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Fiamma Bike Rack Failure

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Post by Bowlertilt Sun Apr 28, 2024 1:07 pm

This is a heads up to all Nuevo owners post 2012. My bike rack crashed down onto the motorway recently when used for the first time. It was a horrific incident that scared the life out of us when it happened. Autosleepers are going to collect the motorhome and replace the rack but they tell me that they install them using a type of adhesive rather than follow the Fiamma installation procedure which uses load spreading plates and 8 bolts and nuts with the fixing strips. I am really concerned that the installations may be unsafe, and I wondered if this experience had happened to anyone else and if so, what was done to remedy the issue. 
The rack is rated as 50kg by Autosleepers, but Fiamma rate it for 60kg maximum weight. We were carrying 2 electric bikes with total weight of 34kg.


Last edited by Admin on Thu Jun 20, 2024 1:23 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Topic Highlighted As Important As Warning To Our Members)
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Post by Toffee Sun Apr 28, 2024 1:27 pm

I’ve fitted one of these racks, the instructions are clear about using bolts and spreader plates. Each beam that fits to rear door has a rubber gasket between the beam and the door. It doesn’t appear possible to bond the beam to the door because of this gasket.
Sitting here (I don’t have all the info) my assumption is that someone hasn’t fitted it correctly.
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Post by Paulmold Sun Apr 28, 2024 1:38 pm

The poster isn't talking about a rack mounted on a door   it's a Nuevo but I was under the impression that they still had wooden beams behind the rear wall for mounting the rack, I've not seen any posts or reference to using adhesive.

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Post by Caraman Sun Apr 28, 2024 2:20 pm

I've not heard this either.  The fixings on mine seem to be as described by Paul.  Of note, the rack is rated to carry a 60 kg load by Fiamma but on my Nuevo the fixings are rated to carry a 60 kg load which means the combined weight of the rack and its load must not exceed 60 kg.  On more recent vans the fixings have been downrated to 50 kg so that means the combined weight of the rack and load must not exceed 50 kg.  I wonder if this downrating is to do with a different method of fixing.
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Post by Cymro Sun Apr 28, 2024 2:21 pm

What an awful experience. I see that Bowlertilt's Nuevo is dated 2023. Given that "... they tell me that they install them using a type of adhesive ....."  I think it is vital to find out from what date did AS change their method of fixing, so that other owners of coachbuilts which were built after that date can immediately get their bike racks (if fitted by AS) checked. 

If I were in AS's shoes I'd recall all vehicles which could be affected, ASAP. Just imagine their exposure to liability in a case, like Bowlertilt's, where loss of life etc followed the shedding of bikes on a motorway.......

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Post by Paulmold Sun Apr 28, 2024 3:53 pm

Was it fitted at the factory or by a dealer?

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Post by Peter Brown Sun Apr 28, 2024 5:04 pm

Bowlertilt wrote:We were carrying 2 electric bikes with total weight of 34kg.

These are very light for electric bikes - what make and model please?
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Post by Peter Brown Sun Apr 28, 2024 5:14 pm

Since 2018 most coachbuilts have the mounting bars for a bike rack fitted as standard and a great many users mount racks on them.  I'm sure if there was a deign or manufacture problem we'd have heard well before now.

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Bowlertilt - is that the installation on your van?
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Post by Avontourist Sun Apr 28, 2024 8:48 pm

My malvern has the same type of mountings bars factory fitted . A problem I had was when the rack was folded down it obscured the number plate and needed a second numberplate at the rear which also needing lighting for night use. Spoke to the factory and they said "no one else has complained " this still didn't make it legal . after various trips to my dealer they agreed to supply a wiring kit to allow rear lighting . Dealer couldn't/wouldn't fit it. " we don't have anyone here that would know how to fit it "was the response from the dealer . A phone call to Sargent and they said it just plugs in under the bed , took me nearly 10 minutes to fit it.
Then found that the top has wood screws fitting it to the body rather than the 6 mm bolts supplied by fiamma, Autosleeper assured me that it is adequately fitted . 
 I use a tow mounted bike carrier now as not really confident with putting £10 000 worth of bikes hanging on 4 wood screws and glue.
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Post by Paulmold Sun Apr 28, 2024 10:42 pm

Now 10 hours since thread was started and poster hasn't been back to see any responses.

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Post by Bowlertilt Mon Apr 29, 2024 12:18 am

Paulmold wrote:Now 10 hours since thread was started and poster hasn't been back to see any responses.
Been out most of the day. Back now and looking at the responses ! I had a conversation with an Autosleepers employee on Friday when he explained to me that the bike racks have been glued on to the Nuevo since 2012. Just worried about risk of loss or injury to people, hence the post.
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Post by Bowlertilt Mon Apr 29, 2024 12:21 am

Avontourist wrote:My malvern has the same type of mountings bars factory fitted . A problem I had was when the rack was folded down it obscured the number plate and needed a second numberplate at the rear which also needing lighting for night use. Spoke to the factory and they said "no one else has complained " this still didn't make it legal . after various trips to my dealer they agreed to supply a wiring kit to allow rear lighting . Dealer couldn't/wouldn't fit it. " we don't have anyone here that would know how to fit it "was the response from the dealer . A phone call to Sargent and they said it just plugs in under the bed , took me nearly 10 minutes to fit it.
Then found that the top has wood screws fitting it to the body rather than the 6 mm bolts supplied by fiamma, Autosleeper assured me that it is adequately fitted . 
 I use a tow mounted bike carrier now as not really confident with putting £10 000 worth of bikes hanging on 4 wood screws and glue.
This is my concern. Apparently the screws are not supposed to hold the rack, they say the adhesive is the support. I can't accept this
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Post by Bowlertilt Mon Apr 29, 2024 12:26 am

Peter Brown, this is exactly the install I have. They use 4 screws (2 on each rail) and an adhesive to support the bike rack
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Post by Caraman Mon Apr 29, 2024 7:20 am

Avontourist wrote:My malvern has the same type of mountings bars factory fitted . A problem I had was when the rack was folded down it obscured the number plate and needed a second numberplate at the rear which also needing lighting for night use. Spoke to the factory and they said "no one else has complained " this still didn't make it legal . after various trips to my dealer they agreed to supply a wiring kit to allow rear lighting . Dealer couldn't/wouldn't fit it. " we don't have anyone here that would know how to fit it "was the response from the dealer . A phone call to Sargent and they said it just plugs in under the bed , took me nearly 10 minutes to fit it.
Then found that the top has wood screws fitting it to the body rather than the 6 mm bolts supplied by fiamma, Autosleeper assured me that it is adequately fitted . 
 I use a tow mounted bike carrier now as not really confident with putting £10 000 worth of bikes hanging on 4 wood screws and glue.
I went through the same process in 2019 and complained about it to A-S at that time.  They told me about the VLM5 unit which in my case sits below the cooker and explained that Sargent could provide a cable to attach it to a 13 pin trailer board/tow bar socket.  My dealer - Marquis - knew nothing about it.  In the end I made up my own cable from the VLM5 to a 13 pin socket which I cable tied to the bottom of the bike rack. I only used pins 1 to 7 as the remaining pins are for towing a caravan.  The trailer board is essential to stay road legal as the rack with two bikes and certainly with a cover obscures the rear lights when viewed from the side.   

I don't carry e-bikes on my rack so am well below its load limit.  I don't want to fit a tow bar and use a tow bar rack as that would increase the rear axle mass significantly.  As it is my rear axle mass is up to 1900 kg and that's with empty fresh, grey and black water tanks.


Last edited by Caraman on Mon Apr 29, 2024 7:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Caraman Mon Apr 29, 2024 7:36 am

Peter Brown wrote:

These are very light for electric bikes - what make and model please?
I agree.  The important weight is the total weight of the rack, bikes, attachments, fixings, cover, trailer board, rear marker board etc.  For e-bikes it will be much more than 34 kg.  From memory with my 2 non e-bike its about 40 kg.
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Post by Bowlertilt Mon Apr 29, 2024 8:34 am

Paulmold wrote:Was it fitted at the factory or by a dealer?
Fitted by the vehicle manufacurer -  that is the Autosleepers factory !
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Post by Bowlertilt Mon Apr 29, 2024 8:39 am

Caraman wrote:
I agree.  The important weight is the total weight of the rack, bikes, attachments, fixings, cover, trailer board, rear marker board etc.  For e-bikes it will be much more than 34 kg.  From memory with my 2 non e-bike its about 40 kg.
We chose these bikes specifically for their light weight. An Orbea E40 comes in at 19kg and the Specialized Vado SL 4.0 is 15kg. (The 'SL' stands for Super Lightweight). The batteries on both are built into the frame so are included in these weights !
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Post by Bowlertilt Mon Apr 29, 2024 8:48 am

Peter Brown wrote:Since 2018 most coachbuilts have the mounting bars for a bike rack fitted as standard and a great many users mount racks on them.  I'm sure if there was a deign or manufacture problem we'd have heard well before now.

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Bowlertilt - is that the installation on your van?

They are not using the load spreading plates and the 8 bolts which hold the two rails to the van. These are part of the fitting kit so I assume they just throw them away in favour of a 'simpler' installation. It's terrifying quite frankly, and the fact it hasn't been heard of until now is pure luck IMO. Perhaps the actual amount of adhesive they get on was less than it should have been ? Nevertheless the method being used is clearly unsafe, I would guess most owners either don't use the rack or simply carry one bike which would not fully stress test the installation
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Post by Bowlertilt Mon Apr 29, 2024 8:56 am

Cymro wrote:What an awful experience. I see that Bowlertilt's Nuevo is dated 2023. Given that "... they tell me that they install them using a type of adhesive ....."  I think it is vital to find out from what date did AS change their method of fixing, so that other owners of coachbuilts which were built after that date can immediately get their bike racks (if fitted by AS) checked. 

If I were in AS's shoes I'd recall all vehicles which could be affected, ASAP. Just imagine their exposure to liability in a case, like Bowlertilt's, where loss of life etc followed the shedding of bikes on a motorway.......

Cymro
Yes, this is what I would have expected. But they seem quite comfortable about not using the Fiamma installation procedure and they view me as an isolated case! They tell me that the adhesive used is where the 'strength' comes from and not the 4 small screws.
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Post by Paulmold Mon Apr 29, 2024 9:09 am

Perhaps someone who's going to the club AGM next weekend could ask why this method is being used, providing they have someone from AS attending as usual.

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Post by bikeralw Mon Apr 29, 2024 9:26 am

Does anyone remember the glue advert where a guy in a lab coat was glued to a board which was then flown through the air beneath a helicopter?
Maybe this is the adhesive AS use...
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Post by Paulmold Mon Apr 29, 2024 9:31 am

I'm horrified at the thought of a bike rack with bikes being held in place by glue, and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone . Next they'll be securing overhead lockers by glue - or are they already?

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Post by Peter Brown Mon Apr 29, 2024 9:36 am

Bowlertilt wrote:
We chose these bikes specifically for their light weight. An Orbea E40 comes in at 19kg and the Specialized Vado SL 4.0 is 15kg. (The 'SL' stands for Super Lightweight). The batteries on both are built into the frame so are included in these weights !

An excellent choice of bikes.  

I have the Ribble AL e fully loaded at 14kg with the X35 power system.  Its absolutely brilliant 90% of the time but as I take a beta blocker to slow heart rate, I suffer on long inclines as I still have to put in quite a bit of effort myself and suffer from oxygen starvation.  Still better than siting at home.  My old BH Emotion Evo Cross would fly up those inclines but at 30kg its a bit too heavy for me to lift and manoeuvrer around obstacles these days.
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Post by Peter Brown Mon Apr 29, 2024 9:38 am

Paulmold wrote:Perhaps someone who's going to the club AGM next weekend could ask why this method is being used, providing they have someone from AS attending as usual.

Geoff Scott had planned to come and camp a night with us as in previous years but he has had to cancel so no one from AS this year. No one has stepped into Alan Currys's shoes either.
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Post by Peter Brown Mon Apr 29, 2024 9:43 am

Paulmold wrote:I'm horrified at the thought of a bike rack with bikes being held in place by glue, and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone . Next they'll be securing overhead lockers by glue - or are they already?

A lot of the bridges that you drive over a glued together.

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