Preferred type of bike carrier.

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  • Preferred type of bike carrier.
  • alongo
    Member

    Wife seems up for a bit of pooling around on trails, disused railways etc, so I have bought her a hybrid. Not sure weather to get a roof bar mounted bike rack or have a tow bar fitted and have a towbar version. Car is a Renault Kadjar and although I could get them inside I’d prefer not to. What’s your preferred type of bike carrier .

    scotroutes
    Member

    If it was roof mounted, would your wife be happy lifting her bike on and off what is quite a tall vehicle?

    I much prefer towbar, despite the outlay of fitting. Fuel consumption is a bit better, less chance of hitting low barriers (can be an issue at some car parks), easier loading and unloading, particularly with muddy bikes.

    (I’ve been working for a few years doing a bike taxi service, carrying lots and lots of bikes on both racks and roof.)

    Premier Icon winston
    Subscriber

    Short journeys with up to 2 bikes I prefer roofmounted. Why? The racks are always on the car, all my bikes are light and the bikes don’t touch at all.

    Longer journeys or more than 2 bikes it’s a towbar job. Better fuel economy and you can spend time making them very secure for fast motorway driving.

    ads678
    Member

    Tow ball. Just moar betterer innit.

    Premier Icon oldnpastit
    Subscriber

    Tow bar all the way.

    pdw
    Member

    I use both fairly regularly.

    * Getting more than two bikes on a tow bar rack can be a PITA. The spacing between bikes is generally very tight, and threading the support arms through can be very tricky. If you’re always taking the same bikes, this is less of an issue, because you just need to get it sorted once.
    * Fuel consumption on tow bar is a bit better, and no annoying whistling.
    * Tow bar rack can be fitted/removed very quickly, whereas multiple bike racks on a roof rack is either a heavy two-person job to lift on and off, or a faff to assemble/disassemble.
    * Roof racks are a problem for car park height restrictions, whereas tow bar racks are a pain for short parking spaces, and make reversing trickier (disable parking sensors, hard to judge where the back of it is).
    * Tow bar racks often disable various driving aids on modern cars.

    scotroutes
    Member

    Top tip: a 3-bike rack makes carrying 2 bikes easier.

    DickBarton
    Member

    I use both regularly. Preference is inside car (which is why I drive a Puggy Partner Tepee), but, roof bars are always on so less faff to prep, but a high roof and I can get the outer racks but the middle is a faff. Bike also wobble a lot on there.
    Towbar is very good but has the faff of making the bikes fit side-by-side in close proximity. Made harder by longer wheelbases and the rack now being a touch narrow.
    If towbar already fitted then towbar mounted. The Kadjar isn’t a low roof so factor in getting bikes up without dropping them on the roof.

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    towbar for me, Thule jobbie. Bought used for £100 nearly 10 years ago, just keeps working perfectly 🙂

    Only side-issue is that if taking 3 bikes i generally remove the pedals just to make it a bit easier.

    Premier Icon iainc
    Subscriber

    i recently swopped to towbar after 20 odd years with Thule carriers permanently on roof. Towbar rack has a bit of faff to pop the rack on and off pre and post ride, but realistically less than 5 minutes in total. Benefits are that loading is easy, esp with an ebike, fuel consumption is better, and the biggy for me is that the permanent road noise from driving around without bikes but with roof bars and carriers is gone. My overall average fuel consumption has gone up 10% in the 5000 miles since making the change, and my driving pattern is unchanged.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    Tow bar. Mines Thule and a 2 minute job to fit. I carry the same bikes so I know the right order to finnesse them in without touching. Mrs_oab and the kids load it. Better fuel consumption.

    We also have a roof mount on the small car, it works ok, but worse fuel economy, muddy roof and Mrs_oab can’t reach it to load. But it’s ok.

    Both are Gumtree purchases – Towbar one was £100 and new Thule aerobars with two Halfords bikes carriers was £85.

    Premier Icon martymac
    Subscriber

    I use a towbar rack (subaru forester)
    I have used roof bars in the past, and tbh there’s little to choose between them, obviously you need to be aware of the height, eg: you can’t go through a mcds drive thru.
    If you’re going to put them on the roof of a kadjar you’ll need a step to actually reach that comfortably.
    Definitely buy a good sturdy rack, you don’t want 3k of bikes on an ebay special eh.
    I use a buzzrack scorpion, chosen primarily because it was available (the equivalent thule was out of stock when we were looking to buy)
    It’s rock solid with 2 ebikes on it.

    Premier Icon reluctantjumper
    Subscriber

    100% towbar, especially on a taller car. My previous car (Fiesta) had roof bars and even that was a pain putting the bike on at times, especially after a long ride when I was tired. Borrowed a mate’s car with a towbar rack for a weekend and wanted one ever since then. When it came to new car time I picked it up from the dealer and drove the 500 yards to the towbar place and left it there to be fitted. Never regretted it.

    Premier Icon a11y
    Subscriber

    Roof mount all the way for me. I’ve had towbar-mounted but was convinced being in the flow of road crap off the rear wheels did my brakes no favours. Had several disc brake issues in the time I had rear-mounted. Swapped to roof bars and now to a suction-type rack and happier.

    If you already have a towbar then it’s a no brainer.

    If not then roof carriers and one of these…..

    If not then roof carriers and one of these…..

    Those steps are such a sad indictment of our stupid society where people buy a jacked up car for no good reason, then need a little step to put a bike on the roof because their fat little inactive ass can’t lift it.

    I use a roof rack daily, it’s just easier. For long journeys with >1 bike I’ll use the tow bar one instead.

    Those steps are such a sad indictment of our stupid society where people buy a jacked up car for no good reason, then need a little step to put a bike on the roof because their fat little inactive ass can’t lift it.

    Judgemental much?

    You must be very tall and strong. I  am genuinely in awe of you.

    I am short, fat and lazy but I have a very tall car to compensate.

    The little step is very handy for putting all  four bikes on the roof.

    I’ll try and grow longer legs and arms immediately

    Driving to Alp D’huez from Calais, first time in a diesel Golf with bikes on the roof 52mpg leaving UK dropped to 34mpg after arriving.
    Second time Diesel Skoda Octavia with bikes on towbar rack 54mpg, 53mpg at ADH with basically the same engine.
    But the biggest advantage of a towbar rack to me was not having to clean a million dead flies from my fork stanchions!

    Premier Icon xraymtb
    Subscriber

    Tow bar all the way. Easier to fit, easier to load, no impact on fuel economy or parking. Keeps the roof clear for using a roof box as well if you decide to go camping or the like.

    Just a thought though – how about just a strap on rack (a better quality one like the Saris) until you know for sure if she is going to keep riding? Tow bar, electrics and a rack are an expensive option and only the rack can be sold on if you find yourself not using it.

    hooli
    Member

    Those steps are such a sad indictment of our stupid society where people buy a jacked up car for no good reason, then need a little step to put a bike on the roof because their fat little inactive ass can’t lift it.

    I see you have read the book on making friends and influencing people then…

    Premier Icon nickc
    Subscriber

    Roof mounted with front wheel off has always felt more stable to me, but I’ve no evidence to back it up at all. And if it’s a long journey or overnight. I’ll sling it in the car for security anyway.

    Haven’t noticed any real reduction in fuel economy with a bike on the roof

    hooli
    Member

    I have both towbar and roof for various reasons. Short trips and muddy rides are so much easier on the roof. I have a Thule 591 and lift the bike onto the roof as soon as I get back to the car, it takes about 10 seconds as everything is in the right place for my bike and I do it before taking my gloves off to keep my hands clean.

    I then get out of my wet or muddy kit and with access to the boot, it helps to be able to sit on the boot lip, use the estate boot door as a shelter and have some light.

    With the towbar you need to lean over the bikes or put stuff on the back seat.

    The towbar is better for long journeys as it fits the kids bikes better, is quieter and has much, much better fuel economy. It does take longer to put the bikes on and get them secure though.

    Roof rack for fit and forget simplicity, have used a towbar mount too and the are very good, but it would take up valuable space in the garage and would be a phaff if I had to fit it for a ride like tonight where I drop my boy at cubs, leave the car and take bike from roof and go.

    Premier Icon benp1
    Subscriber

    Towbar is a much better carrier, but there are options when roof or other is better (I use tow bar rack, roof rack, inside car and saris bones rear carrier)

    Tow bar rack is out the way, lower economy and easy to get to. But I need to then get the rack out the back of the house, through the garage which is crammed full of bikes and means faffing about. Plus if you have stuff in the boot the rack stays on the car unless you take it off at your destination. Annoyingly I can’t get off my drive with the tow bar on plus the carrier

    Roof rack is much better for parking on the street, reversing sensors work and the car is smaller. But the killer for me is that when the bikes aren’t on the car you can still get around without a faff. Great if you’re in a rush or are getting dropped/picked up somewhere

    Saris bones is quite quick but don’t like putting it on an electric boot lid. Works great on a car I borrow though.

    Inside car is great but requires car to be empty!

    andrewh
    Member

    If they fit inside why not just do that? So much easier than either type of rack

    hooli
    Member

    If they fit inside why not just do that? So much easier than either type of rack

    Hassle and mud. My bike fits with the front wheel off but I need to take out the parcel shelf, remove a car seat and a booster seat, drop the seats, put tarp down, take off front wheel and then put the bike in the car which normally covers me and the car in mud. It then slides around and rattles all the way.

    It is literally 10 seconds to lift a bike onto a Thule 591, tighten a strap on each wheel and turn the dial on the arm to clamp the frame. The roof rack stays on the car all the time.

    DickBarton
    Member

    Berlingo with middle seat removed. Tarp so there is a protective lips for both seats and between front seats…doesn’t matter how manky then as all the crap goes in the tarp which is removed and shaken clean.

    Premier Icon ta11pau1
    Subscriber

    Hassle and mud. My bike fits with the front wheel off but I need to take out the parcel shelf, remove a car seat and a booster seat, drop the seats, put tarp down, take off front wheel and then put the bike in the car which normally covers me and the car in mud. It then slides around and rattles all the way.

    This is why a towbar carrier is for me.

    My new car has a cream leather interior, and a towbar carrier means just wheeling the bike out the garage (with the full length mudguard fitted), unfolding the towbar, attaching the carrier and loading the bike.

    Also when camping, getting a bike in along with a big camping bedchair, tent etc etc is a pain if you want to go for a ride mid route before camping.

Viewing 28 posts - 1 through 28 (of 28 total)

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