Everything You Need to Know About Bike Racks
Bike racks are the ideal way for transporting your bike on your vehicle without having the hassle of folding down seats or dismantling your bike. They are the perfect way to get your bikes around whether you are going on a day trip to the park with the kids, a family holiday abroad, commuting to work, or in training to be the next Tour de France winner. With a bike rack you don’t need to worry about losing valuable luggage or passenger space because they are held on the roof or the back of the vehicle. Whether you have a hatchback or estate, saloon or jeep, we have a bike rack to suit your needs. How much do they cost?
They vary from as low as £/€ 34 for a basic roof bar mounted style, right the way up to £/€350 for the high end tow bar mounted version. The average bike rack is around £/€80-£/€100
Why such a difference in price?
The prices can vary for many reasons. The type of mounting position, be it a roof bar or a spare wheel bike rack are cheaper. Whereas a tow bar mounted or a rear door mounted bike rack can be a little bit more expensive. But the main factors that determine price are the brand and the materials they are made from. Thule would be the higher end brand and Peruzzo would be more affordable which is one of the reasons it’s our best seller. Bike racks made with a steel frame as opposed to aluminium tend to cost a bit less.
Will any bike rack fit my car?
Not quite! Roof mounted bike racks are fixed to roof bars so if you haven’t already got roof bars, you’ll need to get a set of those first. Towbar mounted bike racks obviously need a tow bar to mount to and rear spare wheel racks can only be fitted to vehicles that have a spare wheel mounted on the rear door. The most versatile bike rack is the rear door mounted bike rack which sits on the boot door and is strapped down securely.
How do I know what type I need?
As mentioned above, we have 4 different type of bike racks and it really comes down to personal preference and what existing equipment you already have mounted to the car (eg towbar or roof racks) as to the type you choose. Towbar mounted bike racks probably offer the best mix of practicality and security but they come at a premium, not least because you need to have a towbar fitted. Rear door mounted bike racks are most popular for the occasional user but they are the most fiddly to fit.
Spare wheel mounted bike rack
Spare wheel mounted bike racks are specifically designed for vehicles, typically SUV’s and 4x4’s, that have a spare wheel located on the back door or boot of the vehicle. Very easy to install by simply strapping the bike rack around the wheel. Designed for the wheel to take the weight of the bikes. The maximum load these carriers can take is 2 bikes.
Towbar mounted bike racks are pretty self-explanatory. They mount to any vehicles already fitted with a tow bar. Using the ball socket of the tow bar the carrier sits on and locks to the tow bar. Depending on your choice of model you can hold up to 4 bikes. We also carry a model which acts as a storage box when you’re not using the bike rack set up. Also, there is no need to worry about not being able to access the inside of your boot as the racks can tilt down, even fully loaded, so your boot door can open.
Roof mounted bike racks do just that! They are situated on the roof of your vehicle. They require your vehicle to have roof bars fitted. Another worthwhile investment! One roof mounted bike rack can only hold one bike but you can typically fit up to 3 bikes on the roof of your vehicle. They come in various specs depending on what you need. Some have security locks and some have extra support mounts.
Rear door mounted
Rear door mounted bike racks are probably the most versatile. One model can fit many cars. The straps and arms are adjustable so they can move to fit the contours/shape of your vehicle. Typically, most of the rear door mounted bike racks can carry 3 bikes but depending on if your vehicle has a been fitted with a spoiler it can alter the load capacity. By filling in the correct details of your vehicle on our website we’ll navigate you to the perfectly suited bike rack without any confusion.
Can I fit the roof rack myself?
Of course! Fitting a bike racks is simple. Here are our top 8 tips to help everything go smoothly:
Bike racks can be fitted by one person but It’s always worthwhile having someone there to help just in case you have to let go of the bike rack. This will limit the chance of scratching or damaging anything, be it your vehicle or the bike rack, during the installation process. We have plenty of fitting videos on our website.
Read the instructions – Men, we’re talking to you! All bike rack instructions contain essential information about the right method and fitting positions so it’s vital to read the instructions carefully.
Keep it clean. Make sure all the contact points between the rack and the car are clean, especially if fitting a rear door mounted bike rack. Any dirt or light dust trapped between the mounting points and the body of your vehicle could scratch your paintwork so ensure your bodywork is clean before fitting.
Never enough security. While most of the bike rights we stock have some form of security in place it's worthwhile having an extra cable lock wrapped around your bikes and rack. The last thing you want to find when returning to your vehicle is your bikes are gone! Don’t forget to wipe! If you’re out for a long cycle, be it on the roads or on the trails, your bike can collect a lot of dirt. It’s worth giving the bike a quick wipe down before setting off. We have special bike specific cleaners available in the bike rack accessory page.
Know your limit! You don’t want to exceed the recommended load capacity of the bike rack. Doing so could cause damage to the bike rack, your bikes or your vehicle. Also, specifically for roof mounted bike racks. It's worth knowing the height of your vehicle plus the bikes mounted as low level bridges, trees and car park security barriers come into play with the extended height. Lube up! A tiny amount of copper grease on the tow bar ball socket will ensure that removing the bike rack after a long period in future will be trouble free.
Lastly, with any type of bike rack it’s good practice to double check the mountings periodically. So after say 50km’s of driving pull over and check any straps are secure and mounting bolts are tight and that the there is no unwanted movement on the rack.