Thule ProRide 591 (Robin Wilmott/BikeRadar)
We all know that cycling is generally a green activity that can transport us miles under our own steam. But love them or hate them, cars are also a necessity for most of us.
Whether it’s travelling to a Sunday morning race, getting to a sportive with your mates or taking the family on holiday, at times we all need to carry our bikes by car. But which method is best for you?
The first question is how many bikes you need to carry. Then what type of bikes, how far and how frequently. Which car – or cars – do you have, and will you be taking a mixture of bikes? Are they heavy and will they be getting dirty?
Carriers can be boot-mounted, roof- or towbar-mounted, or even internal, and have advanced enormously since the old finger-trapping racks of questionable functionality.
Bikes vary widely in cost, style, size and weight, all of which should be factors when looking for a means of transporting them. You probably won’t want to carry your £7,000 super bike on a rack that costs less than one of its ultra-light tyres…
Also consider practicality – whether the rack will suit your needs now and in the future; ease of use – how easy it is to fit to the vehicle and load; security – whether it holds the bikes safely; and how much storage space it will need when not in use.
Thule ProRide 591
£91.99 / $US245
The Thule Pro ride oozes quality, and proved rapid to remove and refit. With three quick-release levers, two locks, a 20kg limit and five-year warranty it’s clear a lot of thought has gone into it, and the clamp is genius: just lean the frame into the open jaws and tighten the lockable, roof-height knob.
Thule ClipOn 9104
£109.99 / US$131
Rubber-coated metal straps clamp onto the top and bottom of your car’s
tailgate, and the ClipOn rack is so stable there’s no need for side
straps. The rack carries up to 45kg and has a five-year guarantee.
BEST FOR VALUE
EBC Revolution Shuttle 3-Bike Carrier
£59.99 / US$N/A
A compact, simple rack, the EBC Revolution Shuttle folds with two quick
release levers, is well made and – because it’s constructed out of
oversized aluminium – is extremely lightweight. Up to 45kg can be carried, and the price is fantastic value.
Exodus single roof rack
£74.99 / US$116
Out of the box setup is a little ﬁddly, with a fair amount of assembly.
Adaptors are included for square, round or T-track roof bars, so it
should be possible to ﬁt this carrier to whatever system you already
own. Maximum bike weight is 15kg, which will accommodate most trail full sussers but rules out heavyweight downhill bikes.