For most people in the UK, rolling out of the front door and into lush green space or a safe open road is just a dream. Most of the good stuff – the scenery and terrain cyclists live for – is a car journey away, so you’ll need to invest in a bicycle carrier if you want to transport your two-wheeler on your four-wheeler come the long weekend.
There are three main types of bicycle carriers to choose from, and it’s really just down to personal preference as to which you opt for. Take a look at some of the advantages (and disadvantages) of each one below to make sure you choose the perfect bike transport option!
This type of bike transport method attaches to the bars on your roof. Some roof racks require you to remove the front wheel of your bike, while others have a pivoting clamp that wraps around the bike’s down tube with both wheels on.
- It’s the most stable and secure way to carry a bike
- It utilises the space above your car and inside it, meaning more room for passengers and gear
- You can carry up to four bikes at a time on most roof racks
- The boot of the car is still easy to access
- It’s quick to install, easy to use and compact enough to store at home
- You do need to have roof bars on your car to begin with – an additional cost if you don’t, but not a big one
- The bikes will increase your car’s wind resistance when you’re driving, making it worse for fuel consumption
- Security can be an issue – you’ll need to get an extra lock to keep your bikes safe when you’re not nearby
- You need to remember the bikes are up there! Your garage, multi-storey car parks and anything you need to drive under may need to be avoided or else lead to a very costly accident
This is the style of bicycle carrier you’ll see most in the UK. It has metal arms, which are held on by straps that are attached to hooks at the edges of your car’s boot. The bike effectively hangs (securely), with padding between it and the car. This bike transport style provides good stability and is very ergonomic.
- It’s inexpensive
- It’s easy to install and remove
- It has less effect on fuel consumption than a roof rack
- Some drivers prefer this style of bicycle carrier because its visible in the rear-view mirror when you’re on the road
- Many designs fold down, so are easy to store at home
- It can be hard to see through the back window when bikes are loaded onto it and they may block your rear lights and number plates – it’s illegal to cover these, so you’ll need to buy a light board and detachable plate
- It’s the most likely bicycle carrier to scratch or scuff your car
- It increases your car’s width
- Most rear-mounted bicycle racks prevent access to the boot while the bikes are secured
Tow bar or tow ball bicycle carriers clamp securely to either the tow bar or tow ball of your car, resulting in a very stable holster or platform for your bike. They have arms that wrap around the frame of the bike, as well as grips for the wheels.
- It’s simple to install and load bikes onto – some of our Thule bicycle carriers even come with a loading ramp
- It’s very secure and ideal for regular use
- It has less effect on resistance than a roof rack when driving, making it more fuel efficient
- Some designs allow you to access the boot while the bicycle carrier is attached
- It can carry up to four bikes safely
- It can be a costly investment, especially if your car doesn’t have a tow ball or tow bar already
- It’s difficult to store when not in use
- Some designs prevent access to the boot
- It increases car width
If you are planning to go on a Cycling trip and looking for a transport method, we recommend using this one that will carry up to 4 bikes and fits all types of tow balls!
For More Information
Do you often go for rides with your kids? If you want to make sure you choose the right Child Bike Seat in addition to having the right bike transport method, read our friendly expert advice here!