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Bike Carriers

rubertoerubertoe Posts: 3,993
edited May 2015 in Commuting chat
Talk to me about Bike carriers.

I need to get one for my motor as I am doing a lot of travelling around at the moment and looking to take some driving/camping holidays to France next year.

There will be 5 of us. 4 Bikes (one with a child seat) although one is for a 4 year old so can probably go in the car.

so that is two adult bikes (I cant take both of mine unfortunately) and a bike for a 8 year old (along with the 4 year olds.)

Should I be looking at roof mounted or rear mounted? What have you got and why?
"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."

PX Kaffenback 2 = Work Horse
B-Twin Alur 700 = Sundays and Hills

Posts

  • WheelspinnerWheelspinner Posts: 5,133
    On what vehicle?

    I have a biggish wagon, and use Thule racks on the roof, have done thousands of km with zero problems. Main reason was they are relatively secure with locking for each bike, and no interference with getting stuff out of the back of the wagon. Tailgate works fine. Have had 3 MTB up there for one 1100km trip, no probs.

    Only ever had 1 car with a tow bar mounted rack, was horrid to use, and near impossible to stop bikes rubbing against each other. Never again.
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  • rubertoerubertoe Posts: 3,993
    Nissan Qashqai or Vauxhal Zaffira.
    "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."

    PX Kaffenback 2 = Work Horse
    B-Twin Alur 700 = Sundays and Hills
  • diydiy Posts: 6,680
    Do you have a tow hook?

    There isn't one right answer tbh. Having them hung out over the back has its limitations too. I prefer mine on the roof of the family wagon (Volco XC90) but on the motor home they go fine on the back.

    You do have to be careful about going over speed bumps with them on the back and the ease at which they can been stolen. If its a big 4x4 and you aren't tanking it, then the roof option is best as they are out of the way.
  • PufftmwPufftmw Posts: 1,941
    I use the one in the pic, which I got from Halfords for about £100. Taken bikes on long trips with no adverse effects but I do attach them properly so that they don't move, with additional ratchet straps, taking care that they don't rub. I've even snuck an extra (small) bike on there once.

    I prefer the idea of towbar mounted as they're easier to get on/off especially with heavy kids bikes. I can lock the frames to the bracket with a normal U-lock and there's a security bolt system for the towbar ball. I also think they're more aerodynamic on the back of the car as opposed to the top? Parking in multi-story car parks or ferrys/eurotunnel aren't a worry. Finally, the one I have hinges down so you can access the rear of the car load.

    tb1.jpg
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Pufftmw wrote:
    I use the one in the pic, which I got from Halfords for about £100. Taken bikes on long trips with no adverse effects but I do attach them properly so that they don't move, with additional ratchet straps, taking care that they don't rub. I've even snuck an extra (small) bike on there once.

    I prefer the idea of towbar mounted as they're easier to get on/off especially with heavy kids bikes. I can lock the frames to the bracket with a normal U-lock and there's a security bolt system for the towbar ball. I also think they're more aerodynamic on the back of the car as opposed to the top? Parking in multi-story car parks or ferrys/eurotunnel aren't a worry. Finally, the one I have hinges down so you can access the rear of the car load.

    tb1.jpg
    Can you hinge it back up when it's fully loaded with bikes?
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Personally I prefer bar mounted racks - no height restrictions/barriers to worry about, easy to load/unload and no significant windage to worry about.
  • davisdavis Posts: 2,566
    tgotb wrote:
    Pufftmw wrote:
    I use the one in the pic, which I got from Halfords for about £100. Taken bikes on long trips with no adverse effects but I do attach them properly so that they don't move, with additional ratchet straps, taking care that they don't rub. I've even snuck an extra (small) bike on there once.

    I prefer the idea of towbar mounted as they're easier to get on/off especially with heavy kids bikes. I can lock the frames to the bracket with a normal U-lock and there's a security bolt system for the towbar ball. I also think they're more aerodynamic on the back of the car as opposed to the top? Parking in multi-story car parks or ferrys/eurotunnel aren't a worry. Finally, the one I have hinges down so you can access the rear of the car load.

    tb1.jpg
    Can you hinge it back up when it's fully loaded with bikes?

    I've got that exact one. Yes, you can; the hinge is actually approximately in the middle of the bikes so it's fairly easy to move.

    If you're using one in winter then consider wrapping the bike up in something... 70-ish mph of salt from French motorways wasn't kind to my wheels!
    Sometimes parts break. Sometimes you crash. Sometimes it’s your fault.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    I'm currently using 4 Thule roof mounted racks (the ones which clamp to the fork). Every weekend in the CX season, and (with fewer bikes) most weekends over the Summer.
    Pros:
    Keeps bikes out of the way
    Very quick to load
    Unobstructed access to car boot
    Bikes are held securely and kept separate (no padding etc)
    You can pretend you're driving a pro tour support car (especially with another 10 wheels in the boot)
    Racks can easily be left on car during the week.
    Cons:
    Wheels need to be stored in car (I do have separate wheel racks, but with 4 bikes on the roof there's no space for them)
    Living in mortal fear of forgetting I have the bikes and driving under a height restriction barrier
    Mud running down car windows after wet races
    Mud flying off and hitting the car behind (this might belong in the Pros section)
    Slightly lower fuel economy (though not as bad as I expected)
    Can't use a roof box

    I've also used a friend's towbar-mounted carrier (this one slides back to give access to the boot, eliminating the issue with racks that fold down, and are then hard to fold back with the weight of the bikes). It's a bit less convenient than the roof option, but eliminates the other disadvantages. For short trips every weekend the roof option still wins for me, but I'd probably go with the towbar option for one-off long trips (family camping trips, driving to the Alps etc).

    Edit: The one I'm now having difficulty with is the tandem. Too long for a towbar mount, and too heavy to lift onto the roof on my own; I'm currently stuck with putting one of the seats down and threading it through the back of the car...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • lostboysaintlostboysaint Posts: 4,252
    Done all three ways before finally succumbing to getting a van with a Fiamma rack on it. Tow bar with a tilting rack (Strada Atera is the best) is the way forward.
    Trail fun - Transition Bandit
    Road - Wilier Izoard Centaur/Cube Agree C62 Disc
    Allround - Cotic Solaris
  • diydiy Posts: 6,680
    Done all three ways before finally succumbing to getting a van with a Fiamma rack on it. Tow bar with a tilting rack (Strada Atera is the best) is the way forward.

    If you are carrying more than 2 no matter what dealers say about extension options on the cheaper racks, go for the pro (heavy duty). This is what happened to us last year when our dealer fitted the wrong one trying to do it on the cheap. The van is approx. 25' long and it kicks up quite high at the back if you go over bumps even at a crawl

    17970374872_90441dfe4a_c.jpg

    On the car option, I totally forgot that ferry companies normally charge more if you are over 3M. So roof option might cost more.
  • Daz555Daz555 Posts: 4,040
    edited May 2015
    Towbar mounted for me. No height issues to worry about and easier to get the bikes on and off in my experience.

    Thule seem to be the leaders in all things car mounted but I balked at the price so went for the Buzz Rack Quattro: http://www.roofbox.co.uk/bike-carriers/ ... &catin=435

    First class bit of kit. Well built and will hold 4 bikes - up to 60kg total.

    The only slight hassle is the tailgate on the Zafira - it is so large (and swings out from a very low position) that it will not open even when this rack is tilted away. I'm sure it would be fine with 90% of other cars to be honest. It makes no odds though, just means I pack stuff I need to get access to near the top so I can get to them from the rear seats.

    When I'm just taking one or two bikes on a quick trip however I use my Thule Xpress - this thing goes on in about 3 seconds. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Thule-TH9700-Xp ... ke+carrier
    You only need two tools: WD40 and Duck Tape.
    If it doesn't move and should, use the WD40.
    If it shouldn't move and does, use the tape.
  • lostboysaintlostboysaint Posts: 4,252
    diy wrote:
    Done all three ways before finally succumbing to getting a van with a Fiamma rack on it. Tow bar with a tilting rack (Strada Atera is the best) is the way forward.

    If you are carrying more than 2 no matter what dealers say about extension options on the cheaper racks, go for the pro (heavy duty). This is what happened to us last year when our dealer fitted the wrong one trying to do it on the cheap. The van is approx. 25' long and it kicks up quite high at the back if you go over bumps even at a crawl

    17970374872_90441dfe4a_c.jpg

    Good advice, thanks.
    Trail fun - Transition Bandit
    Road - Wilier Izoard Centaur/Cube Agree C62 Disc
    Allround - Cotic Solaris
  • rubertoerubertoe Posts: 3,993
    Anyone use a Saris Bones?

    I am going to go foa arear mounted rack as I have just bought a roof box.... I think i might have to sell a child.
    "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."

    PX Kaffenback 2 = Work Horse
    B-Twin Alur 700 = Sundays and Hills
  • davmaggsdavmaggs Posts: 1,008
    rubertoe wrote:
    Anyone use a Saris Bones?

    I am going to go foa arear mounted rack as I have just bought a roof box.... I think i might have to sell a child.

    I have a Sarris. Structurally very sound, and fairly easy to store as all the arms and straps can be moved about.

    I'd say that the flaw is that you need to load the luggage and then fit it, and go through tightening it all up. Once it's in place then your other half announces that she wants something back out of the boot and you have to start all over again.

    If you were going away regularly then I'd say having seen the pictures above that the towbar types look superb as it appears that you can still open the boot.
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