Flange

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  • Flange
  • Murray
    Member

    Detachable swan neck

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    or swan neck?

    I’m after a towbar for my Trafic lifestyle vehicle. Which would you recommend, and why?

    (It’s primarily for fitting a bike rack 😳 )

    Premier Icon flange
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    Premier Icon leffeboy
    Subscriber

    Swan neck, fixed. They are cheaper, give a bit of protection against ‘french parking’ and when I did a quick survey when looking for one myself it seemed like the majority of people with detachable balls left them on

    (Flange or detachable balls might have been a more clicky subject line as well..)

    Premier Icon Yak
    Subscriber

    Flange. Greater load capacity than detachable swan necks.

    tjagain
    Member

    depends if it has a gusset or not

    Premier Icon Rubber_Buccaneer
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    Flange every time for me and I don’t care if it doesn’t look pretty

    Reason is that there is an outside chance I may sometime want one of those bolt on type racks and aesthetics of a car don’t matter to me

    Premier Icon kayak23
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    Premier Icon slowoldman
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    He said “Flange”, <snigger>.

    gavstorie
    Member

    depends what you intend using it for. Flange is stronger but swan neck is neater. Detachable is neater still.

    If its just for a bikerack and occasional light towing duties a swan neck is ideal.

    PF jones are cheap for kits…https://www.pfjones.co.uk/

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    My detachable swan neck hangs too low…I keep catching it on the kerb.

    relocator
    Member

    Detachable is neater still.

    I disagree, it’s not always. We have detachable tow bar on our Mazda, so I took it off. It looked awful, even worse. So I greased it and put it back. That was a year ago and It’s been in place ever since. 🙂

    I thought flange was a forumite

    Premier Icon aracer
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    leffeboy wrote:

    Swan neck, fixed. They are cheaper, give a bit of protection against ‘french parking’ and when I did a quick survey when looking for one myself it seemed like the majority of people with detachable balls left them on

    My flange with bolt on ball provides just as much protection against “french parking” (though it does sometimes make parking a little more tricky for me). It came with my car rather than being my choice, but I put the ball back when I mounted the bike rack fitting as I’m not bothered about aesthetics and not really seeing the disadvantage of having it there even if I never use it. A flange seems to give more/better options for mounting a bike rack, though it’s a few years since I’ve looked.

    daern
    Member

    Flange. Greater load capacity than detachable swan necks.

    Nope. Unless you’ve got something like a Land Rover, The maximum nose-weight is specified by the manufacturer and is the same for both flanged and swan-neck towbars. Effectively, it’s a parameter of the car and the bar has to be able to support it.

    Also, flanged towbars make you look like you accidentally backed into a blacksmith’s shop 😉

    daern
    Member

    depends what you intend using it for. Flange is stronger but swan neck is neater. Detachable is neater still.

    If its just for a bikerack and occasional light towing duties a swan neck is ideal.
    Nope, from a towing capacity point of view, both flanged and swan-neck are identical and *must* match the specifications of the car to which they are fitted – i.e. you cannot have a towbar which can support more weight than another as all types can support the maximum rated capacity (both towing weight and nose weight) of the vehicle to which they are attached.

    The only real consideration is practicality (some people like those bolt-on bike carriers that only work on flanged bars), aesthetics and money (detachable swan-neck bars are usually a fair bit more expensive than a cheapy flanged one).

    Premier Icon Yak
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    OP has a van. That will likely have a nose weight specified at around 100kg I would guess. (Mine has). Some of the detachables are rated at less than that. I doubt this is real world concern though given safety factors etc, but the OP might want to carry 4dh bikes on a big steel pendle or similar, so could be up near his nose weight.

    daern
    Member

    Being honest, even I wouldn’t put a detachable bar on a van. I’d have one of those big-assed eyehole ones like the council put on theirs 🙂

    Premier Icon aracer
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    Daern wrote:

    Also, flanged towbars make you look like you accidentally backed into a blacksmith’s shop

    I’ll have you know it wasn’t an accident.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
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    A fellow forumite has an electric folding one. It’s the business imo – totally disappears under the car.

    We’ve got a detachable swan neck on our Multivan that folds under the van. I just leave on all the time to prevent aforementioned French parking.

    daern
    Member

    A little note to those with detachable bars that leave them on – it’s worth taking them off every now and then as they seize up very easily and, once seized, can be really hard to remove again. I use a thin film of grease, on the mating point to make sure this doesn’t happen – you just need to be careful you don’t get grit and stuff into the mechanism.

    Personally, I leave mine in the boot as I’m not a big fan of having a towbar on the car. A good detachable bar should be virtually invisible when the bar is removed. For those considering this, Westfalia do an excellent swan-neck detachable that has a vertical receiver (i.e. it doesn’t come through the back of the bumper, but actually from underneath) so it tends to be far less visible once installed.

    wilburt
    Member

    Are the bike racks for flange towbars better than those for swan necks?

    daern
    Member

    Are the bike racks for flange towbars better than those for swan necks?

    If you’re talking about the “clamp on” style ones. e.g.

    …then they fit both equally well.

    If you’re talking of the bolt-on style ones. e.g.

    …then these need a flanged bar to fit.

    There are other sorts that look like the second, but clamp to the ball. I believe that they work with either.

    Personally, I think the first type are superior in nearly every way, but more expensive.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    Daern wrote:

    Personally, I think the first type are superior in nearly every way, but more expensive.

    Nearly. Ability to carry a tandem is one reason I have the other type – though clearly that’s a niche requirement.

    daern
    Member

    Nearly. Ability to carry a tandem is one reason I have the other type – though clearly that’s a niche requirement.

    I’ve always wondered how people with tandems move them around. I’ve seen some strapped to long roof-racks, but I’d have thought that a tandem would be too long to mount sideways on the back of a car.

    Any pictures you can share?

    Premier Icon scotroutes
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    aracers car…

    Anyroadup, thanks all. Flange it is and it’s being fitted on Tuesday.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    Daern wrote:

    Any pictures you can share?

    I don’t think so, but back wheel off, front wheel turned sideways it fits within the width of the mirrors on a Mondeo (which is admittedly quite a wide car, if not quite what Colin seems to think I have!)

    Used to carry it on the roof using a racing kayak V bar which I’ve mounted a front axle to (rear wheel strapped to the bar). Though it will also fit inside the Mondeo with both wheels off (and just 1/3 of rear seat folded – can get 4 people in the car along with the tandem and a couple of bikes).

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