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Bike carrier advice

Does anyone have any advice or recommendations for bike carriers? My son has started joining me recently and we have a few family holidays/trips planned - these will include family and dogs, so no chance of my preferred transport option of putting the bike in the back of the car. I currently have a Halfords tailgate mounted device, but it is a bit of a faff (too many straps) and it is getting past its best and I no longer really trust it to transport a couple of fairly expensive road bikes. I would consider another tailgate mounted device but at the moment I am tending towards a roof mounted system - my wife has an e-bike which she keeps threatening to use and it seems pretty heavy to be hanging off the back of a tailgate if we were to travel with it. Thule seem to be the name that comes up every time I search and I believe they are well respected. I always Imagine though that a roof mounted bike is going to get battered by the weather if I drive along the motorway in the rain for instance. I can see us turning up at our destination with the bike absolutely caked in road grime - is there such a thing as a cover for this purpose? Velosock perhaps?
A towbar system is not really an option - my car doesn't have a towbar and I don't want to fit one.
Whatever I opt for it is likely to be a few hundred quid so I'd be grateful for peoples' advice and experiences (good and bad).
Thanks for any advice. Cheers.
Ribble Gran Fondo
Bianchi Impulso
BMC Teammachine

“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"

Posts

  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 9,874
    Thule are the normal good quality people to use. You were doing ok until you mentioned ebike. Most roofs have a weight limit and ebikes arent light. As to covering a bike in something like a velosock, imagine a crosswind with a several sails on top of your roof. I've transported my road and mtb,s from the midlands to fort william and above with no issues. Just remove anything that clips on as they can come off. Seat packs, lights, bottles, big mtb mudguards etc. Dont forget carpark goalposts or hanging bars into carparks. I use Thule 598 along with a Thule 984 wrap around carbon frame protector. Always found the best way of transporting my bikes was on trailer mounted bars. Did use a pendle 4 bike towbar mounted rack but was above towball noseweight limit if fully loaded. Some cars arent the easiest for securing roofracks on my newish C3 is pants my old C4 Cactus was brilliant. Cars with roof rails are easier to work with as well. Hope thus helps answer some of your questions.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • s_j_pwmbs_j_pwmb Posts: 75
    Whilst you don’t want to fit one, the towbar mounted carriers are by far the most secure, durable, reliable, and economic (fuel economy wise) so long as your car’s nose weight limit is acceptable. For a car with a 100kg limit you should be able to carry three or four bikes with ease, and mounting/demounting the cycles is a cinch even for a heavy e-bike.

    I dislike tailgate strapped carriers with a vengeance. A car tailgate isn’t designed to take the static nor dynamic cornering loads of attached bikes, there’s the possibility of paintwork damage, they’re just not secure as the attachment points are invariably a compromise of flexibility across multiple cars and strength, and most will cover the number plate and lights so you need a lighting board which necessitates fitting a towing electric socket. They also prevent you from opening the tailgate without removing the bikes/rack.

    Roof mounted carriers are good and secure, but as Oxoman says be very aware of height restrictions. They’re also far from ideal for a heavy e-bike as there’s often a 50kg maximum roof loading limit (effectively limiting you to two bikes plus the mounting hardware), it’s difficult to lift 25kg above your head and then reach forward, and the cycles will be in the wind and will thus affect fuel economy. If you do go the roof mount way, then don’t scrimp on the carriers as the cheaper ones are a faff to secure and that’s not something you need whilst tying to hold a 25kg bike upright and manoeuvre the down tube clamp into place.
  • crescentcrescent Posts: 1,088
    Great information, folks. Thank you for your replies. I think I am tending towards roof mounted. The various YouTube videos for the Thule system look pretty impressive. A bit pricier than I thought though. It's looking like upwards of £500 to buy two carriers, bars and the appropriate feet to fit my rails (Audi Q3). Not sure I am convinced about the aero wing bars though - seems like minimal gains considering there are two bikes strapped on top of them.
    Ribble Gran Fondo
    Bianchi Impulso
    BMC Teammachine

    “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"
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 9,874
    The aero wings save a bit of wind noise TBH. The Thule ones are expensive but are the best.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • s_j_pwmbs_j_pwmb Posts: 75
    Don’t underestimate the value of having Thule equipment throughout, it “just works” with no fiddling or faffing. It’s expensive, but saves a lot of time.

    I’ve never been sold on the expensive aero-bars, particularly as you have to factor in the T mount adapters price too, but if you’re going to leave the bars on the car all the time then they’re worth the premium.

    If you’re a member of one of the big cycling organisations then you may be eligible for a 10% discount from Halfords, otherwise check out the likes of The Roofbox Company who (if I remember correctly) have a guide to different makes of cycle carriers and their prices are competitive.
  • crescentcrescent Posts: 1,088
    Thanks again for the info. I've just gone ahead and ordered a Thule roof mounted system. When I entered my car reg number it told me everything I needed to buy and all the various upgrade options. Interestingly, it also told me my car is not suited to any tailgate racks, might explain why my Halfords one does not inspire confidence. Managed to get everything I needed for a shade over £300. I won't be leaving the bars on the car other than when I'm using the bike carrier so opted for the bog standard non-aero bars. Cheers.
    Ribble Gran Fondo
    Bianchi Impulso
    BMC Teammachine

    “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"
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