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Old 12-03-2016, 09:35 AM   #15
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Rakattach solution to opening rear doors....

OK all . . . I got the answers to all our questions from Mr. Rakattach himself and they are pasted forthwith:
"Hi Joe,
Thanks for checking out the RakAttach!
We build the RakAttach in either a driver side or passenger side swing.
The large will clear the bike racks to the side as in the photo.
You will be able to get the van door open to the first hinge stop.
The RakAttach has a load limit of 300-350(max) pounds in any position open or closed.
A Kuat NV or Thule T2 Pro and your two electric bikes will be well under within the weight limit.
I have the driver side swing in stock.
Price is $454 includes hitch pin, anti rattle clamp and FedEx ground to you.
The packed box weighs 60pounds.
We build the RakAttach in Utah with US steel and locally sourced parts.
The unit is powder coated black and has a 1 yr warranty.

Thanks!
Walter"

Walter can be reached at: walter@rakattach.com

I think this clarifies that the RakAttach might be the solution that so many of us are looking for. I know the hitch will handle the weight of the device, a bike rack and two bikes but not sure how the vehicle itself will handle, or how much lower to the ground the rakattach will bring the vehicle to the road -- hopefully we will hear from Mr. Golf on some of that as this was his ingenious solution -- thanks again MrGolf.
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Old 12-03-2016, 11:10 AM   #16
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I'd say you should assert yourself and remind your wife it's "your" ASI and you're not compromising.

Seriously though...

We're using two solutions - a Kuat rack which is either 4 or two place ...and an aluminum trailer which we can leave at our site if necessary.Click image for larger version

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2017 4x4 Interstate
Bend, Oregon
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Old 12-03-2016, 02:23 PM   #17
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Bikes or Smart Car w/Trailer?

Scott: I started out wanting to tow a Smart Car so we could have ready transportation without breaking down the AI -- and thought then we could carry folding (electric?) bikes as well - in other words lots of options. But, not sure I want to tow anything yet -- probably still new to all this as we purchased our AI in January 2016. Time will tell. Thanks for the mention of a tow trailer. jch
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Old 12-03-2016, 02:26 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebtown View Post
If you look closely it appears mrgolf mounted the rackattack upside down. I'm not sure if is engineered for this application!

I didn't think it was mounted upside down because the lettering was not inside down. Nice that is available to swing either way. A bit pricey but sure well made. I've looked at other swing away hitch adapter but this one is the best I've seen.


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Old 12-03-2016, 04:19 PM   #19
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Interstate Bike Racks - Ladder vs. Hitch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AI Joe View Post
Scott: I started out wanting to tow a Smart Car so we could have ready transportation without breaking down the AI -- and thought then we could carry folding (electric?) bikes as well - in other words lots of options. But, not sure I want to tow anything yet -- probably still new to all this as we purchased our AI in January 2016. Time will tell. Thanks for the mention of a tow trailer. jch

Towing:

I suppose it depends on your perception of whether towing is a hassle or not. For me, it feels like second nature for some reason. Our aluminum trailer is very light, and usually carries just a motorcycle, or two kayaks, four bicycles and perhaps some light camping gear. Occasionally we will tow our jeep, and it will serve as a trailer-of-sorts for us. Camping gear, and mtn bikes, and provisions for our trips to MOAB in the past.


Everyone is different, but somehow I feel more comfortable towing than attaching a ladder and rack to the van. Don't get me wrong, I admire some of those cool ladder/roof rack combos with light packages....in just not comfortable with the ladder attached to the rear door. Also, I don't want to eliminate the wrap-around feature of the rear doors.

Your mileage may vary, of course...
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2017 4x4 Interstate
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Old 12-03-2016, 10:16 PM   #20
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This works just fine for me and our 2 bicycles. Allows both doors to be opened fully around to the sides without removing the bicycles.

http://www.heininger.biz/sportsrack_glideaway2.php
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Old 12-07-2016, 06:40 PM   #21
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Responding to the questions posed regarding our RakAttach and Thule Pro bike rack setup....Yes, our setup allows for moving the rack and bikes to the driver side of the vehicle. Very handy each night I move the loaded bikes aside and then set up by opening rear doors and pulling cables, etc from the inside.

Someone suggested we may have used the RakAttach in an upside down position, which is not accurate as there is no way I wanted to alter the load design. As noted in another posting, Walter and the team from RakAttach can provide a driver side solution as well as passenger side solutions.

There also were questions about measurements for height above ground as well as added extension. The RA and the Thule both remain at AI hitch height, so no piece of the attachments extend at a lower level. I do estimate the RA adds about six inches of distance from the AI hitch to the Thule that would not be the situation if the Thule were attached directly to the AI. The Thule itself clearly adds a couple feet to the end of the vehicle when in loaded position. We do have the VBAir on our AI Grand Tour which certainly helps with weight management and distance from the ground. BUT, I am very careful when driving across roads and turns where there is a depression that may result in the vehicle bottoming out near the back of the vehicle and bike rack. We recently drove 3,000 miles Asheville to Vermont and back and never really had an issue. Like most things with the vehicle, you have make good choices on route and be observant.

Hope this response helps. We are off to Saint Augustine tomorrow for the Christmas display.
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Old 12-08-2016, 07:29 AM   #22
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We are now in St Augustine. Did the Christmas light trolley last night. We drive the car, not the AI. Will keep a lookout for you on the streets today.
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Old 03-08-2018, 01:18 PM   #23
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Continuing the Bike Rack saga:

OK - now that we've carried our bikes for a year on a Kuat Beta, we've concluded that the weather is detrimental and covers really don't work well. Additionally we've just ordered two Evelo Quest Max folding electric bikes on a 10 day home trial. So, I've resumed my search for a suitable transport solution. While the bikes fold, they are not truly small enough to store/carry inside the Interstate from what I can figure. Seems no one recommends the rear cargo door approach, including Surco or Precision Design or Mercedes (or my wife - very important factor!).
So, to keep the bikes out of the weather and away from prying eyes, I have started considering cargo carriers or cargo boxes. Seems the Stowaway Max Cargo Box is a potential good solution, if the two bikes will fit (weight load is acceptable, each bike is 51 lbs) inside the Stowaway. A picture is attached, and I am wondering if anyone is using this transport solution, with - or without - bikes.

What I am trying to determine is with the Stowaway swung out towards the passenger side, how much access does one have to the inside where we stow all our gear?

Other comments, suggested solutions welcomed as well.
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Old 03-08-2018, 02:09 PM   #24
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Did you find this other thread during your searches? It has a lot of chat about boxes generally.

To answer your question, as I understand it, the Stowaway partially blocks the curb-side door. When I called Stowaway to inquire why it blocked the active rather than the passive door, I was told that their lawyers instructed them not to make any device that could potentially swing into the active lane of traffic. Which makes a little sense if the only shoulder is the right shoulder, but of course on divided highways, that's not the case.

If you have very specific storage needs, particularly if the storage of expensive goods such as bikes is involved, I would recommend that you consider a custom hitch container (the Stowaway can be opened with a crowbar in under 5 seconds). Find the right hobby welder and it might not be that expensive. My husband and I made our own because we wanted to carry a Yeti cooler, plus a gas can, plus at times swap the Yeti out for a pressure washer, etc. etc. The job cost us about $100 for materials, and we did our own labor.

The good news is that it looks like the price of the Stowaway has fallen since this was last discussed on this forum. About $800 on Amazon. But you could get a lot of labor for $700 and a much better product if you found the right welder person.

Our DIY job shown below, and here are explanatory blog posts 1, 2, and 3:

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Old 03-08-2018, 02:26 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AI Joe View Post
Scott: I started out wanting to tow a Smart Car so we could have ready transportation without breaking down the AI -- and thought then we could carry folding (electric?) bikes as well - in other words lots of options. But, not sure I want to tow anything yet -- probably still new to all this as we purchased our AI in January 2016. Time will tell. Thanks for the mention of a tow trailer. jch
I tow a Smart. Costs about 1/2 to 1 1/2 mpg depending on terrain. Other than that, I have to look in the rear view monitor to know it is back there. I have been able to back short distances when necessary with it hitched. I use wireless tow lights and I installed a battery disconnect in the Smart as well as the base plate. The Smart dies not register miles while towing.
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Old 03-08-2018, 08:00 PM   #26
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I ordered a RakAttach and love it. You have an option of ordering one that swings left or right and I choose left - works great. I also researched extensively bike racks. Before buying a Thule you need to check out KUAT. The quality of these racks are superb and their service is excellent! Bought the 4 rack option from etrailer. http://www.kuatracks.com/
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Old 03-08-2018, 10:10 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AI Joe View Post
Anyone using the Surco Sprinter rear door ladder to carry one or two bikes; especially folding bikes. My wife and I are not in agreement over door vs. hitch options. I want the door as I want regular easy access to the rear. My wife is concerned she will not be able to reach up to hang her bike on the lower ladder rungs. Not finding much on the web. Any experience with the Surco ladder and bikes on it would be welcomed....
I do realize the ladder will limit the ability of the door to fold completely around, but that is not as much an issue as the need to remove the bikes and hitch every time we camp for a night just to get to the chairs, bbq and more that we store in the rear.
Wondering also how much weight one of the rear doors will handle with the ladder, 2 bikes (maybe electric folding) etc...
Thanks
AI Joe
If you only have two bikes, the Thule Vertex 2 or the Yakima Ridgeback 2 are really the most hassle free and easiest to handle bike racks. They are well built, (important if you want to take a trip to Alaska) with one click you do a partial fold down and you can open the doors. This type rack goes on and comes of the hitch quick and with ease. One little drawback, some ferries charge you for the extra length.

You can install this rack onto a dual hitch receiver and still pull a boat, or have a platform for other items

The Surco ladder is ill fitting for the MB Sprinter, good chance to damage the door. This ladder will not handle bikes of weight. I give it one star.
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Old 03-08-2018, 11:40 PM   #28
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I posted this in another thread, but very pleased with the Rakattach.
I chose a passenger side swing, but they make both ways.
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