Forum home Road cycling forum Road general

Roof mounted bike racks

neebneeb Posts: 4,360
edited March 2019 in Road general
I have one of those boot-mounted racks that I've only used once because 1) it's such a hassle to fit, 2) you can't open the boot when it's on, and 3) I always worry about the bike getting clipped or tailgaited when it's there..

The roof-mounted racks seem to be the best solution, but I'm absolutely terrified of the prospect of forgetting I have several thousand pounds worth of carbon on the roof and going underneath a low bridge or barrier..

I just know that I'm the kind of person who is likely to end up doing that at some point.. :D

If you use one of those racks, what safeguards do you employ to avoid this? How commonly do you encounter obstacles low enough to pose a threat and how do you anticipate them?

Posts

  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    There aren't many low barriers ? Some car parks ? Drive Thrus ?

    Avoid those and you'll be fine.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    neeb wrote:
    If you use one of those racks, what safeguards do you employ to avoid this? How commonly do you encounter obstacles low enough to pose a threat and how do you anticipate them?

    Common sense usually does it.

    You might need to be wary of some car park barriers, but i've never come across anything else problematic. A low bridge would have to be incredibly low before it caused an issue for roof carriers. Best way to anticipate potential hazards like that is to simply watch where you're going...
  • figbatfigbat Posts: 680
    I am paranoid when the bike is up top, so unlikely to go under anything low (so far, so good). I mount the carrier so it is right above the driver, so I get the best view of what height I am going under, and it helps keep it away from hedges and overgrowing trees.
    Cube Reaction GTC Pro 29 for the lumpy stuff
    Cannondale Synapse alloy with 'guards for the winter roads
    Fuji Altamira 2.7 for the summer roads
    Trek 830 Mountain Track frame turned into a gravel bike - for anywhere & everywhere
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,360
    I'm reassured by the fact that I suppose, as cougie says, there aren't all that many low barriers. I'm less reassured by common sense being protective.. ;-)

    I can just see myself drving into a carpark, tired at the end of a long drive, and completely forgetting that I have a bike on the roof.

    I once spent 10 minutes searching a flat for a rucksack I was actually wearing.. (admittedly it was nearly 30 years ago and I was monumentally hungover at the time!).
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Lol. That's is brilliant !!
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 8,195
    Just occasionally you will get caught out. Services on M5 had hanging chains to stop caravans etc getting in, managed to catch lads handle bars as I drove under it in bright sunshine. Luckily only repositioned slightly.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 6,014
    I've lost a bike to a low barrier - I wasn't driving - he totalled 4 race bikes - just one of those things but personally I prefer a tow bar mounted rack - better petrol consumption too apparently.

    edit - didn't do his car roof much good either
    AFC Mercia women - sign for us
  • tonysjtonysj Posts: 326
    How I avoid low bridges or barriers with my roof mounted bikes on the top of the car???...
    The big white box being towed by my car tends to remind me to avoid low barriers. lol.
    A Caravan.....
    I have a couple of Thule 591s and a couple of Elite San Remo carriers. Juggle between the 2 makes depending on which bikes going up top, Carbon road or Mountain bike metal..
    T
  • rafletcherrafletcher Posts: 1,154
    Best solution (IMO of course!) is a towbar mounted carrier, one that includes a tilt mechanism to tip the bikes away from the car (I have a Thule one that does this), so that even with an estate car you can still open the rear hatch. No risk of forgetting what's on the roof, none of the significant "sail" effect you get, especially with sidewinds.
  • handfulhandful Posts: 914
    neeb wrote:
    I'm reassured by the fact that I suppose, as cougie says, there aren't all that many low barriers. I'm less reassured by common sense being protective.. ;-)

    I can just see myself drving into a carpark, tired at the end of a long drive, and completely forgetting that I have a bike on the roof.

    I once spent 10 minutes searching a flat for a rucksack I was actually wearing.. (admittedly it was nearly 30 years ago and I was monumentally hungover at the time!).

    Not done the rucksack thing but often used to look for glasses that were on my head before I started wearing contacts! To be fair, I've never come close to hitting a low bridge, I am paranoid about checking for heights when carrying my bikes.
    Vaaru Titanium Sram eTap HRD
    Kuota Kharma Evo Rival 22 - fair weather
    Moda Chord with drop bars and Rival shifters - foul weather
    Intense Spider 29er - mud
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,360
    The evil thng about the rucksack was that every time I turned around to look somewhere else it moved behind me.. trying to catch me out!

    The friend who was helping me look for it (in his flat) naturally assumed I couldn't possibly be referring to the one I was actually wearing.. until after several minutes of searching and me describing it in increasingly greater detail he eventually twigged.. :D

    It was a monumental hangover.. 2 hours sleep and an early flight to catch..
  • crakercraker Posts: 2,060
    Picked my mate up from the train station at Harrow. Put his bike on the roof, got chatting, drove out of the car park and heard an almighty thump as a bike and roofbars landed on the road behind us. The train he had come in on was still in the station; must have been a chuckle for several carriages of passengers.

    Good old 80s steel MTBs can stand up to that sort of punishment.

    It's still the most convenient way of lugging a bike around (short of putting them inside the car). Towbar if you're going further (pain to get in the boot).

    Can't be doing those strappy rear hatch things. To much scratching and loosening and retightening of everything every couple of hours.
  • shipleyshipley Posts: 554
    I use the Thule fork mount bike rack system. Bikes are rock solid even at Eurotunnel chasing speeds (80-90mph) for several hours without issue. Fuel consumption is adversely affected and you have to store a couple of wheels in the car/boot but additional locks ensure that (apart from being inside the car) for me this is the safest and most practical option.

    A combination of the wheels in the car and the rapidly falling fuel gauge mean you don’t forget about the bikes and I always have a car with a glass sunroof which helps !
  • neeb wrote:
    The roof-mounted racks seem to be the best solution, but I'm absolutely terrified of the prospect of forgetting I have several thousand pounds worth of carbon on the roof and going underneath a low bridge or barrier.
    IME, be terrified. It’s horrifically easy to do if you get distracted for a moment. I lost both wheels, forks and handlebars in one incident (the frame is metal and survived), but the damage to the car¡s roof and side rails was horrific (too grim for me to countenance getting it fixed TBH).
    oxoman wrote:
    Just occasionally you will get caught out. Services on M5 had hanging chains to stop caravans etc getting in, managed to catchz lads handle bars as I drove under it in bright sunshine. Luckily only repositioned slightly.
    Oh yes, that was the one that did for me. Signs, chains, warnings - I missed them all unti I heard the very loud, very expensive "bang" from the roof.

    I was distracted by a puncture warning light on the dashboard; to add insult to injury, the tyre was fine, the sensor was faulty.

    Best option is to try to ride everywhere.
    They use their cars as shopping baskets; they use their cars as overcoats.
  • norvernrobnorvernrob Posts: 1,448
    We got a detachable towbar fitted and bought a 4 bike carrier. Much much easier than lifting bikes onto the roof, fuel economy isn’t affected much, and someone’s going to have to drive into the back of your car at a fair speed to damage the bikes (plus then it’s their fault, as opposed to yours if you smack into a barrier with bikes on the roof).

    Boot access is no issue as a foot pedal tilts the rack without having to do anything with the bikes. 3,000+ miles done last year over two trips to the Alps with no issues at all.
Sign In or Register to comment.