Bike racks, cycle carriers – on the roof, on the boot, on the tow bar, there is a lot to look at and a lot to consider so the MotorNuts team want to help with our buyers guide to cycle carriers.
Firstly, you don’t have to have a big car or roof bars, there is an option for everyone. Ok if your vehicle does have roof bars or a tow ball then this helps make the decision easier – if not then anyone with just about any vehicle can use a rear mounted cycle carrier.
One of the main things to think about is how many bikes you want to carry, now and over the next year or so.
From there the other factors to think about are; how often you plan to use a cycle carrier and how you plan to travel with it – long or short distances with the car fully loaded when towing etc?
The three styles available are; rear mounted or strap cycle carriers; tow ball or hitch mounted cycle carriers and roof mounted cycle carriers.
The rear mounted cycle carrier - a great all rounder for those new to cycling
PROS it provides the cheapest option too – they are easy to load and keep an eye on your bikes whilst you are driving.
CONS; it is hard to secure bikes and you can only usually carry 2 or 3 bikes depending on size and weight. Rear mounted cycle carriers don’t offer much protection to your vehicle or to the loaded bikes and you couldn’t access the boot when the carrier is loaded.
The roof mounted bike carrier – good security and protection for your car and the bikes being carried
Obviously a good option if your vehicle has roof bars.
PROS You can carry up to 4 bikes and have a separate carrier per bike allowing flexibility when carrying either just own or your friends bikes as well for example.
CONS it does increase drag and therefore fuel consumption and is harder to load particularly on higher vehicles, SUVs and 4X4s.
The tow ball mounted carrier - safe, easy to load and economic
PROS This is a great option as opposed to the rear/strap mounted it sits clear from the car avoiding damage and in some vehicles allows boot access. These carriers securely hold up to 4 bikes and come with their own lighting and reg plate board.
CONS in some vehicles if fully loaded can cause obstruction to the rear windscreen
It may sounds obvious but with all carriers it is always advisable to remind yourself about bikes on the roof or the back of your car...especially when reversing or entering car parks! Many kits come with reminder stickers for your mirrors.