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Halohodge

Bikes on A frame

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In France at the moment but we didn't take the bikes this year as I have a problem with my shoulders lifting them up, anyway what gets me is why all the other country's allow bikes on the A frame or on the back of the van but we can't do either in our country, went I speak to the Dutch, French or Germans they can't see why not, it's not as they are driving big 4x4, just ordinary cars, make my life simpler if I could just lift them onto the A frame,I know we can't but I do find it annoying.

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14 minutes ago, Halohodge said:

In France at the moment but we didn't take the bikes this year as I have a problem with my shoulders lifting them up, anyway what gets me is why all the other country's allow bikes on the A frame or on the back of the van but we can't do either in our country, went I speak to the Dutch, French or Germans they can't see why not, it's not as they are driving big 4x4, just ordinary cars, make my life simpler if I could just lift them onto the A frame,I know we can't but I do find it annoying.

Why not?

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Halohodge, if I read you correctly, you're saying that bike carriers on the rear of a caravan are not allowed … so how come some manufacturers are incorporating fixing bars for bike frames in new caravans and at least 3 caravans had them fitted at the site I was on last week?

 

John

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16 minutes ago, Halohodge said:

In France at the moment but we didn't take the bikes this year as I have a problem with my shoulders lifting them up, anyway what gets me is why all the other country's allow bikes on the A frame or on the back of the van but we can't do either in our country, went I speak to the Dutch, French or Germans they can't see why not, it's not as they are driving big 4x4, just ordinary cars, make my life simpler if I could just lift them onto the A frame,I know we can't but I do find it annoying.

 

It's not legislation - it's the fact that UK makers use a shorter A-frame than continental makers.

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7 minutes ago, Johnaldo said:

Halohodge, if I read you correctly, you're saying that bike carriers on the rear of a caravan are not allowed … so how come some manufacturers are incorporating fixing bars for bike frames in new caravans and at least 3 caravans had them fitted at the site I was on last week?

 

John

You tell me, just because makers of caravans fit bars at the back doesn't mean  it's acceptable in UK, they export all over the continent.

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Very convenient having the tiltable bike rack on my ‘A’ Frame, saves a bit of fuel too by not having them on the car roof. BG is right though, UK caravans tend to have short ‘A’ Frames, not sure why they do this though.

F6B4C033-9013-4D62-AB58-A4D7E77CF15E.png

9131E9AB-9E25-4F51-812D-D52A28E4C680.png

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3 minutes ago, Borussia 1900 said:

Very convenient having the tiltable bike rack on my ‘A’ Frame, saves a bit of fuel too by not having them on the car roof. BG is right though, UK caravans tend to have short ‘A’ Frames, not sure why they do this though.

F6B4C033-9013-4D62-AB58-A4D7E77CF15E.png

9131E9AB-9E25-4F51-812D-D52A28E4C680.png

Yes, why do UK manufactures fit short A frames, could it be that it's not allowed.

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I don’t think there is a legal reason for it, perhaps it’s just to keep the overall length down but it’s only the body length that has to be less than 7m in the UK (to tow with a normal car) so I’m not sure why to be honest.

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I have assumed its a historical reason that UK vans kept in short drives on residential estates had to have a short a van as possible, to get as big a van in as short a length as possible the A frame was made as short as possible.

 

I have a Adria (European van) and they typically have a much longer A frame so there is room for a twin bike rack. IT DOES however add massively to your noise weight. I will tell you that to get my front storage hatch to open the rack is so far forward that I do NOT have full lock available.

 

Putting bikes on the rear is very dodgy from a stability point of view so its rare to have them fitted to rear. Also the rear panel on most vans is not reinforced to cope with this weight so far from the axle.

On a motor-home the rear panel is much stronger and often specially strengthened to take a bike rack.

 

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29 minutes ago, baddon said:

I have assumed its a historical reason that UK vans kept in short drives on residential estates had to have a short a van as possible, to get as big a van in as short a length as possible the A frame was made as short as possible.

 

I have a Adria (European van) and they typically have a much longer A frame so there is room for a twin bike rack. IT DOES however add massively to your noise weight. I will tell you that to get my front storage hatch to open the rack is so far forward that I do NOT have full lock available.

 

Putting bikes on the rear is very dodgy from a stability point of view so its rare to have them fitted to rear. Also the rear panel on most vans is not reinforced to cope with this weight so far from the axle.

On a motor-home the rear panel is much stronger and often specially strengthened to take a bike rack.

 

IMO more likely to reduce ferry fares for the many caravanners who tour the continent.

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I have the basic Aframe bike rack . I empty the front locker just leaving gas bottle and put the crate of bits in the back of the van, nose weight was fine.  

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1 hour ago, baddon said:

Putting bikes on the rear is very dodgy from a stability point of view so its rare to have them fitted to rear. Also the rear panel on most vans is not reinforced to cope with this weight so far from the axle.

 

All Swift caravans have had bike-rack brackets fitted on their new caravans for the last 3 years, so I'm guessing they don't see it as a problem.

 

2 hours ago, Halohodge said:

… just because makers of caravans fit bars at the back doesn't mean  it's acceptable in UK, they export all over the continent.

 

Swift advertise the bike-rack fixing bars on the web, and surely they would have to add some sort of proviso if it was illegal to fit them in this country?

 

John

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If you get the 'tiltable' frame you can still easily get into the front locker without removing the bikes and you can still reverse on full lock (well, I can). I've mentioned it on a similar thread but my local dealer (Camping Krings Monchengladbach) will not fit rear mounted bike frames, the service manager told me that the rear walls of caravans (all brands) aren't robust enough and they are not willing to accept liability for any potential damage.

Noseweight is not an issue for me as I have a 55 litre on-board water tank at the rear of the caravan which I always travel with full, it makes a perfect counter-balance and I have no stability problems.

I would add that I have a 460 Kg user payload, you might struggle with a UK built caravan.

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8 hours ago, Black Grouse said:

IMO more likely to reduce ferry fares for the many caravanners who tour the continent.

In my experience, the length of my caravan hasn't made ferry/tunnel travel significantly more expensive. I do have to pay HGV rates on French motorways though due a 5 tonne train weight.  

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2 hours ago, Borussia 1900 said:

In my experience, the length of my caravan hasn't made ferry/tunnel travel significantly more expensive. I do have to pay HGV rates on French motorways though due a 5 tonne train weight.  

My train weight is 5. 5 tonnes and I pay class 2 on french and Spanish toll roads.

 

Ian

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When we had our bikes, we had a witter bike carrier that fitted onto your towball, so you could also tow the caravan as well.   Worked well for us.   Only problem was that we couldn't open the boot if needed to do, would have to dismantle it all to get in, thankfully, never needed to do that.

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35 minutes ago, IanV8 said:

My train weight is 5. 5 tonnes and I pay class 2 on french and Spanish toll roads.

 

Ian

On my way to Spain last year I was charged Class 2 North of Lyon and Class 4 South of Lyon.  

I had bikes on the roof of my Shogun too which probably put us at over 3m in height

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https://www. aprr. fr/PDF/peage_classes_vehicules. pdf

 

I'm guessing from the attached that I was charged at Class 4 due to vehicle height (Roof Rack + Bikes on a car that is already 1. 9m probably takes me over 3m)

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UK caravans have maximised the body length within the overall length by using a shorter A frame. You get more internal length for a given shipping length that way. It’s not wrong, it’s just different to the European way. It may be more cost effective too.

There is nothing wrong with putting bikes on a proper rear bike rack and long before Swift started fitting the Thule mountings as standard their caravans all had strengthening blocks built in as standard. I think Bailey do too. The caravan has to be properly loaded so that the MTPLM is not exceeded, and the nose weight is correct. Many caravans are on the roads with bikes on the back and these are mostly seen on the continent. It’s simple arithmetic that’s all.

In the case of our Swift Challenger, I calculated that transferring the spare wheel from the under floor mounting to the front gas locker (Some Swifts are supplied like this) would be more than enough to compensate for the weight of 2 bikes and the rear rack.  

Most UK caravans have such a small loading allowance that by the time the 2 gas bottles, big battery, and motor mover are fitted there is no where near enough loading capacity left for bikes. An upgrade of 50Kg is often possible so this which may make it possible.

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1 hour ago, Babstreefern said:

When we had our bikes, we had a witter bike carrier that fitted onto your towball, so you could also tow the caravan as well.   Worked well for us.   Only problem was that we couldn't open the boot if needed to do, would have to dismantle it all to get in, thankfully, never needed to do that.

Still use a similar rack, fits onto a plate between towbar and ball. When towing we can put 2 bikes in the car, my full size ATB folder and the youngsters small ATB, with one more bike on the rack. After pitching the van we can put all three bikes on the rack.  

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That's correct Stevan.   It had bull-horns for the bikes.   As long as the nose weight was ok, that was fine.   Our bikes were light weight, Marins.

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I have fitted a bike rack to my Bailey took a little modification but works well. Its easier on the Baileys as there is no front locker. y mate has an elderly Elddis and he has had a rack fitted to the rea of his caravan. We have to shuffle stuff around to get the correct noseweight but its no real problem.   I attatched some pics on a previous thread. Having used a fixed rack I think a tilting one may be a little better. I'll  track down the pics or link to the post.

My mate has some problems with stability but only above the legal limit so no problem, he uses a Subaru XV to pull his Hurricane EX 2 berth.

No problems for me with stability I just have to be careful reversing as the bike wheels ca get a bit close to the car.

This is the thread with the pics

www. caravantalk. co. uk/community/topic/121956-bikes-on-caravans-again/?page=3&tab=comments#comment-1467491

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59 minutes ago, Omega54 said:

My mate has some problems with stability but only above the legal limit so no problem, he uses a Subaru XV to pull his Hurricane EX 2 berth.

I've never experienced stability problems with bikes on the rear carrier of our twin axle caravans but there was certainly more movement when using the manufacturer fitted rear bike carrier on a single axle caravan.

Outfit in France - 08 - Ferry Queue.jpg

Queuing for the ferry

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With uK caravans and the short A frames there isn’t mu+h distance between car and caravan, so you have to be careful if you’ve got bikes there ( whether on the car or caravan) as they can get damaged when you are turning especially reversing.

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11 hours ago, Ern said:

With uK caravans and the short A frames there isn’t mu+h distance between car and caravan, so you have to be careful if you’ve got bikes there ( whether on the car or caravan) as they can get damaged when you are turning especially reversing.

Absolutely Ern, also the big deal was the handbrake - the front bike carrying support rail is too close to the handbrake lever preventing it from operating. The fix was to cut a chunk out of the support and fabricate some brackets to fasten the, now, loose ends to the blocks. (The blocks were necessary to lift the height of the rack to allow the jockey wheel locking lever to clear the frame). I hope that makes sense.

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