Can't believe I'm asking this: roof boxes, rails and bike racks.

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  • Can't believe I'm asking this: roof boxes, rails and bike racks.
  • Alpha1653

    It’s possibly the dullest topic ever but I’ve finally given in to the inevitable slide into middle age.

    The wife and I are going away to Exmoor to visit friends in a few weeks time and it’s just dawned on me that there is no way on God’s green earth that I’ll be able to fit 1 x wife, 1 x child, 1 x bike and 1 x dog crate plus paraphanalia into our estate. I am therefore looking at roof boxes and roof mounted bike carriers.

    Whilst I continue to research them, has anyone got any tips about what to get / avoid etc? The car’s a 63 plate Octavia Estate.

    Thanks in advance. Im just going off to change all items of my wardrobe to beige.

    Premier Icon chrisdw

    Have you roof bars? I have a set of official skoda aero bars for sale if they are of any use?


    Ooh, tempting. I’ve got the rails as the car comes with them but I don’t have the bars. Where are you based & how much? Do they have some serial number or something just so that I can check they def fit the car? Thanks.

    Premier Icon chrisdw

    They came off a 2010 Octavia estate. Had them fitted from the factory from new. Sold the car. Don’t fit new car which is a Ford.

    Here’s a pic of the sticker on the underside.

    I’m in N Wales. I’ve got a big sack the new ones were delivered in to post if needs be too.

    Looking at prices of new bars are about 160.
    So 80 posted?? Less if you’re nearby for meet up.

    Edit: used prices on eBay completed listsings are a bit lower than that. 70 posted? Ono

    Premier Icon chrisdw

    To answer the other question. Thule pro ride bike racks are hard to beat for the roof. I think they are 951? Though there may be a new model. Very quick and easy.

    Member were very helpful

    A few things to consider.
    Have you got somewhere for the box to go when it’s not on the roof?
    One bike, are your family going to run next to you?
    The one I got, Keimei Dolphin, it’s a long narrow one.
    I wanted to put skis in, and it also doesn’t take too much width off the roof so I can get two bikes on as well.
    Carefull on the weight up there, makes roundabouts a bit interesting.
    Very useful on beach trips, all the sandy stuff goes in the box, not in the car. (not the kids though)

    Also, socks and sandals with the elasticated waist trousers, sir..?


    And what, may I ask, is wrong with elasticated trousers?

    Chris – let me check them at they fit as I’ve got a MK 3 whilst yours was a MK 2 I think. If they do fit, and I decide to go down the roof box route then I’ll take them off your hands for £70. I’m in Bristol I’m afraid so it’all have to be posted. I can’t hit the garages until the weekend but should have an answer for you then if that’s ok? Point notes about the Thules…I was looking at their range in the first place.

    DT – all good points especially about storage of the box when not in use…I hadn’t even considered that! As for my family, well miniAlpha is only 5 weeks old so isn’t going anywhere anytime soon either by foot or bike. And my wife doesn’t run let alone ride a bike! We are a firmly 1 bike family for the time being. I’ll have a gander at that website.

    STW comes up trumps again! Thanks all.

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth

    +1 for – so easy to deal with.

    We have a Kamei box. Can’t remember the model but it’s long and thin. This means it can either go centrally on its own, or to one side. It has central locking (multiple locks, one key) and opens on both sides (helps for continental travel).

    I’ve got Cruz roof bars and mounting “feet”. While they’re allot and notionally aero, I do get plenty of wind noise above 40 mph. Fuel consumption is worsened with the bars on (though not as bad with the roof box mounted).

    The box mounts to the bars using a T track. The Thule 951 I have attached in the same way. Both the roof box and bike carrier are one man jobs to hero and off the bars.

    Mine hasn’t been used for a couple of years, though will def be used again. Live loading it up to go on holiday – always makes it feel like a proper adventure.

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth

    EDIT: pretty sure I’ve got a Kamei Delphin 470. It’s currently stored elsewhere, so can’t easily check.

    I think classify it as “medium wide/family”. Has done us for several trips through the UK and Europe, especially when my daughter was a baby and had a pram that filled the boot of the car.


    When I was in a similar situation I used a 3/4 size roof box and a thule bike rack on the roof and a tailgate carrier for additional bikes when needed.

    Worked very well for numerous French trips.

    (this was when a4’s where the standard issue car but I doubt the octavia is any different.)

    Premier Icon geoffj

    This may sound flippant, but it isn’t meant to be.
    Have you considered taking less stuff?

    I had a moment of enlightenment about 10 years ago as I was struggling to fit a roof box to the top of a passat estate for a family holiday with 2 small kids. I decided that what I was doing was a bit ridiculous, returned the roof box to the garage and trimmed the luggage to fit.

    Just a thought


    You mean leave the wife, child and dog at home?

    Roof box and roof mounted bike carrier have been essential for me since becoming a parent, the dog alone takes up most of the boot!

    Premier Icon iainc

    buy the bars and a bike carrier (Thule 598 is the updated one), rent a roofbox, sorted 🙂


    I have Thule bars and a Thule ranger 90 soft roof box/bag thing. I can get a 951 roof bike rack on next to it.
    The good thing about the ranger is it rolls up into its own bag so doesn’t take up much space when stored.

    Premier Icon wwaswas

    trimmed the luggage to fit

    “Why have i only got half a suitcase, dear?”
    “I trimmed it.”


    Another Thule Ranger roof-bag user here too – rolls-up for storage and I can fit a bike carrier next to it on the roof rails. Being ‘beige’ would be down to accepting that you can’t take your bike and have “me time” on holiday 😉


    I’ve just fitted two Thule Pro-ride 598 (replacement for the 591) carriers and must admit they’re very good. Not cheap (£85 per carrier) but very solid and not a complete eye sore.. I don’t mind paying a bit extra when it comes to strapping a couple of grands worth of bike to the roof of my car!

    There are a couple of nice developments over the 591 (large lip at bottom of clamping jaws, diagonal wheel straps, etc.). However, the standard fitting kit is for T-track only and if clamping to non T-track bars you need to buy an additional kit.


    Recently had this conundrum. Went for Thule aerobars (mostly cos they look nicer – don’t believe they’ll save much on fuel…), Thule Motion XL 800 roof box and Thule ProRide 598 bike carrier. It took me a while to convince myself that the bike carrier would fit alongside the XL800 but it does, no problem. This was pretty much the largest box which would allow this as I recall. My thought process was, “if I’m buying a roof box for extra cargo capacity am I ever going to wish I had less space?” so went for the biggest I could.

    Of course it then meant I had to build a second shed in the garden to store the roofbox… And it had to be an 8′ x 6′ shed…


    I’ve just sold my Thule Ranger 90 – found it a bit of a pig to use, and collected an impressive volume of water if you leave it on overnight while raining. Was a bit jealous of my mate’s solid ‘eXodus’ roofbox (what has become of me?), anyway that thing just popped open as he merrily hoofed stuff in there, while I fought with the Ranger.

    Thule aero roofbars and 591 bike carrier are great though.

    Premier Icon jimdubleyou

    If you’re looking on take a look at the whisp-bars. I’ve been impressed with ours.

    Premier Icon ads678

    From the google images I’ve just been looking at you could fit universal roof bars to your rails, so you can pick them up for bugger all off ebay. They might not be as fancy looking as Thule aero ones but they work fine. I had a set of bog standard ones for years on my old passat, with a mont blanc roof box fixed to them. The roofbox is shit really though so I wouldn’t recommend that, mine is now heavily modified but the cheap bars are fine. If you’re not planning on leaving them on all the time then the fuel saving on aero ones is going to be negligible with a roof box.


    You could always rent a box and rack for the trip

    Premier Icon spacey

    I’ve got a roof box I no longer need. Bought it from last summer, used for a 2 week trip but now have a van so it’s redundant. It is a slim one that you can mount a bike or two along side. Sounds like it’d be just the job, if you’re close to Manchester we could sort something out?

    Premier Icon Ben_mw

    63 Plate Octavia – Check!
    Box is a Kamei Delphin 340K, bars are Atera Signo RT aero style. Both bought from who, as others have said, are very helpful. They also offer, on some boxes, an exchange service. It costs, but if you buy a box, use it, and decide it’s too small, then you can return it, cough up a few quid and get a different one (worth reading the small print though). Went for the Kamei box because it seemed nice and simple, so hopefully long lasting. Bars are aero because I thought there would be less noise, and the whole lot is pretty good on that score.


    Have you considered taking less stuff?

    This is what we do, 2 adults, 2 children, 4 bikes (on tow bar mounted rack), all food, clothes, toys and cycling gear for the week in a peugeot 207 8)


    +1 Aero bars, Kamei roofbox and Thule 591’s. 🙂

    Premier Icon kiwijohn

    +1 for Whisp-Bars & their bike racks. Very nicely made & the racks are very easy to remove. The bars are so low profile, you barely notice they’re there.


    Sad I know but our roof box has been one of my best purchases … it’s used 3 to 4 times a year and the amount of arguments it saves from telling two daughters & the missus what they can’t take is the biggest bonus … plus not having to fit luggage around them like a game of tetris and hearing constantly “there’s no room to move” for 4hrs 😀

    It’s the Karrite Odyssey 580 …. brought it 2nd hand for £80 off the local buy/sell website , always loads of them up for sale as people seem to only use them a few times or realise they can’t store them. It was silver but sprayed it black and changed the decals and it looks brand new ~ all in cost me less than a hundred quid.
    I looked at all the new boxes and they were coming in over £300 and to be fair you can mark/scratch them really easy when storing so was glad I didn’t buy brand new.
    With the money saved on the box I brought Thule wing bars and now the 598 carrier which are great with their T-track system … one man job to fit it.

    Just make sure you get one that you can only remove the key once it’s locked.

    Premier Icon benp1

    Having dogs makes a big difference, you basically lose your boot, or a big chunk of it

    Roofboxes are excellent for big trips and holidays, but you do need somewhere to store them

    It’s why roof bags are a good option, as they’re less than perfect in use, but they’re easy to store

    I have Thule wingbars (I think, the aero ones) and a 591 for the bike. I have a big roofbox which opens from both sides. It’s a Land Rover branded Thule one, it’s excellent. Don’t have the roofbox on with the bike, tends to be one or the other

    I’m lucky to have somewhere to store the roofbox, it lives on top of the lean to next to my house. Before that it used to live on the roof of the shed

    Premier Icon kcal

    Ours is a Karma Corvara (dual side) and have paired it will bike carriers (and sometimes bike rack too).

    Been great, especially away camping, tent and bulky stuff goes in box, poles and other bits in boot.


    Plenty of great advice here guys – thanks very much indeed. Looks like I’ll head over to roof to see what the options are. I like the idea of renting one when required as I hadn’t thought about storage.

    Spacey – thanks for the offer buddy but I’m Bristol based so I’m going to have to turn you down.

    Premier Icon jkomo

    One last option…
    You can flip the bike and zip tie it to the roof bars on handlebars and seat, with some big muthas, and foam in between.
    Feels more rigid than bike holder and costs pence.
    The older Thule slim boxes, Alpine series, don’t fit on the new wing bars, so are cheaper (I paid £40 2nd hand), but they fit with the T bar fitting (£15).

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