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Rear mount bike rack - do they work?

Michael-BMichael-B Posts: 46
edited November 2017 in Road general
Hey all - a few years ago I bought one of those rear mount bike racks, the type which use hooks/straps which slot into the boot.

I never got around to using it but wondered what people's experiences were with them as I'm a bit iffy about putting my nice bike on it.

Are they really that secure? And do they damage the car boot and/or paintwork?



  • Michael-B wrote:
    Are they really that secure? And do they damage the car boot and/or paintwork?
    Depends on the skill of the person fitting it, the design of the rack, the suitability for your vehicle... They can be solid & cause no damage or censored , fall off, damage your paintwork & smash your bike. If your rack obscures your number plate and/or lights you need to fit a trailer board. You may not get lifted by the rozzers but if someone prangs the back of you it will certainly be a contributory factor in insurers faffing on and apportioning blame.

    Towball mount is the way to go.
  • I've a Saris Bones RS that uses steel straps rather than fabric and have had no real problems with it.

    As well regular trips to the continent I did a 6,000 mile road trip with it a couple of years ago. Only things needed sorting were the two occassions I managed to unhitch it when I bumped it reversing into parking spaces and to put some new Gorilla tape under the pads as a precaution against it touching the paint.

    Drove 4,000 miles to Norway and back this year and never had to do anything extra to it.
  • used a paddyhopkirk one from halfords for years takes a bit of setting up to get the angles right but never had a problem

    I made sure it was tight and the bike really secure and tested all the straps at each stop.

    I changed to a roof mount because the new car has narrower shut lines on the hatchback and the side as with most hatchbacks is just glass where the rear screen meets the body. The hooks wont fit and i was concerned that tight straps could shatter the rear screen.

    if i could get a tow bar fitted for only a couple of hundred quid i would go that option but as i use 2 cars a roof option is more economical.
  • Thanks for all the replies - that's really useful info.
  • crescentcrescent Posts: 1,199
    edited November 2017
    They do a job but I’m never 100% confident in it as there is always some movement, albeit nothing has ever actually fallen off or been damaged. If you have the space then I would recommend taking the wheels off and carrying them inside the car. Doing this keeps things a bit more compact and stable. A couple of bungee cords to stop the handlebars and cranks from moving as well is a good idea.
    Bianchi ImpulsoBMC Teammachine SLR02 01Trek Domane AL3“When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. “ ~H.G. Wells Edit - "Unless it's a BMX"
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,535
    I had a Thule thing with straps that I junked quickly as I never felt comfortable with it and it took an age to set up.

    I then got a Saris Bones RS - superb engineering, great design, really easy to install with just two ratchet straps and super secure. The only issue I had was that one time I cranked the ratchets too tight and created a small indentation in the boot as a result! I learned that you shouldnt be doing them so tight that they dont move as this is not really achievable and actually isnt desirable - they should move a bit, you just have to get used to it.

    I used the Saris for years and it was really good.

    When I got a new car a year ago, I got a towbar fitted and a carrier with number plates and lights etc and this is sooo much better and because the bike sit on a rack, rather than being hung over arms they are so much quicker and easier to arrange. Definitively and without a shadow of a doubt, this is the way to go if you can.

    The tip about having a couple of small bungy cords to stop the wheels from wobbling around is a very good one.
  • tomisitttomisitt Posts: 257
    Saris Bones, rock solid at 110mph on the autobahn, multiple 2000 mile trips, no dramas at all. Stick some helicopter tape on the car if you’re worried about the paintwork, and use some pipe-lagging on the bike frames.
  • Thanks again to all those who replied. Might give it a go with my winter hack & daughter's cheapo bike...
  • I agree with the comments as above. If I could add that plastic roof spoilers are a hindrance to many modern cars fitting this type of rack.
    There is a small guide to the benefits and pitfalls of the different systems.
    Remember the load is your responsibility. I would recommend adding a cable to the emergency towing point, just in case!
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,535
    Good point about the spoilers - I remember when someone wanted to borrow mine, we checked and their car recommended not using one because the spoiler was not rated to the load that it would be placed under.
  • edited August 2021
    Cycling is a fun and enjoyable hobby, but it will be more useful by installing a rear bike rack. First, you should look for a rack that can carry a maximum of 25kg so that you can carry heavier objects, buy a rear bike rack that is compatible with the size of the bike rack for a more stable attachment. When you install a rear bike rack, you should consider rear-back racks with eyelets for fast and easy installation. You can use it to carry your bike tools, daily essentials, and food with a rack trunk.
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