Tandem on a bike rack?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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Tandem on a bike rack?

Postby johnmac » 8 Dec 2015, 5:27pm

Does anyone have experience of carrying a tandem (the larger size Galaxy Twin) on a Thule 9503 rack, with the wheels off, obviously?

A rack like this: http://www.tweekscycles.com/Product.do? ... 2wodAsIPAA

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Chris Jeggo
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Re: Tandem on a bike rack?

Postby Chris Jeggo » 8 Dec 2015, 6:31pm

I have carried a tandem on a towbar rack, but not the one you specify. Mine had horizontal troughs for the wheels, not sloping ones like the Thule 9503, but my wife's solution to my problems might be applicable to yours. With the tandem upside down the saddles just fitted nicely in the wheel troughs, using suitable packing to prevent damage, and I clamped my steady-stay to the 'drainpipe'. No problems with chainsets, pedals, chains etc fouling rack parts. Wheels off, obviously, as you say. Rear mudguard and rack off too. I can't remember whether I also removed front mudguard and/or rack to keep the load within the width of the vehicle. I only did this once, when I sold the tandem, and the weather was dry, so I did not have to worry about gravity sucking water into places it would normally suck it out of.

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Re: Tandem on a bike rack?

Postby johnmac » 13 Dec 2015, 11:05am

Thanks Chris

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Re: Tandem on a bike rack?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 14 Dec 2015, 12:06pm

What you could do is make up a wooden type of frame support (easy in wood) that drops onto your bike rack and forms a platform which can be blocked at places to support the bike frame.
Use large elastic bungees to hold the wooden structure on to the bike rack.
You could add metal brackets even just construct in wood, to the structure to take the forks complete with spare QR's.
Blocks under the bottom bracket with rubber padding etc.
The bike drops onto structure and then you hold it down and fast with more bungee's using all steel coat hooks and eyes, and use a cable lock to the existing bike rack for security.

It all depends how practical with working with wood you are.
I have done this on my bike rack to take items of furniture.

Bike rack still remains universal for single bikes.
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Mick F
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Re: Tandem on a bike rack?

Postby Mick F » 14 Dec 2015, 3:11pm

Please be aware that carrying a precious cargo of a bike or tandem on a rear mounted rack, leaves the bike open to being crunched in the event of a rear-end shunt.

Believe me, it happened to us, and I won't put my Mercian on our Thule tow-bar rack again.

We have the two-bike version and my Mercian was on mounted on the forward section when coming down the A38 south of Bridgwater in our Clio. Heavy slow-moving traffic both ways and I pulled up at a zebra crossing. The car behind didn't pull up quick enough. I was doing only 15mph when I stopped, and the Ford only dinked us.

The rack was quite well damaged, including the number plate and the lights. The car who hit us wrecked his radiator grille and maybe had a dent. Had my Mercian not been on the forward mount, I have no doubt it would have been wrecked despite it being a low-speed impact.

Renault Clios are easily repairable, and a 1986 Mercian Vincitore in 531c with Campag Chorus is not.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Tandem on a bike rack?

Postby RickH » 14 Dec 2015, 3:31pm

Yes there is a risk with using a rear rack. There is also the risk of self-inflicted damage with roof racks if you forget to allow for the height. It is however not always practical to carry a bike, especially a tandem, inside.

I mostly transport my tandem inside (Circe Helios in a Fiat Sedici - aka Suzuki SX4 - hatchback) - put the front passenger backrest back as far as it will go & the corresponding half of the rear seat back forward & mine will fit, while still leaving the driver's seat & 1 rear seat available. The Circe fiits with the wheels on but the saddles off (they are both QR). A conventional tandem would probably fit with the wheels off. If I'm putting the Circe on the back I use a Thule Xpress 970 to hang it by the frame, so the wheelbase doesn't matter and the small wheels mean it fits across with the front wheel turned 90 degrees & the bars turned (the supplied stem raiser is QR mounted too) so the stem is over the frame.

Someone I know who has a van based estate has made/modified a towbar rack so their tandem mounts at an angle with the front wheel higher, to make it narrow enough horizontally even with both wheels on.