Author Topic: bike carrier advice?  (Read 8594 times)

marinheiro

bike carrier advice?
« on: July 04, 2010, 10:42:11 pm »
I've never had a bike carrier before (used to have a ratty old car I didn't mind messing up by shoving the bike in the boot). I'm finding it harder than I expected to find advice on a good choice for my car. Having once seen a cheap bike carrier rip out most of the back of a hatchback scattering bikes across the motorway, I'm nervous about the things and happy to buy a pricier model if it is a bit more secure. I would like to be able to do motorway driving at a reasonable speed without having to be too worried or checking straps at every service station I pass. I mostly just need to carry one bike, but it would make sense to allow for two. My car is a Ford Focus lx, 2006 model.

Neither of my local bike shops (Evans, Moores - the only independent got bought out :-(  can guarantee that any particular make will fit on this car model - and they say no refunds if it's a wrong choice. Halford promise me their own brand model is ok for the car, but I'm nervous about how good it is. My local Evans had a Saris one-bike carrier in stock, but their salesman told me he thought the one-bike model put excessive strain on the rear window and he wouldn't recommend it. None of the UK bike forums I've looked at seem to have much of a discussion of the topic - I may have missed the right place!

I'm starting to wonder if the risk-free option is to buy a roof rack and fit a bike carrier on that - more expensive, and worse for petrol consumption, but I wouldn't be quite so worried about safety.

So, any advice?

Thanks
Graham


marinheiro

Re: bike carrier advice?
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2010, 11:37:25 pm »
Thanks, JohnP. But i've seen most of these before and they don't leave me much wiser.

roofbox.co.uk generally seem to suggest Saris is the best option but have a vehicle compatibility list which includes an earlier (pre 2004) model of Ford Focus but doesn't mention mine (which has a different above-window fitting which I think might be a problem?)

roofrackshop.co.uk has a compatibility list link from their rear-mounted carriers which takes you to a page which gives only compatibility with roof-mounts!

fasteronline.co.uk so include my model, but say they only have 3-bike carriers which fit it, which is more than I need

And the bikecyclingreviews does come high up on google results but is pretty content-free.

How did other people pick theirs? Is it basically a case of their all much of a muchness and any one will do?

Graham



Jaded

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Re: bike carrier advice?
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2010, 01:10:48 am »
I believe the fuel consumption is equally affected by roof or tail carriers.

The choice therefore should involve:

Cost
Ease of access to the bike(s) - if you are short, roof carriers are difficult
Ease of access to the boot
Likelihood of reversing in to something
Likelihood of hitting a low barrier

I'm reasonably tall and would find difficulty in getting access to the boot a real pain, so I went for a roof carrier.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: bike carrier advice?
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2010, 07:08:27 am »
Thanks, JohnP. But i've seen most of these before and they don't leave me much wiser.

roofbox.co.uk generally seem to suggest Saris is the best option but have a vehicle compatibility list which includes an earlier (pre 2004) model of Ford Focus but doesn't mention mine (which has a different above-window fitting which I think might be a problem?)

roofrackshop.co.uk has a compatibility list link from their rear-mounted carriers which takes you to a page which gives only compatibility with roof-mounts!






HAve you looked at Saris's site?    I seem to remember they had quite a comprehensive vehicle fitment guide when I was looking at buying a Bones RS  ( which is excellent BTW)


PaulF

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Re: bike carrier advice?
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2010, 08:39:02 am »
I bought a rack for my Ford Focus from The Roof Box Company. IIRC they had a tool that allowed you to enter you model and year and it would return suitable racks

Re: bike carrier advice?
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2010, 09:26:43 am »
At the risk of getting too basic, there are three types of bike carrier, I've got/had/used them all, here are the details:

Ones you hang on a towbar
Quite a few in this category. You can either clamp to the ball or the ball bracket. The ball ones are easier and fit all towbars, some brackets can't take the bolt on. Bolt on are more secure, can get some to go inbetween and allow you to tow as well.  Disadvantage: most won't allow you to open the boot, can be a substantial download on the bracket, check the rating. Advantage - secure, easy to use, no lifting, no extra height. Possibly less drag than roof based, dunno. Tip: if you can, take some of the weight on roof rails using straps. Also, don't forget to check tightness of a ball clamp after the first few miles. The tilting sort is best, but that's the one type I've never had (because of the cost)

Ones you hang on a rear hatch/door
Varying ones in this category. A lot have a tendency to damage the car. They weight should be taken on the straps that hang over the top of the door, with the bottom of the clamp taking the weight onto the body of the car. This should NOT place excessive weight on the rear screen, any system that does (or any assistant that thinks it does) should be avoided. Major advantage is you can chuck it and up to three bikes onto the car quickly and easily. Disadvantage? not a lot, really, but you will remember not to switch on your rear wiper, yes? Also, of course, difficult to use the rear door, especially if you have 3 up. Can be a bit of llifting involved to get them up. Tip: a few lengths of pipe insulation (the sort that is made out of expanded polystyrene stuff) goes a long way to protecting everything. Make SURE you strap them on well, as there is a LOT of turbulence at the back of the car at speed and they WILL blow off if they are not secure.

Ones that go onto roof carriers
These are the best type if you need to get in and out of the back of the car with bikes on. All sorts made, basically ones that clamp onto the bike (fine for most ally stuff) and ones that clamp onto the front fork for carbon. Don't forget large diameter ally tube is probably more fragile than carbon and susceptible to dents. Front wheel goes on a separate carrier or in the car. Advantage is that it is out the way, £ for £ your money goes further with roof carriers disadvantages: a lot of lifting, probably the worst for drag (maybe only marginal), tendency to damage bikes if you are not careful and do up the clamp too tight, or lose them if they are too loose.

As a rule of thumb, Thule if you can afford it will last better than most other gear.

And thanks for the prod, I'm going to put my Pendle 3 Bike Carrier up for sale. (Actually the Pendle site looks pretty good on the subject, too.

Euan Uzami

Re: bike carrier advice?
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2010, 10:48:10 am »
The best sort by far are tow bar mounted ones. You don't have any issue with being able to guarantee it will fit - as long as you've got a tow bar, it will fit.

Atera strada is the one I have and it's absolutely excellent, thule ones are also good. The only benefit of the atera strada over thule ones is that you need the key to get the bikes off, the strap round the tube is metal-cored.

They slide out of the way as well even when bikes are on to allow you access to the boot easily.

robgul

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Re: bike carrier advice?
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2010, 10:56:12 am »
Another strong vote for towbar mounted for stability, safety & security - the Thule ones lock, with a key, to the towball and the knobs on the frame retaining bars also lock (or you can get lockable ones)

... and remember that if going abroad, some countries do not allow the "strap on the back" racks  .... having witnessed two separate "falling off" incidents at high speed I would never, ever contemplate such a rack.

Second choice is roof mounted, but awkward (even for me & I'm about 6'4") to load - we went to London last week (for the Sightseer Audax) - two on the back, two on the top ... no problem.

Rob

Re: bike carrier advice?
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2010, 11:15:46 am »
My Pendle is up now

I'd agree that the tilting towball mounted ones are good but they are expensive (and you have to have a towbar on every car you want to use it on) and some cars aren't suited to that, either.

I think the rear hung ones are very versatile, I'm curious to know what countries you can't use them in, I've not come across any.  And the reason that bikes fly off them is that knobheads don't tie them down properly. And I know that for a FACT because I did it once  :-[  :-[  :-[ (as it happens I got away with it, just, because the bungee I had used hung onto the bike and dragged it along behind. Only damage was to the SPD, ground down a bit still worked perfectly, and the rear rack ditto)

Majorbloodnok

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Re: bike carrier advice?
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2010, 01:25:59 pm »

As a rule of thumb, Thule if you can afford it will last better than most other gear.


Or Fiamma if you have a vehicle that will take one......



I remember there being a suggestion that bikes mounted on a roof can lose grease from headsets, cranks etc.......some people were wrapping clingfilm around bearing points to protect from this.  I guess at 70+mph this is a risk???  Most discussion at the time around mtbs though.

Re: bike carrier advice?
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2010, 05:20:41 pm »
I have a  Thule 9402 and they do have a tilt facility. They are less than £80 from here

marinheiro

Re: bike carrier advice?
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2010, 06:47:41 pm »
I decided to go with roof-mounted in the end and have bought the Halford ones. Consensus does seem to be that tow-bar mounted is best, but I don't have one and it's too expensive to fit just for the bike.

Thanks all for the advice

Graham

Re: bike carrier advice?
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2010, 06:58:51 pm »
I decided to go with roof-mounted in the end and have bought the Halford ones. Consensus does seem to be that tow-bar mounted is best, but I don't have one and it's too expensive to fit just for the bike.

Thanks all for the advice

Graham

^^^^^Does not compute  ;)


FWIW, I use a Thule tow-bar mounted carrier. I carried 3 bikes to Snowdonia at the weekend and I've been as far as Alicante with it in the past.
They're bomb-proof IME but the tilt facility to enable boot access is clunky.


Euan Uzami

Re: bike carrier advice?
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2010, 09:31:35 pm »
... it's too expensive to fit just for the bike...

^^^^^Does not compute  ;)
...

+1 ;)

The Mechanic

Re: bike carrier advice?
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2010, 03:29:29 pm »
He means he does not have a tow bar and to fit one as well as buy the carrier is too expensive.