Carbon Safe Euroball/Towball Racks- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Carbon Safe Euroball/Towball Racks

    Hey guys,

    I've been looking around a while for a good solution for a problem I've been having - I'm in Europe and don't have that nice square hitch, but rather a permanently mounted towball. Here's the problem - I recently came into possession of a carbon Trek Procaliber (it's my first plastic bike) and really want to treat it nice. I've been loading bikes into the bed, but the newer slacker, longer bike geometry doesn't fit (by like a tire width). So I'm in the market for a hitch mounting bike rack. All of the racks I can find grab the frame:

    Does anybody know of any bike racks available in Europe that mount on a towball which hold the bike by the tires (like a Kuat or some Thule's in US)?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter85 View Post
    Hey guys,

    I've been looking around a while for a good solution for a problem I've been having - I'm in Europe and don't have that nice square hitch, but rather a permanently mounted towball. Here's the problem - I recently came into possession of a carbon Trek Procaliber (it's my first plastic bike) and really want to treat it nice. I've been loading bikes into the bed, but the newer slacker, longer bike geometry doesn't fit (by like a tire width). So I'm in the market for a hitch mounting bike rack. All of the racks I can find grab the frame:

    Does anybody know of any bike racks available in Europe that mount on a towball which hold the bike by the tires (like a Kuat or some Thule's in US)?

    Thanks!
    Thule have a big range. I use a G6. Rock solid on the tow ball and clamps gently on frame which I have 3m wrapped. Thule also do some where the wheels are the only parts locked onto rack.

    Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter85 View Post
    Does anybody know of any bike racks available in Europe that mount on a towball which hold the bike by the tires (like a Kuat or some Thule's in US)?
    I have never seen anything. Strange isn't it.

    One idea would be to get a cargo rack

    https://www.thule.com/en-gb/gb/cargo...ybase-_-949000

    Carbon Safe Euroball/Towball Racks-179508_sized_900x600_rev_1.jpg

    And mount some no-touch roof trays to it.

    Not sure if you could get 1up trays shipped, or not, but they are really nice.

    https://www.1up-usa.com/product/roof-rack/

    Good luck.
    --------------

    [WTB] 1987 Cannondale SM800, 20", Pink with airbrushed graphics.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the responses... Thule, in Europe, doesn't sell a rack that doesn't clamp on the frame (for hitch mounting). I have no idea why.

    I'd also rather not rig something up, bc plastic bikes are expensive when they break. I know a lot of people use the G6 or other frame grabber with plastic bikes, but I just feel the grit rubbing on the paint/finish as the truck bounces down the road...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter85 View Post
    Thanks for the responses... Thule, in Europe, doesn't sell a rack that doesn't clamp on the frame (for hitch mounting). I have no idea why.

    I'd also rather not rig something up, bc plastic bikes are expensive when they break. I know a lot of people use the G6 or other frame grabber with plastic bikes, but I just feel the grit rubbing on the paint/finish as the truck bounces down the road...
    I have a mate her is extra precious about his carbon frame too and he has a G6 - he just uses the "claw" to attach to the seat post or headset. You probably need to get over the "plastic is delicate" thing though. Yep, they are expensive, but they are stronger than what you think!

  6. #6
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    When you say you've been loading bikes into the bed, I'm assuming that you own a truck?
    How about the Exodux MultiTaskR truck bed rack? Not a hitch rack, it securely fits bikes, boards, kayaks, lumber, ladders, etc, over the tailgate.
    www.exodux.com
    EXODUX Jeff

  7. #7
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    I've got a Ford Ranger but I have a hard top over it bc I go almost everywhere with the dog and his crate is in the bed (so the Exodux style system won't work)- which is another reason I want a hitch mount, so I got more room for things with the dog crate in the bed.

    I think I'm going to have to check out a G6 in person, because the clamp looks like the only option on this side of the Atlantic. Just wish Kuat would start selling over here...

  8. #8
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    Amazon will ship anywhere?

  9. #9
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    The other issue I have with Euro racks is that the trays are too close to each other... so Id advise skipping a tray between bikes if you want to avoid touching.

    Another thing I did to my Thule 973 was to change to Fiamna Bike Block Pro arms. They are curved making it easier to puzzle the bikes together.

    I miss my 1upusa!
    --------------

    [WTB] 1987 Cannondale SM800, 20", Pink with airbrushed graphics.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Amazon will ship anywhere?
    Leeboh - I mean maybe, but the problem is that I have a towball mounted on the end of my truck, not a receiver hitch. They say it's better for towing, but I think it's kind of crappier for things like bike racks (because they have to secure to a towball as opposed to being slide into the receiver)...

  11. #11
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    I can't even begin to fathom how you'd design a rack that would be secure on a tow ball.

    Think about the leverage you're talking about here, that's why they slide into the receiver. How would you balance a bike on a rack attached to a ball?

    I think your only choice is to get a proper receiver hitch put on your truck.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    I can't even begin to fathom how you'd design a rack that would be secure on a tow ball.

    Think about the leverage you're talking about here, that's why they slide into the receiver. How would you balance a bike on a rack attached to a ball?

    I think your only choice is to get a proper receiver hitch put on your truck.
    This video has a bit on how they do it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DaOSiGXbKo

    As far as I know, normal cars are equipped with hitch receivers are not rated to tow trailers in the EU generally. I've actually never seen a hitch receiver here. Every bike rack is done this way, and while I agree the hitch receiver design seems simpler and just better, I can't imagine what Thule, and everyone else in the EU, is selling is unsafe or whatever.

  13. #13
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    @twotone - the euro tow bar/ball is safe and strong. The towball and mount on my wagon in pic below is standard kit, and have the same one on my car - which are rated for 3.5 tonnes carrying capacity. We non-hitch users have been using bike racks on tow balls for over 30 years. Thule have just evolved that to be stronger and more secure.

    My G6 is rebranded from Volvo - so again, they arent going to sell something thats not safe.

    @peter85 - here is a pic of mine with my bike. I have put an extra layer of padding on the clamp (for top tube) and also put an extra layer of 3m wrap on the top tube in that area so that dirt cant rub through to pain. Strength wise, you dont tighten the clamp with huge force - just enough to stop the bike rattly around. The carbon wheels are strapped in with rubber straps and have no marks. I carry two carbon bikes normally and occasionally another alloy bike on the extension.

    Carbon Safe Euroball/Towball Racks-g61.jpg

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter85 View Post
    This video has a bit on how they do it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DaOSiGXbKo

    As far as I know, normal cars are equipped with hitch receivers are not rated to tow trailers in the EU generally. I've actually never seen a hitch receiver here. Every bike rack is done this way, and while I agree the hitch receiver design seems simpler and just better, I can't imagine what Thule, and everyone else in the EU, is selling is unsafe or whatever.
    Never said the tow bar ball was unsafe, I just couldn't see a bike rack getting tight enough on the ball.

    Back when I had a VW Jetta I was actually looking at a euro hidden receiver- after all that's all it really is with a long curved ball that slides in.

    I couldn't find any bike racks so I was going to have a custom receiver extension made to use normal racks.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwim5 View Post
    @twotone - the euro tow bar/ball is safe and strong. The towball and mount on my wagon in pic below is standard kit, and have the same one on my car - which are rated for 3.5 tonnes carrying capacity. We non-hitch users have been using bike racks on tow balls for over 30 years. Thule have just evolved that to be stronger and more secure.

    My G6 is rebranded from Volvo - so again, they arent going to sell something thats not safe.

    @peter85 - here is a pic of mine with my bike. I have put an extra layer of padding on the clamp (for top tube) and also put an extra layer of 3m wrap on the top tube in that area so that dirt cant rub through to pain. Strength wise, you dont tighten the clamp with huge force - just enough to stop the bike rattly around. The carbon wheels are strapped in with rubber straps and have no marks. I carry two carbon bikes normally and occasionally another alloy bike on the extension.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    So the 3M tape is another layer on the top tube that's just permanently on there?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    Never said the tow bar ball was unsafe, I just couldn't see a bike rack getting tight enough on the ball.

    Back when I had a VW Jetta I was actually looking at a euro hidden receiver- after all that's all it really is with a long curved ball that slides in.

    I couldn't find any bike racks so I was going to have a custom receiver extension made to use normal racks.
    Sorry if I misread! I certainly hope that crap doesn't bounce around on the ball. Needless to say, I'd be a lot more comfortable with a American style hitch set up too.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter85 View Post
    So the 3M tape is another layer on the top tube that's just permanently on there?
    I use the 3m stuff instead of buying invisiframe for general protection. It all comes off when I sell the frame. I use multiple layers on higher risk areas like seat and chain stays etc.

    Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk

  18. #18
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    Hey - the MTB podcast just did a episode exclusively on bike racks, thought some folks might find it helpful:

    https://soundcloud.com/mtbpodcast/mt...rack-deep-dive

  19. #19
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    Oh and, btw, thanks to the podcast I found the solution - and just to be clear, this is not an endorsement of their products, because I have yet to see them in person, but:

    Saris. Saris has several racks that don't touch the bike frame and have a towball mount. Gonna check a few out hopefully sometime soon.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter85 View Post
    Saris. Saris has several racks that don't touch the bike frame and have a towball mount. Gonna check a few out hopefully sometime soon.
    Wow, I had no idea... Looks like a good option

    https://www.saris.com/product/eu-thelma-3

    https://www.bike24.com/p2155983.html

    Carbon Safe Euroball/Towball Racks-saris_euro_thelma_3-bici.jpg
    --------------

    [WTB] 1987 Cannondale SM800, 20", Pink with airbrushed graphics.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Westy View Post
    And, just to clarify my previous comment, it's really just 2. The Thelma 2 and 3 don't touch the frame - I thought the Freedom didn't but it does grab the bike near the BB.

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