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School me on roof rack bike carriers

MiddleRingerMiddleRinger Posts: 678
edited June 2019 in Road buying advice
So I've just bought a car and it has those two rails that run either side of the roof (Mitsubishi ASX). I'd like to get some roof mounted bike carriers to free up space inside the vehicle. I guess I need to buy roof rack bars, then bike carriers either from the same brand or separately?

What model of roof rack bike carrier to people rate highly?

Ideally I'd like to be able to transport two bikes, mostly road bikes but possibly a mountain bike as well. Not sure if I should go a both wheels on model or front wheel off carrier. Anything else I need to consider? I want something rock solid!

(I may go tow-bar mount yet, but then I can't open the boot...)

Thanks! :-)

Posts

  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    Thule holding by the fork drop outs.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • navrig2navrig2 Posts: 1,666
    If budget is an issue then the Elite carrier is good value.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Elite-FA003512 ... B007D1RHZA

    or

    https://www.merlincycles.com/elite-sanr ... IIEALw_wcB

    If you go for front wheel off models make sure they cope with thru' axles. The Elite above doesn't but you can buy an adapter.

    I use it for road bikes but wouldn't use it for a MTB. I use a Thule both wheels on version.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thule-ProRide- ... way&sr=8-2

    Some tow bar carriers will allow access to the boot on some car models. It'censored and miss, pun intended ;-)

    I see you have an SUV. You should consider getting a set of steps otherwise getting bikes on and off is a challenge. I've a set of something like these:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/ArtMoon-Ladder ... B019WKRZKQ

    I take them with us otherwise I have to look for a bit of road with a high kerb so I can be a bit closer to the roof! I'm 5'10".
  • figbatfigbat Posts: 680
    I have a roof system and a towbar rack, all from Thule. They are good quality but not cheap, although they come up second hand all the time (I bought my towbar rack from Facebook Marketplace).

    Roof: you need two roofbars with the correct feet - a site like roofracks.co.uk will help you find which ones fit your car. The bars will clamp to your existing roof rails and are often lockable, usually an optional extra. There are various shapes of roofbar, from cheap square ones to expensive aero/wing shaped ones. I have the latter as they help keep noise down. You then need a bicycle rack. I use the Thule 592 which keeps both wheels on and clamps the downtube. I use it with MTB and road bikes, steel, alloy and carbon frames. It is easy to get the bike on and off, although is a bit of a reach on top of our XC60 (I can do it without a step and am 5’10”, but that is with the rack located to one side of the car). The rack fits to the bars either with a ‘T-rack’ system that runs along a slot in the top of the bars, or you can use a U-shaped clamp over bars with no slot. T-rack is cleaner and very easy to use; you get a rubber strip to fit in the slot to reduce wind noise. A roof rack limits which car parks you can use, although with planning ahead I have never been stuck for somewhere to park near where I want to be, and have never forgotten about the roof load and hit anything with it.

    Towbar
    I have a VeloCompact 927. As I said, picked up for a good price second hand. It’ll take 3 bikes as standard with an optional adapter to add a fourth. I have only used it for 3 (the 4th goes on the roof if needed). It is a very sturdy thing. It clamps the frame and holds both wheels. Fitting three bikes is a bit of a faff of lining up pedals, seats and handlebars and threading the frame holders through it all, but it is at waist height. The rack pivots down to allow access to the boot. It adds a significant rear overhang and length, making parking more tricky but if we use it out and about I usually unload the bikes then take the rack off and put it in the boot. Of course you do need a towbar and electrics fitted to your car.

    All of the above are lockable but I don’t consider these to be secure - if I’m leaving the bikes on the car I use a cable lock for security.
    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
  • I purchased the Exodus aero roof bars from Halfords. Easy to fit and much cheaper than the Thule ones(they are made by Thule for Halfords). You just need to make sure you buy the right feet pack to suit you car.

    I wouldn't get the Exodus bike carrier though. Had to take mine back(lock broke) and get a Thule 591 which is much better quality. it wasn't that much more expensive either, about £20.
  • MiddleRingerMiddleRinger Posts: 678
    Awesome! Thanks for all that info. I will certainly need a step as getting the bikes on and off the higher roof will be a struggle (especially the bulkier mtb). I've never had an SUV before. I'll do a bit of research into those racks listed above over the weekend.

    Budget is not really an issue. If I'm securing my pride and joy bikes to the outside of my car I want the best and most secure system!
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    So I've just bought a car and it has those two rails that run either side of the roof (Mitsubishi ASX). I'd like to get some roof mounted bike carriers to free up space inside the vehicle. I guess I need to buy roof rack bars, then bike carriers either from the same brand or separately?

    What model of roof rack bike carrier to people rate highly?

    Ideally I'd like to be able to transport two bikes, mostly road bikes but possibly a mountain bike as well. Not sure if I should go a both wheels on model or front wheel off carrier. Anything else I need to consider? I want something rock solid!

    (I may go tow-bar mount yet, but then I can't open the boot...)

    Thanks! :-)

    I previously used Thule roof racks with my Touareg, but it became a pain in the backside having to cart steps around for safe loading and unloading or precariously doing it without steps. I moved to a towbar mounted 4 bike carrier that has been a revelation. I can still get in the rear load space with the carrier on by releasing it forward using the foot lever. At £350, it wasn't much more expensive than two roof racks at £125 each and bearing in mind I can carry four bikes, works out a lot cheaper than four roof racks.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • stueysstueys Posts: 1,332
    I had a Thule roof mounted holder which worked fine, pretty secure and usual Thule quality. I quickly moved onto a tow bar system though. For me tow bar is a more secure mounting for the bikes (they are out of the wind so don’t get as much movement through the journey), it’s a lot quieter and just easier to get the bikes on and off. Most of the tow bar mounts come with a slide that allows access to the boot.

    Take a look at roofbox.co,uk, they do a wide variety of both systems so you can compare. I’ve no idea whether they are good prices or not though.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 7,393
    Although tow bar racks often tilt to allow you to open the boot it does depend on the car.

    If you only want to carry 2 bikes though I'd probably go tow bar - I've lost a bike on a roof to a low barrier - not my car and I wasn't driving - it'll never happen to you until it does - badly damaged four bikes and did some damage to the car roof too. I find a tow bar rack easy enough and as mentioned better for fuel economy and wind noise.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • figbatfigbat Posts: 680
    I tend to agree, with the following additional comments:

    The towbar rack needs somewhere to live when off the car - mine folds down but is quite heavy.
    The rack can not stay on the car when not in use. Well, it can but it makes things awkward.
    With the towbar rack on you lose any reversing aids on your car.

    I use the roof for taking one bike anywhere, which is usually less than an hour’s drive. The rack stays on the car all the time, which will blunt fuel economy but as I use it most weeks it is easier than repeatedly fitting and removing it. I use the towbar rack for when we take all of our bikes anywhere and for any long journeys. If taking all 4 family bikes, my son’s 20” bike goes up top, for minimal drag.
    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
  • norvernrobnorvernrob Posts: 1,433
    philthy3 wrote:
    So I've just bought a car and it has those two rails that run either side of the roof (Mitsubishi ASX). I'd like to get some roof mounted bike carriers to free up space inside the vehicle. I guess I need to buy roof rack bars, then bike carriers either from the same brand or separately?

    What model of roof rack bike carrier to people rate highly?

    Ideally I'd like to be able to transport two bikes, mostly road bikes but possibly a mountain bike as well. Not sure if I should go a both wheels on model or front wheel off carrier. Anything else I need to consider? I want something rock solid!

    (I may go tow-bar mount yet, but then I can't open the boot...)

    Thanks! :-)

    I previously used Thule roof racks with my Touareg, but it became a pain in the backside having to cart steps around for safe loading and unloading or precariously doing it without steps. I moved to a towbar mounted 4 bike carrier that has been a revelation. I can still get in the rear load space with the carrier on by releasing it forward using the foot lever. At £350, it wasn't much more expensive than two roof racks at £125 each and bearing in mind I can carry four bikes, works out a lot cheaper than four roof racks.

    This. We have a detachable towbar fitted to the car, and a Whispbar 3 bike carrier with 4th bike extension. We did over 3,000 miles over two trips to the Alps last year, carrying 4 bikes with no issues at all. The boot is fully accessible by tilting the rack with a foot pedal. I doubt we’d have averaged 50mpg either with a load of bikes sat on the roof!

    Fitting the Whispbar involves sitting it vertically on the towbar, folding it out flat and then plugging in the electrics. Takes about a minute. If I’m just taking one bike somewhere I don’t bother with any rack at all, just put it in the car.
  • MiddleRingerMiddleRinger Posts: 678
    UPDATE: After attempting to lift my mountain bike and and off the roof of the car a few times (to see how much effort would be required) I've decided to go the rear mounted option. I'm not as tall or as strong as I'd like to think I am, haha! Probably going to opt for a two bike model in the event I ever make any friends.

    Looking at YAKIMA hitch-mounted racks, as they seem to be popular out here.
  • trek_dantrek_dan Posts: 1,366
    I've got the Yakima roof mount, no complaints. Quality is excellent. Went for this as was the only system I could find that took all axle standards (wheels stay on) and doesn't have a frame clamp (my FS MTB does not work with frame clamps due to its shape)
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