Forum home Mountain biking forum MTB general

On the roof or towball mounted cycle carrier?

lewistlewist Posts: 16
edited July 2012 in MTB general
Hi guys. I'm off to Le Gets next Saturday. I have realised I can't fit 3 bikes, people and luggage in the car.

So my options are either bikes on the roof or a tow bar mounted cycle deck such as the thule 9503. Is one better than the other or are they much of a muchness? The car is a vw passat estate, if that makes a difference?!

Many thanks

Posts

  • FunBusFunBus Posts: 404
    Both good options for long journeys. Do you already have a tow bar fitted, or would that be on the bill as well?

    My preference would be on the roof mount......up and out the way, easy access to boot when bikes are still on, bit more secure if left for a toilet stop and, you've then got roof bars for any future needs - roof box, ladders etc. Rear rack is a one trick pony.
  • lewistlewist Posts: 16
    The tow bar is already fitted and the ccost is roughly the same for the 2 items.

    I think roof mounted maybe the way to go. Security is a big worry. The longest we will have to leave it for will be on the ferry. I will lock the bikes to the bars, but as always they are very steal-able!

    cheers
  • FunBusFunBus Posts: 404
    unfortunately everything is stealable if the right theiving scum-bag is on board....but i reckon it's more obvious (and so more trouble than its worth) for said scum-bag to reach up onto your roof and try and crack the lock, rather than hidden behind your car out of sight
  • warpcowwarpcow Posts: 1,448
    Towbar mounted certainly feels more stable and apparently doesn't add to fuel-consumption like roof ones do. You can get a nice tilting one so you can still access the boot too. I guess that doesn't help your security worries though.
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    As a user of both get th tow bar mounted one. The roof one will kill the fuel use on that distance.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • milko9000milko9000 Posts: 533
    I echo that towbar mount is better for fuel reasons. Also if you're crossing the channel and stuff what are the odds you'll go through a height-restricted gate at some point and forget the bikes are up there? I think nicking them in a deserted ferry car park is much of a muchness whichever way they're attached.
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    No extra charge for height on the train. But is on ferrys.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • wormowormo Posts: 30
    I like my towbar mounted carrier. There is a hoop on my towbar so that I can run chains through to make secure. Don't forget number plate/lights board as police started clamping down near me if lights etc cant be seen through bikes.
  • waby1234waby1234 Posts: 571
    In terms of stability I use a Thuke Proride 951 and it's absolutely solid - you wouldn't know there was a bike on the roof.
    2011 Carrera Fury

    Earn cashback at CRC, Wiggle, Evans, Rutland, Hargroves, Halfords, and more at Quidco
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    waby1234 wrote:
    In terms of stability I use a Thuke Proride 951 and it's absolutely solid - you wouldn't know there was a bike on the roof.
    Except for the higher fuel use.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • BriggoBriggo Posts: 3,823
    nicklouse wrote:
    waby1234 wrote:
    In terms of stability I use a Thuke Proride 951 and it's absolutely solid - you wouldn't know there was a bike on the roof.
    Except for the higher fuel use.

    And the noise.
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    Briggo wrote:
    nicklouse wrote:
    waby1234 wrote:
    In terms of stability I use a Thuke Proride 951 and it's absolutely solid - you wouldn't know there was a bike on the roof.
    Except for the higher fuel use.

    And the noise.
    Not been an issue for me. Even with bikes on.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • BriggoBriggo Posts: 3,823
    nicklouse wrote:
    Briggo wrote:
    nicklouse wrote:
    waby1234 wrote:
    In terms of stability I use a Thuke Proride 951 and it's absolutely solid - you wouldn't know there was a bike on the roof.
    Except for the higher fuel use.

    And the noise.
    Not been an issue for me. Even with bikes on.

    Never said its an issue, referring to the statement "you wouldn't know it's there"... Well you can tell by the slightly increased wind noise, even with my new whisp bars.
  • waby1234waby1234 Posts: 571
    Briggo wrote:
    nicklouse wrote:
    Briggo wrote:
    nicklouse wrote:
    waby1234 wrote:
    In terms of stability I use a Thuke Proride 951 and it's absolutely solid - you wouldn't know there was a bike on the roof.
    Except for the higher fuel use.

    And the noise.
    Not been an issue for me. Even with bikes on.

    Never said its an issue, referring to the statement "you wouldn't know it's there"... Well you can tell by the slightly increased wind noise, even with my new whisp bars.

    Sorry but I disagree - there isn't a noticeable increase in wind noise in my experience.

    And for the comment re fuel consumption, I was referring to stability of the bike on the roof. No mention of fuel consumption.
    2011 Carrera Fury

    Earn cashback at CRC, Wiggle, Evans, Rutland, Hargroves, Halfords, and more at Quidco
  • BriggoBriggo Posts: 3,823
    waby1234 wrote:
    Briggo wrote:
    nicklouse wrote:
    Briggo wrote:
    nicklouse wrote:
    waby1234 wrote:
    In terms of stability I use a Thuke Proride 951 and it's absolutely solid - you wouldn't know there was a bike on the roof.
    Except for the higher fuel use.

    And the noise.
    Not been an issue for me. Even with bikes on.

    Never said its an issue, referring to the statement "you wouldn't know it's there"... Well you can tell by the slightly increased wind noise, even with my new whisp bars.

    Sorry but I disagree - there isn't a noticeable increase in wind noise in my experience.

    Turn off the radio.
  • waby1234waby1234 Posts: 571
    Briggo wrote:
    waby1234 wrote:
    Briggo wrote:
    nicklouse wrote:
    Briggo wrote:
    nicklouse wrote:
    waby1234 wrote:
    In terms of stability I use a Thuke Proride 951 and it's absolutely solid - you wouldn't know there was a bike on the roof.
    Except for the higher fuel use.

    And the noise.
    Not been an issue for me. Even with bikes on.

    Never said its an issue, referring to the statement "you wouldn't know it's there"... Well you can tell by the slightly increased wind noise, even with my new whisp bars.

    Sorry but I disagree - there isn't a noticeable increase in wind noise in my experience.

    Turn off the radio.

    Anyway, back to the OP, I use a Thule roof carrier and it's very solid and there is not a noticeable increase in wind noise. I haven't assessed the impact on fuel consumption. Hope that's helpful.
    2011 Carrera Fury

    Earn cashback at CRC, Wiggle, Evans, Rutland, Hargroves, Halfords, and more at Quidco
  • Hi,

    I did my first long run with the Thule roof bars a couple of weeks ago - Newcastle upon Tyne to LLanelli.

    Bike, as always, very secure and very happy with it up there, as far as fuel goes, I would normally have expected to get about 58 mpg but only got a measly 52 - so over 10% reduction is fuel efficiency...

    700 mile roundtrip - an extra £10 or so.

    To be honest, I would have gone for tow bar if I already had a tow bar fitted but now having had the roof bars I am very happy with them.

    I think though, if price is not a consideration in your original outlay I would get the towbar carrier. You can get some great locks for the money you save on fuel and you aren't going to have mud dropping on the top of your car after a 'summer' ride!

    HTH

    Dave
    Ragley mmmBop
    Yeti 575
  • AMcKAMcK Posts: 79
    Having had both roof and tow bar carriers, I'd suggest for the tow bar variety - particularly long distance because of the fuel consumption and, if travelling through France, you can use the fast pay toll gates on the peage which are usually height restricted.

    Also a lot easier to pull bikes on and off than the roof variety (imho). But it comes down to personal preference.

    But you need to check your tow bar nose load bearing limit - ensuring the rack and however many bikes you want to take don't exceed that. And factor in that you'll need a lighting/reg plate board, unless you buy a carrier with one integrated (wheel holder carriers).

    I've got a Buzz Rack Viking 4 - which is great (with pipe lagging on the bikes if you want to avoid bikes mashing against each other) - solid, easy to get on and off the tow bar, tips forward with bikes on to allow access to the boot. And takes four adult mtbs no problem.

    Would have gone for a thule/buzz rack 4 bike wheel holder style bike carrier, but with two adult mtb and two children's bikes to carry, I was a little too close to the nose limit for comfort.
    2011 Black Canyon Nerve XC9.0
  • ElliesDadElliesDad Posts: 245
    I've got the Thule 9403 tow bar carrier which is the same as the 9503 but with a less fancy lighting board and its a lot cheaper. Very secure, easy to attach and holds the bikes securely. For me, a roof mounted carrier restricts more places you can go, ie more and more car parks have height restricters. It also leaves the roof free for a roof box should you ever need one!
    2012 Boardman FS Team
    2014 Giant Defy 2
  • diydiy Posts: 6,680
    If you already have the tow rig and loom mounted then that is the best option. Fuel economy really depends on the car. I run my bikes on the roof as I don't have a tow ball and it makes very little difference because its a fairly big, slow, thirsty car anyway. On a family hatch it will make a bigger difference. And of course speed makes a huge difference.
  • stubsstubs Posts: 5,001
    I have found if you can keep your speed around 50 it makes little difference in fuel economy wether you have roof or ball mounted. Get up to 70 on the M way and the roof mount kills the fuel. I always try and get the bikes inside even if it means stripping them down.
    Fig rolls: proof that god loves cyclists and that she wants us to do another lap
  • lewistlewist Posts: 16
    Thank you to everyone for the replys. I will be purchasing thule 9503 from halfords tomorrow. With a voucher code it works out very good value for money and hopefully will last a long time.

    Thank you...... now I just have to worry about riding Les Gets,
  • mrmonkfingermrmonkfinger Posts: 1,452
    I'd get the towbar. Your fuel consumption will be much better on the long trip, and no difference in security, really.

    nicklouse wrote:
    No extra charge for height on the train. But is on ferrys.

    I've never been charged extra on ferries for roof mounted bikes, going on the usual suspects from south/east coast uk to france/holland. Admittedly that's in the past... which ferries are now charging?
Sign In or Register to comment.