I currently have a basic towbar mounted bike carrier which requires the removal of the spare wheel from its rear door carrier whenever I want to use it on my Daihatsu Feroza. This is really quite frustrating and also reduces my cargo space. So to solve this problem I searched around the net for a spare wheel carrier. I chose the Rhino Rack RSWBC Spare Wheel Bike Carrier because it is a known brand name, it could carry two bikes and it offset the mounted bikes. My spare wheel is mounted on the right-hand side, so I need the bikes to be mounted off-set to the left.
Okay, this is the first time I have tried it so that should be taken into consideration, but I had a little problem getting the carrier to open out. It was necessary to extend the bike mount bar first to then get the bar which sits over the tyre open. I thought this would be a simple matter of loosening the two ratchets which lock the bike bar in place. Wrong. You damn near need four hands. I could get the right one free of the locking mechanism, but the left one wouldn’t be, move to the left one, and the right one would lock back and on it went. Eventually I had a win and got the bar up, but boy it was frustrating. I hope this gets easy with time!
From there the actual fitting went pretty well except for one other “small” problem. If you are not careful, the quick release clamps which hold the bar that goes over the tyre unscrew. So what you say. Well it turns out to be one hell of job to get the bloody thing back together again on your own. It seems that the coach bolts used are the minimum length, and I mean minimum length. With the tension in the bar it becomes quite a hassle to get it back together. This is also a frustration as there are three mounting positions for the quick release, to allow for different width tyres. Quite a pain to adjust.
At this point in time I have one quick release correctly installed and the other side semi-correctly installed until I can get a hand with fitting it properly or I get longer bolts. Other than this small problem the carrier, it fits well. It sits over the tyre using a bar, a strap running around the tyre and a strap which goes from the bar, under the tyre and back up again. The straps are included, are a good length and are easily to fit and tighten.
Okay so I have the carrier fitted. How does it go with a bike on it? I decided to just try it out with Joe, my Giant Boulder SE first.
Now Joe has cables running underneath the top tube. This is not good for this sort of carrier and care should be taken mounting and removing such bikes. It looks like it will be easy to catch a cable and possibly break it. I am seriously thinking of using a piece of tyre or tube or similar to “wrap around” the cable/tube where it goes into the clamp.
Other than the cable issue, I found that Joe mounted pretty well. He does stick out to the right more than I would like, but there is nothing I can do about that other than becareful. He is secured well by the clamps, which can be easily moved on the bar to adjust for clearance between two bikes or they can be easily secured in a permanent position. Rhino-Rack also provided four Velcro straps to secure the front wheel and/or bike to the rack to stop it swinging. These are fiddly and a bit too short for me, so I will use my own straps for this purpose.
The other concern I had was how well it mounted the bikes clear of the exhaust pipe (melted/blown tyres is a concern). On the Feroza the exhaust pipe is on the left under the bumper bar. It looks like the carrier mounts the bikes high enough to clear the exhaust pipe. Hopefully this will therefore not be an issue for me.
Overall I am happy with my initial impressions with the carrier despite a few niggles. It seems to mount securely to the spare and the bike mounts securely to the carrier. Now the test will be in the pudding. A set of photos of the mounting can be found here.