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My parents have recently found out, the hard way, that it is not possible to fit a bike rack onto the rear of a Leaf with solar spoiler. Sadly this was not explained to them at the point of purchase, when they would undoubtedly have backed out from getting the solar gimmick, but only when it was too late.

Various threads here have indicated that the Saris Bones 3 is the best bike rack to use on a Leaf, but it seems that this will not fit on Leaf gen2s that have the solar spoiler. My parents have visited Halfords and a couple of other bike shops, and have inquired with a Nissan dealer, none of whom can offer a constructive answer.

I am posting here partly to warn others - don't fork out for the solar spoiler, it is a gimmick (I told my parents this at the time, but never mind), especially if you need to transport bikes on your car.

I don't think my parents want to pursue a formal complaint to Nissan, they are just looking for constructive suggestions to get bikes onto the back of their car.

Can anyone make a constructive suggestion? As my parents are both well over retirement age, fitting a roof rack for bikes is not their preferred option. I am wondering whether there may be some way of fitting a specialist rear mounted bike rack, maybe attached to a roof bar rather than to the roof of the car? If so, any advice about suppliers of specialist/custom bike racks may be helpful.
 

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I am posting here partly to warn others - don't fork out for the solar spoiler, it is a gimmick...
Interesting view, that. I suspect that those people who were posting endlessly with 12v battery failures quite recently wouldn't agree with you.

The battery drain on the 12v system is minimal in a traditional ICE, but is likely to be much higher in a Leaf, with all the telematics running. Even with an old ICE, security system manufacturers had to be careful to make sure that the additional battery drain was low enough to enable a car with an older battery to be parked in an airport car park for at least 2 or 3 weeks and still be able to crank the engine. Having a solar panel to provide some support for the 12v to extend this time is far from a gimmick, even if its output is low. But, if you don't leave it parked up for extended periods, or want a rear mounted bike rack, then it probably isn't the right option for you.
 

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I wouldn't recommend any bike rack for a LEAF that puts pressure on either the tailgate metalwork (danger of dents / shallow impressions) , or the top of the rear bumper (not recommended for any plastic bumper on any vehicle).
 

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I haven't looked at the options for a Leaf, but I know that some bike racks attach to a tow bar. That might be some extra expensive, but probably easier than hauling the bike on to the roof.
 

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The problem with LEAF isn't the drain on the battery. Some of the cars are coming with bad 12V batteries. I'm not sure if the batteries are bad from the supplier or if they are damaged by improper charging before delivery.

The first battery in our 2014 lasted about 8 months and was trouble before that. The 2nd battery was still good when we handed the car back last month. - The car sat for a month before collection and it still started.


I've only seen one Gen 2 car with the solar spoiler. I don't think it is that common an option.
 

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I haven't looked at the options for a Leaf, but I know that some bike racks attach to a tow bar. That might be some extra expensive, but probably easier than hauling the bike on to the roof.
Unfortunately there is no homolgation for a tow bar of any description so aside from insurance and practicalities of fitting a tow bar it would be of dubious legality

Thule slide bars are much easier to load than conventional roof racks but aside from that my only other suggestion would be to buy 2 Bromptons which will easily fit in the boot.
 

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Unfortunately there is no homolgation for a tow bar of any description so aside from insurance and practicalities of fitting a tow bar it would be of dubious legality

Thule slide bars are much easier to load than conventional roof racks but aside from that my only other suggestion would be to buy 2 Bromptons which will easily fit in the boot.
Well, that's a surprise as I thought any car could have a towbar of some description. Shows what I know ...
 

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Saris Bones 3 fits fine on mine, add the extra hugger straps ( non solar LEAF). Why won't they work on a solar spoiler? Google "hatch huggers", It's bound not to show in the manual or compatability guide, but they work great
 

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What is it about the solar spoiler that stops the rack fitting? I've just been out to compare our 2 with and without and the dimensions look identical and the solar part of the spoiler is flush.

Steve
 

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The problem with LEAF isn't the drain on the battery. Some of the cars are coming with bad 12V batteries. I'm not sure if the batteries are bad from the supplier or if they are damaged by improper charging before delivery
...
I've only seen one Gen 2 car with the solar spoiler. I don't think it is that common an option.
If the battery has low capacity (for whatever reason) then the solar spoiler will provide some current to support it (as in reduce the discharge). It is exactly under those circumstances where the spoiler will make maximum contribution.

I ordered a spoiler with my 1st Leaf (24kWh) and my second (30kWh, a cancellation I was offered cheaply by the dealer) had a solar spoiler. So, 2 out of 2 for me.

Sadly, the girl at the dealer spoiled it by telling me that the solar spoiler gave the car extra range. Technically true, I suppose, as it will reduce the charging requirement from the traction battery. About 50 meters maximum for a day's exposure by my back of a fag packet calculation, assuming there is capacity in the 12v battery and about 100mA from the panel - and that's probably an over estimate.
 

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we've got a seasucker talon - it was free (for reasons beyond the scope of this conversation!)

I've never dared use it.

Google it to see why!!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks everyone, particularly Robthebank.

I've bought Hatch Huggers online and will head to Halfords in the next few days to try to get my hands on a Saris Bones 3. I have a (non solar) Leaf gen 2 so I am hopeful that I will manage to fit the bike rack onto it as Robthebank and others have reported they can. Once I have done so, I'll revisit the issue of what, exactly, makes it hard to fit one on my parents' solar spoiler version.
 

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dunkeld, car with bikes.jpg
The bike rack we have fits on our leaf with a solar spoiler, the straps can slide underneath the spoiler on top of the window.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks Erwin - Can I inquire if your rack is a Saris Bones 3 and if you also use the Hatch Huggers that an earlier poster referred to or if the Bones 3 rack fits okay by itself?
 

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The bike rack we have is from JMart JMart - Universal 2 Bicycle Carrier Car Rack and cost only £16.00 including delivery!
I know that the lights are a bit difficult to see, but with changing the position of the bikes you should be able to get that fixed.
 
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