Trailer versus bicycle carrier. Which of the two causes the heaviest load?

What has a greater impact on a towbar, a trailer or a bicycle carrier? Chances are you think the answer is the trailer. After all, a trailer is much heavier than a bicycle carrier. Yet the correct answer is the bicycle carrier. The pressure that a bicycle carrier exerts on the towbar is much greater than the forces of a loaded trailer on the towbar. And that demands a lot from both the towbar and the car.

We develop special towbar solutions for electric and hybrid cars that can carry bicycle carriers but cannot tow trailers. With this solution you can safely take a bicycle carrier with bicycles on the back of the car. Because the name ‘towbar’ is not sufficient, we have given this carrying solution the name ‘bike carrier solution’. Also known as RMC (Rear Mount Connector).

The proper carrying solution for a bicycle carrier

Is an ordinary towbar suitable for transporting a bicycle carrier? A new towbar is subjected to the European standardized R55 test. The test simulates a dynamic situation in which the towbar is loaded at an angle of 15 degrees during 2 million cycles. The movement on the towbar during the test is horizontal, as it would be if a trailer is coupled. It is remarkable that only the horizontal load is tested. There are no standards for the vertical load with a bicycle carrier. The test is therefore less representative for cars with a bicycle carrier.

Tested 100,000 times

That is why Brink has developed its own test, especially for our bike carrier solution. In the test center in Staphorst (the Netherlands), a realistic driving situation is simulated with vertical load on the bike carrier solution at an angle of 75 ° to 90 °. Imagine a car with a bicycle carrier and two bicycles on the back. The car drives over a threshold at 90 kilometers per hour. This has a significant impact on the towbar and the car. This action is repeated 100,000 times. Does the bike carrier solution come out intact? It is then approved for lifelong use.

The bike carrier solution is tested for vertical load in the Brink test center

Bike carrier solution for electric and hybrid cars

The bike carrier solution looks the same as a towbar, with a small addition: the horizontal pin through the ball. This makes it impossible to attach a trailer.

In collaboration with car manufacturers, we have already developed many solutions for bicycle carriers within the OE segment. We take this knowledge a step further in the development of bike carrier solution for the aftermarket. There are now 22 bike carrier solutions available for 29 car models in the aftermarket. New solutions are added every year. An overview is available on our website with common bicycle carriers and the corresponding bike carrier solution that we offer.

Watch out for too much weight

What should you pay attention to when loading the bike carrier solution and the bicycle carrier? First, the ball has a maximum vertical load. This vertical load is stated on the typeplate.

Secondly, the bicycle carrier also has a maximum vertical load. This is an average of 50 to 75 kilograms. The bicycle carrier manufacturer determines the safe weight. Finally, it is useful to know the weight of the bicycle carrier and the bicycles. The total weight of the bicycle carrier plus the bicycles may not exceed the maximum carrying weight of the bike carrier solution. Pay special attention to the weight of e-bikes. An e-bike weighs about 6 kilograms more than a regular bicycle.

To measure is to know: a calculation example

A bike carrier solution may be loaded with a maximum of 75 kilograms. The bicycle carrier weighs 23 kilograms. You want to put two e-bikes on it of 25 kilograms each. The total load on the bike carrier solution is 73 kilograms. This is within the norm and so this combination can safely go on it’s way.

In addition, the user can pay attention to the following matters. If the bicycles are not of the same weight, it is recommended to place the heaviest bicycle as close to the ball as possible. The lightest bicycle is moved further away from the ball. In this way, the heaviest weight remains closest to the bike carrier solution and the chance of the bicycle carrier hanging back is reduced. When using e-bikes, it is useful to place the batteries of the e-bike in the car, so that the weight on the back of the car is lower.

Tips for the mechanic

The bike carrier solution or RMC is always supplied in combination with a matching wiring kit. A complete set is supplied with all necessary materials. Mounting the bike carrier solution and connecting the wiring kit is the same as with a normal towbar.

What can you pay attention to when checking a used bike carrier solution? Check whether the bolts are tightened at the tightening torque. And feel if there is any slack on the ball. Are both okay? Then the bike carrier solution lasts the lifetime of the car!