Choosing A Cycle Carrier
Choosing a cycle carrier or bike rack for your car is based on a number of factors -
How many bikes need to be carried?
This is the first question to ask yourself.
Roof mounted carriers are for individual bikes, most car roof bars will take up to four cycles.
Towbar carriers at the most wiil carry four bikes and are suitable for most vehicles fitted with a towbar, there is a five bike exception but you do need a vehicle with a high towbar noseweight capacity.
Rear mount bike racks can, in rare cases, carry up to four bikes. There are a number of limiting factors for this type of cycle carrier, such as the physical fit and whether or not the boot or tailgate has the structural strength to support the load of the bikes plus the carrier.
There is a wide range of prices depending on the style and features of the different bike racks.
Does the car have a towbar?
In our opinion, using a towbar mounted cycle carrier is, by far, the safest and easiest way to transport your cycles. The carrier is fitted quickly and easily to the car, no excessive lifting is involved, fuel consumption is not really affected, wind noise is not noticeable and, for most bike racks, there are no attachments to the car body.
Is the tailgate or boot of the car suitable for use with a rear mounted bike rack?
We always check application guides to make sure that a rear mounted carrier is suitable for the vehicles' tailgate. It is not uncommon for a tailgate on an unsuitable vehicle to collapse under the weight of the bikes, or even the back window to shatter.
For any rear mounted carrier, you should expect at least a small amount of damage to the vehicles paintwork. This may only be light scratching, but you should be aware of this as a possibility. Three bikes plus the carrier can weigh 50 - 60 kilos and the load is only supported by hooks and pads in contact with the cars paintwork.
Is it practical to use roof bars?
It can be a challenge to lift a bike onto the roof of a standard saloon or estate car, but if you have an MPV or 4x4 you may need the assistance of a set of steps to get the bikes onto the roof.
With bikes loaded on the roof you can expect a significant increase in wind noise, particularly when driving at speed. Fuel consumption is also going to increase.
If you do choose roof mounted cycle carriers, please remember to look out for height restricting barriers!!