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OllieTRS

Transport without a Tow Bar

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Hello! 

Does anyone know of any way to transport a bike around without a tow bar? 

I've got a VW Scirocco and the Mrs has a T-Roc, but she has to get it serviced at a VW garage and they've just quoted silly money to get a tow bar fitted. It would be cheaper for me to just buy a used van but I don't have anywhere to store it.

Has anyone encountered a similar problem? Is there a potential boot rack system that could carry the weight or any other mods? 

Cheers,
Ollie

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Simple, don't use the VW supplied tow bar, look around and get one from Towsure or similar. It'll be about a quarter of the cost , do now you can afford one.

Had a similar issue with my CRV , but VW prices are even more ridiculous that Hondas!

 

Edited by jonboy883
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There are two options - put the bike inside or attach it with a trailer or bike rack.  If it will not go inside whatever you plan to move it with then you need a tow attachment of some sort to pull the trailer or fit the bike rack.

Bike racks are very good but you need to check the weight rating for both the car and the towbar.  A lot of cars will not cope with the weight.  You need to add together the rack and the bike so generally about 75-80Kg or so.  Most cars/towbars will not be rated for that.

As above the VW garage will charge a premium for the fitting and then probably go to a local towbar fitter to get the job done.  Most car dealers don't fit towbars themselves.

There are a lot of people around that fit towbars that are not very good at it.  Try to get someone accredited by the NTTA or similar.  Part of the cost issue is that you need a vehicle specific kit for the wiring.  Modern cars like the T-Roc have a vehicle network (Canbus) and the electrics need to "talk" to it.  Cheap backstreet operations will fit a bypass relay (bypassing the canbus) which is much much less expensive but might well invalidate any manufacturer's warranty on the car.  If the car is on a  lease or similar you need permission to alter it.  The backstreet towbar fitter will not tell you about this - they will just take your money then fit some old rubbish and now it is your problem.

https://www.ntta.co.uk/buyers-guide/quote-towbar

 

https://www.towbarexpress.co.uk/volkswagen-t-roc-detachable-flange-towbar-t-roc-suv-a11/

£573  Seems about right.  That is with a bypass relay - 200 extra for vehicle specifics.  You would need to check if that is OK if there is any finance on the car - the specific kit is the correct option.  The flange type is what you need for a bike rack.  For that application you can get away with a lighting board as the bike covers the lights.  For towing a trailer you need to look at things like reversing sensors and so on.  So with a vehicle kit and proper fitting plus a main dealer mark up I would imagine you are getting near to a grand.

Edited by ChrisCH
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1 hour ago, ChrisCH said:

There are two options - put the bike inside or attach it with a trailer or bike rack.  If it will not go inside whatever you plan to move it with then you need a tow attachment of some sort to pull the trailer or fit the bike rack.

Bike racks are very good but you need to check the weight rating for both the car and the towbar.  A lot of cars will not cope with the weight.  You need to add together the rack and the bike so generally about 75-80Kg or so.  Most cars/towbars will not be rated for that.

As above the VW garage will charge a premium for the fitting and then probably go to a local towbar fitter to get the job done.  Most car dealers don't fit towbars themselves.

There are a lot of people around that fit towbars that are not very good at it.  Try to get someone accredited by the NTTA or similar.  Part of the cost issue is that you need a vehicle specific kit for the wiring.  Modern cars like the T-Roc have a vehicle network (Canbus) and the electrics need to "talk" to it.  Cheap backstreet operations will fit a bypass relay (bypassing the canbus) which is much much less expensive but might well invalidate any manufacturer's warranty on the car.  If the car is on a  lease or similar you need permission to alter it.  The backstreet towbar fitter will not tell you about this - they will just take your money then fit some old rubbish and now it is your problem.

https://www.ntta.co.uk/buyers-guide/quote-towbar

 

https://www.towbarexpress.co.uk/volkswagen-t-roc-detachable-flange-towbar-t-roc-suv-a11/

£573  Seems about right.  That is with a bypass relay - 200 extra for vehicle specifics.  You would need to check if that is OK if there is any finance on the car - the specific kit is the correct option.  The flange type is what you need for a bike rack.  For that application you can get away with a lighting board as the bike covers the lights.  For towing a trailer you need to look at things like reversing sensors and so on.  So with a vehicle kit and proper fitting plus a main dealer mark up I would imagine you are getting near to a grand.

Cheers Chris that's really helpful. I suppose I was trying to see if there was a way around fitting it to my Scirocco or if there was a solution without a towbar but it's looking like that will be out of the question. 

That's fine though, I'll have a look at those links and get one fitted.

Cheers again! 

I'll have 

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The max load for the Scirroco is 50Kg.  No idea about the T-Roc - it's far too new for me.  There's some good data here: https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/media/12354614/noseweights-mo__2_.pdf

It's for the towing shed people but the principle is OK.

Really hard to beat a panel van, but if you don't have storage space it is not going to work for you.  Dave Cooper (of bike rack fame) does a nice fold up trailer as well as the bike racks.  Your Scirrocco would tow that easily.  Again (sadly) not a cheap option.  Towing reduces your speed limits and keeps you outside the "fast" lane of the motorway, but then a panel van drops speed limits too.  Depends on how much you need to travel with the bike.  We ride local and I have a van for work so ideal.  Jolly handy too for getting changed and you can have a little camping stove and make a bacon sarny for lunch, hiding out of the rain.

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Racks & open  trailers leave all on display, This can lead to unwelcome visitors to your home during the hours of darkness. Police will be delighted to pull you up for dodgy lights / number boards, but not in the slightest bit interested when some low life makes off with your pride & joy.

Sadly, this is the world we live in.   

Get hold of a van !!!

 

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Or better still, van-derived car like Fiat Doblo or Citroen Berlingo: no speed limit reduction as with panel vans. I know from experience Doblo will carry one, or two, trials bikes inside. 

If I'm parking somewhere I'm bothered about security I cover the bike with a tarp.

Edited by cleanorbust

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14 minutes ago, lsv said:

I think you will find that only "car derived vans" are allowed car speed limits (and ther are very few of these now) so be careful....................

 

Dual purpose vehicles also have the same speed limits as cars.

The odd vehicle like a caddy kombi can be found registered as a car or as a van and technically fit the definition of a dual purpose vehicle.

The van derived mpv's like the ones named a couple of posts above and the caddy life are all car speed limits.

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If the towing vehicles lights are not obscured by what's being towed you don't need lights on the trailer.Makes fitting a tow bar much cheaper,or fit it your self.If you can compently maintain a bike fitting a tow bar should be doable 

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2 hours ago, cleanorbust said:

Or better still, van-derived car like Fiat Doblo or Citroen Berlingo: no speed limit reduction as with panel vans. I know from experience Doblo will carry one, or two, trials bikes inside. 

If I'm parking somewhere I'm bothered about security I cover the bike with a tarp.

I found that like-for-like a secondhand Berlingo car was much cheaper than a van. Plus I could easily get a petrol, and it hadn’t had a builder mixing concrete in the back! But putting a trials bike in a car does get the inside incredibly dirty.

Or, as huski said, fit a towbar yourself. Modern cars have the attachment points built in so fitting is a simple nuts and bolts job. It’s the electrics that could be the issue.

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I Agree with second vehicle option every time if you can afford it. A cheap van can be left round the corner or In a friendly pub car park maybe ? If it looks rubbish & obviously has nothing in it then generally nobody will bother with it. I used a Renault espace for years, perfect size, dark windows & tarpaulin on bike if needed, then for various reasons went to a car & trailer and low and behold my garage was broken into and bike stolen even though I was quite careful & never left it on display if I could help it. You make yourself & your bike an easy target, they can follow you home or see you unloading etc, & come back in darkness. Toe rags. A few hundred quid for the cheapest van or Berlingo type thing with an mot is also cheap to tax & insure and it gives you some peace of mind that that you’re bikes not on display to the thieves. Does mean you might turn up at trials looking like the cheapskate though. ?. But it’s also great, as previous poster mentioned, for carrying your kit, tools etc & getting out of crap weather while changing, eating etc. Side doors are a great bonus for this too. Now use a Peugeot expert (all have twin side doors, always one not facing the wind & rain) with a curtain not a bulkhead, so curtain closed when bike on board, open otherwise so it’s clear there’s nothin inside to nick !

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10 hours ago, huski said:

If the towing vehicles lights are not obscured by what's being towed you don't need lights on the trailer.Makes fitting a tow bar much cheaper,or fit it your self.If you can compently maintain a bike fitting a tow bar should be doable 

Modern towbars fit into where the crash absorption bar is at the rear of the vehicle.  You will generally need to remove the rear light clusters and the valance.  Also the reversing sensors.  It is a job within many people's capabilities but it is quite easy to break the plastic and a lot of cars there is a "knack" that once learned is easy but if you don't know it...

The T-Roc will be Euro 6 if it is diesel.  Lots of these (especially VW) can be a right PITA.  It is sometimes the case that the Adblue tank needs to be taken off.

So it can be an easy task if the car is one model or a PITA if it is another.  Personally I would let someone else do it, someone that I trusted to do it properly.  If you do them all day long it might take a couple of hours, if you are unfamiliar with them (and don't have the bodywork tools) it could be an all-dayer.  If you break the valance it could be an expensive day as well.  Again depending on the model the valance might need cutting to accommodate the towbar.  If you have a good cutting tool, a steady hand and a keen eye should be no problem.  If you are a bit ham fisted (like me) again I would let someone else do it.

Not trying to put anyone off - I love the DIY option, but just to be aware.  There really is a huge difference between different sorts of cars.  As with motorbikes, knowledge is the key.

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13 hours ago, feetupsbetter said:

I Agree with second vehicle option every time if you can afford it. A cheap van can be left round the corner or In a friendly pub car park maybe ? If it looks rubbish & obviously has nothing in it then generally nobody will bother with it. I used a Renault espace for years, perfect size, dark windows & tarpaulin on bike if needed, then for various reasons went to a car & trailer and low and behold my garage was broken into and bike stolen even though I was quite careful & never left it on display if I could help it. You make yourself & your bike an easy target, they can follow you home or see you unloading etc, & come back in darkness. Toe rags. A few hundred quid for the cheapest van or Berlingo type thing with an mot is also cheap to tax & insure and it gives you some peace of mind that that you’re bikes not on display to the thieves. Does mean you might turn up at trials looking like the cheapskate though. ?. But it’s also great, as previous poster mentioned, for carrying your kit, tools etc & getting out of crap weather while changing, eating etc. Side doors are a great bonus for this too. Now use a Peugeot expert (all have twin side doors, always one not facing the wind & rain) with a curtain not a bulkhead, so curtain closed when bike on board, open otherwise so it’s clear there’s nothin inside to nick !

Turning up at a trial looking like a cheapskate helps me fit right in.

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Berlingo / Doblo van derived car a good option used by a couple of riders I know. Takes one bike easily & can be loaded without getting too  much muck on you. Windows can be security tinted to put off prying eyes.

Van(with bulkhead) still the only way IMHO.

BTW, DO NOT apply any Alpinestars,  "Trials Team knobber",  Rockstar MX, "decals", "stickers" etc ,etc, etc, all over your van. Not even a small one. Might as well put up a flashing sign saying "this way, mr low life".   

 

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