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Rear bike rack types for hatchbacks

Discussion in 'Bikes and Buying Advice - What Bike?' started by mjr, 9 Jan 2017.

  1. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    After being recovered by a friend earlier this month, I intend to get a rack this week so I can return the favour if needed, plus there's a trip later this year where it would be good to carry two full-size bikes (only one fits in the car). I'm fairly set on getting a rear bike rack because it's not an easy car to fit a towbar to and it's unlikely to be used for towing; and I can just about lift my Dutch bike high enough for a roof rack when I'm fully rested so I think that's going to be risky if it ever needs recovery - and the MTB is even heavier, although smaller. As an added complication, even fitting towing electrics is awkward, so I'm inclined to go for a high-mount rear rack to keep the bikes above the brake lights.

    I prefer the idea of the rear racks with the wheel channels like the Thule ClipOn High to those where the bike hangs from the crossbar like the Halfords High Mount , as then the bike's weight is supported by the wheels which I feel is what bikes are optimised for, plus it seems like it might put less leverage on a high-mount rack's fixing points (but my physics is awful so I could be wrong).

    Is anyone using one and would you recommend it? Any other thoughts or gotchas from anyone?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Oxo

    Oxo Über Member

    Location:
    West Yorkshire
    I had a Thule rack where the two bikes Sat on wheel channels. The bikes were very secure, and even on motorways I never felt worried about them.
    The down side was that I found it extremely heavy to fasten on the car and managed to scratch the paint a couple of times. It also makes opening the hatch back a none starter when the bikes are on the rack.
    Have a try lifting one before you buy.
     
    mjr likes this.
  3. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    Thanks. No local stockists that I've found, but I'm expecting to pay a weight penalty for having the wheels supported, so I'm prepared for it.

    I live really close to a paint shop I've used before, so I could get any scratches sorted before reselling the car (if we don't run it until it's scrap like usual!).
     
  4. NorthernDave

    NorthernDave Never used Über Member

    We've got the Halfords one and for what it is it's spot on. That said, it was only used a couple of times before I upgraded to Thule roof bars and a ProRide rack which are a much better solution.

    Obviously, if you go for a rear carrier make sure the rear lights and number plate are all fully visible with the bikes mounted - and be aware that some bikes might overhang on either side of the car.
     
    mjr likes this.
  5. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    Why's it better? I've outlined my qualms about roof bars: I'm not sure I can lift all the bikes that high and I don't really like having them up there, where I can't see them. Plus it seems like it's too easy to forget they're there and hit something.

    I see so many holidaymakers driving through West Norfolk on their way to the coast with bikes waggling around on top of their cars, it seems like it must be pretty easy to get wrong.
     
  6. Julia9054

    Julia9054 Über Member

    Location:
    Knaresborough
    I have never seen that Thule type of carrier before. Don't you think you would have to lift the bikes quite high to get them on there as well? Roof bars are also no go for me as I am a short arse!
    We have the Thule 9103 - traditional hang from the cross bar type and find it very good. I like that when you take the bikes off, you can leave the carrier clamped on and open the boot.
     
    mjr likes this.
  7. NorthernDave

    NorthernDave Never used Über Member

    I suppose it's personal preference, but I'm happier with the bikes(s) on the roof out of the way.
    There's nothing obstructing the rear view for a start.

    The car has a panoramic screen so I can see the bikes and the only time I've ever seen any wobble was driving down an open section of the A1 at 60 with a 30mph crosswind - backed off to 50 and the wobble stopped.

    I can appreciate your comments about lifting the bikes up there - I pretty much only put the road bikes up there, both of which are under 10 kg - hefting a heavy bike up there (and down again) might get wearing. I bought a cheap folding step which helps.
     
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  8. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    Quite high, but still much easier than getting the hubs to head height, plus it's not quite as far from my body as a roof mount. I'm tall enough but I'm concerned about the weight of MTB and roadster.

    Did you find you need a lighting board and number plate with the 9103? Maybe my lights are unusually high.
     
  9. screenman

    screenman Legendary Member

    Make sure you do not have a plastic tailgate, have seen a few in the bodyshops with chunks missing. I cannot advise on the racks as I have never used them.
     
    mjr likes this.
  10. Drago

    Drago Guru

    In addition, make sure the rack you choose doesn't rest on the glass in any way on your model of car when in use. Been to a few incidents over the years where the hatch glass has broken, sometimes dumping rack and bike in the carriageway as the tension in the straps is released, and on one occasion causing an accident.
     
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  11. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    One attraction of a high mount rack is that most straddle the glass, which is also good because I'm not sure I can deactivate the rear wiper, although I've not been through all the menus yet.

    However, watching crash test footage makes me suspect the rear glass may get smashed in a sufficiently hard collision anyway... but then, roof-mounted bikes seem either to twist the car roof or become roof-launched missiles in hard collisions, too.

    I'll double-check, but I'm pretty sure the tailgate is metal. Thanks @screenman
     
  12. Drago

    Drago Guru

    If its resting on the glass you don't need to wait for a collision. A bump, or even simply braking will do the job.
     
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  13. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    Yes, that's what I'm hoping to avoid with supports above and below the glass!
     
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  14. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    So I bought a Peruzzo Padova 3 and we used it for the first time on Saturday as a test. Only 17 miles each-way, but too early for the mostly-ungritted cycle route to the start to be safe and not a fun dawn to be cycling into the sun on trunk roads.

    I deviated from the instructions slightly in three ways: firstly, I didn't fit the outermost wheel support because we only needed to transport two bikes; and secondly, I loaded the bicycles in the opposite directions to that shown because otherwise the chainguard of the first bicycle pushed on the rack (Edit: interestingly, the fourth image on the product web page shows the first bicycle loaded bars-to-the-right like I did, so the important bit of the instructions is probably the alternating directions rather than which way they go).

    I wrapped the top support with old inner tubes handlebar-tape-style (the supplied pads are a bit short and prone to detaching when handling the rack) and used a spare short strap to tether the downtube of the first bike as well as using the other short strap to tether the seat tube. This left the long ratchet strap attached to the top support to secure only the second bike.

    It all seemed stable, well clear of the lights and plate, didn't touch the glass and so on. I've not noticed any scratches, but I was a bit paranoid about cleaning the car and the feet with some muc-off and workshop towel before each attachment. I didn't like the way the second bike rests on the first bike, which seemed to move very slightly because of the give of the padding, so I've just ordered the 693/MA support arm which will hold the frame of the second bike and should result in as stable and steady a hold on the second bike.

    Only gotcha so far is that it's a bit unwieldy when detached and only just fits inside the back of the car while you're off riding, even folded "flat", unless you unscrew/remove the wheel supports.
     
    Last edited: 16 Jan 2017