How can I carry four bikes on a car?

thecrofter Posts: 734
edited July 2010 in Road beginners
As it says, who else has a family and four bikes to carry? What's the cheapest solution. What's the best compromise between cost and safety? Roof rack or tow bar. Someone else must have had the same dilema. I'd be grateful to hear your experiences.
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  • john ponting
    john ponting Posts: 491
    Roof rack with correct fittings. No problem with rear view; no need for additional lighting etc. Boot can still be accessed. Ferries can be a problem but easily solved when booking.

    Mount the bikes upside down and head to tail.

    4x saddle & bar clamps; 2x cross rails; many toe clip straps; a few bungies.
  • rusty656
    rusty656 Posts: 44
    Have the same issue i have got a rear rack at the moment which is supposed to take three bikes but really only takes two, so i am having a tow bar fitted which will then easily carry a new four bike carrier without worrying about having to hoist them onto the roof, tow bar costing £200 fitted another £100 for a carrier money well spent i think
  • fossyant
    fossyant Posts: 2,549
    Roof rack here - had the bike bars over 20 years - just needed a bit of 'modding' to fit modern 'aerobars'. 3 on roof and one in the boot.

    Only issue we have is we're doing SKY Ride in Manchester this weekend, and will probably have to take two cars to get in the car parks......youngest won't cycle from one of the 'hubs'....
  • If you go with the roof bar/carrier option make sure the roof bars are wide enough to hold 4 carriers. Sounds silly I know but I have a fairly big saloon car and bought 4 thule freeride 530 carriers for our families bikes. I then purchased roof bars for my car from the car manufacturer as they also fit the wife's car too that way.
    Unfortunately they aren't wide enough to carry the 4 carriers afterall! So back to the drawing board. Either another set of roof bars or the most likely, sell the thule carriers and get 2 rear racks as we don't ride as a family of 4 enough to make a difference anyway tbh.
    Btw, this isn't an ad for my thule's but I will get round to selling them at some point I reckon.
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  • kingrollo
    kingrollo Posts: 3,198
    I have the roofbar option - a few things to watch for:-

    if you have a people carrier type car - the whole thing can get pretty high - watch out for low trees ! - and getting the bikes up there becomes a 2 person affair.

    If your bikes are carbon - some people are wary of clamping the downtube - you can get an a rack which clamps the forks - but thats more cast.

    If I could spend my money again I would go the tow bar route.

    The least favoured option - has to be the boot mounted racks - your car always get scratched - and the bikes never seem that secure IME
  • edwardvarla
    edwardvarla Posts: 121
    Two in the front and two in the back.

    Oh hang on, that's how you get four elephants in a car. Never mind.
  • andrewc3142
    andrewc3142 Posts: 906
    We have a Skoda Octavia estate with the roof rails already on. With Thule bars and bike holders we regularly carry four bikes. Have to mess around with the placement a bit and each bike has its own place, but not a major problem.

    Opening the doors and standing on the sills I can load them on my own.

    May be more difficult if you don't have rails but I believe it's possible.
  • bice
    bice Posts: 772
    I have the tow bar option on a Volvo estate and regularly carry four bikes. Very sturdy and cost around £70 on eBay. I have taken these from london to wales no problem