Bike on roof or on the back – what is best?
On the back they get covered in crap off the road this weather, and you run the risk of being hit, by uninsured drunk drivers or just idiots who think they can drive.
On the roof beware of height restrictor bars on car parks and your garage, also some low bridges and over hanging trees especialy on single track lanes.
Buy a\ van and bike lives happily inside all weathers.Posted 7 years agoGarry_LagerSubscriber
Tow bar on the back is best. Safest and easiest to use.
It’s also the most expensive if you need the tow bar fitted – think it cost me £200+ for a seat leon. Then another £100 for a thule rack.
It’s a no-brainer if you drive a lot to the trails IMO. If it’s for more occasional use I’d get a cheap halfords boot rack with straps that thread inside the car (very safe), and just do my best not to scratch the bikes (or the car if you’re got a decent motor).Posted 7 years agotimmysSubscriber
I use roof racks (Thule 591).
I leave the racks on the car all the time and it takes literally a few seconds to wheel the bike out the house, clip them on and be off.
The worst problem I have is having filth off the road contaminating brake rotors. I have yet to wear a set of pads out before I’ve given up on them due to contamination. I’m not sure if rear racks are less prone to that problem or not.Posted 7 years agoNaranjadaMember
Pendle tow bar mounted two bike rack here. MPG isn’t much affected, the bikes are safely held and can be locked to the frame if you want to leave them somewhere for a wee while and it’s pretty sturdy.
It’s not the best design out there, the telescopic leg seals allow water ingress, the wheel holder and strap combo doesn’t work particularly well and the thumb-wheel screws to secure the legs are carp, but it’s OK and I can live with its shortcomings.
I’ve never had a tow bar fitted myself so dunno what it costs …less than £200 I’d have thought. My car has a detachable swan neck shape tow hitch that is rather neat – when detached you don’t see any evidence of the bracket as it’s bolted to the chassis and hidden behind the bumper. The leccy socket is behind the bumper too, although this means you have to get down on your knees to plug in.Posted 7 years agogeordiemick00Member
I have both, I ride 5 times per week and even though I splashed out best part of £700 on detachable tow bar and top of the range Thule 3 bike rack I now use a Thule 591 on the roof.
I was hit twice from behind in one month and luckily I didn’t have bike rack on 😕
It takes seconds to put bike on roof rack, but it’s not as secure as being locked to a tow ball mounted rack. You have to be careful with barriers in lots of places, the ones that stop vans etc It drops crud on your roof when on the roof.
I’ve not found that much crap comes up of the back of the car on to the bike on a towball mounted rack but that would depend on the car, mine’s an Avensis Estate which has a lot of overhang over the rear wheels, cars that don’t like Golf’s throw the shit up onto the bike rack.
It’s also easier to carry three bikes on a TB bike rack than roof rack
just some things to consider….Posted 7 years agoGiantJauntMember
I went for the Thule roof option and have been very pleased with this system. I think it’s probably easy enough for most of us to lift the bike up there and they are very sturdy. I’ve not been sad enough to work out fuel consumption with the bike on the roof but I’m sure there will be some kind of impact. If I’m taking my bike a very long way I’ll stick it in the car (sorry) but if it’s just a couple of hours I’ll put it on the roof. Just don’t forget it’s there. I nearly did once at a Burger King drive through (they have an overhanging roof which is sneaky) but remembered just in time.
I expect the rear mounted ones are good too but I was worried someone might shunt it or the straps might damage the car as I don’t have a tow hitch.Posted 7 years agowillMember
Roof racks for me.
Plenty secure, very very easy to take bikes on and off, litteraly seconds! I leave mine on the car all the time, and it terms of cost the whole thing was bought for about £50 including car roof bars.
Mpg does take a hit though, and you have to drive slower, but I guess you do with racks. Having said that just got 62.7mpg on a 80 miles trip today with bike on the roof…Posted 7 years ago
Mpg does take a hit though, and you have to drive slower, but I guess you do with racks. Having said that just got 62.7mpg on a 80 miles trip today with bike on the roof…
The idea of a good rack is that you don’t have to worry, therefore, drive as normal. But then I can’t imagine getting 62.7 mpg out of any car I’d consider owning…Posted 7 years agoNobeerinthefridgeSubscriber
I used to use a roof rack, and due to car change (new one has a glass roof and didn’t fancy paying to repace it if I dropped a bike on it) I have now moved onto a towball mounted rack (thule 931? or something)
anyway, the roof bars are a pain in the erse ro put on and take off, so I used to end up leaving them on, not good for mpg. Pros – the bike goes up and secured in seconds (thule proride 591).
Towball mount – far quicker to fit the actual carrier, also, no reason to ever leave it on. It takes a bit more faff to secure the bikes though, especially if there is 3 of them, and even more so if they are big FS bikes. the carrier I have is supposed to drop down far enough to open the boot, but in reality, you’d need a boot like a mk1 mini to get it open once there are bikes on it.
Despite all those moans, I do actually prefer the towball mounted one!Posted 7 years agorusty trowelMember
If i’m on my own they go in the van, if i’m with the family it goes on the back (of the avensis) attached to a Saris carrier which i’m pretty impressed with so far. Had Renault roof bars and carriers on a clio before this, and didn’t like/trust them (although better quality ones may be better).Posted 7 years agominer29erMember
Roof rack for me. What sort of a bozo is gonna drive under a height restriction barrier with their bike stuck on the roof? An added benefit is that all the trail crap turns to dust with a 60 mph blow-dry on the drive home (if it’s not raining) making cleaning the bike a doddle. And if it is raining the bike gets a 60mph jet wash. Win Win.Posted 7 years agoSeggonsMember
on the back for the family car, it does have a towbar fitted though and it’s pretty secure, I’ve always felt that putting them on the roof is a bit risky ..
I have a small car though, so inside is best! I have a saxo and can bit a medium freeride bike and a bmx in there with little to no difficulty.Posted 7 years agoNeil FMember
Roof for me too (Thule), the back of my car is fairly flat, and it gets in a right state if its wet out. Can’t imagine the state of the bike if it was hooked onto the back…..Posted 7 years ago
I like to keep an eye on the bike though, so the sunroof visor thingy is always open when the bikes up there.big_scot_nannySubscriber
miner29er – Member
Roof rack for me. What sort of a bozo is gonna drive under a height restriction barrier with their bike stuck on the roof?
Whoops, I think the Karma police may have just noticed your post miner29er. Pease ensure you post th photos! 😉
I really want to get a roof one, as I am tired of wrecking bikes and car putting them on a boot rack. But as per your comment above, I know I will do that. I have seen it also. Not pretty.
KevPosted 7 years agoenfhtMember
I have a Thule clip-on-the-back-type. Very sturdy and secure. Always use the lock mechanism as they do work loose on long drives, I use another strap to be certain. Watch out you don’t exceed max weight if you use both rails and carry 2 bikes. My Thule is 60 lbs max.
Having a bike on the back definitely increases fuel consumption, on long drives you really notice it. Have you considered a big blanket in the boot instead?Posted 7 years ago
Br – although yes I suspect the racks are designed so you can drive normal I have always been careful, especially when cornering and hard braking. Might not need to though…
Mate, the towbar racks are good for +120mph (with suitable car) – in fact you never notice them.
As for mpg, on my Omega 3.0i no hit at all, but my 535i loses a good 2-3 mpg and at higher speeds +100mph probably nearer 5mpg.Posted 7 years ago
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