Towed car or a scooter? - advice please.

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by GREENTUB, Jan 9, 2010.

  1. GREENTUB

    GREENTUB Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    South Yorkshire
    We are making a visit to our dealer next weekend to discuss some pre-delivery additions to our ordered Motorhome - Autocruise Augusta - a tow bar is on the list. Although an ex-boating complete novice to motorhomes I'm pretty convinced that we'll need some sort of additional transport but can't make up my mind between a towed vehicle or a rack mounted motorcycle. My niaivety can't help but worry about what you would do if forced to reverse with a towed vehicle! I ride a scooter almost daily so I'm aware of the plus points and pitfalls of two wheels. I understand that the maximum rear axle loading of the Augusta is 2400kg with a MTPLM of 4250kg. Any advice from the wealth of knowledge of 'Funsters' would be most welcome.
     
  2. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Messages:
    26,436
    Likes Received:
    25,115
    Location:
    Macclesfield
    First thing is to do the calculation to see if you can mount a scooter at all. So choose your scooter weight + mounting then find your overhang distances and see what you end up with on the axles and total weight.

    I think there's a scooter trailer on offer in here.
     
  3. barryd

    barryd Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Messages:
    1,144
    Likes Received:
    101
    Location:
    Yorkshire Dales
    It has to be a scooter for us. Just great fun and to be honest if your going to tow something you may as well have a caravan. We have a Kontiki 640 and adding a bike was my first project. It has definitely been the best addition, we love it! However I did a lot of research and you clearly have to watch the payload.

    The first thing you must do is go to your local weigh bridge. Weigh the whole van and the weight on both front and rear axel separately. They should print them off for you but if not write them down then come back and do the calculation below.

    There is a really good payload calculator here

    http://www.practicalmotorhome.com/features/loading-back.html

    If I can work it out anyone can!

    We found our additional bike and rack came in at 150kg. After using the calculator above this actually added around 200kg of "real" weight. As this was within our available payload we went for it.

    It’s all about the payload calculations. We managed to fit our rack and scooter within the limits but the Kontiki is quite a long van and it all makes a difference. We got ours fitted at Armitage Trailers at Ferrybridge near the A1 M62 junction. http://www.armitagetrailers.com/


    They were really good and I would highly recommend talking to them. Basically they fit a full width towbar which they bolt onto the Alko chassis (other standard Chassis as well I believe). The rack then slides and bolts into the frame of the towbar bolting securely into place. There is a ramp which you slot onto the rack. You basically rev the scooter up the rack in 2 seconds flat. There is a pole up the back of the rack and you slot a curved bar over that which has a rubber mold which shapes over the seat to hold it in place. You then ratchet strap this down and ratchet the front wheel to the front of the rack. It’s then as solid as a rock. The whole process takes around 2 min tops and even less to get it off. I think the limit is 200KG but you would have to check with Armitage.

    The towbar and rack is around 50kg and our bike I think is 96kg but it’s important that you do the calculation I mentioned in the link as the overhang and wheelbase all come into consideration. We went for a 2 stroke Peugeot Speedfight which is quite a light sporty little 100cc bike. It goes really well and we have been up mountain passes and all sorts on it with no issues. It will hit 60mph eventually on a good day but is more than comfortable at 45-50mph all day long.

    I hadn’t had a proper bike for years and wondered if a little 100cc scooter would have enough speed and pulling power for me and Michelle. Michelle is only 8st but I am 18st. I need not have worried it pulls no problem and to be honest as you have used the MH to do the main mileage to wherever you are going, all you are doing on the bike is site seeing, shopping etc so you don’t want to be hammering along at 100mph.

    One or two people said we would have handling issues as there would be too much weight on the back but on the Kontiki I don’t even notice the difference if its there or not.

    I think we paid around £750 all in for the towbar and rack but I would have to check. The bike was 4 years old but with only 1200 miles on and cost £1000.

    We are still using the scooter right now having been touring in the south of England for the past 3 weeks. Mind you we fell off the other day on a CL in the snow in Devon!

    Cheers
    Barry
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
  4. GREENTUB

    GREENTUB Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    South Yorkshire
    Very many thanks - first class information that I will go away and digest. I've currently got the speedfight 49cc version that I've had for about 7 years and it's never let me down and so I was thinking about the 100cc version anyway. Thanks very much indeed - Happy New Year.

    PS. Go easy in that white stuff!
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
  5. barryd

    barryd Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Messages:
    1,144
    Likes Received:
    101
    Location:
    Yorkshire Dales
    The 100cc version goes like the clappers. If your not lardy like me and two up I reckon it would be really nippy.

    The only thing I would say is if you take it to France then take some spares with you. Our drive belt snapped in France and after visiting loads of dealers the fastest they could get one was 2 weeks. I had to have one shipped from the UK (for a French bike)

    Off out on ours shortly to visit Looe in Cornwall!

    BEst of luck
    BD
     
  6. VMax666

    VMax666 Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2009
    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Knutsford
    Be aware that most towbars are designed to tow ( clue in the name), and have a maximum nose weight of 80/85 kgs. There have been photos of tow bars breaking because of excessive vertical forces and also damage to chassis mounting. Check how far from the tow ball mount to the chassis mounting to see what I mean. A quick way is to get two friends to stand on the tow bar and bounce up and down- if any movement is detected have a rethink !!
    I have a Honda ST70, 75 KGs, on a tow bar and it leaves me with about 50 -75 kgs spare on the back axle according to the vin plate and weighbridge figures. VMax
     
  7. pneumatician

    pneumatician Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Burntwood Staffs
    Scooter

    We carry a small motorbike in the van and can reccomend this option.
    As far as carrying a rack please check and check again all of your weights, moments and calculations. I fitted a rack and our bike to the last van and obviously I had messed the moments up somewhere because we ended up at 100kg over the rear axle loading. We did about 4000 miles arround the Alps etc and it felt fine except the power steering was rather light. It was after this trip I check weighed the van again.
    We had quotes from rack suppliers who seemed to think the van would be fine and I saw no evidence of calculators or slide rules coming out.
    In the end I made my own which was about 25kg lighter than quoted but the end result was still to heavy.

    If we decided to tow a trailer I think I would revert to a larger car and caravan, unless of course the objective was to tow a large motorbike, microlight or boat.

    Steve
     
  8. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    29,467
    Likes Received:
    16,915
    Location:
    YO11 2BD
    There sure is and its just been reduced by £100.....

    BIKE TRAILER FOR SALE.
     
  9. Touran

    Touran Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Dordogne France
    In reply to your post, we have been Motorhoming with our 125cc Honda Innova for the past 6 years all over Europe, I am also a Biker for 40+ years. But alas after been hit by a Car pulling out in front of us here in Spain on the 23rd December, and my wife suffering a broken leg, we have now unfortunately after years of pleasure decided to finish with the bike and tow the wifes Panda. :cry:
     
  10. GREENTUB

    GREENTUB Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    South Yorkshire
    Thanks for taking the trouble to reply and may I wish your wife a speedy and total recovery. Best Regards
     
  11. barryd

    barryd Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Messages:
    1,144
    Likes Received:
    101
    Location:
    Yorkshire Dales
    I agree with the other posters about two points. I wouldnt put a rack on a towball. The one I told you about from Armatage Trailers goes onto the chassis and is designed to take 200KG (way beyond what the van can take payload wise though). Its solid as a rock and so is the bike once loaded on. Secondly the payload calculation is crucial. If your over your limit on one axle and get pulled and weighed you can get fined. I did all the calculations and after everything was fitted went back to the weigh bridge and we were bang on the limit with nothing left to spare. I tend to move as much stuff forward as possible to compensate so now for a long trip fully loaded we are usually about 60kg under our max legal weight. The calculator link I gave you will allow you to assess if you can do it or not.

    Wish we had had a smart car or Panda this afternoon though, spent all day whizzing around Cornwall. FREEZING! but fun, Then spend an hour filling the van with water which had to be dragged in 20l bottles and then funneled into the tanks from the only outside tap working in the county which is 300 yards away down an icy path.

    Now enconsed in the van warm and toasty waiting for Beer O Clock!:Smile::Smile::Smile:

    Cheers
    BD
     
  12. GREENTUB

    GREENTUB Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    South Yorkshire
    Glad you've made it back safely. I visited the Armitage website and sent them an exploritory email. I've also emailed Autocruise for the overhang measurement as I can't find it on the net. The maximum van user payload is 730kg (quite generous I think) with a max rear axle load of 240kg. I'll do the sums when I get the overhang. Enjoy the rest of your trip.
     
  13. Shore-is-Good

    Shore-is-Good Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Somewhere warm
    I have tried both options and actually favour the car!

    Before we bought the SMART, we took the Honda Innova 125cc (which I still own) on a three month trip to Spain & Portugal. It was a useful 'tool' but I found it limited in so many ways. You can't go too far on a moped compared to a car! The driving style of motorists in Spain and Portugal (especially) is scary if you're on two wheels. They pass too close and drive too fast. The weather isn't always bright and sunny so you tend not to use it on inclement days. The payload (for shopping) is limited. Space being confined to what you can get in the top-box, my wife's rucksack worn on her back and my rucksack worn on my chest!

    On our next long trip, we towed the SMART on an A-frame. Boy; what a difference that made to our adventures. Our MH is quite large, so we used it as a scout car to see if the little spot on the beach/lake/aire/campsite, whatever, was large enough or suitable. We kept warm and dry. Loaded up on shopping trips. Took long trips out (up to 200 km R/T) discovering the locality. Got back in a relaxed and safe manner.

    For my money it's got to be a car on an A-frame.

    I needed to reverse on only one occasion in 15,000 miles. It's a three minute job to unhitch. So no problem.
     
  14. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    29,467
    Likes Received:
    16,915
    Location:
    YO11 2BD
    a point worth mentioning when doing the calculations....

    the plated front and rear axle weights combined will be more than the actual vehicle gross weight.

    if you load the rear axle to the max plated limit then you must deduct this weight from the gross and the remainder is the max weight allowed on the front axle.
    so basicly its not just a case of moving stuff from the rear to the front to get the rear under the limit.

    are you certain of the 730kg payload allowance ? it sounds an awful lot considering you only have 240kg allowance on the rear.....putting 490kg on the front axle :Eeek: (my 3850kg kontiki has less than 1/2 ton in total.)
    i would have thought maybe 430kg total would be more in line with the rear of 240kg.
     
  15. barryd

    barryd Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Messages:
    1,144
    Likes Received:
    101
    Location:
    Yorkshire Dales

    To be honest I just got a tape measure out and measured from the middle of the wheel to the back. 730kg is quite good but check if that includes a driver and passenger and half full fuel and water. I think ours was 795kg. If it does you should be ok I reckon. Best thing to do is ignore all the claims from the manufacturer and get you and your passengers and your stuff down to the weigh bridge first and get weighed without the rack and bike and then base the calculation on that.

    Cheers
    BD
     
  16. Larrynwin

    Larrynwin Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2008
    Messages:
    8,508
    Likes Received:
    12,710
    Location:
    Norfolk
    We had a Honda @ 125cc scooter, it was a beaut, but as we are both a touch on the wrong side of 30 :Wink: we agreed we would be warmer and safer with a toad so we now have a Peugeot 107 and A Frame.
    Good luck
     
  17. barryd

    barryd Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Messages:
    1,144
    Likes Received:
    101
    Location:
    Yorkshire Dales

    Some valid points I think. However the Speedfight has storage under the seat as well as a good size top box. Still no camparison to the boot of a car but we can get get a lot of shopping in ours. I definately wouldnt want a moped though. 50cc is ok for popping down the local shops or pottering around for a few miles but you need something bigger for touring. The weight between the 50cc and 100cc Speedfight is a couple of KG I think so I would go for the 100cc which means you can keep up with traffic at 50-60mph and trips of up to 100 miles are easily achievable. We found that it gets you down all the little alleys and tracks you otherwise would miss. The "scout" vehicle idea is very useful. We wild camp a lot and when we were in Europe you could often see a beach or a likely spot in the distance but when confronted with a narrow road you would normally be reluctant to take the van down you simply took the bike to check. We found some brilliant places using this technique that other vans didnt know about. Ive always loved bikes and have had all sorts over the years and to me the bike is as big a part of the holiday as the van. Its down to personal preference though and yes this last three weeks in the UK touring a car would have been nice but has it stopped us going out on the bike. Not on your Nelly!

    BD
     
  18. GREENTUB

    GREENTUB Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    South Yorkshire
    Thanks Pappajohn for your input - you made me get the 'bumf' out. The spec gives: the MPTLM as 4250kg, Mass in Running Order at 3530kg, Max User Payload at 720kg. As I understand it (but I'm a complete novice to this stuff) the two latter figures added together should equal the MPTLM - which I think they do. I've found another bit of info regarding the %load on the rear axle compared to that on the front. Clearly I've got a lot of sums to do before I leap into this venture!
     
  19. GREENTUB

    GREENTUB Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    South Yorkshire
    Many thanks 'SHORE_IS_GOOD'. I've a feeling we may learn the same lesson as you the hard way - it's a habit of mine. Are you ex-cruisers?
     
  20. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    29,467
    Likes Received:
    16,915
    Location:
    YO11 2BD
    my apologies for doubting the payload....didnt realise it was 4250kg gross :Doh::Blush:
    still seems odd you only have a max of 240kg on the rear axle though.
     
Loading...

Share This Page