Cycle Carriers & Bike Racks – Are They Worth It?

Anyone who has ever tried to put bicycles inside a car knows that it’s not a great experience. Even if you remove one or both of the wheels, bikes are still awkward things that were never designed to fit inside an average family car.

So is a bike rack (or ‘cycle carrier’) the solution?

Pros:

  • You keep all of the normal passenger and luggage space inside the car and keep your muddy bikes outside
  • You can get cycle carriers to fit on the roof, boot/tailgate and towbar of most models of car
  • Basic cycle carriers can be had for under £40 – they don’t have to be expensive purchases
  • You can carry up to 4 bicycles on one car

Cons

  • Your bikes will be vulnerable to theft if you leave the car unattended
  • Having a cycle carrier that mounts on a roof rack leaves you boot clear but can be awkward to load – can you lift your bike above your head?
  • Rear-mounted bike racks often obscure cars’ number plates and/or lights. This is illegal, so you might need to use a light board to ensure that your lights and number plate are clearly visible.
  • Any type of cycle carrier will increase wind resistance and therefore will increase fuel consumption.

Which Type Of Bike Rack?

There are three main types of bike rack:

  • Roof mounted
  • Tailgate/boot mounted
  • Towbar mounted

To learn more about the pros and cons of each solution, check out the “Fitting a Bike Rack To Your Car” guide that I wrote last year.

Buying A Bike Rack

Most branches of Halfords have a reasonable selection of bike racks and many branches now also offer a fitting service – so the store staff will fit and explain the rack to you before you leave.

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