• This topic has 13 replies, 10 voices, and was last updated 1 week ago by igm.
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  • Thule towbar rack – I have questions!
  • Premier Icon theeggsofwrath
    Full Member

    Good morning, Singletrack hivemind.

    Having recently upgraded my family to 2.1 surround-sound mode, I’ve bought myself a bigger car. Now, I can’t really reach the roof bars to get a bike on top so I’ve made the choice to go with a tow bar mounted bike carrier. I like and I trust Thule stuff so I’m going with that, but I have a few questions I’m hoping someone with a similar car/rack/bike combination can answer, if you please.

    1. I’m considering the Velocompact. It tilts to allow boot access but my car has a near vertical boot lid. Can anyone with a Citroën C5 Aircross, Peugeot 3008, Vauxhall GrandlandX or similar confirm if it’s possible to open the boot lid while loaded with bikes on a Velocompact? If not I’ll need to spring for the Velospace XT.

    2. Do I need 7-pin or 13-pin electrics? I understand some Thule racks have reversing and fog lights that need 13-pin. I know 13-pin can be adapted down to 7-pin but obviously not the other way. I’m tempted just to get 13-pin installed for simplicity’s sake. Am I right on this?

    Premier Icon rickmeister
    Full Member

    Velospace XT user here. On the back of a VW Caddy with a tailgate. Its a good bit of kit used with 2 ebikes and just doesn’t move at all when fitted.

    It came with the 13 pin electrics as standard which IMHO is a better option to fit on the vehicle if you have a choice as it gives reversing lights etc and you or the next owner want a caravan etc etc. 7 pin is very limited and basic.

    Tilting. Well the velospace out of the box tilts for access but not enough to open the hatchback. It was easily cured with small metal extensions I made myself in 10 mins. It now tilts a little further and the hatch opens.

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Full Member

    definitely consider the Velospace unless all your bikes are non-boost. I had some paint rubbing on forks/rear dropouts on2 29er hardtails, one boost, one not in a velospace, the one that’s supposedly got the right spacing between bikes for boost.

    Premier Icon slowoldman
    Full Member

    Get 13 pin installed on the car. You might need it for a future purchase.

    Premier Icon flyingpotatoes
    Free Member

    Make sure your bikes will fit.

    I have an older Thule towbar rack and the new slacker bikes only just fit on the rack.

    Also check the bike tyres will fit as the plastic tyre guides on mine are too narrow and have split. Thule don’t do a wider one for my bike tyres so looking to bodge it with some 6” pipe cut in half.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Full Member

    I have a Velocompact. It tilts to almost vertical and we easily open our Ford Kuga boot if that helps.

    Premier Icon iainc
    Full Member

    I had a Thule and sold it for a Yakima Just click rack. Wider wheelbase, better tyre channels, easier to fit and to wheel around when off the car.

    Premier Icon theeggsofwrath
    Full Member

    OK thanks everyone. Looks like I’ll definitely go 13-pin then.
    I think I should also stop trying to be cheap and just pull the trigger on a Thule Easyfold XT. I have long, XL, boost 29ers with huge pedals so best to avoid any doubts altogether. I like the Velospace but I could do without it taking up so much space in the garage so the Easyfold makes sense.
    Or I could just buy a box to stand on and keep using the roof carriers!

    Premier Icon spooky_b329
    Full Member

    13 pin, although the reverse lights don’t *need* to work it’s nice to have. Just ensure you twist anticlockwise until the socket releases, don’t pull at the same time as that can cause the pins to become misaligned with the socket and that creates a headache

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Full Member

    I think I should also stop trying to be cheap and just pull the trigger

    Or I could just buy a box to stand on and keep using the roof carriers!

    Round and round and round! 😀 If you’re like me you’ll still be mulling in 6 months’ time!

    Premier Icon Paul-S
    Free Member

    I’ve just got a towbar fitted, went and had to do all the research

    13 pin has connectors that you do not need for a bike rack eg charges the caravan battery when towing and because of this costs a lot more.

    If you are only going to be carrying bikes go for “13-pin Lights Only”.
    This is the same as 7 pin + reversing light, and should cost the same, or there abouts, as going for a 7 pin setup.

    Adaptors either way cost about £10.

    I have a small car so the following may not apply to you, but may be helpful

    With carrying bikes look at the noseweight that the car can carry, which is in the handbook and add the bikes to the carrier to come up with a total weight.

    Make sure that the towbar is rated above this, 2 e-bikes and a rack is 65kgs

    If your thinking about getting an e-bike in the future, make sure you factor this in as well, as a lot of racks will not cope with the weight.

    For the Thule racK:

    We went for a Velospace XT. Halfords have £50 the 2 bike version but will take 20% off if you buy any bike. We added “Kids Bike CycleCare for 1 Year” for £10 ( https://www.halfords.com/bikes/cyclecare/kids-cyclecare-732762.html ), but be quick I don’t think the offer is on much longer.

    Hope this helps 🙂


    Premier Icon theeggsofwrath
    Full Member

    Thanks for all your help, everyone.

    In the end I’ve gone for a detachable towball, with 13-pin electrics fully coded to my car so it’ll automatically switch off the parking sensors etc when connected.

    For the rack I’ve gone with a Thule Velospace XT3, which gives me the chance to carry two bikes with ease, three when the kids gets big enough, and with the option of an extension to add a fourth if we add another child.

    All told, I could have bought another bike for the price, but it’s an investment I guess!

    Premier Icon susepic
    Free Member

    Had a Thule euroway for years, it’s great. For carrying kids bikes it helps to turn the stem and handlebar through 90 degress otherwise they’ll get in the way of adult spokes. We put the kiddy bike in slot 2 between the adult bikes.

    Premier Icon igm
    Full Member

    Check the maximum bike wheelbase the rack takes against your chosen two wheeled toys.

    The advent of LLS hasn’t quite dawned in the bike rack world and while going slightly over the maximum recommended wheelbase for a given rack is probably fine, exercise common sense.

    EDIT – that’s kind of been covered above, but for clarity the Yakima mentioned, one of the Altera Strada range and one of the Thule were best when I checked. Buzz Rack (I think) weren’t as good but did given different maximum wheelbases for 26, 650 and 29 – which makes sense when you think about it.

    These guys are helpful – https://www.roofbox.co.uk/bike-carriers/bike-carriers-racks-range-towbar-mounting.php

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