Anyone fitted a tow hitch for a Mini Roadster? Mine is a '13 model. I ONLY want one for a bike rack. I looked at a few on the internet and it looks like there will be a hole in the rear bumper if I were to put one in. I do NOT need wiring. I've seen some advertised as NO drilling.
If you do have a Roadster with a hitch, I would certainly like to see a picture of it. Would prefer it to be out of sight.
StarFlyr, you are asking that question on a mostly-British forum and in Britain it is not legal to fit a hitch to a Roadster - Mini have not bothered to approve (homologate) a hitch fitting and without that, it is not legal to fit one here for any reason.
US rules are completely different so you would be better off asking this question on a mostly-American Mini forum.
Thanks for the reply Angib. I see several pictures of receiver hitches on Mini's. However, I can't tell if they are available on the '13 Roadster. If I did get one, I would like it to be nearly invisable as it would only be for occasion bike carriage.
You’re right it’s not the real plate. We covered it up to protect the owner’s personal information. We installed the hitch at our shop in Kent, WA, also where it’s manufactured and can be bought in store or from the online store. Any trusted install shop should also be able to install an EcoHitch for you if you don’t want to make the trip to Kent. EcoHitch fits the 2009+ Mini Cooper S Convertible/2007+ Mini Cooper S Hardtop (Including Roadster/John Cooper Works) if you have a center exhaust like in the pictures below.
British (and all European) law requires that if a towbar is to be fitted:
- the car manufacturer must have approved the car for towing;
- the towbar must be fitted to the attachment points specified by the manufacturer;
- the towbar must be capable of carrying the full towing load specified by the car manufacturer.
A car manufacturer does not have to get this approval - it's something they do if they think there is a marketing benefit in having the car approved for towing. For small-volume vehicles or ones that don't seem likely to be used as tow vehicles, many manufacturers don't bother getting approval and so it is not legal in the UK to fit a towbar to them - even if it is not going to be used for towing.
As far as I know, the situation with 1st/2nd Gen Minis is as follows:
Approved for Towing
Cooper and One hatchbacks, R50/R56
All Clubmen , R55
All Countrymen, R60
Not Approved for Towing
All Convertibles, R52/R57
All Cooper S hatchbacks, R53/R56
If anyone knows the position with 3rd Gen models, please add it.
I think the Cooper S hatchback models are not approved as the central exhaust prevents a typical European towbar being fitted. Mini obviously thought the Cooper S Clubman was the sot of leisure/workhorse that might be used for towing, so they went to all the bother of fitting twin exhausts to leave room for a towbar:
There is obviously a bit of 'injustice' at work, since many of the un-approved models have exactly the same rear bodyshell as the approved ones, so a towbar would probably bolt right on - but it wouldn't be legal.
One double check that can be done is to look at the VIN plate sticker in the left door shut. Here is the one from my Roadster:
This lists four weights in kg in the following order:
- Gross Vehicle Weight (the maximum loaded weight of the car)
- Gross Train Weight (the maximum loaded weight of car and trailer combined)
- Front Axle Weight (the maximum loaded weight of the two front wheels), often with '1-' in front
- Rear Axle Weight (you can guess this one, can't you?), often with '2-' in front
In this case, the second line is blank, because the car is not approved for towing so there isn't a Gross Train Weight. This is pretty explicit and, for example, is something that any VOSA roadside inspector (the people who check cars towing trailers/caravans) will know - in case anyone was thinking that they could buy the towbar for a hatchback and bolt it onto a Roadster.....
None of the above applies in America where they have a completely different, and much less cautious/strict, system of towbar rating/approval. So they can produce and sell 'hitches' (towbars) for all the models that are not approved for towing in Europe. And, no, an American hitch fitted to a car in Europe isn't legal because it's American!
Thank you for your email dated 5 September to our IVS enquiries inbox. I have been asked to reply.
We suggest you contact the manufacturer on this matter. There may not be any points of sufficient strength to the mount the towbar.
Assuming it can be safely mounted, we believe that you could use a towbar mounted bike carrier.
The Department cannot give an authoritative interpretation of the law; that is a matter for the courts. Enforcement of road traffic law is an operational matter for individual Chief Police Officers and their officers can issue verbal warnings, fixed penalty notices or report the motorist for formal prosecution.
AFAIK, there are no trailer hitch rules in the US other than common sense. And I'm sure some poor *** has tried to tow something here that should never have been attempted.
The UK rules seem to cross the line, but maybe they do prevent accidents. However, installing a simple hitch on a Mini JUST to carry a bike seems a little stupid. My bike weighs around 20 pounds and I'm guessing a light weight hitch and bike rack might weigh the same or a tad more. So, 50 pounds hanging off the back of my Mini is almost meaningless.
There are rules for hitch strength in the US - if it's a Class III, it must be tested to that load - but the US rules allow the hitch to be bolted to an infinitely strong test rig, so there is no guarantee that the hitch will remain on when fitted to a car, just that the hitch itself won't fail.
There does seem to be some evidence of inadequate hitch mountings on things like VWs where owners have used the (much higher) European tow rating to tow heavier trailers and ended up starting to tear the spare wheel well out of some cars, as the US hitches just bolt to sheetmetal and not to the mounting points specified by VW for European hitches.
I don't think we have any history in Britain of many hitches failing before the law came in, but then it is a pretty critical component so saying it must be strong enough isn't too big an ask.
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