Disadvantages of platform tow bar cycle carriers...

Discussion in 'Bikes and Buying Advice - What Bike?' started by lucky67, 21 Jun 2011.

  1. lucky67

    lucky67 Active Member

    Looking to get a cycle carrier - I have a tow bar and thought I'd get one of the platform types...don't really want one of the hanging ones cos of light boards, false crossbars (3 girls bikes) , detachable, swan neck (I think) tow ball...

    Second hand to save money/environment... so looked at flea-bay - only to find there seems to be rafts of them for sale... which makes me think I'm missing the downside of them... :wacko:

    (like looking for a secondhand pram for first child - realised there were lots of very expensive travel system/big prams for sale - all 6 -9 months old... decided to find out why - eventually opted for a very light, small, basic suitable from birth pushchair.. ;-) )

    So has anyone really hated them and why?
     
  2. Norm

    Norm Guest

    Not me.

    I've a Thule (9503, I think) which is quick to attach to the car, quick to load the bikes, is solid and stable in use and tilts out of the way so I can still get the rear door open to let the dog in and out.

    The reason why there might be loads for sale is that they don't, generally, pack easily for storage. Not a problem for me, as we had space for a couple of hooks on the garage wall, where it hangs for probably 340 days of the year.
     
  3. Rando

    Rando Senior Member

    Location:
    Leicester
    No disadvantages apart from the original cost for me. Needed the towbar fitted and then purchased the Atera Strada 3 bike carrier with 4th adapter.
    Piece of cake to hitch to the towbar and get the bikes mounted on. Quick and easy and most importantly it is a secure fit. Not like those carriers you see attached to the rear that obcure the rear lights and number plate and look like they could fall off at any time - especially going round corners.
    Get the platform type fitted to towbar - you will not regret it.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    lucky67

    lucky67 Active Member

    Ok - so far so good - storage will be a bit of a pain for me but I can make space .. Should I be able to fit it on my own ? and has anyone reversed into anything with one?
     
  5. Norm

    Norm Guest

    I've never reversed into anything, although I do have to turn off the car's proximity sensors for reasons which will probably be obvious (but it still catches me out :biggrin: )

    My only real quandary is where to go in service stations. It does make the car too long to fit in a normal parking space so, whilst it's not strictly a trailer, I do use the trailer areas.

    Sticking it on the tow bar takes me under a minute on my own, loading the bikes takes a few minutes more, again on my own although having a second person does help.

    I love it.
     
  6. Spinney

    Spinney Bimbleur extraordinaire

    Location:
    Under the Edge
    I usually try to find a parking space around the edge, and reverse in so the bikes are hanging over the pavement (only if it is a hardly-used bit of pavement), over grass or bushes etc.

    Locking the bikes to the carrier while in the service station also feels more secure than locking them to one of the hanging-off-the-hatchback variety, where a few quick slashes with a knife would allow the removal of the carrier plus bikes in one go (although this would require thieves with a van...)
     
  7. OP
    OP
    lucky67

    lucky67 Active Member

    Thank you! So no major negatives...apart from cost and if I can get second hand that shouldn't be too bad...(3 false cross bars and a lighting board would be £80 or I would need roof bars...) I know someone with one of the strap on one who really hates it and it has damaged their paintwork and someone with a roof one who can't put the bikes on without another adult to help... Now going back to flea bay....
     
  8. Spinney

    Spinney Bimbleur extraordinaire

    Location:
    Under the Edge
    Just be aware that for the tilting ones (that allow you to get into the boot with the bikes still on the rack) - they don't necessarily work with all cars. They are OK on my current (Skoda Octavia estate), but on my previous car (Renault Megane estate) the boot would not open even with the carrier tilted (well, it would open a bit, but nowhere near fullyl). It might depend on the geometry of your towbar - for the current car, I mentioned this problem to the man at the garage where I got the towbar done, and he may have fitted it a bit lower/further back to make it all work.
     
  9. Crackle

    Crackle Squatter

    Always been slightly put off because in any kind of gentle shunt, rare I accept but it has happened, your bikes take the impact first. I prefer mine on the roof and it's a more secure location. I suppose you could argue you forget the height then but I've been driving high vehicles so long it's 2nd nature and I never forget now but I have in the past :whistle:
     
  10. Scoosh

    Scoosh Velocouchiste Moderator

    Location:
    Edinburgh
    Indeed, as happened (despite warnings in the start instructions) to a rider doing an audax earlier in the year.

    Had his recumbent on the roof ......

    .... turned round so it was rear-to-front of car .....

    .... carbon seat ....


    eek2.gif eek2.gif eek2.gif


    blush.gif blush.gif blush.gif

    200+ Euro ??


    He doesn't park there anymore whistling.gif
     

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  11. GrumpyGregry

    GrumpyGregry Here for rides.

    Having watch b-i-l tear the door frame of the hatch on his citroen a few years back I'm a big fan of tow ball racks. Won't put my bikes on anything else. But as Norm says can be a right pain to store.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    lucky67

    lucky67 Active Member

    <br /><br /><br />

    Just a thought - would that be covered on your car insurance?
    My bikes on there won't be really expensive ones ....probably cost less to replace the bikes than a dent in the boot...but then if I had £1000 bikes I can see your point...
     
  13. Norm

    Norm Guest

    This is a good point, and one I should have also mentioned.

    I need to take off one pedal on the bike closest to the car to get the boot opened if I'm using all three spaces. It's not usually a problem, I only carry three bikes if we're travelling some distance and it only takes 30 seconds to do it anyway.

    Another good point, although I'd counter that my bikes are cheaper than my car and having a loaded rack on the back does appear to keep people further from my tail-gate anyway.
     
  14. Crackle

    Crackle Squatter

    Oh dear!

    My best didn't involve bikes. I bought a Luton Van to move someone from one country to another. Drove it to my local tyre place on a windy day and drove in as normal. They had put up a kind of tarp/plastic carport thing which you drove under. Except the van was too tall. I drove into it and rolled it back, ripping the fittings out as i did. I didn't quite realize how far I'd gone but knew I'd hit it, so reversed the van back into the parking space and sauntered in. By this time two of the mechanics had come out and were looking up scratching their heads. One of them remarked on how strong the wind was and I took that as my cue to keep schtum. Anyway they fixed my puncture but the boss was growing more suspiscious. They had, by this time been up the ladder and nailed the thing back down, it was only a temporary shelter they'd done themselves. "How much" I said. "Nothing." said the boss, "If you promise not to come back here again!" he growled.

    Shame really, it was the cheapest place around for tyres.
     

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  15. Salad Dodger

    Salad Dodger Veteran

    Location:
    Kent Coast
    I have the 2 bike equivalent model to this bike carrier
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/SAFFIER-3-BIKE-CARRIER-TOWBALL-MOUNTED-CYCLE-RACK-NEW-/300562736848?pt=UK
    which I use regularly on the back of my campervan. It carries 2 adult bikes with no bother at all.

    Be aware that it is heavy: both to carry from the garage to the back of the van, and once fixed in place.

    Loaded with 2 bikes it must be quite a substantial weight.

    This is no problem for my campervan, which doesnt notice the extra load on the back, but if you had a small car you might end up with the front wheels of the car pawing the air and the back of the car scraping the road....

    The only other issue is that the handlebar end of the bike placed on the rack nearest to the back of the van (i.e. on the "inside" of the 2 cycle holders) is hard up against the back window of the van. Of course, if you were mounting the rack onto a hatchback car, where the rear glass and roofline slopes away from the cyles, this would probably not be a problem at all. But as the back doors of the van are not shaped to taper away from the carrier, the end of the handlebar touches the back of the van.

    But in 2 years and probably 50 journeys this has never caused a problem, but it would only be fair to point it out....

    Overall I am VERY pleased with the bike rack: far better than a couple of other styles of rack that I tried out before. Although it wasn't cheap (mine was about £120 if I remember correctly) I would certainly buy another if I ever lost it.
     
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