Cycle rack for car

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Yesterday our 15yr grandson had a look around our caravan for the first time and was very impressed and would like to come camping with us. He is a keen cyclist so we may need to invest in something that can fitted to our current roof rails to hold his cycle. It may need to go next to our roof box which we take on occasions.

My concern is scratching the vehicle while the cycle is being lifted onto the roof as he will have to do it mainly by himself as we would probably not be much help. We cannot fit a cycle rack onto the caravan as it is almost at its maximum MTPLM. We have a fixed tow bar and not sure if a cycle rack can be fitted to this or how it would fit onto the towbar?

Can anyone please offer some advice and any suggestions? Many thanks.
 

Sam Vimes

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Check if its a regular bicycle or an Ebike. Some Ebikes are very much more heavier than a regular bike. My son in law has an Ebike and he had to get a specific carrier to mount on his towbar in order to take the extra weight.

This may also be a factor for how much you can put on your car roof.
 
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I carry my light racing bike on the roof but find it’s best if someone else steadies it while I fasten the clamp. That approach makes it so much easier than struggling on my own. Even though my wife is vertically challenged she just reaches up and holds the wheel steady for me. Mind you our car isn’t an SUV so it’s all a bit more reachable.
 
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…..one other comment is that the steady bar clamp on some roof carriers can interfere with water bottle cages on the bike, I have to remove one of mine.
 
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Thanks. It is a mountain bike with one of those very light frames so will need to check out its weight also. I will ask later today when we see them for Mother's Day. We do have a small three step folding ladder.

Last time I checked when roof box is loaded with awning, groundsheet, wind break etc it is about 45-50kg. I think maximum load on the roof is about 70kgs, but will need to check that as going by roof load on previous 2012 Jeep
 
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I’ve got a mountain bike so a couple of tips to follow. Firstly strap the front wheel to the frame so it doesn’t move when you lift it. Secondly I pick the bike up above my head and use the caravan step next to the car and lift it up and on. I also check to make sure I don’t have any zips etc on my clothes so I can lean onto the bodywork if I need to. Never had an issue doing it like this. one final point, if you are leaving the bike on the roof unattended, use additional locks and don’t rely on the one built into the carrier.
 
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This is mine, although there’s only one arm clamp (and buckle straps on each wheel), it’s very rigid.

Nice outfit. This is the bike rack I am looking at currently as it is universal and can go onto of the Jeep.

I’ve got a mountain bike so a couple of tips to follow. Firstly strap the front wheel to the frame so it doesn’t move when you lift it. Secondly I pick the bike up above my head and use the caravan step next to the car and lift it up and on. I also check to make sure I don’t have any zips etc on my clothes so I can lean onto the bodywork if I need to. Never had an issue doing it like this. one final point, if you are leaving the bike on the roof unattended, use additional locks and don’t rely on the one built into the carrier.

Total novice on this however I gather from your post that you fit the bike onto the frame and then lift the bike together with the attached frame onto the roof rack. Thanks for the tip on the additional lock as a cable lock can be used when on site and the bike is parked up at night in the awning.
 
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Just make sure the clamp doesn’t foul anything on the bike. This is a close-up of mine, it’s compact but holds the bike rigidly. Halfords are a good place to go as some of the people there understand bikes and carriers.
D576B9B7-0EEB-40FF-810D-D211C6A43D1C.jpeg
 
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Brian's idea of using the caravan step is excellent and I would go with that. I also agree that additional locks would be a good idea if the bike is left there at any time.
 
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Nice outfit. This is the bike rack I am looking at currently as it is universal and can go onto of the Jeep.



Total novice on this however I gather from your post that you fit the bike onto the frame and then lift the bike together with the attached frame onto the roof rack. Thanks for the tip on the additional lock as a cable lock can be used when on site and the bike is parked up at night in the awning.
No, I put the bike rack carrier onto the roof bars first. Then lift the bike up. Another tip is to get the clamping bar on the bike rack carrier at a rough angle first (45degrees) so you can attempt to slide the bike frame into the carrier grip when you lift it up but clearly that depends on what type of carrier you have. If more than one bike then leave the heavy ones until last do you don’t have to stretch over the car roof.
 

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I’ve got a MTB event next Sunday down in Salisbury and the start line happens to be next to a caravan park so I’m going down in the caravan for the weekend! I’ll take some more photos and send them across when I put the bike on the roof so try and explain it better 👍
 
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When I'm not towing, I use a Pyramid Cycle Rack to carry my electric bike (minus the battery). I think I could still hitch on the caravan however since it folds up, I carry it in the car for the journey to my site.

IMG_20200519_154122.jpg IMG_20200719_102406.jpg
 
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Our preferred choice is the one that fits on the towbar, but the other car which belongs to daughter & SIL does not have a tow hitch. At the moment they do not tow and unlikely tow in the near future unless we can persuade them to buy a trailer tent. They are keen outdoor enthusiasts, but have only been in the country 6 months so many other priorities for them.
 
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Our preferred choice is the one that fits on the towbar, but the other car which belongs to daughter & SIL does not have a tow hitch. At the moment they do not tow and unlikely tow in the near future unless we can persuade them to buy a trailer tent. They are keen outdoor enthusiasts, but have only been in the country 6 months so many other priorities for them.
I seem to recall your Jeep has air suspension - if so, lower it right down before loading/unloading the bike, that'll reduce the height you need to lift it.
 
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I seem to recall your Jeep has air suspension - if so, lower it right down before loading/unloading the bike, that'll reduce the height you need to lift it.
That is correct and it does that automatically when parking and lowers it by about 6" maximum.
 
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My homemade EV MB is just too heavy to lift onto the Touareg roof. Cleaning the VW I need a step ladder🤪
It could go inside the caravan but overloading the pay load may feature plus the potential damage moving about inside
 
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Any bike rack that sits on the tow bar will mean its "nose load capacity is reduced by the combined weight of the carrier and the bike.
I would think any load on the rear axle would also have an effect i.e. luggage and people sitting over the rear axle? Would this be correct?

The tow bar is rated for 180kg and the maximum nose weight of the caravan is 150kg. However it seems we are restricted to the roof cycle rack as only one vehicle has a towbar.
 
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JTQ

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For a single non e-bike solution there is also the strap-on/ clip on, high mounted tailgate clinging type, holding the bike up well clear of a foul with the towed van.

Mounting the bike would present nothing like the lifting issues of getting a bike up onto a roof rack, it is with a substantial size SUV as discussed here.
Along with other solutions, they work whether towing or running solo.
With the high mounted options needed for towing they should avoid any need for an added "lighting board" reg plate.
Something I would consider for a single MTB, along with a need to tow, but not for multi bikes or any e-bike where the total weight becomes substantial.
 
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For a single non e-bike solution there is also the strap-on/ clip on, high mounted tailgate clinging type, holding the bike up well clear of a foul with the towed van.

Mounting the bike would present nothing like the lifting issues of getting a bike up onto a roof rack, it is with a substantial size SUV as discussed here.
Along with other solutions, they work whether towing or running solo.
With the high mounted options needed for towing they should avoid any need for an added "lighting board" reg plate.
Something I would consider for a single MTB, but not for multi bikes where the total weight becomes substantial.

Unfortunately with the Jeep we do not have the option of the tailgate version. I have since found out that in SA they had a Hyundai SUV which may be higher than the Jeep and managed? In SA it is definitely not a good idea to have a tow hitch or tailgate mounted carrier.

Also found out that there is a road and mountain bike involved so will require two brackets, but I am now wondering if with two bikes on the roof, if we could still fit the roofbox which is 75cm wide? Can only check once the cycle racks arrive.
 
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I would think any load on the rear axle would also have an effect i.e. luggage and people sitting over the rear axle? Would this be correct?

Everything you load into or onto a vehicle increases the weight of the vehicle, and thus the loads on the axles. It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that none of the axles, or the vehicles other load limits are exceeded when used on the public roads.

Loads that are applied behind the rear axle, ( such as trailer nose load and hitch mounted bake racks) will by the effect of the leverage increase the load on the rear axle and decrease the load on the front.

Vehicle manufactures cannot know exactly what a customer is going to use their tow bar for. So to avoid confusion, a bike rack that uses the towbar for support, is assumed to apply it's whole weight onto the tow bar regardless of what other support mechanisms it uses. It will reduce the available nose load capacity (S value) of the cars ball hitch.

Few cars have such a large S value that yours has, so it's a significant concern for most caravanner's who are looking for hitch mounted carriers.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Everything you load into or onto a vehicle increases the weight of the vehicle, and thus the loads on the axles. It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that none of the axles, or the vehicles other load limits are exceeded when used on the public roads.

Loads that are applied behind the rear axle, ( such as trailer nose load and hitch mounted bake racks) will by the effect of the leverage increase the load on the rear axle and decrease the load on the front.

Vehicle manufactures cannot know exactly what a customer is going to use their tow bar for. So to avoid confusion, a bike rack that uses the towbar for support, is assumed to apply it's whole weight onto the tow bar regardless of what other support mechanisms it uses. It will reduce the available nose load capacity (S value) of the cars ball hitch.

Few cars have such a large S value that yours has, so it's a significant concern for most caravanner's who are looking for hitch mounted carriers.

I have since found out that the bike rack for a tow hitch fits onto the towball, so you cannot tow a trailer anyway so roof rack is the only option. Learn something new everyday!
 

JTQ

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I have since found out that the bike rack for a tow hitch fits onto the towball, so you cannot tow a trailer anyway so roof rack is the only option. Learn something new everyday!

There are however bike racks that fit on towbars, rather than the "hitch" or towball.
Whilst there is considerably more complication and sometimes no viable solution to some "swan neck" hooks, where the two bolt flange tow hook is used, there are some easily adoptable solutions.

One "Example" plucked at random from the internet. I would expect "pre-loved" racks of this "ilk", could be sourced from the likes of e-bay as flanged towbars are not as widely used today.

Edit: As a onetime user of vehicle rear mounted cycle carrier, when towing be very conscious when reversing the unit, they can reduce the "jack knifing" angle.
 
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