Which Car Bike Rack Is Best?

Words by Cycles UK

on 20/07/2018 13:50:00

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Wether you are a cycling enthusiast looking for riding beyond your local area or taking the family on holiday with the bikes, car racks are essential for transportation, and when looking to buy, it’s important to know the different ways in which you can carry your bikes with a car so that you can determine which car bike rack is best for you.

Roof Carriers

Roof carriers are one of the simplest ways of transporting bikes further afield. Depending on what kind of car you have, you will have to install roof bars or racks first which can be expensive, but there are multiple other uses for them such as roof boxes and luggage racks.

The roof carriers themselves are one of the cheaper methods of transportation and it keeps the bikes out of the way without obstructing the boot. The disadvantages of this is it affects the aerodynamics of the car, so you might see a slight drop in fuel efficiency and you also risk damaging your bikes and car if you drive under a low barrier or bridge

roof carrier

Many models of roof carriers come with locking clamps, for security, in various different designs to suit any kind of bike. Some designs are much easier to use than others, which is worth bearing in mind as you have to lift the bikes up on to the roof of the car and attach it with only two hands!.

Boot Racks

Boot racks attach to the rear boot hatch of your car with a series of straps. This is the cheapest option and you will find a boot rack to fit almost any car, however, you risk scratching the paintwork on your car with straps and buckles if you aren’t careful and some models stop you accessing the boot.

Sentinel-2-boot rack

Something to consider is that you don’t have to haul your bike up on to the roof with a boot rack, so if you have a tall SUV a boot rack might be a better option, and it also means if you are carrying a lot of luggage as well as bikes, you can use a roof box at the same time.

Tow Bar Racks

Tow bar racks are great for transporting bikes, they are easy to use, they won’t affect the aerodynamics of your car, and there are models which tilt out of the way to allow use of the boot. You can carry up to 4 bikes at the rear of your car and most of them come with light boards to comply with lighting laws.

xlc tow bar rack

So what’s the downside? Well, with the added cost of having to fit a tow bar to your car, if you haven’t already got one, they are the most expensive option, but they do tick a lot of boxes.

In Car Racks

If you have a reasonable amount of boot space in your car, an in car rack might be right for you. They are simple and avoid all the problems that come with your bikes being outside of your car. They usually secure your bike with an axle clamp, meaning you have to take the front wheel off, but it does reduce the standing height of the bike so it will fit in a smaller boot.

vergo-tf3-m in car bike rack

The axle clamp is on a beam that runs the width of the car, keeping the bike upright.

vergo-tf3-01 in car bike rack

There are models that hold up to 3 bikes and there are accessories available to support the rear of your bike if you need to take both wheels out, and attachments to secure your wheels safely too.

4x4 Spare Wheel Racks

Similar to boot racks, these racks mount on the rear boot door of your car, over the spare wheel, and so they are only usable on 4x4 vehicles with spare wheels on the rear. They are just as easy to use and cheap as boot racks.

4x4 spare wheel rack