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Bike rack.

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by Dave5N, 25 Jan 2008.

  1. Dave5N

    Dave5N Über Member

    Get me new motor on Thursday. ;)

    Thought I'd treat meself to a better bike rack. I thought maybe get a tow bar mounted platform one to save the paintwork - obviously it'll cost a few hundred notes to get the towbar fitted.

    Anyone have any thoughts on these racks? Does the 'tail wag the dog' with them?
     
  2. Stick on a Giant

    Stick on a Giant New Member

    I had one that clamped on the tow-ball and found it fine - much more secure than one held on with straps etc. Didn't notice any effect on handling, although on long journeys it would twist very slightly, so I always put a towel or similar where the bike wheel would come into contact with the bodywork. But if yours is on a plate this won't be an issue.
     
  3. John the Monkey

    John the Monkey Frivolous Cyclist

    Location:
    Crewe
    Dave, this company have a good guide here;

    http://www.roofbox.co.uk/bikeRack1.html

    Customer service and advice is excellent too - I used them to hire bike carriers for a trip to France last year, and was very happy with them.
     
  4. ChrisKH

    ChrisKH Shorts Adjustment Expert

    Location:
    Essex
    I'm very happy with my rooftop lockable carriers. They came from the same company.
     
  5. simonali

    simonali Über Member

    Location:
    Wiltshire
    Don't forget that it'll also require a lightboard and a numberplate, another extra expense.
     
  6. fossyant

    fossyant Ride It Like You Stole It!

    Location:
    South Manchester
    I've got roof bars and fittings for three bikes - had the bike fittings for about 20 years - saw lots of service when racing, then when I got my current car (having not used roof racks for years), decided to get some proper manufacturer bars (made by thule). The only problem with roof bars, if you have some distance to travel, it will hammer your mpg - thats the problem with modern cars - didn't affect my old Mk 2 Escort 20 years ago because it was a brick to start with, but a more modern aerodynamic car..... argh.

    Easiest solution is the racks that go on the tow hooks
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Dave5N

    Dave5N Über Member

    Thanks for the advice. I don't want them on the roof because I think I'll end up scratching the paint (like I did with my boot rack) and because I know I'll remember them just after I drive into the multistorey.
     
  8. Gary D

    Gary D Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Worcestershire
    Dave,
    I have a set of roof bars for my car and 4 bike carriers (bought incidentally from the Roofbox Co. and I too can vouch for their service. My wife has a tow bar mounted carrier for her car - a Thule Ride On 9403.

    Therefore I am qualified to give an opinion on both!!

    For ease of use I would say that the tow bar carrier is better. We bought it because there is no way my wife would have been able to lift hers and my 2 girls bikes on to the roof of her car.
    It is actually much quicker to fit to the car, and once you get the hang of which way round to put the bikes on the rack it is fine. The rack can seem to bounce around a little on the move - which can be a little disconcerting when looking in the rear view mirror - but the bikes always seem to remain secure. It doesn't appear to affect the driving of the car either.
    If we are leaving the car in a dodgy area, then it is a 2 minute job to take the carrier off and put it in to the boot. The 9403 is about £100 and includes the lighting board. All you have to buy extra is the number plate.

    The Tow Bar was about £200 including the proper full electrics kit. I saved a bit of money on that as I fitted it myself.

    As fossyant said, the roof mounted bars and carriers really affect fuel consumption and are noisy and also take much longer to fit. Overall it is the cheaper route depending on the specific carriers you buy. You can get them for £20 each or pay as much as £60 each. They probably hold the bikes a lot more secure but the height can be a problem - particularly getting in to public car parks which have the height barriers :biggrin: :biggrin:

    Overall, I would recommend the tow bar mounted carrier.

    Hope this helps.

    Gary.
     
  9. Mister Paul

    Mister Paul Honky

    Location:
    North Somerset
    I@m a Thule roof-mounted man. Reasons-

    I can leave them on the car all the time, so if I get picked up from anywhere it's a 30 second job to get the bike on the roof.

    The bikes are out of the way up there, and more secure.

    It doesn't hinder access to the roof of the car.

    No matter what you tell your future potential car buyer, they'll think you've been towing a 5 ton static caravan if you've got a towbar on your car. You could always have it removed though.


    There are positives and negatives for both options, and it depends on individual circumstances. Remember that your car manual will state a max. towbar weight (it's usually 50 or 75kg I think). Put too much weight on the back and you will notice it.

    The fuel consumption issue is interesting. My computer doesn't show much of a difference when the rack has three bikes on than without a rack at all. And I've heard that the drag is more with a carrier on the back of the car. We need proper facts.

    Edit: andv I too would recommend roofbox.co.uk
     
  10. John the Monkey

    John the Monkey Frivolous Cyclist

    Location:
    Crewe
    Anecdotal only, but our car was much more thirsty doing the same journey back from Normandy with bikes on the roof than without (we went to the same place, once without our bikes, and once with).

    Probably not a huge consideration, but the weird whistling noise the air makes through the cables of roof mounted bikes at 70mph + is a bit freaky too :biggrin:
     
  11. ransos

    ransos Usual suspect

  12. Mister Paul

    Mister Paul Honky

    Location:
    North Somerset
    That's a comparison with bikes on the car and without. Not roof v rear. I'd genuinely like to see some MPG comparison, but haven't been able to find one yet.
     
  13. Danny

    Danny Legendary Member

    Location:
    York
    I looked into getting a tow bar rack last summer as I am sure that this is the best way to carry bikes - and a review in Which a few years ago found that they had the least impact on petrol consumption.

    In the end I concluded that this was not cost effective for us given that it seemed to cost at least £180 to fit a tow bar, and invested in a Saris Bones rack instead. This is far better than the old rear rack I used to use, and seems to keep the bikes low enough down and far enough from the car not to interfere with the aerodynamics. So I have not noticed any significant increase in petrol consumption since I started using it.

    It's also easy to fit, easy to mount the bikes onto, and holds them very securely.

    Having said that I am not sure why it should cost so much to fit a tow bar in the first place.
     
  14. Gary D

    Gary D Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Worcestershire
    The ironmongery of the tow bar is fairly extensive. On my wifes car I had to remove a heavy duty steel pressing that was the width of the car and replace it with the one that was supplied with the towbar. Plus there are also other brackets and plates to fit as well. Don't forget that the same towbar could be used for a caravan! (God forbid :biggrin: ;)).
    The electrics are also fairly involved with quite a complex wiring loom including relays and new bulb holders etc.
    All in all, fairly reasonable value for money.

    With regards to the fitting. Again, that is quite involved. I had to pretty much strip out all of the interior trim in the boot area and it also involves drilling the boot floor. Took me all day!

    I can appreciate why they appear expensive.

    Gary.
     
  15. OP
    OP
    Dave5N

    Dave5N Über Member

    Thanks Gary, very helpful indeed. I pretty much think I'll bite the bullet and fork out to get a towbar fitted.

    I'm not bothered about the towbar affecting the resale value of the car. I won't be selling it. :sad: