What kind of bike rack should I get?

What kind of bike rack should I get?

The popularity of cycling has grown hugely in the UK in recent years. But as travel bans rule out most cycling destinations abroad this summer, many pedal-mad Brits will be taking their bikes on staycation instead.

Safely transporting a bike by car can seem a little daunting, especially if haven’t done so before. However, it’s easier than you might think and as long as your bike rack is fitted securely and checked before leaving, you shouldn’t have any issues.

Roof-mounted racks

Cost an average of £50 to £150 per rack and are fitted to the bars and rails on your car roof. If your car doesn’t include these as standard, they can be bought and installed separately.

The two most common roof-mounted options involve fixing the bike to the rack via its down tube or the front forks once you’ve removed the front wheel.

You should ‘top and tail’ the way the bikes are stored. Alternating the direction the bikes face is the best way to utilise the space on your roof.

Pros:

  • You can usually fit up to four bikes – depending on car size
  • Access to your boot remains clear
  • Won’t obscure rear lights and plates
  • Easy to install and remove (after a bit of practice)
  • The racks often come with built-in locks, which is great for additional security
  • Sturdy and secure

Cons:

  • Lifting the bikes onto the roof can be tricky – hopefully, there will be another person on hand to help
  • Requires roof bars on your vehicle
  • Not great for your vehicles aerodynamics and therefore petrol consumption
  • The additional height of your bike might make height-restricted areas, such as car park entry points, difficult to access

Rear-mounted racks

Cost between £50 to £300. Bike racks fitted to the rear of the vehicle tend to be a little more basic. But are a very cost-effective, quick-to-fit option.

They are usually metal-framed and fit to the edges of the boot or a tow bar. The bikes then hang on one or two extended arms, and straps and clips tie the bikes to the frames of the rack.

Carefully check the rear-mounted rack you buy is suitable for your car. The type of rack you require will vary depending on whether your car is a hatchback, estate, four-by-four etc.

Always double-check that all straps and clips are tight and secure before setting off. You may also want to consider adding some padding between your bikes to help reduce the amount of movement that occurs while you drive.

Pros:

  • Generally cheaper than roof-mounted racks
  • Quick and easy to get bikes on and off
  • You don’t have to be tall and strong to use them, as with roof-mounted bike racks as you will not be lifting bikes overhead
  • Safe and secure

Cons:

  • Can hold fewer bikes – usually a maximum of three
  • Limits access to the boot of your car
  • More difficult to reverse your vehicle with additional load
  • Your bikes may extend past the width of your car when fitted to the rack. A potential hazard for yourself and other motorists
  • Some mounting pads can rub off the paint on your car’s bodywork where attached

Happy Cycling!

Now the difficultly of choosing and fitting a bike rack is sorted, enjoy getting out on the open road, wherever your bike takes you.

 

 


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