and done very carefully against the seat on the inside and are placed very carefully with cushions to soften anything that should move but we traveled to France & Holland like this and everything was fine , we have the space though to put one at the front and one at the rear dinette and will be doing the same this year for France . When at home i normally just put all the bikes in the trailer we have
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Colin,

It's just good sense to try and keep any trailer as light as possible, its less likely to upset the tow vehicle.

All possible mounting locations do have weight limits, so do check the cars specifications so you don't inadvertently exceed a maximum limit.

I note you mention using a towbar mounted carrier. You don't say whether you use it whilst towing, but if you do you need to be aware that the weight of bikes and the rack are considered to be loading the tow ball, and as such any nose load for a trailer will need to be reduced by the same amount to prevent overloading the tow bar. The consequence might be teh trailers nose load is now too small and may allow instability to to arise.
 
May 24, 2014
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although some UK vans now do come with rear mounted bike carrier points.

Mine has the points fitted ex factory, not that they will ever get used.

Fiamma do some A-frame mounted ones, and they do a rear mounted one for two bikes, with an optional rail for a third. I have to say I wouldnt want the weight on either the very rear or adding to an already heavy noseweight.
 
Oct 12, 2013
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Thingy said:
although some UK vans now do come with rear mounted bike carrier points.

Mine has the points fitted ex factory, not that they will ever get used.

Fiamma do some A-frame mounted ones, and they do a rear mounted one for two bikes, with an optional rail for a third. I have to say I wouldnt want the weight on either the very rear or adding to an already heavy noseweight.

Thingy ,
I am speaking from experience after driving quite a few thousand miles with my bikes on the back of the caravan as no instability was felt whilst driving . I can't see how people can comment not having actually tried it ..... :dry:
 
Mar 19, 2019
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ProfJohnL said:
I note you mention using a towbar mounted carrier. You don't say whether you use it whilst towing.

colinbal4 said:
I will use them probably 3 or 4 times a year, when towing the caravan, all other times the bikes are on the car I will use a towbar mounted carrier

Sorry, maybe I wasn't very clear there, the towbar mounted carrier is one that fits to the towbar, I can't hitch that and the caravan at the same time. So no, I can't use it whilst towing, it's either/or, hence looking at a roof mounted solution.
 
Oct 12, 2013
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Just looking back over recent posts of what tow vehicle you have and if you have the big Mercedes Jeep if I am right and you have the licence category for weight wise to be able to pull the outfit , and if you do get the bike carrier i doubt the caravan will give much instability problems that people are saying , might be different if you had a low down saloon car , but we haven't . Another thing is if you go abroad with them , like our friend does ( he has a santa fa ) he has to take the bikes off the top and put into van for ferry for costs as they stand higher than the van when on the roof .
 
Jul 15, 2008
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The research carried out by Bath University conclusively showed that a car / caravan outfit was less stable if weight was added at the front or back of the caravan.....especially the back.
Added weight should be kept as low down and as close to the axle as possible was their advice.
Some caravan manufacturers blatantly ignore this conclusive research by mounting heavy microwaves high up in cupboards and by fitting rear cycle carrier fixing points.
Obviously you also eat into your caravans legal payload if bikes are carried by the caravan.

It's a personal decision as to how you transport bikes......mine are carried by the tow car especially as I want to be able to transport bikes when not towing.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Gafferbill said:
The research carried out by Bath University conclusively showed that a car / caravan outfit was less stable if weight was added at the front or back of the caravan.....especially the back.
Added weight should be kept as low down and as close to the axle as possible was their advice.
Some caravan manufacturers blatantly ignore this conclusive research by mounting heavy microwaves high up in cupboards and by fitting rear cycle carrier fixing points.
Obviously you also eat into your caravans legal payload if bikes are carried by the caravan.

It's a personal decision as to how you transport bikes......mine are carried by the tow car especially as I want to be able to transport bikes when not towing.

Microwaves aren't really an issue. Our first two vans had rear mounted kitchens, and shower/toilet just slightly forward of the kitchen. I never had any issue towing them and the cars were far less capable than are modern cars with their infinitely better suspension and electronic stability aids. Whilst I still adhere to the general advice of keep the heavier items over or near to the axle, University of Bath rig was basically to demonstrate the concept but could not be described as a realistic simulator.
 
May 24, 2014
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Microwaves aren't really an issue. Our first two vans had rear mounted kitchens, and shower/toilet just slightly forward of the kitchen.

I tend to agree with that. When the caravan is manufactured, surely some consideration is given to factoring in the balance front and back from the axle, so when a rear kitchen is part of the spec, there would have to be some counterbalance in the build. Adding after-market stuff such as cycle carriers and cycles is surely a different matter. Nobody is saying it is instantly going to make the unit dangerous or unstable, but it will have an undeniable effect on the original balance. If you consider that the Calor Lite bottles are now being replaced with steel which is going to add a fair piece to the nose, then the A-Frame carrier I mentioned from Fiamma begins to look like a non-starter. Prof has already mentioned the G-forces encountered during testing, imagine the force applied to the rear panel with cycle rack and cycles at those forces.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Thingy said:
Microwaves aren't really an issue. Our first two vans had rear mounted kitchens, and shower/toilet just slightly forward of the kitchen.

I tend to agree with that. When the caravan is manufactured, surely some consideration is given to factoring in the balance front and back from the axle, so when a rear kitchen is part of the spec, there would have to be come counterbalance in the build. Adding after-market stuff such as cycle carriers and cycles is surely a different matter. Nobody is saying it is instanly going to make the unit dangerous or unstable, but it will have an undeniable effect on the original balance. If you consider that the Calor Lite bottles are now being replaced with steel which is going to add a fair piece to the nose, then the A-Frame carrier I mentioned from Fiamma begins to look like a non-starter. Prof has already mentioned the G-forces encountered during testing, imagine the force applied to the rear panel with cycle rack and cycles at those forces.

I think it would be very naive to assume the caravan manufacturers are not aware of the forces generated by vibrations when towing, and also I do believe they give some consideration to the typical loading habits of caravanner's when deciding how much load is moved forwards and aft in a design, but they cant be specific becasue each caravanner will have their own take on where place items of 'pay load'.

The University of Bath studies and their demonstration model was never designed to be a definitive universal guide covering all caravans. In point of fact the often quoted study was limited to the effects of loading on one caravan with one car, but, it is highly probable the general conclusions would apply to most combinations, but the critical speeds and loads will vary from outfit to outfit, as will the ability of a tow vehicle to regain control.

There is nothing wrong with refusing to end load, and in practice that should give a greater margin of control, but it is technically wrong to state that end loading causes instability, It is only a contributory factor. Speed, windage and other road conditions are highly significant factors and should not be forgotten.

I take the view that if by adding 50kg of end loading to a caravan means the outfit becomes unstable, it is more than likely without the 50kg end load the outfit will already be demonstrating worrying tendencies towards instability.

The onset of instability is usually forewarned by other characteristics of the outfits behaviour, the driver should become aware of how to spot these tell tale signs, and to take action (initially by reducing speed in a controlled manner) before the instability become loss of control. This is probably the main lesson to be learned through towing experience.

It should also be remembered that whilst an outfit may be beginning to become difficult to manage, it only takes one of the contributory factors to deteriorate to tip the balance into instability.

The upshot is it is sensible to keep end loading to a minimum, but if end loading needs to be considered it doesn't automatically mean a disaster is in the cards. just approach it sensibly try a bit an increase only if everything still feels good.
 
May 7, 2012
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Frankly most UK caravans have a load margin too low for mounting bikes on the back unless they are upgraded. The need to keep other weight down to allow for the bikes could mean a very light nose weight and this could be an additional problem with the weight of the bikes on the rear.
Rear weight is not the only cause of instability, but it is one, and it is a serious one, and should be taken seriously.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Raywood said:
Frankly most UK caravans have a load margin too low for mounting bikes on the back unless they are upgraded. The need to keep other weight down to allow for the bikes could mean a very light nose weight and this could be an additional problem with the weight of the bikes on the rear.
Rear weight is not the only cause of instability, but it is one, and it is a serious one, and should be taken seriously.
Hello Ray,
I think I understand what your trying to say, and yes if you carry bikes in or on a caravan it will eat into the load margin of the caravan. Exactly the same applies to any other items you load into the caravan. So that has to be an informed choice made by the caravanner.
Hopefully anyone who caravans understands the necessity for creating an adequate nose load, and will do so regardless of where the bikes are loaded, so bikes on the rear will have to countered by moving other loads to create the correct nose load. This is nothing new.

I have have always suggested that end loading isn't ideal and it should only be considered after careful consideration, but for some people it can be a perfectly satisfactory solution. Bear in mind that carrying bikes on the rear of a caravan is a practice that is quite common on the continent, and their caravans are subject to the same design and construction regulations and constraints as our own, so they will have similar issues to contend with.

"Don't end load" is another caravanning mantra that become ingrained in people's minds in the same way that the 85% matching guidance was so frequently miss used. Yes it has to be done carefully because it will affect the dynamic towing characteristics, but it's not always going to be a recpie for disaster which is the way it has been demonised.
 
May 7, 2012
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Hi Prof, I accept that bikes can be carried on the rear, but in most cases you will need to be able to increase the payload allowance. Loading at the rear needs to be done only by those who understand and can deal with the problems it can cause, so personally I would not generally advocate it
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Ray,

I'm not sure why you are suggesting that putting bikes on the rear of a caravan will "NEED to increase the payload allowance"? If you carry bikes anywhere in or on a caravan their mass becomes part of the payload and you have to accommodate them within the payload allowance, and the caravans MTPLM.

Like it or not, caravans already have some significant mass at their ends, so they are already end loaded to some extent. Its more a question of how much more can be added at the ends before it becomes a problem for the outfit, and that is the unknown, and why I agree the general advice is to avoid end loading. But many caravans outfits would tolerate more end loading than you might believe, but becasue each outfit is unique set of criteria its not possible to put a figure to it.

Driver's should understand that excess mass or bad load distribution can lead to problems, if they don't they shouldn't be towing. Every caravanner should be aware of these issues. End loading is not a separate issue, it's part of the whole mass distribution and nose load generation strategy.

Anyone looking to do it should be free to try it if they wish based on an informed decision. but when advice seems to be a reiteration of a dogma rather than a logical review of the facts it needs to be explored.
 
Jul 15, 2008
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otherclive said:
..................Microwaves aren't really an issue.

They are for me.......I don't want to have an 11kgs microwave mounted high up 210cms above the ground just because the caravan designer says I have to.
I have make it easily removable and given myself an extra 11 kgs caravan payload by carrying it in the tow car if I need it on a site.
I am often on a site with no EHU......then it gets left behind.

We all caravan in different ways ;)

20190324-162412-1.jpg
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Gafferbill said:
otherclive said:
..................Microwaves aren't really an issue.

They are for me.......I don't want to have an 11kgs microwave mounted high up 210cms above the ground just because the caravan designer says I have to.
I have make it easily removable and given myself an extra 11 kgs caravan payload by carrying it in the tow car if I need it on a site.
I am often on a site with no EHU......then it gets left behind.

We all caravan in different ways ;)

20190324-162412-1.jpg

My comments related to the fact that it was implied that microwaves were a potential cause of instability. My comments were that in that context they are not really an issue as most of those I have seen have been positioned around the middle area of the caravan. So if that should affect stability then I would say the caravan was extremely marginal anyway.

Thats a very nice picture which in some way mirrors my own caravan where the microwave has been binned as we dont need one when caravanning.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Gafferbill said:
...I don't want to have an 11kgs microwave mounted high up 210cms above the ground just because the caravan designer says I have to.
I have make it easily removable and given myself an extra 11 kgs caravan payload by carrying it in the tow car if I need it on a site.
I am often on a site with no EHU......then it gets left behind.

We all caravan in different ways ;)

Indeed we do ( or used to as in my case) :unsure:

Where would you prefer to have the microwave mounted?
 
Nov 11, 2009
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ProfJohnL said:
Gafferbill said:
...I don't want to have an 11kgs microwave mounted high up 210cms above the ground just because the caravan designer says I have to.
I have make it easily removable and given myself an extra 11 kgs caravan payload by carrying it in the tow car if I need it on a site.
I am often on a site with no EHU......then it gets left behind.

We all caravan in different ways ;)

Indeed we do ( or used to as in my case) :unsure:

Where would you prefer to have the microwave mounted?

It makes me wonder if owners are concerned about the weight of solar panels on the roof too.
 
Oct 12, 2013
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otherclive said:
ProfJohnL said:
Gafferbill said:
...I don't want to have an 11kgs microwave mounted high up 210cms above the ground just because the caravan designer says I have to.
I have make it easily removable and given myself an extra 11 kgs caravan payload by carrying it in the tow car if I need it on a site.
I am often on a site with no EHU......then it gets left behind.

We all caravan in different ways ;)

Indeed we do ( or used to as in my case) :unsure:

Where would you prefer to have the microwave mounted?

It makes me wonder if owners are concerned about the weight of solar panels on the roof too.

And those big dome air con units , i have neither ! Just the bike carrier !

Edit , and my microwave ! :p
 

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