Now spring has sprung families and avid cyclists alike will be packing up their cars and heading out into the hills with their bike in tow. Carrying your bike over long (or even short) distances doesn’t have to involve loading your car’s boot up to the rafters with bikes and all your gear.
While many people do this (how else would we know you can fit two mountain bikes and a weekends worth of camping gear, food and beer in the back of a Fiat Punto!) a dedicated bike rack can be quicker, leave room in the car for passengers, as well as keeping the inside of your car looking more car-like and less like a mud bath.
There is a massive range of different shaped and sized bike racks out there, from tow ball mounted racks through to roof racks; and we’ve picked out some of our favourites for lugging at least 2 bikes around, because we all know cycling is more fun with friends or family!
Tow ball mounted bike racks
While not the cheapest option, tow ball mounted bike racks are incredibly popular, easy to install and remove, accept most bikes and can come equipped with a whole range of high-tech bells and whistles to make life easier and keep your bikes secure.
The Thule 9502 2 Bike Cycle Carrier is a more budget-orientated option, but is still incredibly user-friendly and secure. We’ve been hammering these racks, along with its 3-bike 9503 sister, for years and while they forgo some of the flashier bits and pieces these are solid, reliable racks that will do the job for years to come.
If you want the ultimate in ease of use and security though, you need Thule’s 939 VeloSpace XT. The 939 has 3 locking arms for the ultimate in security and it can even be combined with the Thule BackSpace XT cargo carrier to give 300l of extra storage space. The 939 has also been designed with the latest bikes in mind. As such, you’ll find the wheel trays are wide enough for tyres up to 4.7” wide and the extra-long cradles can handle bikes with a wheelbase of up to 1300mm, so even the longest of DH and Enduro bikes will feel right at home!
Roof mounted bike racks
If you already have roof bars on your car or want to avoid the expense of adding a tow ball, roof mounted bike racks are a great, budget friendly way of carrying bikes around. While they need to be permanently fixed to the car and it helps to have a small step or box to hand to make lifting bikes onto the roof easier, there can be no doubt these are great value for lugging your bikes around.
Thule’s 532 FreeRide Cycle Carrier is one of the best value bike racks on the market. With an incredibly easy-to-use design featuring a locking arm mechanism that accommodates most bicycle frames, quick-release wheel straps and self-adjusting frame holders; the 532 FreeRide is perfect for transporting your bike around without breaking the bank.
If you don’t like the idea of shelling out for roof bars or having your bike carrier permanently attached, then SeaSucker have the answer. Their range of suction cup-based bike carriers are incredibly secure; these aren’t like those awful cups on your sat nav! The SeaSucker Mini Bomber is their 2-bike carrier and it takes mere seconds to mount or remove, and is so small it can be easily stored when not in use. It’s also incredibly versatile; fancy fitting it to your supercar to show off down the local trails? No problem!
Boot mounted bike racks
The most economical way to carry your bike on your car is a boot mounted bike rack. The racks clip or strap onto the boot of your car, so it’s important you check compatibility as soon aren’t compatible with certain cars, often those fitted with large boot spoilers. Easy to install, remove and store; boot mounted racks are ideal for occasional use, though if you plan to travel with your bike a lot it may be worth look at the other styles of rack available.
If you want to carry 3 bikes as cheaply as possible, Hollywood Racks Express 3 Bike Cycle Carrier is the undisputed top dog. With an easy to fit design that suits a range of vehicles, the Express is reliable, functional and offers exceptional value. It doesn’t include any kind of locking mechanism, so if you want to leave your car and bikes unattended, you should definitely factor in the cost of a decent bike lock.
Saris Bones boot mounted racks have been the most popular around for years. The versatile arc design is compatible with most cars and the design is of the strongest around. The Saris Bones 3-Bike Cycle Carrier is extremely versatile and easy to use, with top tube ratchet straps to ensure your bikes remain secure and are rubber coated to protect your bikes finish. While the bikes are going now where on the move, like the Hollywood rack there is no locking mechanism for when leaving the car and bikes unattended, so a suitable lock and cable is a worthwhile investment.
No matter what rack you get though, the benefits are the same; you can travel with multiple bikes and people, and go off to explore new places to ride you may never have had the chance to ride before. This alone is a great way to breathe new life into your cycling. It can get pretty boring riding the same places over and over again, so somewhere new to ride can reinvigorate you and get the love for cycling flowing again!