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bubamare
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:02 am    Post subject: Bumper / trailer hitch receiver question Reply with quote

Do the after market steel bumpers serve a unique purpose over the stock ones? I have a Bostig conversion and want to buy a receiver so I can put my bike rack on it. I was looking at the Burley Sports one and like it. I was questioning whether I should upgrade to the more expensive and nicer looking ones from GoWesty or VanCafe. They are expensive. Other than looking really nice, do they protect the van better in a low impact collision? If not and the stock bumper serves the same purpose just as well, I would go with the less expensive Burley option. If however the steel ones protect the van (and me) better in a collision, I would consider investing in them. Any thoughts? Thanks.
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shagginwagon83
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:46 am    Post subject: Re: Bumper / trailer hitch receiver question Reply with quote

ckissick wrote:
I'm so glad I have GoWesty bumpers on my Westfalia.

Today I was going up Highway 92 from Half Moon Bay, on a big sweeper to the left. It's a four lane road with a concrete barrier in the middle. I was going about 50 mph in 3rd gear, and began to pass a very slow school bus when he changed lanes. I slammed on the brakes, but my momentum took me right into the concrete barrier. I hit it hard, but at an angle, with the front-driver side of the car.

The &^$&*^& bus driver didn't stop. I didn't know if the car would even work, but I tried it, and it seemed to run and handle normal. So I went after the school bus. I stopped behind him at the first stop light and got out to shake my fist at him, or whatever. The light turned green, so I only had time to survey the damage.

There was none!

Just a scratch on the corner of the bumper. A stock bumper would have caved in a pushed into the body. There would have been at least $2000 damage. I'm ordering GoWesty bumpers for the Tristar.


How many bikes? Is that all you're going to use the hitch for?
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bubamare
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:51 am    Post subject: Re: Bumper / trailer hitch receiver question Reply with quote

I have four bikes and have a Yakima bike rack that goes into the receiver. That is the only reason I'm getting the trailer hitch. Thanks for your input.
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shagginwagon83
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:09 am    Post subject: Re: Bumper / trailer hitch receiver question Reply with quote

Don't buy the $200 GoWesty trailer hitch then.

Burley has good hitches. Bumpers weigh a lot - so keep that in mind.

RMW bumpers > burley motorsport hitches > GoWesty bumpers > gowesty hitch
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kamzcab86
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:52 am    Post subject: Re: Bumper / trailer hitch receiver question Reply with quote

bubamare wrote:
Do the after market steel bumpers serve a unique purpose over the stock ones? Other than looking really nice, do they protect the van better in a low impact collision?


Not mine, but perhaps this photo might explain how the rear "bumper" is lacking:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Confused How it's even called a bumper is beyond me; how that design passed crash testing is even more bizarre.

I'll be upgrading the day somebody out there makes steel bumpers that resemble the fiberglass originals (i.e. rounded corners and edges!).

bubamare wrote:
I have four bikes and have a Yakima bike rack that goes into the receiver. That is the only reason I'm getting the trailer hitch. Thanks for your input.
shagginwagon83 wrote:
Don't buy the $200 GoWesty trailer hitch then.


I used a Thule four-bike carrier on my GW hitch without issue, carrying 3 bikes. However, it sat too low for my liking, was heavy, blocked the tail lights when loaded, and just got to be a PITA to deal with. I've since replaced it with a Fiamma hatch rack, which can remain on the van while in the garage.

All that said, if you can't afford the whole bumper package, definitely go with the Burley or Van Cafe bumper hitch.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:52 am    Post subject: Re: Bumper / trailer hitch receiver question Reply with quote

The $180 GW receiver hitch that mounts to the tow hooks and miustache bar will not work with a Bostig (I'm not sure if that's what you were referring to).

https://www.gowesty.com/product/2-receiver-hitches/2582/trailer-hitch-with-2-receiver-

For four bikes you want a receiver hitch that mounts to the frame.

I have the RMW twin peaks bumpers and am very confident that the middle section of the bumper provides notably better protection. The corners are probably a bit (maybe) more protective than the VW steel or fiberglass bumpers.

Two pluses for the RMW bumpers:
- the corner sections are modular and can be replaced (but probably atbsimilar or greater cost than stock bumpers)
- the big win for me is that the RMW bumpers provide outstanding steps at the front and rear of the van.

If you just need a rock-solid hitch and want to maintain stock looks the Burley is a huge win.

Hope that helps.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:00 am    Post subject: Re: Bumper / trailer hitch receiver question Reply with quote

Does your van have steel bumpers or fiberglass ones right now? Whether aftermarket bumpers protect better depends on that.

I have Burleyís hitch and itís great for bikes. Iím in the minority in that I donít like the looks of the aftermarket bumpers very much.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:00 am    Post subject: Re: Bumper / trailer hitch receiver question Reply with quote

I have the GoWesty hitch and the heavy Yakima full swing.

With two bikes it bounces too much for my liking. I don't want to see four bikes on there.
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elizer Premium Member
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:53 am    Post subject: Re: Bumper / trailer hitch receiver question Reply with quote

I have the gary lee wide rack. Apparently, you can get 4 bikes on it.

http://www.telusplanet.net/public/gary2a/rack/4bike/stag/4stag.htm

It also has utility when you don't have plans on biking.

I love the look of my fiberglass bumpers, but its lack of protection is concerning. I maybe heading towards transporter works aluminum bumpers for whatever weight saving it could provide.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:55 am    Post subject: Re: Bumper / trailer hitch receiver question Reply with quote

Have you considered this one? I asked a week ago on the Facebook Bostig page if it would work ok with the Bostig because I want a hitch soon, and a Bostig later.

https://www.vancafe.com/RMW-HH1-p/rmw-hh1.htm

I think this would also add some crash protection.

K[/url]
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sanchius
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 5:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Bumper / trailer hitch receiver question Reply with quote

kamzcab86 wrote:

Not mine, but perhaps this photo might explain how the rear "bumper" is lacking:.... How it's even called a bumper is beyond me; how that design passed crash testing is even more bizarre.

I'll be upgrading the day somebody out there makes steel bumpers that resemble the fiberglass originals (i.e. rounded corners and edges!).

Not to threadjack and I'm not a vehicle designer, but as I understand it, the goal of crash testing & certification is to protect the vehicle occupants, not the vehicle parts. A rigid bumper wouldn't pass the crash certification that the sacrificial bumper did.

In fact, that sacrificial bumper appears to have done its job perfectly and protected the occupants by crushing softly over an extended distance & period of time rather than smacking the occupants with an instantaneous, high G, brain-injury-inducing impulse that would result from a rigid design. See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impulse_(physics)

Yes, at low speed you are more likely to do significant/total-loss damage to vehicles with bumpers & bodies designed to crush. But at medium to high speeds where there's not a Pinto-like gas tank involved, a sacrificial design is more likely to leave you in good enough shape to buy another vehicle while a rigid design only leaves your survivors in such condition.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Bumper / trailer hitch receiver question Reply with quote

From personal experience building a POS race car for the 24 hours of lemons series I can tell you that you do not want to be hit from behind with a rigid steel bumper. I outfitted the ranchero with dom tubing all around thinking I was building a safety cage.

All that force ďfelt likeĒ it was transferred through the bumper into the frame and my nerf bars and finally stopped at my rear molars.

Unscientific but I promise a 15mph speed differential with a subtle race time tap felt like a jackhammer on my whole body.

Ok. It was still fun.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Bumper / trailer hitch receiver question Reply with quote

Lots of very good advice above! I pondered how to carry 4 bikes for a long time before I finally pulled the trigger. My criterion was:

1. Safety. I didnít want rear tail lights obscured, or at least as little as possible. So this ruled out most carriers that carry the bikes horizontally on a hitch unless I wanted to add trailer brake lights etc on the rack/bikes.

2. Clearance. I didnít want a 4 bike carrier that stuck out 4í (or more!) off the back of the van making clearance an issue when going up steep terrain and/or steep curbs, etc.

If you do end up choosing a hitch, as others have said, the Burley hitch (there are 2 to choose from) canít be beat.

I chose the Gary Lee Modular rack. It will carry 1-4 bikes vertically with wheels on, integrates a ladder, and can accommodate other accessories such as spare gas, tire, etc. Only drawback is that itís difficult to open the rear hatch with the bikes on. This can be mitigated somewhat with very strong rear hatch strut replacements. Thereís a thread here somewhere about this.

http://www.telusplanet.net/public/gary2a/rack/VanagonModularRack/Vanagonmodularrack4bikeladd.jpg

Of course, Yakima Frontloader(s) are additional $ and necessary with this modular rack.

https://www.gowesty.com/product/bike-racks/23892/yakima-front-loader-upright-bike-rack

The Fiamma rack is also a very good choice if you only need to carry 1-3 bikes. But, unlike the Gary Lee rack, you donít get the extra versatility (if needed).

https://www.gowesty.com/product/bike-racks/2560/fiamma-t3-carry-bike-pro-

Ps- My van has fiberglass bumpers. I like the look but would switch to steel/aluminum IF a version were made in the same shape/style as fiberglass. Without that, most people remove the rest of the fiberglass body cladding as it just doesnít look good or integrate well with most steel bumpers currently on the market. This = additional expense because you need to fill the cladding mounting holes and paint (or bedliner) where they used to be.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Bumper / trailer hitch receiver question Reply with quote

Let's not forget the RMW switchback kit. However you would probably need two full switchbacks plus racks for four bikes. It would look sick, but you're gonna pay for it ($2000+)
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Bumper / trailer hitch receiver question Reply with quote

shagginwagon83 wrote:
Let's not forget the RMW switchback kit. However you would probably need two full switchbacks plus racks for four bikes. It would look sick, but you're gonna pay for it ($2000+)


Great product. However, unlike the Fiamma and Gary Lee options, the Switchback does require drilling holes in your Westy to mount it:

https://www.vancafe.com/RMW-SBRRK-p/rmw-sbrck.htm

The big plus, however, is being able to swing your bikes and gear out of the way without having to remove anything to open the rear hatch.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:30 am    Post subject: Re: Bumper / trailer hitch receiver question Reply with quote

This was like $12, I think.. I've had 5 bikes on it. Bolts on in place of stock ball. I took the next step too, of having the receiver upside down AND the ball on top. Looks a bit funny, but works fine.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:49 am    Post subject: Re: Bumper / trailer hitch receiver question Reply with quote

@bobbyblack That has to bounce around a whole lot though right? I have something similar and more than one bike flexes the entire tow bar.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:34 am    Post subject: Re: Bumper / trailer hitch receiver question Reply with quote

MayorMcCheese wrote:
@bobbyblack That has to bounce around a whole lot though right? I have something similar and more than one bike flexes the entire tow bar.


Indeed true, simple fix was to raid a hatchback bike rack of its hook lines, and make a loop to the top lip of the door. While it is a bit aggravating having slip those back off before tilting the rack to open the rear, it was a whole lot better than seeing 5 bikes doing that dance. Two was good, one at each end of the T top of the rack closest to the glass.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:49 am    Post subject: Re: Bumper / trailer hitch receiver question Reply with quote

i have a 1UP rack
and a 4-pack for all our bikes (or a group shuttle)

at first it was attached via the hitch that came with the van from a P.O.:


there were three issues:
1: it was BOUNCY ... because the hitch bar is transversely long and attaches all the way out to the edge of the van's frame rails ... like a big torsion spring
2: the rack could never be brought all the way 'closed' because of the spare tire... (luckily the rack has a 'half-way' position)
3: the spare tire could not swing all the way out past the 'open' rack ... because the rack rails were too high ... i could swing the rack 'past open' and let the tire swing ... but that is a pain ... all just to open the rear hatch ....


SO ... I fab'd a NEW receiver:
it bolts to the lower SVX motor mount bolts
and through the side-bolt-hole of the existing hitch
this does 3 things (to remedy the three issues):
1: it triangulates it to lower frame ... and is crazy rock solid ... more solid than any other hitch mount i've ever used
2: it pushes the new receiver aft a few inches to allow me to close the rack 100% when not in use
3: it is 2.5" lower than the previous mount ... and allow the spare tire to swing open.

win
win
win


sorry this may not answer your question exactly ... but a bit of welding and drilling ... and you may be able to make an amazing custom rack right out of the gate.

cheers
geoff





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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Bumper / trailer hitch receiver question Reply with quote

I have the GW bumpers and have never regretted the expense. There is no doubt in my mind that they will do a far better job protecting the 1.8T I installed two years ago than the wimpy stock units.

I also really like the add-ons: I have two swing-aways - one for spare tire and one for fuel & water cans. The front bumper also has a 2" receiver mounted.

I've had several bike racks on cars that bounce because of the non-integrity of the bumper-hitch design. It sucks. No such problem with the GW bumpers.

They seem to do a fairly nice job holding up my 400lb Suzuki DRZ400: Cool

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