Van bike racks -Fiamma questions

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Tangled Metal
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Van bike racks -Fiamma questions

Postby Tangled Metal » 21 Jul 2020, 2:43pm

Just dropped the van into the conversion company and in two weeks I'll have a part converted campervan back. One thing we didn't plan for was carrying bikes so we've asked the convertor to price up fiamma bike racks. It's for a right hand side, rear door and bolt on permanent rack. Three bike capacity suitable for new shape Vauxhall Vivaro.

Does anyone have one of these fiamma racks? How far do they stick it when loaded and how far when folded up empty? Do they interfere with rear parking sensors? The Vivaro has a bumper that sticks out a fair bit, will the folded rack stick out more than that? I'm thinking of sticking out the back not the bikes sticking out the side BTW

I am not sure anyone on here will have the answers but no harm asking them in case.

I know people are against drive cycling but cycling when on a campervan holiday I don't think is as bad.

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Van bike racks -Fiamma questions

Postby The utility cyclist » 21 Jul 2020, 4:09pm

I'm not against drive cycling, have done it myself often, mostly one location and spidered out and back in differing directions/routes.

I've no experience of the racks and have always put bikes into the estate (when I had it on road), I did consider a van and indeed someone mentioned it today at work, is there absolutely no way you can fit bikes inside albeit dismantled? Given the time to put the bikes on and take them off a rack I've always thought the time differential to dismantling and re-assembly is minimal but upside of absolute safety for the bikes and those following. It also makes the sticking out totally moot.

In terms of sticking out, this is the specs for the Vivaro rack, I would think it's fairly easy to work out from this to see how much a bike/s would stick out.
Image

Chat Noir
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Re: Van bike racks -Fiamma questions

Postby Chat Noir » 21 Jul 2020, 6:38pm

We've used Fiamma bike racks for over 20 years, first on a VW T4 and now on a T5. Spare parts are easily obtained, very easy to use, pretty bombproof. Always worth getting a few spare straps for the wheels (not the plastic ones, the metal corrodes all too quickly) and a number of countries want you to carry a warning sign on the back: Fiamma does basic plastic ones that fit on with bungey thingies and the bottom in one of the valleys for the wheels, these have always been more than robust in our use.

These days tend to only carry 2 bikes but often carried 4 bikes in the past, including on long family holidays. Just measured ours: sticks out 70 cm folded down, but this is with capacity for 4. When folded out is about 127 cm from the ground which means on ferries many vehicles' bonnets can fit underneath the rack although sometimes we have been inspected with tape measures and had to move the bikes inside, or pay the extra charge. The rack provides a perfect stand and height for working on a bike: just push the saddle into the end of one of the valleys, securely supported and allows you to get on with whatever, particularly good station for adjusting gears.

The T4 had opening doors, the T5 a tailgate. Have to say, more fiddly attaching the rack to the doors and, with the fittings not in the middle, never felt as happy as with the T5 tailgate but never had a problem in practice. Was easy to swing the door open, even with bikes on, probably easier than the tailgate, although not a problem for us with just 2. If it's just the two of us going away we often have the bikes in the back of the van, strapped to the back of a front seat, the other one next to it and certainly what we do if we're leaving the van somewhere and need to be certain the bikes are secure.

Enjoy the campervan!
Dawes Galaxy 1979; Mercian 531 1982; Peugeot 753 1987; Peugeot 531 Pro 1988; Peugeot 653 1990; Bob Jackson 731 OS 1992; Gazelle 731 OS Exception 1996; Dolan Dedacciai 2004; Trek 8000 MTB 2011; Focus Izalco Pro 2012

reohn2
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Re: Van bike racks -Fiamma questions

Postby reohn2 » 21 Jul 2020, 8:31pm

Info here:- https://www.fiamma.it/en/carry-bike-en/ ... ervan.html
For a Vivaro/Traffic = 22CM folded up,for two bike rack 53cm folded down
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I cycle therefore I am.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Van bike racks -Fiamma questions

Postby Tangled Metal » 21 Jul 2020, 10:14pm

That image is for a tailgate rack and one of those which are removable I think. We're getting the bolt on version and a three bike one at that. Looking at the website there's only the two bike version that I can find on their website. It's for a Vivaro double/barn door version but I bet it's probably similar dimensions as a VW version for double doors. I reckon there's more of them with fiamma racks around than Vivaro versions.

Oh well! I guess I'll find out in two weeks when I get it back. Just dropped the van off today. The conversion company knows the rack model we need and has put a fair few on too.

thirdcrank
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Re: Van bike racks -Fiamma questions

Postby thirdcrank » 22 Jul 2020, 9:26am

Tangled Metal wrote:... The conversion company knows the rack model we need and has put a fair few on too.


Wouldn't they be the people to ask? Out of idle curiosity, I checked the Fiamma www and it advises contacting local distributors for technical info. I keyed in Leeds and it came up with five within fifty kms.

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TrevA
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Re: Van bike racks -Fiamma questions

Postby TrevA » 22 Jul 2020, 4:19pm

We have a VW Camper with a 4 bike, tailgate mounted rack and it doesn’t interfere with the parking sesnsors, either folded up or down.
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simonhill
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Re: Van bike racks -Fiamma questions

Postby simonhill » 22 Jul 2020, 6:00pm

TrevA wrote:We have a VW Camper with a 4 bike, tailgate mounted rack and it doesn’t interfere with the parking sesnsors, either folded up or down.


It might not interfere with the sensor, but it does add a fair bit extra to the length of the vehicle, well mine does, about a metre/3 feet (not Fiamma). So presumably it renders the sensor less useful - or is it a really clever sensor.

I try to avoid reverse parking if I have my bike on my rack, just in case. I have ended up with the rack over someone's bonnet.

Ivorcadaver
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Re: Van bike racks -Fiamma questions

Postby Ivorcadaver » 22 Jul 2020, 7:58pm

I recently fitted a Fiamma 2 bike carrier to a Citroen Relay rear door. Many of the bolts were too long, poor alignment of bolt holes on the main aluminium frame and holding brackets and a couple of the predrilled holes were the wrong diameter for the bolts. Required quite a bit of faffing and fettling (filing and hacksawing) to get it to fit together. I guess if you are getting it fitted by your converter these would not be your problems! I would go for Thule In future.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Van bike racks -Fiamma questions

Postby Tangled Metal » 22 Jul 2020, 11:16pm

thirdcrank wrote:
Tangled Metal wrote:... The conversion company knows the rack model we need and has put a fair few on too.


Wouldn't they be the people to ask? Out of idle curiosity, I checked the Fiamma www and it advises contacting local distributors for technical info. I keyed in Leeds and it came up with five within fifty kms.

Around this side of the country there's not many fiamma distributors, mostly 30++ minutes drive. There's a few places that can get them and install them however but if you've ever seen the full fiamma catalogues they're not very clear on exact models needed. Not for a guy off the street to feel confident since there's a few very similar models to choose from. The MD and owner of my local campervan, motorhome and caravan dealership struggled and asked me to come back when one of his employees was due back from furlough. Even the servicing manager who supervises the mechanics who would install couldn't find the right one.

I called a couple of others who were on the Fiamma website dealership list and they all asked me to pop round as they weren't sure which rack was right without seeing the van. Pretty much all Vivaro vans with two doors are similar to mine so don't know why.

My converter, who's been doing it since 1975, hasn't given me details or a price. He's got the van and has taken a day so far since taking the van without getting back to me. On taking the van he said he needed to check which rack I would need, there's a few options he said.

The thing with fiamma is they do so many accessories and versions and a big range of parts. Virtually anything on their racks can be replaced I believe and they're all listed in the catalogues (more than one for racks I believe).

Tangled Metal
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Re: Van bike racks -Fiamma questions

Postby Tangled Metal » 22 Jul 2020, 11:24pm

Ivorcadaver wrote:I recently fitted a Fiamma 2 bike carrier to a Citroen Relay rear door. Many of the bolts were too long, poor alignment of bolt holes on the main aluminium frame and holding brackets and a couple of the predrilled holes were the wrong diameter for the bolts. Required quite a bit of faffing and fettling (filing and hacksawing) to get it to fit together. I guess if you are getting it fitted by your converter these would not be your problems! I would go for Thule In future.

One dealership that deals with Thule and Fiamma wouldn't suggest Thule for our van for some reason. That's despite putting a lot of other Thule stuff on the be vehicles they sell. He said they're better for car bike racks than van ones. Fiamma are better for vans. That was his opinion and our converter only recommends Fiamma ones due to the spares and parts being easier to get.

Put it this way if the converter recommended Fiamma and installs it then if there's an issue with it when we collect the van it'll be up to them to fix. We still have half the payment to pay afterall. :)

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TrevA
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Re: Van bike racks -Fiamma questions

Postby TrevA » 23 Jul 2020, 6:37pm

simonhill wrote:
TrevA wrote:We have a VW Camper with a 4 bike, tailgate mounted rack and it doesn’t interfere with the parking sesnsors, either folded up or down.


It might not interfere with the sensor, but it does add a fair bit extra to the length of the vehicle, well mine does, about a metre/3 feet (not Fiamma). So presumably it renders the sensor less useful - or is it a really clever sensor.

I try to avoid reverse parking if I have my bike on my rack, just in case. I have ended up with the rack over someone's bonnet.


Yes, I managed to bash a tree with the bike rack with a bike on it, even though the parking sensors said I was OK, so you have to be careful. The parking sensors on my van are on the bumpers so will pick up things that are at bumper height, but a tree spreads out higher up, hence why I collided with it. I sometimes get my wife to direct me if I’m not sure when reversing.

But in normal service, with the rack folded up, it only sticks out 40cm from the back of the van, so the parking sensors are more reliable.
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Jamesh
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Re: Van bike racks -Fiamma questions

Postby Jamesh » 23 Jul 2020, 11:33pm

Out of interest has anyone ever built a bike rack?

Reason I ask is I've just built the campervan and a home built bike rack might finish it off.
I have a stash of 30x30mm steel square section which I'm thinking would I could bolt to the back door using the old ladder holes and spacers.
9" triangles of 1mm steel x4. Bolted through the steel uprights and arms with thumb nuts.
Then either Halfords roof bike rack rails or u section Alu...

Finally a vertical stay to hold the bikes in position with webbing straps??


Just a thought

Cheers James

Tangled Metal
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Re: Van bike racks -Fiamma questions

Postby Tangled Metal » 23 Jul 2020, 11:55pm

I'd be wary of homemade myself. You've spent so much on your van and bikes only to skimp on the rack. Plus you might make it strong enough but do you know if any accessory like bike rack needs to have approval of some kind?

A former kayaking friend used to carry boats tied down by cheap ropes to wooden square sections that were clamped to the roof rails of his car. The wooden bars might even have been tied in to the rails. He did get questioned by police inner an unsafe load once.

Just checked and most cycle racks that don't attach to towbars do not need approval. This could mean a shop bought rack might be no better than a home bodged rack. It's your choice obviously but how much are your bikes worth Vs about £329 for a Fiamma bike rack?

mattsccm
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Re: Van bike racks -Fiamma questions

Postby mattsccm » 24 Jul 2020, 8:23am

Why would a home made one be classed as bodged? This annoys me in the same way that another thread about bike fitting compared professional with home done/bodged.
In my experience a home made one is likely to be better made and won't be made with commercial compromises.
Agreed that some people may screw it up but the generalisation is unacceptable.