Author Topic: Best Bike Carrier that won't damage a hatchback  (Read 11430 times)

Best Bike Carrier that won't damage a hatchback
« on: November 26, 2011, 09:58:14 pm »
For the first time in years, I now have a hatchback rather than an estate (Vauxhall Insignia)

I have a wealth of bike carriers, top rack, tow ball, back hatch for things like a golf etc, but as this car is quite new and shiny, I'd like to keep it that way. My hatch bike carrier (a 3-bike Michelin branded one) has done good service over the years, but is fading a bit and is best for rear doors that are semi vertical, while I could adjust it to fit I wouldn't be happy with it. What would people recommend for a two bike carrier that would not damage a steeply raked rear hatch?

Re: Best Bike Carrier that won't damage a hatchback
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2011, 10:03:49 pm »
I have a hatch and ended up with tow ball carrier. The Thule carrier(s) takes some beating and take seconds to fit.
Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

Euan Uzami

Re: Best Bike Carrier that won't damage a hatchback
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2011, 10:21:34 pm »
tow bar mounted one is the only one that doesn't touch the car other than at the towbar. Only one where the bikes don't touch each other (much) either.

Feanor

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Re: Best Bike Carrier that won't damage a hatchback
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2011, 10:58:25 pm »
I have several carriers, and here's my appraisal of them...

Roof-bar mount carriers:

These work well, and don't damage anything.
There are 2 basic designs: One where both wheels stay on the bike, and there is a clamp on the down-tube, and one where you remove the front wheel and there's a fork-mount clamp at the front.   These are favoured for carbon bikes, because you don't clamp the frame.  I have both sorts, and change them according to the bikes I'm carrying.   Note that a fork-mount carrier will have issues if you have front mudguards, because the mudguard will foul the carrier as you attempt to drop the forks onto the carrier.   Just remember not to drive into a multi-storey car park or similar :-)

Tow-Bar carriers:

These also work well.   I have a Thule one.
Advantages: Accessible.   On a Land Rover Discovery, roof-mount stuff can be difficult. I have to carry a step-ladder.  Tow-bar mount is easy.
Cons: You can't open the tailgate.
Another con: The top-tube clamps all radiate out from a single bar.
It can be a massive trial-and-error 3d geometry exercise to find an order in which the various bikes can actually go on the rack so that the clamp arms can get to them.  The clamp arms must pass over or under the intervening bikes.

Tailgate-mount carriers:

I have one of these too.
It is flexible, and fits almost any vehicle.
But it's not kind to the bikes, which end up all over each other.
My least-preferred option.

So in conclusion, I'd say to you buy roof-bars and carriers if you can afford it.  Much more betterer than having the bikes do a dirty 3-some on the back.  My bike's just not that kind of girl.




--
F



Re: Best Bike Carrier that won't damage a hatchback
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2011, 07:44:05 am »
I don't have  a tow-bar, or any reason to fit one, but I still have one tow bar carrier, although I recently sold my old Pendle 3 bike carrier.

I do have roof carriers, both fork mount and wheel mount, at the moment no bars for the hatch, but that will be fixed. Order is probably hatch carrier before roof though.

The hatch carrier I have is quite good and was bought in France a few years ago, the issue of bikes coming together is solved very easily by judicious application of pipe lagging, and my bike goes on top. This is the easiest, most secure type to just sling on and and go.

While the one I have is good, the lagging around the metal straps is fading (I can hear a use for duct tape....) and its designed for high angle doors - I'm not certain it will adjust to the long reach needed to keep all bits in the right place (main support vertical, subsidiary support on the glass, and there is the issue of what to do with the rear wiper....... (in the estate/golf mode I could push the blade down to avoid the support) Fortunately the single-wipe-in-reverse-when-it-is-raining feature is user configurable, but it is still too easy to switch the wiper on.

Which is why I am looking for specific recommendations for a good big hatch carrier, ideally avoiding support on the glass.

Re: Best Bike Carrier that won't damage a hatchback
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2011, 10:23:16 am »
I use a Saris Bones on the back of my Fiesta when I need to carry my bike around.  It's quick, easy to fit once you've done it once and  it completely clears the rear windscreen-I have in fact used my rear windshield wiper with the bike in situ without any issue whatsoever.  It also sits high enough not to need a lighting board when adjusted correctly.

It's sodding expensive for some moulded plastic, but it is also a very good piece of kit and I am slowly coming round to the idea that my bikes are in fact very safe on it.  I bought mine slightly used on ebay to offset the high price somewhat.



citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Best Bike Carrier that won't damage a hatchback
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2011, 10:39:01 am »
Can't answer the question directly but I would recommend http://www.roofbox.co.uk/ as a great source for information on this subject. I've bought several bike racks & other stuff through them and been very happy every time.

d.

Euan Uzami

Re: Best Bike Carrier that won't damage a hatchback
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2011, 11:10:08 am »
I don't have  a tow-bar, or any reason to fit one, but I still have one tow bar carrier, although I recently sold my old Pendle 3 bike carrier.

I do have roof carriers, both fork mount and wheel mount, at the moment no bars for the hatch, but that will be fixed. Order is probably hatch carrier before roof though.

The hatch carrier I have is quite good and was bought in France a few years ago, the issue of bikes coming together is solved very easily by judicious application of pipe lagging, and my bike goes on top. This is the easiest, most secure type to just sling on and and go.

While the one I have is good, the lagging around the metal straps is fading (I can hear a use for duct tape....) and its designed for high angle doors - I'm not certain it will adjust to the long reach needed to keep all bits in the right place (main support vertical, subsidiary support on the glass, and there is the issue of what to do with the rear wiper....... (in the estate/golf mode I could push the blade down to avoid the support) Fortunately the single-wipe-in-reverse-when-it-is-raining feature is user configurable, but it is still too easy to switch the wiper on.

Which is why I am looking for specific recommendations for a good big hatch carrier, ideally avoiding support on the glass.

If you must get a hatch type one, saris is a good make. A mate had a saris one and I was quite impressed with how securely it held them, but it was on a saloon.
The problem with a car like yours is that the boot is very angled, which means the bikes are effectively on top of it but they are meant to be on the back of it - so you haven't really got much of the downward force of gravity to keep the straps tight - when you brake, everything is effectively coming loose, so you have to secure it on so much more, with respect to more different directions of force.
Why did you get such a silly impractical car ;) ... for me it would have been one of the main things I took into account when choosing what car to buy - but then again I would have just got a tow bar straight off.

Why have you  got "no reason" to get a tow bar? I would have thought the need to carry a bike rack is precisely that.

It's a trade off, really - you don't get everything for nothing. Either shell out £££ for a tow bar and a tow bar mounted rack, and have secure bike carriage, easy mounting, and no damage to cars or bikes - or save your money, but risk insecure carriage, a faff getting on and off, and potential scratches to cars and bikes.

p.s. your car looks ugly anyway so don't worry about the fact a tow bar might ruin its "nice clean lines" ... ;)

Re: Best Bike Carrier that won't damage a hatchback
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2011, 12:09:40 pm »
Tell me about it. Just come out of a company car scheme, four years ago I bought a Passat Estate which I had intended to buy at the end of the four years, but it was a shit car - 32 mpg when I collected it (vs 52 in the Vauxhall), stalled, didn't go up hills and failed to get any satisfaction despite long and arduous trying, so no way was I going to touch it. That left me thinking s/h car, but as we wanted a car that we could keep (I hate wasting money on a chunk of metal that sits there all week, but we do use it for hols etc) was eventually inveigled by the Vauxhall 0% finance, 5 years servicing (from this dealer), lifetime warranty. The Insignia estate didn't seem worth having (no bars to speak of), so I've ended up with this.

Not the end of the world, as roof bars are quite quick to fit, and I have quick fit bike holders, but still.

Re: Best Bike Carrier that won't damage a hatchback
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2011, 01:09:18 pm »


p.s. your car looks ugly anyway so don't worry about the fact a tow bar might ruin its "nice clean lines" ... ;)

Just about all cars built over the last forty years are ugly, I don't feel special. It's an identikit Auyotomazall.

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Best Bike Carrier that won't damage a hatchback
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2011, 02:33:55 pm »
I have several carriers, and here's my appraisal of them...

Roof-bar mount carriers:

Probably the best bet for unusually shaped bikes like tandems and recumbents.

Wholly unsuited to short people with heavy bikes, thobut.


Quote
Tow-Bar carriers:
Cons: You can't open the tailgate.

Depends on the model.  A friend of mine has one (a fairly industrial looking Thule of some sort) where the entire platform, complete with bikes, can hinge out through 90 degrees, leaving the bikes hanging sideways in mid-air and a gap in front of the tailgate.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Best Bike Carrier that won't damage a hatchback
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2011, 10:02:22 pm »
Best way to carry a bike in my opinion is get a van. Somewhat expensive for only carrying bike I admit. I have a Fiat Scuda with a triple seat in the front and no rear windows
I used to carry my bike on a rack and I could swear that I could see the fuel guage go down but since I've used the van
You can carry 4-5 bike no problem
No effect on fuel consumption
You can call in a service station/caffe on the way to/from an event and have no worries about if the bikes are safe because they are out of site
They definately won't fall off
If you go to an event that's just a little too far, you can always sleep inside and save hotel fees
A transit type is too big and bulky unless you want to convert into a camper
Unless you have another use for one I admit it is expensive but when the time comes to change mine I have no qualms about getting another one and my work situation now means I don't need one for my job now but I wouldn't be without it
"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." - John F. Kennedy

Euan Uzami

Re: Best Bike Carrier that won't damage a hatchback
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2011, 10:22:39 pm »


How do you strap them up in it though?
When I had a van I basically just resorted to lying it down in the back, with just my bike. With 3 or 4 it was ok as they were wedged up against each other but still clacked around against each other.
2 bikes was the most awkward.

Re: Best Bike Carrier that won't damage a hatchback
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2011, 11:35:38 pm »
Just put a 5-bike floor rack into the van first and stand them up in that. Simples.

Biggsy

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Re: Best Bike Carrier that won't damage a hatchback
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2011, 09:39:33 am »
How do you strap them up in it though?
When I had a van I basically just resorted to lying it down in the back, with just my bike. With 3 or 4 it was ok as they were wedged up against each other but still clacked around against each other.
2 bikes was the most awkward.

Separate the bikes with thick sheets - the kind of ground sheets a builder or painter & decorator uses.  I did this once with my most-precious bike and another bike.  At least it prevents them getting scratched.
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LEE

Re: Best Bike Carrier that won't damage a hatchback
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2011, 09:52:04 am »
If you have a tow-ball carrier already then I would have a tow-ball fitted.  Local fitters can usually fit one for the price of a good bike carrier and a tow-ball is always useful (they are far better than parking sensors for example).

I needed to carry 3 bikes to PBP and, after weighing up roof-rack types, I opted for this Thule one (£135 from Halfords + £15 for number plate) and am very, very impressed.  It takes about 1 minute to fit and is incredibly solid.  You can store the carrier in the back of the car and, best of all for my estate car, it quickly pivots out of the way of the tailgate should I need to get in the back of the car for something.

Highly recommended bit of kit.  Solid and keeps bikes clear of my car's paintwork/glass.


Euan Uzami

Re: Best Bike Carrier that won't damage a hatchback
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2011, 12:29:31 pm »
you bother to take your barley off on the rack do you? I just leave mine on...

LEE

Re: Best Bike Carrier that won't damage a hatchback
« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2011, 01:03:04 pm »
you bother to take your barley off on the rack do you? I just leave mine on...

It was a huge Super C, filled with pills, potions and spare clothes.  I was loading up for the trip to PBP and couldn't risk losing anything.  Since it only takes a few seconds to unclip I threw it in the back of the car.

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Best Bike Carrier that won't damage a hatchback
« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2011, 01:12:39 pm »
Highly recommended bit of kit.  Solid and keeps bikes clear of my car's paintwork/glass.



That's the one my friend has that I mentioned upthread.  Well worth it.   :thumbsup:
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Best Bike Carrier that won't damage a hatchback
« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2011, 02:22:00 pm »
I tend not to do that much driving and cycling, being not of the Audax bent, bike gets slung on the car mostly for family rides and such. Roof is mostly an option, the towbar carrier I have left is a very basic one I picked up from Decathalon for £20 or so. My old Pendle was the biz, but very heavy indeed, so I sold it. I won't be putting a towbar on unless it becomes essential, and I can't see that happening. The Saris Bones looks the most likely at the moment but I'd want to check how it works on the boot lid; whether or not it damages hte bodywork.