Tow bar bike racks?

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ootini
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Tow bar bike racks?

Post by ootini » Mon Mar 09, 2020 11:04 pm

Hey.

I need a new way of carrying my families bikes on a car. Both cars we have are incompatible with the cheapo rear mounted racks, and my Mrs doesn't fancy lifting them on to roof mounted racks, which leaves the tow bar option.

We need to be able to carry two adult bikes and my son's 20" Bonaly. I've not seen any which clearly indicate they can deal with small frames, but then they don't specify that they can't either.

What are the hive minds thoughts on what to look for ?

Cheers

benp1
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Re: Tow bar bike racks?

Post by benp1 » Mon Mar 09, 2020 11:20 pm

I have an atera strada evo rack. Takes kids bikes no problem

Will be selling mine as changing to non tow bar car but I’m in north London so miles away

Lazarus
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Re: Tow bar bike racks?

Post by Lazarus » Mon Mar 09, 2020 11:34 pm

Most racks actually slide where the wheels go so a 20 " kids bikes fits and I have fitted the two I had -pretty sure the smaller ones did as well- wide tyres are more of an issue than small frames IME[ 2.8 never mind fat bike]

Features
1 Sliding or non sliding -sliding ones allow you to slide the bikes away and open the boot-never had one so cannot comment on how useful this is. Just remeber topack the boot/get out what you need befoeloading bikes.

Attachement types
1 Bracket attaches to tow bar mount permanently , behind the ballso its still usable - pendle may still do this for example [wont work on a swan kneck though] -I liked this arrangement personally as it was easy and very solid. Quicker to mount the rack than those below
2. Tow ball mount -as it says it mounts on the tow ball and two types
a) lever / quick attachment -mine was crap and moved - I amsure it works though as mates have it and itsfine] so I prefer
b) an actual bolt you tighten
Either way its often a pain holding a unwieldy rack as you attach it and you can do it so its not level

3.Locks -some of them have lock where you attach - I have always used a bike lock on mine but I think I would want one - I am always scared that when I return from the ride someone has stolen it though I supect the chances are remote -probably a lot less remote with a lever/quick release type

4. Some fold which might be handy if storage space is limited - may allow you to put it in your boot as I would definetly need to drop the seats to fit mine in the boot - not that i can think why I may wish to do this

5.Its a massive pain in the arse to have to fit a tow bar to a car when you swap and not that cheap - even though i have always fitted mine myself .I assume ts £200 + to get one fitted.

EDIT: I have this one but older I forgot tomention the bikes are very close andwillrub somehwere so you need foam/rags something to stop them rubbing in transit - this seems a fairly universal issue

I sometimes wonder if a roof rack would be easier but i could not fit one to my last car and it had a tow bar.

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ootini
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Re: Tow bar bike racks?

Post by ootini » Wed Mar 11, 2020 8:02 am

Thanks for the info!

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Pirahna
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Re: Tow bar bike racks?

Post by Pirahna » Wed Mar 11, 2020 10:52 am

Bike racks were the reason I bought a van.

I've used Pendle and Thule racks. The Pendle was better for avoiding bike rub and can be adjusted to suite the wheelbase of different bikes. Keep the sliding bits well greased if you get one.

The Thule was OK, I got a 3 bike one for 2 bikes to stop them rubbing. The biggest issue is axle widths on the bikes. I found the 2 bike racks were just about OK for road bikes, but didn't like the wider axles on mountain bikes.

Lazarus
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Re: Tow bar bike racks?

Post by Lazarus » Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:14 am

never had any probelm with MTB axle lengths on any of my three and I regularly carry a mates Xl MTB

Dont think I have put a road bike on the rack

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ootini
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Re: Tow bar bike racks?

Post by ootini » Sat Jul 11, 2020 9:33 am

sorry to resurrect an old thread, but im now actively looking for a rack and have come across Witter, who appear to be a good value option. Anyone here familiar with them? They seem to be experts in all things tow bar-y.

redefined_cycles
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Re: Tow bar bike racks?

Post by redefined_cycles » Sat Jul 11, 2020 10:54 am

ootini wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 9:33 am
sorry to resurrect an old thread, but im now actively looking for a rack and have come across Witter, who appear to be a good value option. Anyone here familiar with them? They seem to be experts in all things tow bar-y.
Yes... Witter as meant to be industry leading. Have had 2 cars with Witter on and were never a problem and the towball was good. If i was to buy a towbar again it'd be Witter

Lazarus
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Re: Tow bar bike racks?

Post by Lazarus » Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:24 am

having had a few buy not one of theirs
if you post up the rack you are looking at i can give an opinion on it but i agree its a brand you have heard of so I would expect quality

TBH they are all pretty much the same the only real issue is how they attach and how secure and easy it is to do this

got a link?


redefined_cycles
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Re: Tow bar bike racks?

Post by redefined_cycles » Sat Jul 11, 2020 12:05 pm

Sorry... when I said Witter I was meaning their actual towbal. Cant comment on their actual racks. Why not try that shop of similar name (carbikeracks.co.uk or summat similar)

Lazarus
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Re: Tow bar bike racks?

Post by Lazarus » Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:52 pm

cannot really see how it attached but that is fairly standard design there are three issues [ common toany rack
1) how does it attach -cannot tell from that the witter website says " screw"I would want to know more - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4N6sA_XR7Y
Seems to me its a bolt you tighten -I have found these to be both more secure and more faff to get on than a quick release lever
2) those bars for the bikes can get in the way of frames that prevent you getting to a gid point so you may need to workout what order to do bikes - you can see his in th evideo but they dont show you them attaching them - i assume because its a bit of faff - They all are tbh as there is limited space and pretty tight fit
3) the wheel supports are generally not wide enough for larger tyres- I can get my 2.8 on mine but they are sort of resting on them rather than in them - not that it means it will fall off its just a pain

I am not meaning to sound negtive - I could make the same crticisms of the rack I have and it looks like its a decent price from a well know maker[ with tilt as well] so I see no reason to be worried about buying it or using it but there will be a learning curve as to how to best use the space and how to attach it - its reasonably akward to hold it in one hand whilst attaching to a towbar to tighten it IME-that said i can do my current rack in about 30-60 seconds so you get used to it
17 KG per bike is decent weight limit

frogatthefarriers
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Re: Tow bar bike racks?

Post by frogatthefarriers » Sat Jul 11, 2020 9:45 pm

ootini wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 9:33 am
sorry to resurrect an old thread, but im now actively looking for a rack and have come across Witter, who appear to be a good value option. Anyone here familiar with them? They seem to be experts in all things tow bar-y.
When I first started carting bikes around (one for me and one each for the grandsons that were living with us at the time), 10-ish years ago, I bought a Thule 3 bike, towball mounted rack. I’ve still got it and it regularly carries 3 bikes. I’ve still got the grandsons :grin: .

I would describe our relationship as love/hate. Fitting 3 full-sized bikes is like a 3-D puzzle, trying to find that “sweet” spot for each bike to stop it rubbing the others. I have resorted to using pieces of that yellow foam tubing that scaffolders use, strategically placed.

Last year, my son bought a Witter towball rack. I have to say that if I was buying my rack now, I’d go for the Witter rather than the Thule. The fixings for holding the frames are so much easier to handle. I guess there’d still be the jigsaw to get over though.
Konia kują, żaba noge podstawia...

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JohnClimber
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Re: Tow bar bike racks?

Post by JohnClimber » Sat Jul 11, 2020 9:56 pm

Had (still have it but don't use it, but won't sell) one of these from Pendle

https://pendle-bike.co.uk/collections/t ... w-bar-rack

Fitted to a normal car the bends in the arms means you could squeeze stuff in and out of the hatchback estate.

Never had a problem with it

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ootini
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Re: Tow bar bike racks?

Post by ootini » Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:52 am

Thanks for all the information folks. Much appreciated

Think I'll go for the Witter and let you know how I get on.

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