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  • Boot mounted cycle rack vs Roof?
  • Premier Icon Lazgoat
    Free Member

    I’m looking at buying a cycle carrier for 3 bikes and can’t decide on which way to go: boot or roof mounted.
    Car is a Golf Estate and bikes for the next few years will be 2 Adults (26”) and one 20” for my son.
    On the radar is the Saris Bones EX3 and I can’t decide on a roof setup yet.
    Any recommendations?

    Premier Icon michaelmcc
    Free Member

    If only 26” and 20” then rear mounted should be fine on the golf. I upgraded to a roof rack as having two 29er enduro bikes on the back of my golf on a clip on rack just made it too wide (significantly wider than the side mirrors).

    Premier Icon GolfChick
    Free Member

    With rear mounted tow ball carriers the best way is two bikes on a three bike rack. Most manufacturers don’t seem to realise that fork legs will be right next to rear swing arm which means you have to wedge stuff all over to prevent any damage which annoys me. Can’t comment on the saris add when I went to try one it didn’t fit my full sus so we sold it. Things to consider with roof rack is what if your wife wants to take your son alone. She may struggle with lifting it that high if her upper body is anything but I still prefer the roof option. Just don’t forget and drive under a car park barrier.

    Premier Icon Yak
    Full Member

    If you have a tow bar, go for a tow bar rack. If not then roof. Look at Thule stuff from somewhere like roofbox.co.uk.. Proride carriers are easy to use. Worst of the bunch are boot mounted. Although saris ones are secure, my one bent the metal of the roof lip at the top due to the load and tension on it.

    Premier Icon johnhe
    Full Member

    For many years i put tow bars on every car, and very happily used them to mount bike carriers. But my current Golf estate is the first time I went with roof mounted Thule racks.

    I really like that I still have easy access to the boot with the bikes on the roof. I love that I can lock the bikes onto the roof and go for as coffee without the need for an extra bike lock. I love that I don’t need an extra number plate.

    I always stress about driving into a car park without checking the height is ok.

    Premier Icon garage-dweller
    Full Member

    I’m with Yak on this.

    Also unless you have a towbar you will not have the requisite lighting socket for a lighting and number plate board. Boot racks are a menace for this generally, i.e. obscured lights and plate.

    Atera and Thule do great roof racks and bike carriers that are easy to use and load. If your car takes 120cm clamp around roof bars (i.e. has raised roof rails) let me know as I’ve got a set of aero bars and carriers here that don’t fit our Smax (previously fitted our Passat) that haven’t yet made it to the classifieds or ebay. There didn’t seem to be much point under lockdown rules.

    In the interests of honesty/disclosure we now run a towbar rack. Since our cars always have a towbar it makes sense economically and now we have a people carrier it saves a long stretch up/need for a step.

    Premier Icon wzzzz
    Free Member

    I have both.

    Depends how often you bike. I go at least weekly so used to leave roof bars on all the time as they are a faff.

    They make annoying wind noise and use extra fuel in normal use.

    So now I’ve gone tow bar mount, 2 mins to stick rack on. I expect it will be annoying not being able top get in the boot properly. So fully loaded trip might see me use the roof again.

    tl:dr get both…..

    Premier Icon iainc
    Full Member

    ^^^ many towbar mounted racks have a tilting option to allow boot access..

    Premier Icon reluctantjumper
    Full Member

    If you’re keeping the car for a few years I’d go towbar rack, so much easier to use on a regular basis. You can get the bikes loaded easier, don’t have to worry about height restrictions (car parks, low bridges, the fast food drive-thru on the way home) and fuel economy doesn’t take a big hit either. You can get racks that tilt away from the boot and fold away small enough to be stored in the boot so the old issue of convenience is lessened. Security-wise a long cable with a padlock can go through all the bikes and through the towbar, harder to remove than the roof bars which can be levered off by anyone who doesn’t care if they damage your roof.

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