e-Bike on a bike rack. With or without the battery?

Point Reyes

Pedelecer
Aug 8, 2021
78
16
We're having a towbar installed on our car so we can haul our bikes. When we're ready to take a trip I thought I'd remove the batteries to make them a bit lighter but then I thought about the exposed battery compartment and the damage rain could do.

What do you folks do? Remove the battery or not? The rack can handle the weight with or without the battery.
 

JPGiant

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 3, 2017
346
165
West Yorkshire
Remove the batteries, if you don't and decide to go out in the rain - well, your choice.
If you leave them on and it rains unexpectedly - have some cling film ready.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Point Reyes

Stanebike

Pedelecer
Jan 5, 2020
27
11
I’ve always removed the batteries when using my rack. I assumed jostling of the batteries locating points would be greater than normal when left on the frame. Have driven on rainy days without problem. Seeings JP's cling film suggestion though I might protect the exposed terminals if likely to rain.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Point Reyes

Point Reyes

Pedelecer
Aug 8, 2021
78
16
I’ve always removed the batteries when using my rack. I assumed jostling of the batteries locating points would be greater than normal when left on the frame. Have driven on rainy days without problem. Seeings JP's cling film suggestion though I might protect the exposed terminals if likely to rain.
Thanks, so no problem getting any contact points inside the battery compartment wet? Cling film might be wise I guess.
 

Point Reyes

Pedelecer
Aug 8, 2021
78
16
Remove the batteries, if you don't and decide to go out in the rain - well, your choice.
If you leave them on and it rains unexpectedly - have some cling film ready.
I was just concerned about getting caught in the rain with an open battery compartment. Cling film might be wise. Thanks.
 

Andy-Mat

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 26, 2018
1,848
453
75
Make sure that the carrier is more than just able to carry all the weight.....
Though some e-bikes have battery carriers/holders that still "seal" with or without the battery being installed, and are very easy to open/close and remove the battery. Even some quite cheap bikes do this..... I am sure that some members here will be pleased to tell you which e-bikes have closed and sealed battery boxes, even without the battery being installed.
So buy carefully, with much thought your bikes and your tow bar carrier. Even some tow bars are limited in the amount of nose weight a trailer (or a bike carrier) may exert, some usual ones are 50KG and some are 75KG.
There may even be ones with even higher limits (Land Rovers can haul quite large boats on a trailer for example, possibly having higher limits), as the limit is actually set by both the car manufacturers and the tow bar manufacturer.
I hope this enables you to pick a setup that suits your needs fully.
regards
Andy
 
  • Like
Reactions: Point Reyes

Point Reyes

Pedelecer
Aug 8, 2021
78
16
Make sure that the carrier is more than just able to carry all the weight.....
Though some e-bikes have battery carriers/holders that still "seal" with or without the battery being installed, and are very easy to open/close and remove the battery. Even some quite cheap bikes do this..... I am sure that some members here will be pleased to tell you which e-bikes have closed and sealed battery boxes, even without the battery being installed.
So buy carefully, with much thought your bikes and your tow bar carrier. Even some tow bars are limited in the amount of nose weight a trailer (or a bike carrier) may exert, some usual ones are 50KG and some are 75KG.
There may even be ones with even higher limits (Land Rovers can haul quite large boats on a trailer for example, possibly having higher limits), as the limit is actually set by both the car manufacturers and the tow bar manufacturer.
I hope this enables you to pick a setup that suits your needs fully.
regards
Andy
Thanks for the info.

Our bike's batteries come as a unit so when they're removed the cover comes with them leaving the compartment open. It would have been better if the cover was separate but too late now. We went with Focus Planet 2 bikes.

Yes, making sure the towbar/bike rack would fit our car and be able to hold the weight was very important so I really read up on it all. I'm pretty confident on its capability. We have an Auris Hybrid and went with Toyota as so many others were a bit a vague on specs, especially the towbar. Many wouldn't touch a hybrid.
 

Andy-Mat

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 26, 2018
1,848
453
75
Thanks for the info.

Our bike's batteries come as a unit so when they're removed the cover comes with them leaving the compartment open. It would have been better if the cover was separate but too late now. We went with Focus Planet 2 bikes.

Yes, making sure the towbar/bike rack would fit our car and be able to hold the weight was very important so I really read up on it all. I'm pretty confident on its capability. We have an Auris Hybrid and went with Toyota as so many others were a bit a vague on specs, especially the towbar. Many wouldn't touch a hybrid.
Here, where I live (Germany), all towbars have either a sticker, or its pressed into the metal part, the maximum allowed "Nose-weight" in Kilograms.
Here they are also a bit strange with regard to any form of electric car!!! You are not alone!!!
I myself have not lived in the UK for over 40 years now, so I am not able to help much, sorry.
regards and best wishes
Andy
 
  • Like
Reactions: Point Reyes

Point Reyes

Pedelecer
Aug 8, 2021
78
16
Here, where I live (Germany), all towbars have either a sticker, or its pressed into the metal part, the maximum allowed "Nose-weight" in Kilograms.
Here they are also a bit strange with regard to any form of electric car!!! You are not alone!!!
I myself have not lived in the UK for over 40 years now, so I am not able to help much, sorry.
regards and best wishes
Andy
Yeah, several companies told me they don't install towbars on a hybrids at all. I think it might have something to do with the transmission in a hybrid and towing. I finally went to Toyota and they had a tow bar for our hybrid and a carrier for e-bikes. We get it installed this week but it certainly wasn't cheap.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Andy-Mat

Andy-Mat

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 26, 2018
1,848
453
75
Yeah, several companies told me they don't install towbars on a hybrids at all. I think it might have something to do with the transmission in a hybrid and towing. I finally went to Toyota and they had a tow bar for our hybrid and a carrier for e-bikes. We get it installed this week but it certainly wasn't cheap.
Definitely the best decision.
I wish you a lot of biking fun in the future.
regards
Andy
 
  • Like
Reactions: Point Reyes

StrawHatMan

Finding my (electric) wheels
May 22, 2020
22
20
I recently purchased a Thule Easyfold to enable me to transport my Riese and Muller Homage for rides throughout the North Yorks Moors. I have to say that I’m delighted with it as it extends the range available to me. I only use it to carry one bike and I leave the battery attached. I also tend to check the weather forecast closely and avoid rain if at all possible. One of the benefits of being retired. It only takes a few minutes to attach the Easyfold to the towball and fix the bike to the rack. I’m well within the towball specification on my VW Tiguan of 100kg. I also use the foldable ramp that Thule supply as an optional extra. My strength isn’t what it was and I really find the ramp very helpful. The big advantage of the Easyfold, as the name implies, is that it can be folded and stored in the boot of the car at the destination.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Point Reyes

Point Reyes

Pedelecer
Aug 8, 2021
78
16
I recently purchased a Thule Easyfold to enable me to transport my Riese and Muller Homage for rides throughout the North Yorks Moors. I have to say that I’m delighted with it as it extends the range available to me. I only use it to carry one bike and I leave the battery attached. I also tend to check the weather forecast closely and avoid rain if at all possible. One of the benefits of being retired. It only takes a few minutes to attach the Easyfold to the towball and fix the bike to the rack. I’m well within the towball specification on my VW Tiguan of 100kg. I also use the foldable ramp that Thule supply as an optional extra. My strength isn’t what it was and I really find the ramp very helpful. The big advantage of the Easyfold, as the name implies, is that it can be folded and stored in the boot of the car at the destination.
That Thule Easyfold looks much like the one we're getting from Toyota. Both our bikes on the carrier are well within the weight limit so maybe leaving the batteries in isn't a bad idea.

Rolling the bikes up on a ramp sounds much better than lifting them.

Thanks!
 

georgehenry

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 7, 2015
1,147
1,005
Surrey
With new cars having can bus wiring systems, fitting an after market tow bar can be complicated and costly.

When I bought my new car I had a factory fitted tow bar installed which cost a not inconsiderable £750, but as I was sure I would want a tow bar bike rack at some point and have a motorcycle trailer I thought it best to get it done.

All three of my bikes have easily removed batteries. The only one I have carried so far has been an old heavy rear hub bike with a silverfish battery. I remove both the battery and the seat post and saddle.

I bought a cheap but recommended tow bar rack which has worked very well. It carries the bike very securely with no rattling. Compared with other bike racks it seems very good value. The 45kg weight limit would only be just enough for two ebikes and you would need to remove the batteries. I remove the seat post and saddle on my old rear hub as it is very easy and reduces wind drag, but for reducing weight it is the battery that needs to be removed. You also need to be able to dead lift the bikes on to this rack. However withing these limitations, if you are on a budget, it is very good.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B006WNC5NE/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I had a nasty surprise when I tried to use my old light board as the new tow bar electric plug on my new car has more electrical pins and was not compatible. This is where the complication of the can bus system showed, as when I plugged in my old light board the car refused to reverse as the rear parking sensors remained live and sensed there was an obstruction and applied the brakes when I tried to reverse.

Once I bought a modern light board and plugged that in, all was well.

Complication for complications sake seems to be the modern way.
 

cyclebuddy

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 2, 2016
769
392
Beds & Norfolk
IIRC one of the manufacturers advised strongly against carrying ebikes on rear carriers. Although the advice was aimed principally at RV/Campervan owners, the reasoning was that road spray and dirt is sucked into the rear of the vehicle from a vacuum created by air movement over the vehicle. The argument suggested that carring an ebike on the rear of a vehicle on a wet day amounted to subjecting the ebike to a force similar to pressure-washing it... which we all already know is a really stupid thing to do.

If you really do need to use a rear-carrier, I think I'd consider using some kind of bike cover to protect from any airstream damage.
 

Point Reyes

Pedelecer
Aug 8, 2021
78
16
With new cars having can bus wiring systems, fitting an after market tow bar can be complicated and costly.

When I bought my new car I had a factory fitted tow bar installed which cost a not inconsiderable £750, but as I was sure I would want a tow bar bike rack at some point and have a motorcycle trailer I thought it best to get it done.

All three of my bikes have easily removed batteries. The only one I have carried so far has been an old heavy rear hub bike with a silverfish battery. I remove both the battery and the seat post and saddle.

I bought a cheap but recommended tow bar rack which has worked very well. It carries the bike very securely with no rattling. Compared with other bike racks it seems very good value. The 45kg weight limit would only be just enough for two ebikes and you would need to remove the batteries. I remove the seat post and saddle on my old rear hub as it is very easy and reduces wind drag, but for reducing weight it is the battery that needs to be removed. You also need to be able to dead lift the bikes on to this rack. However withing these limitations, if you are on a budget, it is very good.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B006WNC5NE/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I had a nasty surprise when I tried to use my old light board as the new tow bar electric plug on my new car has more electrical pins and was not compatible. This is where the complication of the can bus system showed, as when I plugged in my old light board the car refused to reverse as the rear parking sensors remained live and sensed there was an obstruction and applied the brakes when I tried to reverse.

Once I bought a modern light board and plugged that in, all was well.

Complication for complications sake seems to be the modern way.
We decided to let Toyota install the towbar and wire it up. It's going to be around £600 but I think it'll be done right.
 

Point Reyes

Pedelecer
Aug 8, 2021
78
16
IIRC one of the manufacturers advised strongly against carrying ebikes on rear carriers. Although the advice was aimed principally at RV/Campervan owners, the reasoning was that road spray and dirt is sucked into the rear of the vehicle from a vacuum created by air movement over the vehicle. The argument suggested that carring an ebike on the rear of a vehicle on a wet day amounted to subjecting the ebike to a force similar to pressure-washing it... which we all already know is a really stupid thing to do.

If you really do need to use a rear-carrier, I think I'd consider using some kind of bike cover to protect from any airstream damage.
Maybe down the road but for now I just want a towbar and bike carrier. This whole thing has been way more involved than I thought it would be.

When I lived in California and had a Prius I installed a carrier hitch on the frame of the car and the bike carrier for two bikes fit perfectly. We didn't have e-bikes but the whole thing sure was simple.
 

Old Fart At Play

Pedelecer
Jun 11, 2020
106
46
I remove the battery and use a Fahrer battery cover on the bike, it is a neoprene/velcro thing which fits nice and snugly keeping rainwater and grit out.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Point Reyes

BazP

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 8, 2017
342
170
71
Sheffield
IIRC one of the manufacturers advised strongly against carrying ebikes on rear carriers. Although the advice was aimed principally at RV/Campervan owners, the reasoning was that road spray and dirt is sucked into the rear of the vehicle from a vacuum created by air movement over the vehicle. The argument suggested that carring an ebike on the rear of a vehicle on a wet day amounted to subjecting the ebike to a force similar to pressure-washing it... which we all already know is a really stupid thing to do.

If you really do need to use a rear-carrier, I think I'd consider using some kind of bike cover to protect from any airstream damage.
Bizarrely, I've carried the bike on the back of the car loads of times in the rain and when I stop the car the bike is dry. Perhaps it is getting a blow dry whilst the car is moving. Obviously it gets wet whilst stationary.