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Tow bar bike rack versus tailgate bike rack

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Calimark

VIP Member
Messages
172
Location
Reading, Berskhire
Vehicle
Cali now sold
I can't decide between a tow bar rack and a tailgate rack. I see the advantage of the tow bar type being the ability to open the tailgate whereas with the tailgate rack (when loaded with 3 or more) apparently this is not possible due to the weight. One disadvantage of the tow bar rack is security once you reach your destination since we would want to remove it (so it's easier to park when out and about).

Anyone have experience with the tow bar rack ?
 
jamie

jamie

Messages
47
Location
Kent
Hi Mark

We have a towbar mounted rack and i think the advantages are:-
1. the bikes are behind the van with nothing sticking out so cause no wind drag and would guess this is more fuel efficient than the tailgate mounted one
2. Much easier to load than tailgate mounted one you only need to lift them up about 1 ft.
Added to this the Thule rack I have is Locked to the towbar so guess this is no less secure than tailgate mounted ones. Plus you can lock to the towing points as well as the bike rack.
For added security you can buy or make a cover to keep them out of sight.
 
C

Calimark

VIP Member
Messages
172
Location
Reading, Berskhire
Vehicle
Cali now sold
Thanks Jamie..my concern about security was not actually when the bikes where on the car but instead when you reach your destination (say a campsite) and you take the bike rack off to reduce the overall length of the van for when you are driving around town. I was worried how to secure the rack once I have left the rack in the campsite while we were exploring the countryside for example.
 
jamie

jamie

Messages
47
Location
Kent
If your driving around then I'd just lock it to the bikes if your leaving them at the campsite.
The one I have will fit inside the boot area easily with the rear seat moved forward.
 
C

Calimark

VIP Member
Messages
172
Location
Reading, Berskhire
Vehicle
Cali now sold
Good point, I guess it would be very difficult for someone to carry off three bikes and a tow bar !

Which tow bar do you have and how much does a VW removable tow bar cost to supply and fit ?
 
I

Iain&Shani

VIP Member
Messages
491
Location
Lickey End. Bromsgrove
When we tugged we had four bikes on the roof of the Galaxy, try getting them up and down! At our destiation we did as has been suggested; if we were leaving the site in the car we would thread a security cable through all 4 bikes and the bike rack. tbh I have never heard of anyone who took some precaution having anything knicked..... in fact I have never heard first hand of anyone having anything knicked. I'm sure it happens but the frequency must be pretty low.

Interestingly....we could lock our Thule roof bars to the car; we could lock our bikes onto the Thule bike carrier; but we couldn't lock the Thule bike carrier to the Thule roof bars.... so we had to take the ******* thing off and secure it to the bikes back at the campsite. :? :?
 
Ewan

Ewan

VIP Member
Messages
297
Vehicle
T5 SE 180
The main advantage of the tailgate rack is that it leaves rear visibility unobscured. My missus is also able to lift bikes on and off.

We just use a (cheaper) Thule rack we had for our previous car. While it does tip backwards it doesn't tip quite far enough for the tailgate to open however. I think the pricier Thule racks do - so I recommend trying before you buy. I can't really justify a £500 outlay for this small benefit.
 
BerndRos

BerndRos

VIP Member
Messages
1,314
Location
Plymouth
Vehicle
T5 SE 180
Main downside to the tow bar racks are.....

Bikes get very dirty,

Length of van increased,

Low position of both electric connection and ' Thule ' vulnerable,

Parking sensors and lane change assist are disabled,

The main positive is very easy access to the ' boot '
 
B

BillBicker

Messages
14
Hello,

We have a 3 bike Thule rack on the toward.

Advantages, all of the above plus we switch the rack between 2 vehicles, the Califonia and my Golf depending on what we are doing.

It's a great solution.

We use a Kyham 3mx3m pop up Utlility tent if we are staying for more than one night, the rack goes in there, I put the bikes on it and lock it all together.

I like to lay in bed and look out of the back window in the morning with my cup of tea which a bike rack would spoil.

B
 
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Iain&Shani

VIP Member
Messages
491
Location
Lickey End. Bromsgrove
BillBicker said:
I like to lay in bed and look out of the back window in the morning with my cup of tea which a bike rack would spoil.
B
Now I was thinking that when we took ours off at the weekend!
 
johntowers46

johntowers46

Top Poster
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
2,618
Location
Derbyshire & Lot et Garonne
Vehicle
T5 SE 130
We also use mount an aluminium box on our thule bike rack for extra storage space when not using bikes
 
C

Calimark

VIP Member
Messages
172
Location
Reading, Berskhire
Vehicle
Cali now sold
Hi John, which Thule tow bar bike rack do you have and can you fully open the tailgate when the bike tack is in place ?

Thanks
Mark
 
johntowers46

johntowers46

Top Poster
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
2,618
Location
Derbyshire & Lot et Garonne
Vehicle
T5 SE 130
Hi Calimark,
Don't know which model it is, no I can't open the tailgate with it in situ, but it is no problem taking off tow bar and chaining it to tow bar or through wheels. I bought it from halfords 18 months ago. It was a standard two bike rack.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest User
I use a towbar rack and loop a long security cable through the bikes but also around the security bolt of the spare wheel. Should my rack ever fall off at least the bikes are going with me and not smashing the car behind. I've never lost a bike off the back so never had to test it. I hope I never do. Keeps the bikes safe in two ways.
 
C

Calimark

VIP Member
Messages
172
Location
Reading, Berskhire
Vehicle
Cali now sold
I'm going to go for a tow bar and fit a tow bar bike rack based on the responses in this thread so thanks for all your feedback. The dealer is quoting my £500 for a 7pin detachable tow bar. Does this sound right ? Also, has anyone used a tow bar specialist to fit a tow bar on their Cali because they normally work out cheaper than main dealers ?
 
C

Calimark

VIP Member
Messages
172
Location
Reading, Berskhire
Vehicle
Cali now sold
Hi, does anyone know whether the Atera STRADA DL 3 tow bar bike carrier can be modified such that a roof bag (like the Thule EasyBag 948-4) could be fixed onto it. The plastic holders for the bike wheels would need to be removed. I have read that the Thule tow bar racks can double up as a bag carrier so was just wondering whether the Atera can as well. Thanks..
 

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