Carrying motorbike on Van

Submitted: Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 11:09
ThreadID: 79748 Views:5894 Replies:3 FollowUps:6
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Hi all, Just got a 17 foot Jayco Destiny pop top to do round Oz trip, and REALLY want to take my XR400 with us. Have been thinking of rack on drawbar, but several people have told me it affects weight duistribution and towing too much, as well as possable insurance headaches.
Has anyone had experience with this?
Would even consider downsizing to a lighter bike ( eg 200-250cc 2 stroke or CRF230) if that would help

Thanks for your opinions
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Reply By: hazo - Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 12:37

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 12:37

Don't know if it helps you, but I moved my spare wheel to under the van and fitted a channel section of lightish gauge steel to the A frame with large "U" bolts.
I carried a Honda SL230 M'bike for many thousands of klms. with no issues at all ! and I had a few random police stops just for the usual checks, and even had one officer say what a great idea for secondary transport whilst travelling!

My van was a Jayco Heritage full size 25' with overslung axles, towed with a 100 series L /cruiser.

The bike weighed around 85-90 kg and it did not affect the towing stability at all.
But as mentioned I did move the spare to the rear which moved around 40kgs of weight to help balance things up.
I also did not carry any water in the two tanks, but just a couple of small containers in the cruiser.

You'll have the doomsayers and "armchair professionals" saying otherwise, but so long as you allow for the extra weight by reducing your internal loading, water etc. and remain within your van and vehiclestowing limits, a smaller bike would be ok.
AnswerID: 422574

Follow Up By: nifty60 - Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 13:45

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 13:45
Thanks Hazo. Saw your rig on another thread, so thought I'd ask the question. Sounds good. The XR is a bit heavier, and would def move the spare to the rear to balance a bit of the weight.

If you have any pics of your layout ( loading ramp etc ) I would love a look at em. (

Running out of time now, as we leave next Thursday ( don't pick up van until Saturday) . Will start making some more enquiries as to a lighter bike.

Thanks for your help
FollowupID: 692962

Follow Up By: hazo - Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 19:18

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 19:18

I just used a short plank of wood for a ramp, and drove the bike up whilst standing at the front side. Then stored the plank behind the bike.

I actually got my ideas and set up from Graham (message below) as he had the same bike as me.

Will see if I can find any photos this evening.

FollowupID: 692995

Reply By: Graham & Ann - Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 17:17

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 17:17
Re the Insurance, if your worried talk to your insurer. Our bike a SL130 110kgs, is mounted Like hazo stated for his. It does increase ball weight, puts about 2/3rds of this 110kgs on the ball. Our van has spare on rear, and water tank is behind axle. Placing extra weight at either extreme ends of the van does make a difference to stability, especially if place on rear bumper. So moving weight to extreme rear may reduce ball weight but increase instability. Even though our van still behaves well we added a Hayman Reece Friction Sway control, would now never tow without it, very strong side winds are no longer any concern being overtaken by trucks etc.. can even lift off the gas pedal as they pass going down hill etc.. drop off the side of bitumen on to rough shoulder etc... no problems. We've carried the bike for nearly 200,000km now on 2 vans, be aware the a light A frame and a WDH device along with extra tow ball weight may cause stress on the A frame so I'd suggest the lightest bike that suits your purpose. Our current van has 6" A frame, the previous van a 4" and I'd not have wanted to take that van into places we take this van with the extra ball weight.

AnswerID: 422604

Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 18:48

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 18:48
Just remember that the weight of the bike comes out of your allowable payload.

We found it hard enough to stay legal without an extra 100 or so kilos.

Allowable payload is usually 300kg on a sngle axle and 400kg on a tandem.

If in doubt weigh it.

Was reading a Product disclosre from an Insurance Company last night which said

"We may refuse your claim if either of the vehicles are overloaded unless you can prove the overloading did not contribute to the accident"

Rather you than me trying to talk your way out of it should it happen.

AnswerID: 422618

Follow Up By: Graham & Ann - Thursday, Jul 01, 2010 at 14:47

Thursday, Jul 01, 2010 at 14:47
Yes the 300kg 400kg payloads are the norm. But many manufacturers will now plate the vehicle correctly. ie to what the chassis/suspension/tyres etc. can carry. Our single axle van has payload 620kgs. If yours isn't plated to what the chassis/suspension/axles/tyres etc. can actually carry then approach the maker for an update. Jayco replated our old van in 1999. Our current van was built to our specs.

Just bear in mind though that the increased plated ATM may take van specs over what the vehicle can legally tow no matter if the van is only loaded to certain weight. ie if van is plated at 2800kgs ATM but is on actally loaded weight is say only 2400kgs all up, a vehicle thats only rated to tow 2500kg trailer can't legally tow the van because it's ATM is over 2500kgs. Stupid in my opinion but thats the way it is.
FollowupID: 693068

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Thursday, Jul 01, 2010 at 15:11

Thursday, Jul 01, 2010 at 15:11
Not so
I have an email about that from RTA VIC after asking them the very question, that says a vehicle may tow a van with a higher ATM as long as its GTM does not exceed the vehicle and the towbars legal limits.

Basically it means you can have a van that has an ATM of 2800kg and as long as its GTM is under the 2500kg you CAN tow it.

There was a recent court case that the Judge in his wisdom said the same in an overloading case.

It seems the ball weight is considered part of the vehicles load and not part of the towed weight.

Seems Irish to me as I always thought the same as you and paid another $23,000 for a vehicle because the vans ATM was 64kg over what I was told was legal.

Here is the reply


Yes,you can tow the caravan under the following conditions.

1 / You do not exceed the vehicle manufacturers tow capacity of 2500 kg for the vehicle, ( this means that the caravan cannot exceed its GTM, of 2500 kg,even though it has an greater ATM ).

2 / Your vehicle must have a compliant tow bar fitted and it must be correctly rated,the RTA do not have any requirements on "ball weight".


RTA Tech Enq

FollowupID: 693069

Follow Up By: Graham & Ann - Thursday, Jul 01, 2010 at 17:38

Thursday, Jul 01, 2010 at 17:38
Graham H many thanks for the clarification, some van manufactures maybe not quite in the know, as thats where my info came from. (Maybe other states vary to Vic) Anyway makes more common sense to me the way the judge has ruled, and thats the way I used to interpret it until the past 2yrs, I used to tow with a R50 Pathy, with 2000 on the van wheels (GTM) plus what was on the tow ball, as you say and I can only agree "Seems Irish to me" as does many of our laws/regulations.


FollowupID: 693086

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Thursday, Jul 01, 2010 at 18:17

Thursday, Jul 01, 2010 at 18:17
I also have this from Jayco in answer to a question on weights and the OP may be interested as well

Hello Graham,

I will try to answer your questions. The Jayco vans are weighed in the “dry” condition and as per the actual Order for the particular van. This means that the water tank is (or tanks are) empty, the gas cylinder is (or cylinders are) empty and if there is a HWS it also is empty. I refer to the Order because there are many variables eg Sterling caravans are currently equipped with a 100 Ampere-Hour battery as standard but customers sometimes specify a second battery, especially if they intend later to add solar power. Other models may not come with a battery unless ordered and if added after market it/they use up some of the allowable payload. In order to check any van’s weight properly it must be taken back to the factory tare condition with any after market additions removed (eg annex not supplied by Jayco but carried in the boot).

Any additions made after Jayco’s manufacture will take up some of the allowable payload

The allowable payload is added to the Tare Mass to give the Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) this is stamped on the VIN plate. The all up weight of the van loaded for travel must not exceed this weight.

Finally the Empty Ball Mass is deducted from the ATM to give the Gross Trailer Mass (GTM) which is the maximum allowed total weight on the axle/axles. This is a conservative figure because the actual tow ball weight of a correctly loaded van will always be greater than the empty ball mass and therefore the actual axle/axles load will be less than the GTM provided the ATM is not exceeded..

I have left off the rest as it pertained to the question regarding a particular instance.

Hows that for a definitive answer

FollowupID: 693097

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