Towbars and bike racks – quotes & compatibility
Does anyone have much experience with towbar fitting costs and compatibility of various types of towbar with bike racks?
After years of dismantling bikes in the boot/using a saris boot mounted rack I’m finally sick of the hassle…
Looking to get a Thule 3 bike carrier and mount onto a detachable tow bar. Are most racks compatible with swan neck/bolt-on/detachable? I can’t find a definitive answer.
Also, getting quotes in the region of £280 for fully fitted detachable towbar. Car is a 3 series saloon with parking sensors if that makes much difference. Any info/advice would be much appreciated.
Cheers.Posted 4 years ago
If you’re ever likely to want to tow and carry a bike rack then the bolt on is required.
For everything else a swan neck should be fine – the racks tend to clamp around the towball.
Always best to check the individual rack before you buy, though.
I went for a detachable swan neck having shinned myself enough times on a previous fixed tow ball…Posted 4 years ago
was going to type a long explanation and then spotted this;Posted 4 years agothisisnotaspoonMember
I DIY fitted mine (towequipe own brand (witter branded when it turned up), on a ford focus), cost about £80 inc electrics and relay). Took a morning (and a big torque wrench).
Aiston rack avoids the need to have a ball at all, just bolt the plate on in its place. And no wobbly metal or plastic bits, its over engineered to the n’th degree, which is nice at 70mph seeing the bikes rock steady in the mirror, not bouncing arround!Posted 4 years agowheelieSubscriber
I bought an Aiston in the summer, and ran down to the Auvergne and back. Fantastic, simple, and breaks down very quickly and small for storage. Very quick to attach and an 18mm. spanner does everything. Bikes are kept seperated and the swanneck holds the bikes very securely. The safest rack I have used.Posted 4 years ago
rickt – It’s a 2009 SE model (facelift) so no fancy m-sport rear bumper… Spoke with one towbar place and they explained there would be no cutting of the bumper visible… Although some cutting would be required behind the bumper. Do you sometimes need a new rear bumper?
Also – the bike rack says 7 pin and the quotes I have been getting are single electrics… Is the only difference between this and full that the reverse light won’t work? Not sure what full electrics gives you?
ThanksPosted 4 years agoneiladamsMember
I have a Witter detachable swan neck tow bar on my 3 series (e90 330d). Its good and when detached there is only a very small bit of the remaining tow bar visible. The salt on the road makes it difficult to detach in the winter so you have to oil / grease it or it’ll get stuck on.
I fitted it myself as there are quite good pictorial instructions on the ‘net. You have to take the whole back fascia / bumper off which is a bit of a pain as the studs go up inside each wheel arch. The parking sensors are detachable. It also involves a little bit of hacksawing the underside of the bumper. You also have to expose the wiring loom and splice in the electrics. You need the specific e90 wiring kit. Your quote sounds good as its a bit of hassle / time consuming doing it yourself.Posted 4 years ago
Thanks Neil. The quote is for the Thule detachable tow bar too, so does sound reasonable.
Good to hear that you can see very little of it once removed. My GF was meant to be getting a Golf Diesel for bike duties but has went and got herself a Mini Cooper so the beemer needs sorting for bike duties but I don’t want a permanent fixture on the back…
Cheers.Posted 4 years agoneiladamsMember
No problems Nick. I got the single electrics also (7 pin) and its fine for bike racks. You only need full electrics (13 pin) if you are towing a caravan and want charge the battery in it. I have the Thule Euroway G2 for 3 bikes and its brilliant as it can be tipped backwards with the bikes on it to allow access to the boot. There is also a bar to stop the bike nearest the car falling onto the boot lid before it is secured. The boot lid easily clears the handlebars when opened.
I had the cheaper Thule “ride on” before that and it was not nearly as good – there is not a bar between the bike and the car to stop the bike accidentally falling onto the car. My car has a dent in the boot lid as a testimony to this problem!!! Also the boot would not clear the handlebar when it was opened.Posted 4 years ago
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