Transporting E-bikes are a nightmare!

kingsknight

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Aug 28, 2018
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So I've hit my biggest issue with owning e-bikes now! My wife and myself both have an ebike each and decided we would like to get a bike rack for the car like we did years back for our normal bikes.

So we would buy a rack, put it on the back of our car and drive to where we wanted to go right? Wrong.... Turns out that you cannot use a standard bike rack for the car due to the weight of the bikes so you have to buy a special rack which connects to the tow bar of the car.... The tow bar which neither of our cars have! So we are looking at around £1000 to buy the rack and have a tow bar fitted to our car just to take the bikes on holiday with us!

Has anyone found away around this issue? We can't fit the bikes inside the car as we have a baby and a bunch of stuff now.

Am I being completely stupid here because I cannot see any cheap ways to attach the bikes to our car :(
 

Andy-Mat

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Oct 26, 2018
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So I've hit my biggest issue with owning e-bikes now! My wife and myself both have an ebike each and decided we would like to get a bike rack for the car like we did years back for our normal bikes.

So we would buy a rack, put it on the back of our car and drive to where we wanted to go right? Wrong.... Turns out that you cannot use a standard bike rack for the car due to the weight of the bikes so you have to buy a special rack which connects to the tow bar of the car.... The tow bar which neither of our cars have! So we are looking at around £1000 to buy the rack and have a tow bar fitted to our car just to take the bikes on holiday with us!

Has anyone found away around this issue? We can't fit the bikes inside the car as we have a baby and a bunch of stuff now.

Am I being completely stupid here because I cannot see any cheap ways to attach the bikes to our car :(
You neglected to mention what the weight limit is on the (roof?) rack (that you will need to be VERY muscular even to get the average non electric bike up on!!) I know, been there and got the T-Shirt!!
But my e-bike, when I remove the battery, and as its mostly aluminium, is basically then around the weight of a normal road bike, maybe 2 Kgs more.
There are racks for the rear car door, which may help, see link, but I do not know what weight they take and how heavy your bikes are either.
So check yourself:-
https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=rer+car+door+bike+rack+jpg
If you have an estate car, you could also pop the front wheel off one bike and put it inside, plus one sans battery on the rear door maybe? That is the cheapest way to go I feel!!
A further alternative that I use (my cars always have a tow hitch!) is I have a small trailer, one with a "hard top", with roof bars, that I bought from Halfords many years ago.
It can take two bikes and saves a lot on fuel as you drive (legally here) slower, but as the car wind "shadows" the trailer and bikes to a degree as well, so wind resistance is far less.
Plus the bikes are FAR lower and easier to handle on and off.
Heavy stuff goes in the trailer! A third or even fourth bike maybe!! Leaves the car free for passengers and luggage!
See here, they start quite cheaply if open and low to the ground and usually allow around 600 lbs of weight allowance, that could be a lot of bikes and some rainproof luggage!!:-
https://www.google.com/search?q=halford+trailers&client=firefox-b-d&source=univ&tbm=shop&tbo=u&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwis5pPz49bgAhWQrZ4KHT2OAVoQsxgIKw&biw=1365&bih=672
I am sure that there are other possibilities that I have not thought of that someone else has used and they will post here as well.
regards and I hope this helps
Andy
 
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kangooroo

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Aug 24, 2015
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Andy-Mat

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 26, 2018
504
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So I've hit my biggest issue with owning e-bikes now! My wife and myself both have an ebike each and decided we would like to get a bike rack for the car like we did years back for our normal bikes.

So we would buy a rack, put it on the back of our car and drive to where we wanted to go right? Wrong.... Turns out that you cannot use a standard bike rack for the car due to the weight of the bikes so you have to buy a special rack which connects to the tow bar of the car.... The tow bar which neither of our cars have! So we are looking at around £1000 to buy the rack and have a tow bar fitted to our car just to take the bikes on holiday with us!

Has anyone found away around this issue? We can't fit the bikes inside the car as we have a baby and a bunch of stuff now.

Am I being completely stupid here because I cannot see any cheap ways to attach the bikes to our car :(
I forgot to mention, where I live, a car without a tow bar is commonly called a "cripple"!
(I would never call a person a cripple by the way for any reason at all, its a hateful word!!)
regards
Andy
 
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kingsknight

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Aug 28, 2018
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Thanks for the replies!

I was quoted £700+ vat to have a tow bar fitted via our dealership and another £200 for a rack for itself! I've called about today and the best quote I've had in Basingstoke is £600! I did think about the putting them on the roof but to be honest I don't think that is the best way forward for me. I had issues putting a box on our roof rack letter alone two bikes lol!

Kangooroo did that include doing the electrics to the tow bar as well?
 

kangooroo

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Aug 24, 2015
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Wye Valley
I think our £265 included electrics - it was a supply and fit job and I don't recall any further electrical work.

I would shop around for more quotes: a main dealer is probably quoting skilled mechanic and workshop rates for a relatively simple job. You may even find a mobile fitter or a sole trader eg via Facebook traders which could bring the cost down significantly. I've never heard of anyone paying £700 + VAT for a towbar on a typical family car!
 
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Gubbins

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It depends on the car. Just had mine done.. Car is still under warranty so went to daler first who wanted £1500, so got a local mobile fitter to do it for me at a cost of £475. This icluded a removable swan neck ball and integrated OEM electrics so does not affect the cars warranty and as soon as I plug it in the car knows its there and goes into towing mode so some functions are not available. With the swan neck off you would never know its there and there was no damage or visible cuts to the bumper/rear pannel.
I bought a Thule folding carrier because I dont have much garage space, but my mate has a cheaper non folding one and they are both well up to the job and can carry my 30KG, and his 22KB bikes with ease.
Yes, the total cost was around £1000, but my car is an Audi so OEM parts tend to be more expensive and the folding carrier was also dearer than most.
My view is that carrying two heavy e-bikes on a car needs to be done safely..
2018-12-28 19.14.36.jpg2019-01-04 10.47.01.jpg
 
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Michael Price

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Sep 7, 2018
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When I moved house I just put my ebike on the normal rear door cycle carrier without its battery - the weight limit is far higher than my bike - after all it is designed to take 4 bikes and my ebike only weighs a few pounds more than a normal bike.
I can't use it anymore as my current car has a glass rear hatch and won't take a rear carrier - I now just put the whole bike in the boot with the rear seats folded down
 
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Gubbins

Esteemed Pedelecer
I suppose it depends on the car and the bike. I have been driving at Motorway speeds with mine and it is rock solid. Iterstingly.. I have been out in the rain on winters dirty salty roads and I was expecting all the road grime that gets defected up the back of the car to be plastered all over the bike but was pleasantly surprised to find it totally clean. Probably due to the racks solid bottom pushing the dirty air under the rack but whatever the reason it made me doubly happy.
Bike on Car 01.jpg
 

vfr400

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Jun 12, 2011
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Adequate towball racks for two electric bikes start at about £70. Reasonable ones are around £200. A really good one is £350 to £500. The last towbar I had fitted was about £200.

Dealerships always charge around triple the price for a towbar. All they do is phone up the local mobile towbar fitter and get him to do it, so you can save 66% by calling him to your house yourself. When the guy did mine, I duscuseed the dealer price with him. He shwed me his sales book. Nearly all his transactions were with main dealers.
 
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Gubbins

Esteemed Pedelecer
I could have had all the wires scotchlocked/soldered in for a fraction of the price of the correct wiring loom, but of course any warranty issues with it would be met with laughter at the Audi dealers so I chose the the second most expensive option. The fitter told me exactly the same thing regarding the dealer price, except for.. He cut a piece out of the plastic that goes under the back of the car wheras the dealer will supply, fit and paint a new rear bumber with a precut slot...
The situation now is that its no longer a nightmare to transport my e-bike, and as a 70 year old I am able to lift it on and off the carrier without help.
 
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EddiePJ

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700 quid to fit a tow bar sounds OTT...
Not if the car has CAN bus fitted, and there isn't a pre wired socket. With some vehicles, this means having to remove the car interior and dash board, to wire the towbar electrics into the CAN bus set up.

With CAN bus, the engine management is also affected, and in the case of automatic cars, the system will register that the towbar has been fitted, and change down gears when descending as it assumes that a trailer is fitted. It can all be bypassed, but get it wrong, and you would instantly loose the warranty on the car, and be in for an even larger bill.

A quick and relatively fit by some standards.

 
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Gubbins

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Not if the car has CAN bus fitted, and there isn't a pre wired socket. With some vehicles, this means having to remove the car interior and dash board, to hard wire the towbar electrics into the CAN bus set up.

Get it wrong, and you would instantly loose the warranty on the car, and be in for an even larger bill.
Which is why mine was a tad on the expensive side.
 
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Gubbins

Esteemed Pedelecer
Not if the car has CAN bus fitted, and there isn't a pre wired socket. With some vehicles, this means having to remove the car interior and dash board, to wire the towbar electrics into the CAN bus set up.

With CAN bus, the engine management is also affected, and in the case of automatic cars, the system will register that the towbar has been fitted, and change down gears when descending as it assumes that a trailer is fitted. It can all be bypassed, but get it wrong, and you would instantly loose the warranty on the car, and be in for an even larger bill.

A quick and relatively fit by some standards.

He told me some functions would change and it is as you say .. the auto shift is different, the coasting and economy settings are disabled and if I try to access them I get a warning on the display saying not available when towing. I also have a double indicator icon that I haven't seen before which suggests the job was done correctly.
 
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Barrio Barranco

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Nov 24, 2018
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I fitted the one to my Combo van in 2009/10 and it's still working perfectly. I probably wouldn't do it myself again when I replace it as more modern vehicles are plagued with idiot lights/bleepers for just about everything and have been warned that splicing into looms can seriously mess up the electrics these days....(aaaah- "that'sprogress".....!! Seat belt bleepers are the one that really get my goat....)
 

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