Bike Carrier recommendation

Discussion in 'Australia and New Zealand' started by calvus, Dec 7, 2006.

  1. calvus

    calvus New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2006
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    G'day Folks,

    I'd appreciate some advice on bike carriers.

    These are the key details:

    1. Ideally, we'd like the option of carrying 4 bikes, but will normally carry two;
    2. we've got a 50 x 50 reece type removable hitch towball on a forester x
    3. we don't want the ferrari $$$ version, just soemthing practical and cost effective
    Has anyone had any experience with the auto spare parts store carriers e.g. Repco or similar?

    We'd appreciate any guidance/experience.

    Ta
    Paul
     
    Tags:


  2. mikeg

    mikeg New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    0

    You could try the XP range from Rhino Rack

    The 4 bike fold-down is only available in the 50mm square (2") hitch

    http://www.rhinorack.com/bike_rear.asp


    Mike
     
  3. peterlip

    peterlip New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2005
    Messages:
    357
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just bought this one yesterday: http://www.bikes.com.au/html/s13_shopping/view_product.asp?id=384&nav_cat_id=164&nav_top_id=Shop3&dsp=1669
    I can't really speak of any experience with it, as I haven't used it.
    And the reason I got this particular one? It seemed the best 4 bike carrier (the picture has two, but its for 4) for the least dollars at a store that I just happen to have a gift voucher for.
    In other news, the sales person there was telling me that they have just introduced a new law (in Victoria) that all bike carriers must have a rear tail-light. Not sure if this was true, or sales talk, but I bought it.
    Just something to investigate if you want to buy a 2nd hand one that doesn't have a light.
     
  4. peterlip

    peterlip New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2005
    Messages:
    357
    Likes Received:
    0
  5. jur

    jur New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2005
    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    0
    I bought a Reese hitch type 4-bike rack and used it to take 4 bikes to Perth and back to Melb. I had to modify it to work properly. I bought it at Bicycle Workshop in Ringwood; it was a well-priced one ($160?) and is a better-known brand (only I dont know what anymore, but you could phone them and ask the brand. I had to get one that would get past a spare wheel on the back door. This particular one can be swung down out of the way or completely removed from the hitch fitting while the fitting remains in the Reese socket. It is fairly well-made, but suffers from a number of serious deficiencies, not necessarily limited to this particular model. Read on:

    Here is my review:

    1. I used it with my Toyota Rav4. As is, the bikes hung too low and would scrape the front wheel of the one furthest away from the door when I went through ditches or out of the driveway. You can imagine how I cringed. That was the single biggest hassle. At every ditch, my wife would get out and monitor the wheels. Eventually, I removed the front wheel of the rear-most bike and strapped it to the bike. This would unbalance the bike while it hangs on the bit where it is clamped and make things difficult.

    For the Perth trip I sawed through the vertical member, bought another piece of steel tubing that snugly fitted inside the original, welded it together and extended it good and proper. No more scraping wheels, ever.

    2. It is a bit like a jig-saw puzzle to fit 4 bikes on. The bikes' handlebars, saddles and pedals interfere. But once we worked out exactly what to do, it went better. We worked out that you put on the first bike, then add the next pointing the other way (obviously) but leave open one position in between, allowing you to organise the pedal positions of the 2 bikes so they mesh. Then the 2nd bike gets put in its spot and the next bike is loaded to pos. #4, setting the cranks right again, and so on. Handlebars and saddles and brake lever were always a challenge.

    3. Use bungee straps to strap all the wheels firmly together, or they will turn on the journey and erode away whatever they touch. This also limits swinging of the bikes and the steering from moving.

    4. Each bike position has a clamp spot, the clamp being one continuous plate with bends in it that is screwed over the top tubes once all bikes are fitted. The clamp positions are padded with 3mm thick self-adhesive neoprene rubber pads, top and bottom. U T T E R J U N K. The adhesive would allow the pads to move under pressure (due to remaining sticky and never setting); eventually the framed would touch bare metal after the cumulative small movements of a journey. You can imagine what happened to the paintwork. Mega-cringe.

    I eventually ripped them off, bought 10mm thick high quality neoprene rubber strips at Clark Rubber (cost quite a bit for the lot, perhaps another $30-40?) and used contact adhesive to glue them in place. No more damaged paintwork.

    5. The top bit that can remove from the bottom hitch fitting bent under the immense bending moment of 4 bikes and hitting potholes or ditches. The bit that bent was not the extended vertical member, but a poorly-designed catch that sat inside a slot on the hitch part. I had the whole lot welded together in Perth with an additional diagonal strut. Even that was not enough; I hit a massive ditch in Hawker near Wilpena Pound which still bent it in the same place, despite the strut.

    6. The requirement of a back light is not a recent law; it has been in place for quite a number of years. Basically, what is required is a plate on the back with the rego number. A piece of cardboard is NOT allowed. It has to be an official plate saying "BIKE RACK" above the number. (Why trailers, but not bike racks, may use cardboard is beyond my comprehension.) For night driving, you have to have a light on the rack, with brake light and back light and it must illuminate the plate. I bought one for $20. If the indicators are obscured by the bikes, you may have to fit a set of these as well. I didn't.

    7. The top support plate has 3 studs on which nuts are tightened to clamp the plate down. The nuts are encased in big plastic grips so this job is done by hand. However, we have to be careful with thos studs while moving a bike in or out of its position; it has to be carefully lifted up over the studs or more damaged paintwork is the result.

    8. The clamp arrangement also clamps down on any cables that run via the bike top tube, creating further possibility for damage. We always unhook the brakes and put the grears in that position where the cables are slack, then unhook them. Later I started using a piece of neoprene foam between the gear cables and the top tube for protection.

    9. The swing-down or removal mechanism didn't work with my Rav4; the back door is too close to the Reese hitch so the hitch bits of the bike rack would catch on the door. For this reason I didn't mind welding it all together. We just removed the whole lot every time, But it also meant the back door could never be opened while the rack was fitted. We worked around that easily enough.

    Would I buy it again? Probably not. I would look for one with less trouble built-in.
     
  6. calvus

    calvus New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2006
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Folks,

    Thanks for all your comments and suggestions i get the feeling that a few more dollars on the capital outlay may save a heap of dramas later on.

    Thanks again
    Paul
     
  7. smithsr

    smithsr New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0
     
Loading...
Loading...