“Strap on” Bike Racks, Anyone still use one? And/or bother with lighting Boards?

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  • “Strap on” Bike Racks, Anyone still use one? And/or bother with lighting Boards?
  • Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    I took my bike in the boot along with all the other assorted luggage and crap last week for a Family trip to the Brecons. While we got everything in it was a proper squeeze with the bike in there too. I can see trips like this will only get harder to pack the car up as our daughter gets older (and/or we have a 2nd) and more bikes and kit are required…

    I already have a Strap on Rack which has been pretty reliable and sturdy for shorter journeys (never more than 100 miles) in the past on our last 2 cars, but no lighting board and while I can take the wheels off I’m not quite sure the Rozzers will see that as actually making the light clusters and Number plate totally visible, the last thing I want is getting pulled over and done on a Family trip…

    I’m loathed buy a Roof rack as this knackers fuel economy and Buying and fitting a tow bar when the rack I have is otherwise adequate and it will only be used a couple of times a year seems a bit pointless…

    Now I know there are various horror stories of stap on type bike racks jumping off on the fast lane of the M4 and so on, but I was wondering is anyone still using them regularly and if so do you bother with a lighting board just to keep on the right side of the law? (I see a fair few without still)…

    If so how did you go about getting the connector sorted? Kit from Halfrauds or Tow master? Cheap and easy to wire up?

    Premier Icon Bez
    Subscriber

    I use one on one of our cars, with no lighting board. I mount it as high as possible so it pretty much clears the lights and plate, though the top tubes may block the central brake light a bit. Depends on the rear end of your car as to whether you can do this. I’ve not been stopped, either in the UK or France, though if a policeman wanted to be picky I would guess he could pick me up on it.

    My opinion on the horror stories is that they involve idiots who don’t fit the rack properly and tightly or don’t check its condition regularly – I’ve seen some that I’ve certainly not wanted to drive behind. I’ve always found them completely stable and reliable.

    Premier Icon D0NK
    Subscriber

    I’ve been given one, set it up put my bike on and razzed round a car park to test it, seemed ok but in the end I didn’t need to use it (I prefer the bikes inside the car anyway) Shortly after a mate was using a very similar one to transport his DH bike, one of the straps broke and bike ended up getting dragged along the motorway at 70mph. Fortunately due to it being a big burly thing there was only cosmetic and grip damage. That kind of put me off using mine.

    Edit could have been bad setup too much weight on one strap etc dunno but a bit worrying.

    gusamc
    Member

    use lighting board, I think on a sunny day, no lightboard is asking for trouble, but then I actually will let people overtake when I’m not in a hurry, so MHO is obviously not relevant…………
    fitting – read manual and see if car already wired/has plug hidden, alternatively locate light clusters, find predrilled towcable hole,buy correct cable (connector and cable) scotchlock to correct lights (*check manual scotchlocking can apparently upset modern cars),ziipy clip/mount (tow hitch etc – making sure cable doesn’t drag, rub, etc etc) and then you just plug in the light bar

    and 1″ motorbike straps – thru hatch door from rear seat belt mounts to end of rack pins, these are then tightened.

    with Bez, fitted properly they work

    Premier Icon phiiiiil
    Subscriber

    I never used to use a lighting board – you could see the lights through the wheels – but I did wire tie a numberplate on the bike as you couldn’t see the one on the car very well. I never had any bother.

    uwe-r
    Member

    I have just binned an old halfords rack i have used for 15 years + with no board. Loads of use around uk and in France. Never had any horror events or any issue with the plod re no lighting board. You dont see many on the motor way with a board! Although roof mounted is becoming popular, it looks wrong to me though and must screw your MPG.

    Just bought a Saris. Brilliant much better than the old crap from halfords and i strongly recomend one.

    TurnerGuy
    Member

    Halford Hi-Mount rack – puts them clear of the lights and plate – and on a saloon you can tilt the top bit back so the rack is at the same angle as your rear window – so the bikes are hooked on and would only come off if the whole rack came off.

    gonefishin
    Member

    I’m loathed buy a Roof rack as this knackers fuel economy

    sic

    It’s not that much worse than having the bikes stuck on the back of your car. Drive a bit more sensibly and you’ll barely notice the difference. Obviously you’ll want to take them off when they’re not being used.

    That being said I’d have a tow bar one if I could but my can’t have one fitted.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    Tow bar mounted ones, don’y they need straps anyway? Or are some ‘free standing’.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    I emailed Tow Master and they’ve come back recommending their “W30” universal wiring kit, and stated it “involves hard wiring into the wiring loom of the vehicle using scotch locks”, although it says on the description it’s not suitable for most Can-bus systems Which I thought my Mk4 Golf Estate was…

    Anyway I shall order it and give it a try it’s only a tenner, what’s the worst that could happen?

    I Think I will try going down the “legally compliant” light board route, don’t want a bollocking from Cornish or Welsh traffic police…
    Plus it’s useful having it fitted if I ever do bite the bullet and fit a tow bar…
    Any lighting board recommendations?

    gonefishin: I’ve borrowed one from a colleague a couple of times, found it total cobblers for fuel, if as you reckon, sticking the bike on the back is no better or worse I’ll just carry on using the rack I already own…

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