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Bike racks - easy to remove!

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Bike racks - easy to remove! Empty Bike racks - easy to remove!

Post by gassygassy Wed Sep 06, 2023 10:41 am

This morning in an effort to get the Bourton down to 3500kg I removed the bike rack (Thule, I don't know if Fiamma are different). Without any instructions and never having done it before, I had it off in about three minutes with one tool. It then struck me how easy it would be for a bike tea leaf to take and carry away several thousand pounds of bicycles which are securely chained to the bike rack.
So if you have several thousands of pounds worth of bikes you need to find a way to secure the rack to the vehicle. You could of course just add the rack to the alarm system but that would mean having wires dangling in free space around the rack - and a plug and socket which could easily be bypassed by the said miscreant. Wiring it to a 230v inverter running off the LB springs to mind . . . . . . Whistle1
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Post by Bilbobaggins Wed Sep 06, 2023 11:26 am

I have had Thule bike holders that sit on Thule  crossbars for nearly 30 years, roof mounted and just changed fitting kits as vehicles changed. All bikes locked to bike holders, roof bars locked to car, but bike holders held to roof bar with three fittings that simply screwed off. I used to supplement with krypton locks on outer bikes securing bike to crossbar. Roof box was more secure with fittings inside locked box. Haven't had to use either combo since we got moho, but still have all fittings holders etc  in garage in case needed in future.

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Post by rogerblack Wed Sep 06, 2023 1:58 pm

Ours is one that you have to pivot upwards to release from the upper brackets.

I'm not sure how easy it would actually be to remove the bike rack with the weight of 1, 2 or 3 bikes attached to it though plus they'd surely get in the way of accessing the attachments. 

I find myself fitting several locks, straps, bungees etc just make it difficult - some could no doubt be removed with bolt cutters but at least two are heavy D type solid metal ones. It takes me about ten minutes to remove them all even with the keys!

I also attach some of those through the rear ladder as well as the cycle rack frame and I'd say that is even more difficult to remove.

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Post by IanH Wed Sep 06, 2023 2:35 pm

gassygassy wrote:This morning in an effort to get the Bourton down to 3500kg I removed the bike rack (Thule, I don't know if Fiamma are different). Without any instructions and never having done it before, I had it off in about three minutes with one tool. It then struck me how easy it would be for a bike tea leaf to take and carry away several thousand pounds of bicycles which are securely chained to the bike rack.
So if you have several thousands of pounds worth of bikes you need to find a way to secure the rack to the vehicle. You could of course just add the rack to the alarm system but that would mean having wires dangling in free space around the rack - and a plug and socket which could easily be bypassed by the said miscreant. Wiring it to a 230v inverter running off the LB springs to mind . . . . . . Whistle1
Or a battery powered electric fence energiser! Worked for our sheep!!
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Post by IanH Wed Sep 06, 2023 5:10 pm

Sorry if going off post😁
Was on a 37000 acre sheep farm in Falklands.
Halfway along was a "neck" about 10 MLS across. Co pilot saw a sign on fence warning electric!! 
How can they get a cable to here he said, seconds before touching it, getting airborne and screaming!!

Solar!!!!!!!
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Post by gassygassy Thu Sep 07, 2023 4:54 pm

rogerblack, you sound as if you are talking about removing bikes locked to a bike rack by undoing the locks and leaving the bike rack on the vehicle. My point was that with one small Torx tool you can just remove the bike rack complete with bikes locked securely to it, chuck the whole sheebang into a transit and drive off. Deal with the locks later.
You need to bolt the bike rack itself to the vehicle in a more secure manner than the manufacturers do.

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Post by rogerblack Thu Sep 07, 2023 5:26 pm

gassygassy wrote:rogerblack, you sound as if you are talking about removing bikes locked to a bike rack by undoing the locks and leaving the bike rack on the vehicle. My point was that with one small Torx tool you can just remove the bike rack complete with bikes locked securely to it, chuck the whole sheebang into a transit and drive off. Deal with the locks later.
You need to bolt the bike rack itself to the vehicle in a more secure manner than the manufacturers do.
No, I believe you may have misunderstood -  what I said was:

"I'm not sure how easy it would actually be to remove the bike rack with the weight of 1, 2 or 3 bikes attached to it though plus they'd surely get in the way of accessing the attachments." 

Ours is a Fiamma so presumably different from yours. In order to remove it, having removed the nuts and bolts to detach it from the bottom brackets, you then need to swivel it upwards through around 90 degrees to unslot it from the upper brackets - a task I can achieve with a bit of effort when removing the empty rack but impossible with bikes loaded on - apart from having to be Charles Atlas to bear the weight, the bikes would foul against the van body long before reaching the required rotation.

Removing the actual brackets that are attached to the van would also be challenging - the outside bits are heads of the bolts but have very flat cross slots (a bit like a roofing bolt but with even shallower slots), not hex heads.  The bolts have locking nuts with nylon inserts which are inside the vehicle, behind the sink/cooker/cupboard. So even if you could get a purchase on the crossheads outside, the lock nuts would prevent removal. 

If you were really determined, you could file off the outer heads I suppose but the bottom two are within a moulded recess in the van body so would need a narrow belted power file.

Sounds like the Fiamma is indeed a more secure system than whatever you have with the easily accessible Torx heads, but as we know whatever you have won't deter a determined assault.  The easiest way would be to hacksaw through the bike rack support arms, which are hollow (aluminium?) tubes but you'd still need a couple of strong folk to take the weight of the whole thing in one fairly unwieldy lump.

Bearing in mind we only carry a couple of fairly cheap tatty old bikes anway, I don't think any self-respecting 'tea-leaf' would think it worth the slightest effort to half-inch them anyway, to be honest.  biggrin


Last edited by rogerblack on Thu Sep 07, 2023 5:30 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo/clarification)

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Post by Avontourist Thu Sep 07, 2023 7:58 pm

the fiamma rack fitted to the back of my malvern is held on with 4 , 6 mm pins held in with 4 self taping Torx screws . difficult to remove on your own but would probably be easy with an extra pair or hands even with 2 Electric bikes on it ,especially if you aren't worried about damaging anything .
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Post by gassygassy Fri Sep 08, 2023 8:33 am

the fiamma rack fitted to the back of my malvern is held on with 4 , 6 mm pins held in with 4 self taping Torx screws . difficult to remove on your own but would probably be easy with an extra pair or hands even with 2 Electric bikes on it ,especially if you aren't worried about damaging anything .

I think mine is a Thule one which sounds the same as yours. All you have to do is remove the 4 grey plastic end caps with your fingers, this exposes a small Torx bolt at each corner. Indo the Torx bolt and remove a small piece of bent metal then pull out a long pin and the rack comes away from the bodywork horizontal bars.
Sounds as if Roger's Fiamma one is somewhat superior.
As for weight, if there were two electric bikes on there (ignoring over-weighing the rack) two tealeafs would have no trouble lifting the whole lot. A neighbour of mine bought a new big Triumph motorbike and parked it in his locked garage which was down the side drive of his house. He had two cars parked in the drive adjacent to his house wall, and there was the standard 6ft high fence between his drive and next door's which also had a car parked. The garage was broken into , the motorbike was lifted up over two cars and carried away.
His bike was two weeks old. Similarly I had bought a new motorbike at about the same time. I parked it in my garage which had the mains supply cable coming up the wall to the meter and fuse box. Fortuitously I had chained the bike to the fat mains cable. One morning I found my garage had been broken into but nothing was stolen. Out of curiosity I called the Crime Prevention number and asked if they were interested to come round and look at it. They agreed that my chaining the bike to the mains cable had stopped it from being stolen. These two bike attempts happened within two weeks so it would seem that someone in DVLA was giving (selling) information on newly registered motorbikes.
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Post by The Jacobite Fri Sep 08, 2023 11:07 am

Possible yes! They'd need to be bold and pretty prepared as it's more likely than not they will be seen doing it. In all my years I've never heard of it happening. Anyone else?   shrugg
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Post by gassygassy Fri Sep 08, 2023 12:41 pm

As for alarms, my last motorhome had one and I could never work out how to use it. It would go off seemingly randomly and while I was fumbling about trying to turn it off, did anyone nearby bat an eyelid and do something?
No they didn't.

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Post by Caraman Fri Sep 08, 2023 4:08 pm

gassygassy - I think you will find that your rack is (or was!) a Fiamma Pro as that is what A-S fit.  If anyone wants to steal my bikes there are easier ways of doing it than removing the rack.  A heavy pair of bolt croppers will cut through most bike locks.  I have a vehicle alarm which touch wood has not let me down.  It’s integrated with Sargent’s tracker so I get a phone call from Bedford if it goes off and I haven’t heard it.  I was offered a cable option on the alarm that passed through the bikes but didn’t take it up.  Like all these things they can be defeated but the more obstacles put in the way of the thief the better
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