Caravan Clinic – Motorcycle Carrier


We recently acquired a 2013 Avalon motorhome on a Mercedes Sprinter chassis and are very happy with the experiences we’ve had. We’re not so young anymore, so we traded in our caravan… sad, but I have to say that the motorhome is so much more pleasing and manageable. The only problem we’ve had is arriving at caravan parks and finding either the entrances or the actual sites restricted by height. We have had to dodge trees and really go offroad to get to a campsite.

We’re considering purchasing a Vespa scooter with a dry weight of 148 kg that we want to mount on the back of the motorhome. Any ideas about where this type of ‘motorcycle’ rack might be obtained? The Thule range is for bicycles, and thus can’t carry the Vespa’s weight.

We would also like to have a reversing/rear-view camera fitted, and need to be advised about companies capable of doing such an installation. We have friends, with a Discoverer motorhome and a scooter, who gave us the idea of getting the Vespa.
– Shawn Fraser

Godfrey Castle responds:
What concerns me is the added stress to the rear of the vehicle’s chassis. Since the Avalon and Discoverer are two different motorhomes, we asked the relevant agents for their opinion:

Allan Vos at Kennis Caravans and Motorhomes, the local agent for the Avalon in Johannesburg, commented as follows: ‘We have a good towbar manufacturer in Krugersdorp, one who has, on occasion, made us carriers for the rear of motorhomes. It turned out to be a scary prospect due the excessive overhang created by the width of the bike on the back of the motorhome.

The motorhome body’s overhang at the rear (MB Sprinter Avalon) is already close to the limits. I’m concerned that these contraptions are non-compliant with the ordinance that states that the overhang cannot exceed 70 percent of the wheelbase. We now suggest putting the motorcycle on a trailer. Of course, if you have a B license, the trailer’s GVM shouldn’t exceed 750 kg.’

And Dennis Bouwers of Motorhome World, manufacturers of your friends’ Discoverer motorhome, responded as follows: ‘I don’t have a problem with this idea, but only if the carrier is bolted to the chassis in the correct mounting places (not the standard towbar holes, but the mounting holes for this in the standard chassis); if the total weight of the rear axle isn’t over the maximum allowed (you’ll have to weigh this); and, if the maximum overhang of the complete vehicle is not greater than 70 percent of the wheelbase.

I’d also recommend installing a rear air suspension kit to the chassis, to overcome the shifting of the centre of gravity towards the rear. This will be for the IVECO chassis. For our Mercedes Sprinter chassis (with chassis extension) I would not have a problem either, (Discoverer 4 or Deluxe version 1 model) if the conditions as above are met. Our Bobo Campers branch in Kempton Park could possibly do the camera installation – contact them on 011 395 6900/1/2.’

A 36-year-old had a motoring accident several weeks ago. It was raining, though not excessively, when her car suddenly began to hydroplane and literally flew through the air. She was not seriously injured, but stunned by the sudden occurrence. When she explained to the police officer what had happened, he told her something that every driver should know – never drive in the rain or wet with your cruise control on!

She thought she was being cautious by setting the cruise control and maintaining a safe, consistent speed in the rain. But the police officer told her that if the cruise control were on, the car could begin to hydroplane when the tyres lost contact with the road as a result of the computer accelerating the vehicle.

This could be worse if you are towing a caravan or trailer, as the vehicle’s onboard computer will sense that the vehicle is slowing down below the set speed, and give full power under the heavier load.

Volgens Dawn Gouws in die Januarie uitgawe, het sy en haar man met n briljante idee vorendag gekom. Die ‘rearview camera.’ Ek het ‘n soortgelyke kamera stelsel vir myself opgebou (nogal ‘wireless’) met ‘n 7” kleur skerm, vir net R832.

Die voordeel van my ontwerp, is dat die skerm ook dien as n klein kleur televisiestel vir die kampeer plek. Die kamera agter op my woonwa is toegerus met infrarooi, wat ook ‘n duidelike beeld snags gee.

Mense moet ook onthou dat dit eintlik onwettig is om enige toerusting wat beeld materiaal vertoon voor in ‘n voertuig naby die windskerm, en in sig van die bestuurder, te installeer.

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