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Nuevo EK Fitting a Bike Rack

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Post by Grasshopper on Sat May 23, 2020 2:54 pm

Hi all,

I purchased my present motorhome 2016 Nuevo EK about a year ago and i am now looking to get a
couple of E bikes for my wife and myself, has anybody had experience as to having a bike rack fitted  and to
which make and model. I would have it professionaly fitted, any recommendations or advice would be
very much appreciated.
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Post by burlingtonboaby on Sat May 23, 2020 4:06 pm

Hi GH
Welcome to the forum from breezy Bridlington 
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Post by Tigerbadge on Sat May 23, 2020 4:14 pm

Grasshopper wrote:Hi all,

I purchased my present motorhome 2016 Nuevo EK about a year ago and i am now looking to get a
couple of E bikes for my wife and myself, has anybody had experience as to having a bike rack fitted  and to
which make and model. I would have it professionaly fitted, any recommendations or advice would be
very much appreciated.
Hi grasshopper, I think most people use fiamma make sure the weight of ur 2 e-bikes Don’t exceed the carrier limit.
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Post by Grasshopper on Sat May 23, 2020 8:20 pm

Hi Tigerbadge, thanks for your response to my question, I have had Fiamma bike racks before and found them very good, your recommendation carry bike pro c or maybe the e seems a good choice, both enable you to open the back window with the rack attached, my only concern is the way the van is moulded at the back and also the rear light clusters would be covered with the bikes attached, i was wondering if you or anyone else has had first hand experience, I think the back of the earlier Nuevo are different from the later ones.
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Post by gassygassy on Sun May 24, 2020 9:45 am

I've just measured the lights and my bikes. The distance between the reversing lights on my 2015 Nuevo EK (which are closer than the red ones above) is 1.7 metres. My regular road bike is a maximum of 1.7 metres and my wife's Seago electric bike is 1.5 metres long. I don't know if your 2016 measures differently. I want a bike rack but I don't envisage any problems with bikes covering lights. I suppose if you get a bike rack and a cover and go to Spain you might want a tail light board, which would confuse the poor computer thing which will cry when it sees extra lights it doesn't like.
Actually thinking about it, if you have the round lights, it is so easy to ping off the lenses you could rig up a plug system to replace the bulbs with the tail light board. Fit the bike rack and when you want to take bikes out, ping off the lenses, remove the bulbs, plug in wires to the tail board and off you go, and the computer is happy!
Now there's a thought. . . . . .  it's probably easier than buying another computer thing to convince the main computer that you haven't got a trailer   . . . . . . . . .
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Post by Grasshopper on Sun May 24, 2020 10:52 am

Thanks gassygassy, I hadn't given the fact that adding a light board when plugged in would flag up on the computer.
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Post by harrysp on Sun May 24, 2020 2:04 pm

The other option is to have a towbar fitted and use a Thule type cycle carrier, which comes complete with a lighting board. A more expensive option admittedly, but having used both for long journeys I feel it is the better option for me. A lot will depend on the weight of your ebikes. Our Fiamma pro C was in theory capable of carrying two ebikes, but we only used it to carry one plus a much lighter regular bike. 

Now we have two full size ebikes, weighing about 45k in total, and I think the towbar type carrier offers more stability, and of course is lower to lift the bikes onto. 

The towbar and cycle rack will however weigh more and impact on your payload more than the much lighter Fiamma Pro C. We had the steadies removed because of this.

We see both systems being extensively used, so it is a personal preference.

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Post by gassygassy on Sun May 24, 2020 10:19 pm

I looked at fitting a towbar but the overhang on a Nuevo would mean the towbar costing about £1300 and that is just silly. Also the grinding noises going on and off ferries might be a bit off-putting. The bikes weight on a tow bar so far back behind the rear wheels might 'lift' (not literally) the front wheels and give you light steering. I have a towbar (off a van) in the shed and a tow bar mounted bike rack and I have wondered about fitting it, but I just don't like the idea of that weight being so far behind the rear wheels. I would be happy with a bike rack mounted directly on the rear wall though - presumably with reinforcement bars inside the van body, if possible. I had thought about removing the rear steadies, they are about as essential as a fire guard in a Nuevo.
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Post by Gromit on Mon May 25, 2020 10:06 am

gassygassy wrote:I looked at fitting a towbar but the overhang on a Nuevo would mean the towbar costing about £1300 and that is just silly. Also the grinding noises going on and off ferries might be a bit off-putting. The bikes weight on a tow bar so far back behind the rear wheels might 'lift' (not literally) the front wheels and give you light steering. I have a towbar (off a van) in the shed and a tow bar mounted bike rack and I have wondered about fitting it, but I just don't like the idea of that weight being so far behind the rear wheels. I would be happy with a bike rack mounted directly on the rear wall though - presumably with reinforcement bars inside the van body, if possible. I had thought about removing the rear steadies, they are about as essential as a fire guard in a Nuevo.
Hi Gassy

Our towbar cost about £750, and it is a good one. Simple bolt-on job that I would have done myself, except I'm useless at electronics and couldn't do that part with any confidence. If you can do the leccy bit it still halves the price you quoted. (Well, nearly!)

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No grinding noises on and off the ferry as it can be adjusted to ride quite high, right up under the rear skirt.

Problem with a rear wall bike rack is the strain of hoisting up the bikes, then getting a step stool to put the cover on them - even though I'm 6' 3". I can't lift the bikes high enough these days, and we found we were not using them very much because it was such a chore getting them on and off. The tow ball mounted rack solves all the problems.

Plus it's not a simple job to mount a rack on the rear wall. There are reinforced areas for fitting, but A/S won't tell you where they are, and the EK layout means they are pretty inaccessible, right behind the kitchen fitments.

I've had no problems with light steering, even with two electric bikes (without batteries) on a Thule tow ball mounted rack.

The rear steadies were dumped when the tow bar was fitted. As you say, fairly useless on a Nuevo, and too fiddly to be worth the effort!

Hope this is some use.  content
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Post by gassygassy on Mon May 25, 2020 10:26 am

Ah thank you Gromit. That could be very useful. The price with VAT is £912. I guess with the electrics and fitting that could fairly easily reach £1300.
I say it could be very useful because I have in the garage a tow bar off a Fiat Ducato panel van. This obviously has some differences but with those fitting instructions on the link you posted I might be able to fabricate up some chunks of metal to make the one I have got fit. If it is only a case of two hours with the hacksaw, a trip to a metal supplier and a day with a welder I reckon I could do it. . . . . .  I've got an 'approved' (haha) towbar and the electrics so if I could do it for £50 and a couple of days work. . . .
Food for thought.
Not only do I have the wrong towbar but I also have a tow bar mounted bike rack so that could be just the thing to do.
Goodygoody, I have something to do at last!
Look what I have spent the last couple of days  doing:
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Post by gassygassy on Mon May 25, 2020 10:57 am

OK here goes:
Starting with The Wrong Tow Bar, I now have all the kit to fit it to my Nuevo:[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

I have all the necessary tools:
A selection of Big Hammers
A measuring stick
And a few spanners.
First job: remove the corner steadies.
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Post by kaspian on Mon May 25, 2020 11:01 am

Be very careful Gg with modifying an existing towbar. I used to make towbars for every vehicle I owned and towed some  pretty large trailers without issue. Nowadays with type approval etc god forbid if you should have an accident/   issue  whether at fault or not and it was checked and found that you had altered / fabricated a towbar you would invalidate insurance and ,leave yourself open to all sorts of legal issues. I believe each bar must display a small label/plate relating to the vehicle it is designed for.
    I had these issues with a previous Explorer group van . Although the model year below ours could have any bar bolted on , ours had to have the type approved  bar and at the time was only available from manufactures at great cost. Although Van's were essentially the same no towbar specialist would dare to fit the cheaper  bar as it left them exposed and me as the owner/ driver wide open to prosecution should the worst happen.
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Post by Gromit on Mon May 25, 2020 11:05 am

Well done.   up!

It's not rocket science after all, and the torque settings for the bolts are given on the website as well, if you need them.

Much of what you are paying for with the bespoke kit is convenience. It will be a fiddly old job getting it all to fit snugly, but as you say, for 50 quid and plenty of time to do it, there's no argument.

Plus if you don't intend to tow (we did, hence it was worth getting the receipt from the professional fitters) the possible safety issues are very much reduced. It doesn't have to be built like a brick outhouse to carry a rack and a couple of bikes, and it's easy enough to take it off the van when you sell it.

Get stuck in, and let us know the result.  up!    studying
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Post by kaspian on Mon May 25, 2020 11:26 am

For once Im surprised at you ,   not really very responsible Gromit.  scratch head It is rocket science.  Vehicle Manufacturers design and  specify mounting points, bar makers then comply , fabricate and must stress test their designs over thousands of stress cycles before approved. To comply with the road traffic act even if you never tow with a bar or just hang your washing on it from '98 for cars and 2010 for motorhomes / commercials bars must be type approved or you leave yourself wide open to prosecution I  believe.
     Much as Gg and myself are probably competent , we cannot stress test our designs and a few taps with a bag of hammers does not count as adequate  in this case.
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Post by gassygassy on Mon May 25, 2020 11:29 am

I hear what you say Kaspian and I am not discounting it. However as I have said I am very dubious about the 'type approval' issue. I once looked up the testing requirements for type approval and I would be very surprised and willing to pay, if they could supply a test report and results.
Anyway I just realised I forgot another vital step in the fitting process:
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The coffee and biscuits
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Post by kaspian on Mon May 25, 2020 11:41 am

Hi Gg , not being scare mongering   but trust me if the worst happens , your bike rack ends up on the M6 and is then hit by a following vehicle , plod and an ambulance chasing lawyer will not care about how dubious You feel type approval is!  In fact it might just spur them on to make an example of you to deter others! 
    Over the years I have been equally frustrated, looking at a bar costing £800 pounds thinking I could make better for £40 and an afternoon of my time !  Sit back , relax with that cup of tea and look around on gumtree etc you may just find a proper one at reasonable cost and sell yours to recoup some of that cost. That way you stay legal and I dont need to avoid tailgating you on the M6- as if!   hugegrins
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Post by gassygassy on Mon May 25, 2020 11:51 am

I am not dismissive of your post kaspian, I realise that you are not an 'Essex Blonde" (are we allowed to use that expression?).
If I am successful in fitting it - and that is by no means certain - what I will do is go to the  local MOT test centre and ask them if it is compliant with the law. I do seem to remember asking them about it about two years ago - compliance, certification and everything. So far as I remember they said that if it looks to be substantially built and meets all the MOT tow bar requirements which are getting stricter as the years go by, they would pass it. Personally I would be happy with that. Having said that of course, I do realise that Insurance Companies are only there to do one job: collect money and not distribute any to policy holders.
Thinking further, and this isn't meant to be a flippant question. What is the difference between bolting one lump of metal on to the back of your motorhome and bolting say wheel arch extensions, a front or rear protection bar, a radio antenna on the side of the vehicle, an electric step on the side, etc etc. Surely unless the added pieces of metal are not in themselves dangerous, only if for example you are towing a trailer with a Transit van on it, and the tow bar falls apart and spills the Transit and trailer all over the motorway. The fitting instructions for the Tow Trust bars show various square section tubes that slide in and out to accommodate various fitting widths and heights. They are held in place simply with nuts and bolts. If I am successful I would use that method and weld everything together as well. I do have a powerful electric welder, the tools I pictured are just what I imagine Jeremy Clarkson would think are all you need. But then once you got beyond the biggest hammer, he wouldn't have a clue what to use the other things for.

I have been advertising my 'Approved' tow bar plus the computer electrics for £150 for quite some months now in various places and haven't had any enquiries. The only reason I have it is that when I have (too frequently) gone to dealers to do part exchange deals, they say that all my accessories are not worth a bean. So I take them off. Accessories don't affect the trade in value at all. I would be surprised if I could find a second hand Nuevo tow bar because most people a) don't ask if the dealer will give them £500 more because it has accessories, and b) if they do, they don't know how/ don't want the bother of removing them. I took off a self seeking satellite dish as soon as I bought one motorhome because I think they are a pathetically pointless abomination and sold it for £1500.
Perhaps I should email Tow Trust and ask them for details and photocopies of their type approval. I notice they don't give the standard to which they are approved, or the date and certification number for the Nuevo tow bar.
I do think it is a serious point for discussion, I am not being dismissive. Tomorrow I'll go to the MOT test centre and ask. Also I will ask a friend of mine who is a MOT tester trainer, if you know what I mean. He knows everything inside out and will be able to advise.
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Post by Gromit on Mon May 25, 2020 12:50 pm

To add to your post Gassy, this is anecdotal of course, and utterly useless in a legal argument.

I get what Kaspian saying, but I was crediting you with knowing where the limits of your competence end, and I know you are an engineer, so quite capable of making that judgement!

(As always, it's the responsibility of the reader to decide if he's competent to do the job, and (I guess) to decide if the regulations are really relevant in terms of the safety of this particular job.)

It all depends on how much, and exactly what has to be done to your existing towbar to make it fit.

When one was installed for us on the previous van it was nowhere near fitting perfectly. The adjustment on it could only be set to a bit too wide or a bit too narrow - the holes had been drilled in the wrong places. So the mechanic hacked a bit off, trimmed it down and welded it back on

No doubt that contravened umpteen regulations, but as he said, it was bloody dangerous as it came so he made sure it was much stronger and fitted correctly. Had he tried to bodge it without doing what he did, it would have been potentially quite dangerous.

(Incidentally, he called the boss over and they decided the modification was perfectly OK, but they would immediately change their supplier of tow bar kits! I learned a few new words as well!! rolleyes )

That was a fully type approved towbar (not a Tow Trust), but the quality control was obviously very lax. Had it been fitted by a less conscientious mechanic I would have had a dangerous tow bar - but the insurance companies would have found it difficult to be awkward since I would have had all the paperwork for a fully tested and approved tow bar that was totally khosher . . . in theory!!  shrugg

As you say, the Tow Trust is adjusted by a sliding square tube within a tube, and there are (from memory) three socking great HSS bolts on either end fixing it to the chassis. If you follow that design it is certainly not going to fall off, and although I might be wary of towing with a self-modified towbar, carrying a couple of bikes is not going to test it to destruction.

But as we all know - the decision is yours alone.  content
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Post by gassygassy on Mon May 25, 2020 1:41 pm

From the Bink tow bar web site:


If you have a towbar installed on your car, several legal rules and requirements are in effect. If you are driving with a trailer, caravan, boat trailer or horsebox attached, there are many rules to follow at home and abroad as well.
MOT test

During the MOT test, your towbar construction is checked as well. Your towbar ball should not be too worn and the locking mechanism should function properly for a detachable towbar. In addition, three important requirements are checked.
Type test

The towbar has to have a type test. This is listed on the type plate of your towbar. If the type plate is missing, you may only tow a trailer that weighs less than 750 kg, load included. In addition, your trailer including load should not weigh more than the total weight of the towing car.


There we go again, the tow bar has to have a type test.
What type test?
It says the type will be shown on the type plate on your tow bar. Well the tow bar I have which is a 'proper' tow bar has a plate but it doesn't say what type it is, just the bar maker's name badge.

I think the final get-out clause is that the Brink web site says if you don't have a type plate you can only tow up to 750kg, trailer and load included. I think this is the same as the limit for a trailer without brakes. The heaviest thing I might tow is a trailer without brakes with a motorcycle on it, and that lot is certainly a lot less than 750kg.
I have removed the corner steadies and done some measurements and so far as I can tell the van towbar will fit with a couple of side plates joining it to the Nuevo chassis extensions, in addition to some nuts and bolts holding the cross member of the bar to the cross member of the chassis.
On the basis of a towing limit of 750kg I think I will proceed to see if I can fit this bar. I have googled for the conformity test or whatever it is called, and so far come up with just some tow bar manufacturers sites, which waffle but don't give a EN number for a tow bar certification test. I'll keep looking.
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Post by Caslon on Mon May 25, 2020 2:09 pm

Regarding the catching of the towbar on ferries I know someone with a towbar on his Adria, it seems you can get small wheels to fit the towbar to stop this, not seen them fitted yet
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Post by kaspian on Mon May 25, 2020 2:19 pm

Sorry lads, but it does not matter a jot how competent any of us thinks we are. You may even be a rocket scientist  for all I know!  It is a matter of law  This is the reason so many small bespoke tow bar fabricators stopped.  Tow bar manufacturers work with vehicle manufacturers.  The bar comes with a label which has a code. This E or e  code relates to the vehicle it is designed and  tested for so if say a Warwick Xl rocks  up with a modified bar  displaying a code for a ford fiesta  and police were involved in an investigation you are toast. 

  Mot centres will not I would think check this  code but will check security of mountings and  condition re  corrosion . They are not qualified to say if your welded up  cut and shut bar meets or indeed exceeds that spec. The bar must display this  code to be legal so dont paint over it for example. It is inconvenient I know but was designed for all us' have a go heroes' ,  some competent,  some not,  from just welding a few sections of angle iron together, gluing it to our car with some dubious weld  and heading out on the motorway towing a 3 ton boat or horse box! 

        I have been just as frustrated as you having been in the position with my earlier van. I too feel it is ridiculous but understand not everyone is competent even if they believe  they are. So we all suffer.
    In the end it is entirely up to you, probably nothing will happen but even  if someone rear ends you and any  checks are put In  place who knows?  With 'lawyers for you ' types roaming looking for jobs  on no win no fee cases it costs nothing to suddenly find  yourself in hot water.
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Post by gassygassy on Mon May 25, 2020 2:45 pm

AHA.
I've found the directive, 94/20/EC. It makes interesting reading, specially if you have a spare couple of years enjoying Her Majesty's pleasure as it seems to be a couple of hundred pages long. It does include a form for application for an approval certificate, that is about as far as I have got. I can't cut and paste any of the actual text but here is the url:
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Anyway later today I will re-immerse myself in it and see what I can find.
It took me over an hour just to find the relavent standard number, 94/20/EC. Wikipedia doesn't have it.

I'll have to read through that EC directive. I'm looking forward to that, it will be a nice change to having to sit through the 3,827th episode of The Chase and all the other garbage on the TV every night.

Edit:
I stand corrected and I need to apologise. My tow bar has two labels, one is the supplier / fitter and the other is the 'data plate' label that it should have. The App number, presumably the approval number is 55R-01 4962. S value is 150kg - presumably that is the noseweight maximum. It is on another label hidden underneath it, but it is there!
I have measured it up and all I need to fit it are some L brackets, it is the right width after all. So some L brackets to fix it to the chassis, and Orff I jolly well go. Actually I don't but you already know that.


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Post by kaspian on Mon May 25, 2020 3:39 pm

gassygassy wrote:AHA.
I've found the directive, 94/20/EC. It makes interesting reading, specially if you have a spare couple of years enjoying Her Majesty's pleasure as it seems to be a couple of hundred pages long. 
    Be careful you  may get your wish !  hugegrins hugegrins
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Nuevo EK  Fitting a Bike Rack Empty Re: Nuevo EK Fitting a Bike Rack

Post by PLOUGHLIN on Mon May 25, 2020 4:37 pm

Cars from 1998 require type approval tow bars, which must have a TA plate giving the E approval number the "D" load it is tested to and the vehicle model it is approved for Use. Use on a different vehicle type is not valid.

From 2012 all vehicles including PLG types require TA tow bars, with the plate for towing, but I believe, non-TA tow bar use only for Bike/scooter rack can be used, but not for towing.

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Nuevo EK  Fitting a Bike Rack Empty Re: Nuevo EK Fitting a Bike Rack

Post by gassygassy on Mon May 25, 2020 5:29 pm

Having just crawled under the Nuevo with the tow bar on a motorcycle jack I found the approval label! allthumbz
I have edited my earlier post and have to ashamedly admit I was wrong, there is indeed a label - in fact there are two labels and when I saw the first one I thought that was the only one. The App No. is 55R-01 4962 and the S value is 150kg. I presume that is the maximum nose weight load. I am pretty sure - I hope - that all I have to do is add a couple of L shaped brackets, albeit with 8mm thick steel, so not B&Q then! and bolt them to the Nuevo chassis. I will look at the manufacturer's www and see if, like TowTrust they seem to make one tow bar that can be fitted to lots of vehicles with appropriate adaptors and brackets.
I didn't see a vehicle model reference though . . .
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