Carrying bike on your car roof?

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  • Carrying bike on your car roof?
  • d45yth

    Hi, I’ve alway had the type that take the whole bike. It takes no time to take them off and there’s no faff putting them back on either.
    I think the times a bike can wobble a bit, is when the front tyre is wider than normal and doesn’t fit the rack properly. 2.35’s are about the limit on mine but even with bigger, the bike can’t go anywhere because it’s locked on.
    Hope this helps. 🙂


    I’ve never had any problems with the whole bike versions… Except when I drove under a height restriction barrier, which was a bit traumatic.

    4ndy B

    Some fork manufactures say not to use the type of carrier that bolts onto the fork drop outs

    Personally I don’t think you can go wrong with the Thule Proride 591 carrier. Had mine for years, so easy to use and it helps keep the inside of car clean.

    The front wheel can sometimes flutter in the breeze, but I have never seen one come out of the tyre tray if the wheel is correctly tied down with the strap


    I have both a 591 and a 561 – they were being sold as a pair so I took both. Have transported hybrids, road bikes, full sussers & hardtails on each, multiple times. Never had a problem with either. Both as sturdy as a sturdy thing in sturdyland. Consider a cheap wheel bag if you’re using the fork mounted one, that’s all.

    Premier Icon rhid


    A new smaller car means no more throwing my bike in the back! I want to get roof mounts bike carrying duties.

    Is there any benefit of using the racks which the whole bike stands on over the front wheel off and bolted to the rack type?

    I am steering towards the wheel off type due to seeing some many wobbly bikes on stand up type racks charging down the motorway!

    Any experience experiences regarding either would be much appreciated.



    Done 1000s of miles with a roof mounted rack – whole bike not the wheel off kind. A Thule one (the cheapest). All kinds of bikes. Never had a problem. Never budged.

    Only issues are that some fs frames with a busy down tube don’t fit, and fuel economy goes out the window.


    I’ve got a couple of Atera Giro AF racks, and they are pretty good.

    They hold the whole bike & are pretty secure.
    I secure the clamp with a bunged cord lashed around it, just to be extra secure.

    Premier Icon Kryton57

    Whole bike means no muddy wheels in the boot. Simple is as simple does…..

    Premier Icon muddydwarf

    I can get both my Marins onto a roof carrier – whole bike type/Quad Link & Quad Link II versions. I can clamp around the area where the shock mount sits on the QLII Wolf Ridge, so if that bike fits then pretty much any bike can.

    On top of a Ford Ka as well!


    + several above – whole bike ones! I have Thule Pro Rack 591 and it has been faultless, even driving down to the Alps with 4 DH bike on it with no issues.


    bought an early version of this from in the states and it’s been brilliant. doesn’t matter what shape the frame (used to have an orange 223) it’s quick to fit the bike to and very stable. 80mph over from aberystwyth today and no sense of it being there. funnily enough managed 55mpg with a bike on the roof and three on a atera towbar mounted rack (very good too) family and dog and a shed load of stuff after two weeks holiday!

    Premier Icon Suggsey

    I have had my Thule 591’s for a good five yearsand they are still going strong and Thules back up service is good for spares too. My mate got heavy handed when pulling on the wheel strap and snapped the plastic wheel tray. They have been changed on new models with some strengthening moulding.
    My only complaint would be that the clamp teeth if they have mud on them or mud on your frame can rub off paint on your frame. I have countered this by a wrap of an old innertube and two zip ties to hold it in place on the bike frame. I used to use waterproof ‘Duck’ tape as it was cheaper than helicopter tape when it wore but ran out hence resorting to the innertube wrap.


    I own three Thule 530’s which are attached to my Thule roof bars on my small hatchback (these are the the type where both wheels are left on)

    I’ve carried everything on them from Roadie’s through to 160mm full suspension & have used them for short trips aswell as further afield in the UK.

    I haven’t had an notable issues with any ‘wobbling’, the only time I had a minor issue was when I was driving along in a very strong crosswind, where a front wheel came slightly loose in it’s binding. I do find I have to watch my speed a little, but can do 70mph with them fitted.

    I have noticed a drop in fuel economy, but by comparison to the rear mounted rack I had previously the bikes are much more secure.

    I also had the same issue with the frame being scratched as described by suggsey, but I heli-taped part of my downtube on all my bikes, which sorted the problem. I also slid a bit of inner tube over the clamp jaws.

    In terms of fitting I have found that it can sometimes be a little difficult to clamp some full suspension frame designs (basically the more travel the harder they are to get to fit)

    I would buy the same one again if I was starting out new or perhaps go for the next Thule model up (591), which I’ve been told is a bit of a better fit for full suspension


    Not sure if anyone has mentioned this, but bike racks on your car roof are a big advert to passing scrotes that you have bikes to nick. IME don’t get lazy by just leaving them on your car roof (also costs you in fuel consumption).


    I have 2x 591 and 1x 589 (front wheel off).

    I originally had the 591s which are great but you have to have one bike facing backwards as they don’t quite work right flipped around as you ideally want to put the clamp right behind the chain rings for maximum protection against opportunist thieves (not that I let my car out of my sight when the bikes are on top).

    I got the 589 when I got a carbon framed bike as I didn’t want to risk damaging the down tube. It is the older QR only type only but you can get different axle adapters for on the newer versions.

    Yes taking the wheel off is faff. But it doest feel more secure and it gets the bike lower so it feels less vulnerable. Especially as the other halfs bike is on the 591 so will take any impact first 😀

    But yes I did worry about stress on the fork drop outs but tbh it should only be a problem if you don’t get it nice and tight and allow play.

    The 591 is definitely the easiest to use though.

    Premier Icon beargotsoul

    I have Montblanc Barracuda great rack, can just squeeze a Fat Albert 2.4 in. Also very adjustable to take smaller kids bikes.


    I have four 591’s on the roof of our CRV. They have carried everything from my Airnimal Rhino to a 29er to a road bike to a BMX and 12″ kids bikes, all faultlessly. The Airnimal has a very fat single downtube and can be a struggle to secure.

    I also have a front wheel off Pendle tandem carrier, and to be honest, the fuss involved compared with just plonking a bike in place is too much. I suspect the same is true for single bikes.

    And yes they can rub the paint if the bikes are dirty. When I’m in a hurry I rinse off just the downtubes.


    USed to get 2 bikes in the back of a pug 205 happily. But a towbar mounted rack was purchased and did the trick nicely. Wouldn’t put bikes on the roof, too much damage possible if one breaks free.

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