Fitting a bike rack/tow bar on an Audi A4 (B8)

missionimpossible

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I'm looking into doing mountain biking and in the process of investigating options to transport 2 bikes with my 2012 Audi A4 Sedan (B8). The one bike is an adult's bike and the second bike is for a 10 year old kid.

I have looked at the detachable tow bar which costs R7000. There is an additional bike rack which fits onto the tow bar and costs around R1000.

Then I looked at a removable bike rack which gets attached to the boot of the vehicle. The sales guy recommends that if you use this option you should not be traveling more than 100km's with this type of rack. I get the feeling that this does not seem to be a stable option, however it looks like a good option since you do not need to have a permanent tow bar and most of all it is a cost effective option.

Has anyone had experience with this?

Do you recommend the bike rack that mounts on the boot or the tow bar (with the bike rack)?

What are the pro's / cons with both options?
 

agentrfr

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Why take the bike? Just buy two new ones when you get there, shouldn't be an issue for you and your superior German Sedan :p

/runs

Just Joking :) Roof rack will work :D
 

Pienats

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I personally use the Thule Xpress 970. You can view it on their site at www.thule.co.za (it's under products -> bike carriers -> towbar). There are a number of features that make it an attractive option:
1) It's cheap (~R1200 if I remember correctly)
2) It works with any towbar (I drive a VW Polo with a removable towbar)
3) It folds flat for easy storage
4) it has rubber straps that can stretch to secure a variety of frame sizes (our bikes have an odd shape and thick frame, my old bicycle rack couldn't fit them)

I would recommend against the boot attached models. Although they are fairly secure and work great, despite precautions to protect the paint, you will eventually start causing damage to the paint where the clips latch onto the vehicle body.

Roof racks are typically a more expensive option, but they are arguably the most secure and least likely to put odd pressures on the vehicle frame. They have the drawback though that you have a higher risk of damaging the car when placing the bicycle on the rack, or taking it down. Also be careful when driving in under a low roof. My brother once had an incident at a petrol station where he forgot about the bikes on the roof and they got knocked onto the car boot.

Most cars seem to actually be designed for some kind of roof rack (my previous polo actually already had roof rack holes on the inside of the door frame), whereas any towbar rack puts an odd force on the towbar itself. I personally have used a towbar rack of some kind or another with relatively heavy loads (4 full sized mountain bikes) over the years, and have never had any kind of failure though.

If you have the extra cash and are tall enough to easily lift your bike onto the roof (those suckers get heavy after a good workout ;) ), I would recommend the roof rack. Otherwise go for the Xpress 970.

I also strongly recommend Thule, but that's only because that's what I have experience with and never had any issues with their equipment.
 

missionimpossible

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thanks a stack some really valuable feedback.
The roofrack is a good option but can be a pain. The boot attached models don't seem like a good option since it puts a strain on the bodywork which is why the sales guys do not recommend long journeys.

I personally use the Thule Xpress 970. You can view it on their site at www.thule.co.za (it's under products -> bike carriers -> towbar). There are a number of features that make it an attractive option:
1) It's cheap (~R1200 if I remember correctly)
2) It works with any towbar (I drive a VW Polo with a removable towbar)
3) It folds flat for easy storage
4) it has rubber straps that can stretch to secure a variety of frame sizes (our bikes have an odd shape and thick frame, my old bicycle rack couldn't fit them)

I would recommend against the boot attached models. Although they are fairly secure and work great, despite precautions to protect the paint, you will eventually start causing damage to the paint where the clips latch onto the vehicle body.

Roof racks are typically a more expensive option, but they are arguably the most secure and least likely to put odd pressures on the vehicle frame. They have the drawback though that you have a higher risk of damaging the car when placing the bicycle on the rack, or taking it down. Also be careful when driving in under a low roof. My brother once had an incident at a petrol station where he forgot about the bikes on the roof and they got knocked onto the car boot.

Most cars seem to actually be designed for some kind of roof rack (my previous polo actually already had roof rack holes on the inside of the door frame), whereas any towbar rack puts an odd force on the towbar itself. I personally have used a towbar rack of some kind or another with relatively heavy loads (4 full sized mountain bikes) over the years, and have never had any kind of failure though.

If you have the extra cash and are tall enough to easily lift your bike onto the roof (those suckers get heavy after a good workout ;) ), I would recommend the roof rack. Otherwise go for the Xpress 970.

I also strongly recommend Thule, but that's only because that's what I have experience with and never had any issues with their equipment.
 

Brawler

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You have pretty much summed it up.

Those boot ones are dodgy.. I would be worried to put it on a Polo let alone an Audi. I know someone with a Citi Golf and the car has scuff marks on it and the thing looks like it is going to fall off any second with 2 bikes on.

I have the Thule HangOn 972 (R1800). It takes two minutes to put on the tow bar, it is lockable and tiltable so you can still open the boot if you need to without removing the rack. Fits three bikes and after a few 1000KM trips I can recommend it. They do flex a lot though (designed to) so in the beginning it is nerve wrecking but you get used to it. Amazing how these things hook on to a round tow-bar and don't move a millimetre.

All of my friends rave over their their roof Thules but are more than double the price, only hold 1x bike, so you require two and you require existing roof racks afaik and they become pricey quickly. Just don't forget about the bikes when parking in the garage.
 

Quantum Theory

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I suggested roof, because the OP does not have a tow bar. He was talking about R8000+ for tow bar and rack. Surely a roof setup will be cheaper.
 

Brawler

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The bike holders also are about R4000 for 2 and that is the entry level ones.

The roof racks are sold separately and in pieces, you need the feet and the load bars and their are very expensive as well.

When I checked it was way cheaper and more useful to get a towbar + bike rack than roof set up.
 

Pienats

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I suggested roof, because the OP does not have a tow bar. He was talking about R8000+ for tow bar and rack. Surely a roof setup will be cheaper.

Uhm... no...
http://www.cyclelab.com/products/THU...ED RACK.aspx
So, that is R1900 + bars... Will be less than R5k.


Fair enough, I also said roof rack if you have the cash to spare. Just don't buy the cheapest one because it's cheap, research it properly. I also looked at them when I needed a new carrier due to my removable towbar, and decided against the roof rack because the cheaper ones would not have fit our bikes (like I said earlier, odd shape and thicker frame), so would have needed to get the ProRide 591 which was quite a bit more expensive if I remember correctly.

If you're only going to get the towbar for the bikes and nothing else, then rather spend the money on a good roof rack setup. If push comes to shove, you can use the roof rails for a luggage box as well (which apparently also works great). I usually hook up a trailer for holidays, so I got the tow bar anyway, thus it really ended up being a no-brainier to get the towbar carrier. (Having a 4 bike rack on the trailer also comes in handy for holidays ;) )
 

rodga

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also check how much the audis OEM racks cost
sometime they come in cheaper than thule versions and also are a perfect fit as its made for the vehicle
they will also be able to sell you the bike attachments

they should have tow bar and boot mount options as well
 

missionimpossible

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thanks for the feedback.

I'm gonna pop into the Thule Fitment Center Clearwater, the guy reckons that they have demo units they can fit on your car.
 

missionimpossible

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I'm still at a stumbling block with spending R7000 on the towbar for the Audi (if I go the towbar route).
R7000 sounds like an overkill, which is more than the cost of one bike.

Are there Audi towbar fitment centres that can fit the towbar for less than R7000?
If you know of any / are aware of any other options, please drop a comment on this thread.
 

DominionZA

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I'm still at a stumbling block with spending R7000 on the towbar for the Audi (if I go the towbar route).
R7000 sounds like an overkill, which is more than the cost of one bike.

Are there Audi towbar fitment centres that can fit the towbar for less than R7000?
If you know of any / are aware of any other options, please drop a comment on this thread.

I had one fitted on my A6 about 2.5 years ago for just over R4k. Audi approved.
HiQ did it for me. The one in Croyden.

Also been looking at bike rack options so this thread is really handy. I like the tow bar one, but trailer takes preference when we go on holiday. Are there tracks that can use the tow bat same time as the trailer, or perhaps a trailer mounted one? Prefer sharing the tow bar else I will need to buy one for the tow bar and one for the trailer :eek:
 

missionimpossible

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Just got 3 quotes below for an Audi approved detachable towbar:

1. Hi-Q Croydon (Bosal make) - part no: 14AU9C - R3 945
2. A&J Towbars (Bosal make) - part no: 044/761 - R6 950
3. Audi Dealer (not supplied) - part no: (not supplied) - R11 918

can anyone verify what is the correct part number & make?
(if you have previously fitted a towbar on your B8 Audi A4)
 

DominionZA

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Just got 3 quotes below for an Audi approved detachable towbar:

1. Hi-Q Croydon (Bosal make) - part no: 14AU9C - R3 945
2. A&J Towbars (Bosal make) - part no: 044/761 - R6 950
3. Audi Dealer (not supplied) - part no: (not supplied) - R11 918

can anyone verify what is the correct part number & make?
(if you have previously fitted a towbar on your B8 Audi A4)

I had the one at HiQ fitted. Looks like the same from your description. Will double check the part number just now.
If it is the same, then it is a great towbar dude. Goosenext type of something like that. It is attached under the car and looks very neat.
 
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