Any towbar/ferry experts?

pipipi
pipipi Posts: 332
edited January 2013 in Road general
Just trying to get a towbar put on the car and going on a holiday, so a few questions, thanks in advance!

1.The car has rear parking sensors. Will a towbar definitely mess this up or are there certain towbars that are ok? Or does it have to be detachable?

2.Any particular best rack experience? (I need to take a few bikes for the holiday!) Thule look great with the built in lighting board, but there are others where the bikes just hang down?

3.And do ferries count a towbar bike rack as a trailer?

sorry, silly questions I know, just thought that someone else will have done this before!

Comments

  • nicklouse
    nicklouse Posts: 50,675
    1 tends to be fine as it does not move.
    2 Thule.
    3 nope just make sure you are not over long.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • dabber
    dabber Posts: 1,926
    I've got this rack.... brilliant
    http://www.roofbox.co.uk/scripts/rbvehsel4_tab.php/car-accessories/atera_strada_dl_3_to_4_bike_carrier_uk_lights_no_ar2603/njNA_v1HqTo9~w7HCO3kxz3uBtkB,~4RYoJEYzTmI
    Very secure, easy to load, can still access rear tailgate with bikes loaded.

    Can't answer regarding parking sensors.

    I do the Dover - Calais - Dover crossings about 4 to 5 times a year and the rack does not count as a trailer or incur additional cost.
    “You may think that; I couldn’t possibly comment!”

    Wilier Cento Uno SR/Wilier Mortirolo/Specialized Roubaix Comp/Kona Hei Hei/Calibre Bossnut
  • APIII
    APIII Posts: 2,010
    1. Yes it will interfere. I have a broken front wheel and a dent in the boot to prove it :oops:
    2. Thule. I have the £60 cheap hanging down one which is brilliant. Been to the Pyrenees and back a few times without incident (well, apart from the one above)
  • fsd61b
    fsd61b Posts: 109
    Dabber wrote:
    I've got this rack.... brilliant
    http://www.roofbox.co.uk/scripts/rbvehsel4_tab.php/car-accessories/atera_strada_dl_3_to_4_bike_carrier_uk_lights_no_ar2603/njNA_v1HqTo9~w7HCO3kxz3uBtkB,~4RYoJEYzTmI
    Very secure, easy to load, can still access rear tailgate with bikes loaded.

    Can't answer regarding parking sensors.

    I do the Dover - Calais - Dover crossings about 4 to 5 times a year and the rack does not count as a trailer or incur additional cost.

    That rack is brilliant! Just watched the installation video and it made me want one even though I don't need it!
  • The rack can be fine as long as you don't exceed the length stated. If the car is already long, you may well exceed it though.
  • pipipi
    pipipi Posts: 332
    Thanks for replies everyone! A nice link too cheers, was hoping for a bit cheaper but it does it have some nice features. I will check with ferry company then, and save more pocket money!
  • nicklouse
    nicklouse Posts: 50,675
    562339_10150660443908171_696915635_n.jpg

    my Thule.

    no extra with it fitted
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • LangerDan
    LangerDan Posts: 6,132
    At peak times on longer crossings, some ferry companies will charge extra for a rear-mounted bikerack - there's usually a tick-box on the online booking form to confirm whether or not you have a rack. The additional cost is small, typically £5 - £10.
    'This week I 'ave been mostly been climbing like Basso - Shirley Basso.'
  • pipipi wrote:
    Just trying to get a towbar put on the car and going on a holiday, so a few questions, thanks in advance!

    1.The car has rear parking sensors. Will a towbar definitely mess this up or are there certain towbars that are ok? Or does it have to be detachable?

    2.Any particular best rack experience? (I need to take a few bikes for the holiday!) Thule look great with the built in lighting board, but there are others where the bikes just hang down?

    3.And do ferries count a towbar bike rack as a trailer?

    sorry, silly questions I know, just thought that someone else will have done this before!

    Answers;
    1) If fitted correctly then no it will not effect the rear sensors. However as they are calibrated to the rear of the vehicle when used for reverse manoeuvres, if you have something longer such as a bike rack then the sensors themselves will not be able to calculate the new required distances unless you have a camera type system as found on some vehicles.

    2) Thule are great if not a bit expensive but you do get what you pay for. I have the tilt version so allows me to rack the back and still get good access to the to boot space on my estate, plus they sell and extender part to increase the number of bikes I can carry.

    3) No but you need to work out your total length & then just check against Eurostar and the ferry companies as they are slightly different, but we did Belgium a couple of times last year and were OK on both times.
    Pain hurts much less if its topped off with beating your mates to top of a climb.
  • Depending on your car & tow bar - if it has car specific wiring that plugs directly into your harness ( i.e. if you have a modern car with multiplex wiring) the rear sensors will automatically switch off when you select reverse - otherwise they will continually bleep as the bikes will be senses by the sensors.

    Alternatively - again, depending on your car you may be able to manually switch the rear sensors off when you use the rack.

    Tell the ferry you have a rear mounted rack - the supplement is only ususall £10 - £15 each way - otherwise you may have problems when you get to the port, especially if it is during peak weeks/times.
    Also fit roof bars & tell them you are overheight - again will pay a small supplement - but you get to go on the deck with the lorrys & caravans etc so are usually one of the first off the ferry!
  • nicklouse
    nicklouse Posts: 50,675
    Tell the ferry you have a rear mounted rack - the supplement is only ususall £10 - £15 each way - otherwise you may have problems when you get to the port, especially if it is during peak weeks/times.
    Also fit roof bars & tell them you are overheight - again will pay a small supplement - but you get to go on the deck with the lorrys & caravans etc so are usually one of the first off the ferry!
    never been charged a supplement on any ferry as even with 3 bikes on the back i have not exceeded the length.

    and FYI eurotunnel dont charge any extra for bikes on the back or bikes on the roof. :lol:
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • Careca
    Careca Posts: 95
    Brittany Ferries charge for a having a bike rack. I'm sure Brittany Ferries would charge you for having stickers on your car if they could!
  • neilg7777
    neilg7777 Posts: 142
    Heres mine £70 new from ebay

    f40f308e.jpg
    d1109a6a.jpg

    Been fine and for £70 cant knock it. Cant help on ferry as not been abroad with it yet.
    Neil
  • pipipi
    pipipi Posts: 332
    Thanks for all replies!

    I shall watch out for Brittany ferries then.

    Photo of white van and bike rack is interesting, very small but I think that's only for 2 bikes?

    And the parking sensor bit. I'm really more worried that when not 'towing' , the sensors will spot the bare tow bar and go off. Probably different for different cars and different sensors. I wasn't really expecting them to work with a big rack on the back.

    Time to speak to a tow bar fitter...
  • Just tried out a booking with Brittany Ferries (to St. Malo) and the rear bike rack added £5 each way.

    The upside is that you stand a better chance of being on the lower deck, which means getting off 1st (there can be up to an hour between 1st and last off if it's busy).

    Brittany Ferries are excellent, by the way, very well run company, nice boats, and the cabins are great, especially the good ones; breakfast in bed anyone?!

    (We have a 20% discount code, but only if you stay with us!)
  • mamba80
    mamba80 Posts: 5,032
    Careca wrote:
    Brittany Ferries charge for a having a bike rack. I'm sure Brittany Ferries would charge you for having stickers on your car if they could!

    Un screw your car roof ariel or they ll be an over height charge for that too.
  • ptlk66
    ptlk66 Posts: 52
    Hi

    Regarding rear sensors - check your car manual as on my mitsubishi i can reset the rear sensor range to account for when the detachable towbar is attached. It will bleep irrespective if the bike carrier is attached, bikes or no bikes.

    I have the three bike version of the atera supplied via the roofbox company. Excellent kit and received endless amount of comments when oturing GB/Ireland/France. I only declare to ferry companies if looking for bike racks. Bear in mind security of bikes when stopping at shops, service station etc - the atera kit was the most secure system at the time i purchased my as the bikes are securely locked to the carrier.
  • oldwelshman
    oldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    I have Thule, carried 4 bikes all way to anadia in portugal its great, Did affect untrasound detectors in my car though, but now when rack removed.