Mounting a motor bike to an Off Road Caravan

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 12:20
ThreadID: 95137 Views:9102 Replies:4 FollowUps:3
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Hi Everyone,

can anyone please advise us as to where is the best place to mount a 190 kg motorbike to a 20ft off road caravan.We were hoping to add it to the rear of our van if we were able to extend the chassis rail through to the back,but have recently been advised that may not be advisable as it will affect the balance of our load.Our tow vehicle is a 2006 F250.
We would really value your suggestions and recommendations.

Happy Travelling

Kind Regards
Sue and Shaun

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Reply By: member - mazcan - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 12:44

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 12:44
most of the bikes i have seen on the rd and in photos have been across the a/frame
but i have often wondered what effect that has had on the vehicles towball weight rating or whether is has just been ignored
also i notice you have an f250 what is the reason for not carrying the bike in the back of a ute that was made to carry a load
i thought that would be the lodgical place to put it
if it has a cab on the back ?
i saw a local a few years ago who raised the rear cab on his F250 about 15cm so he could get his m/bikes in the rear cab
AnswerID: 484151

Follow Up By: Sue vw - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 13:29

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 13:29
Hi Mazcan,
thanks for your advice it is greatly appreciated just letting you know
we may have a canopy on our ute so not possible for the bike to go in the back
Best Wishes
Sue and Shaun
FollowupID: 759386

Reply By: splits - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 13:16

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 13:16

The only way you could carry that bike on a van of that length and weight without having a major affect on the way it handles would be to strap it down to floor mounted tie down points in the centre directly above the axles and that is hardly likely to be practicle. In the back of the 250 would be the only place to put it.

This article covers it very well.
AnswerID: 484152

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 15:09

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 15:09
Hi Sue

Absolutely - as splits says - and points to the research. We have a very heavy off road caravan only 18' internal, but would never put any weight on the rear. The weight is really magnified by the distance from the axles, and can destabilise the caravan with either and up and down or sideways swing when the going gets tough. Not worth the risk.


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Reply By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 14:31

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 14:31
I am sure all the advice posted is correct but there are a few assumptions being made in the dont do this /do that etc...

effectively ruling out anywhere but the tow vehicle..and as Sue has pointed out ...not their preference nor practical.

The basic assumptions seeming to be made are that the 'van and its tow vehcle are all correctly balanced as is...BUT IS IT?

I wouild be checking the ball weight on the tow vehicle as is...then putting 190 kg evenly across the back of the van.....(hang water filled buckets..sand bags etc. whatever just to simulate the weight of the bike)....check the ball weight again.........

make an informed a decision on what may or may not negatively impact on the tow and safety characteristics of the set up...

Example:......I have an outboard motor and a boat trailer and a spare tyre off the back of mine..and she is sweet for ball weight and tows safely......
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AnswerID: 484270

Follow Up By: splits - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 19:39

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 19:39
Please read that link that I posted. It is not so much a question of how much weight, it is where it is located. You might be ok putting that bike on the back of a camper trailer because it is so short and nothing is very far away from the axle. 190 kg on the back of a van that length, plus the weight already there, would make it swing around like a potato stuck on the end of a barbecue fork if it was to be knocked off course by the right combination of speed, cross winds or sudden movement of the steering wheel. The forces generated will far exceed the static weight and once moving they will not want to stop. If the car can hold it and pull it back into line then you are in business. If not then it will jack- knife.

In that link the author mentions tyre slip angles. In this article he goes further into them and explains what changing the front to rear ratio can do to a tow car.

He also explains in both articles why tow ball weight based solely on a percentage of total van weight, particularly for large vans, is not accurate. I think this information is essential for anyone towing long end heavy vans.
FollowupID: 759553

Reply By: Peter G16 - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 at 16:52

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 at 16:52
Despite all the dire warnings poured on you, you need to apply a bit of chutzpa and if you ride bikes you already are aware of risks and rewards. It is quite possible to carry a bike on the rear of a caravan- see Hitchmate web site-
Collyn Rivers' wonderful book about caravan dynamics warns against extreme weights on the front and rear of tow trailers and caravans but also explains how to balance the weights so it is relatively safe-
In other words drive relative to weights and conditions. Bike riders know how to read the road, and wet and gravel and wind are our constant companions and we accept the risk else we would be in Winnibagos dragging our fridge ,freezer and washing machine with us.
My caravan has a hitchmate rack on the rear but I rearranged all the components in the rebuild of my caravan to allow me to feel comfortable about the risks. My caravan is under 5m in length and 1100kg in weight, unlike the 9m monsters weighing 2500kg that blast down the highway.
What is the difference between a rear bathroom with vanity and ceramic basin, washing machine, shower. ceramic flushing toilet and the rest sitting within the back wall, plus a rear bar with two spare wheels and even sometimes I see two jerry cans- compared to a bike securely strapped down on the other side of the wall.
Both place weight on the extremes of the van and are just as prone to breakaways if not balanced.
Collyn Rivers' article talks about those sort of badly planned vans where the mass is not centralised over the axle, ie. bathroom or kitchen at the rear, bedroom and two gas bottles and generator and batteries at the front in a boot over the a-frame.
I moved my water tanks ahead of the axle, placed my batteries over the axle and the kitchen and hws is centrally located, only a fold down bed and the bike carrier is rear of the axle. The frame was reinforced and extended on all four steel beams and the hitchmate kit comes with tyre channels and out-rigger arms to brace and strap the load securely.
So I feel I can take to the road with confidence and still have my cake and eat it
AnswerID: 484720

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