Bike carriers

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Bike carriers

Postby tuco » Wed Dec 06, 2006 12:35 pm

Now my daughter is involved I have to consider one because I can't fit two bikes in the car.

I saw some in Anaconda which I think were about $80 or $90? They attached to the tow bar and held two bikes at the top bar. I couldn't see how the bikes would be stopped from hitting together and I assume the front wheels would have to be secured somehow.
I know I could have asked but I'm getting tired of asking what are basically school kids questions which they don't know the answer to. Most of the staff there didn't have a licence so they wouldn't know which was best. Don't get me started about trying to get a battery for a cordless phone at Dick Smith today. I'm a qualified electronic guy and they know nothing. They couldn't even spell elektronik! Anyhow, back to the issue.

I'm don't need one until next year due to holidays coming up but what made me post is I saw a guy in the car park outside work with a bike tied vertically to a roof rack with the front wheel off.
The tow bar idea seems easier and would mean having to clean fewer insects off the bike but the roof mount rack looks very secure and aerodynamic.

Has anyone had experience with bike carriers?
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by BNA » Wed Dec 06, 2006 12:56 pm

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Postby europa » Wed Dec 06, 2006 12:56 pm

I've had four over the years :roll: .

A tow bar mounted one that stayed under the towball all the time - don't get them, they're a pain in the bum so my old girl now gets clamped to a saw horse as my workshop stand :D (works brilliantly).

Roof rack mounts - whip out the front wheel etc. They are very good and I've carried two bikes at highway speeds for three hours that way, but they are a pain to use and you have to do something with the front wheel. Besides, I was always scared I'd forget the bikes were there and drive in under something :shock:

The next one was a tow bar one, but this had a base that stayed under the tow ball and you could take the carrier off. Very good. The carrier would drop into two tubes on the base and was secured by a pair of big bolts with plastic handles. A bit of a nuisance but very secure (see next para). The bikes themselves were held down under a plate which you secured with two wing nuts. Again, very secure but a pain. I was happy with that but it went with the ex (who has never used it of course).

My current one is again a tow ball mount. The base stays on the car. The carrier drops into the base and is secured with two pins (the sort you see holding down racing car bonnets only fatter). Quick and easy to remove and install, makes the other system look horrid (though I didn't think so when using the other one). However, the carrier is free to rock backwards and forward a little which, now that I've owned the thing for awhile, isn't a problem. The bikes sit in a hollow and are held in by two, wide, velcro straps. This is brilliant - quick, easy and kind to the bike's paint, however, it lets the bikes rock backwards and forwards under acceleration and braking more than the other sort. However, it's not a problem.

Of the four, I like the last one best and although the extra movement worried me at first, it's not a worry now. That carrier gets used so much it lives in the back of the wagon.

Buy a THREE bike carrier. You may never have to carry three bikes but sometimes it's better to be able to space the two bikes out a bit.

All bikes swing together and so don't tend to bump each other - I set the cranks so that any contact is crank to crank anyway and that pedals pass into open space, not derailleurs.

The front wheel will flop from side to side if left unattended. Occy straps don't work unless you stress them to blazes BUT, since the eighties, I've been using a pair of pedal straps. Quick to install, quick to adjust, quick to release, and they get tied around the carrier when not in use. I put it through the front wheel and around the downtube. It holds the front fork steady and stops the wheel spinning (annoying more than anything else).

You will have to buy a special number plate to put on the carrier (not allowed to make your own, it's a bigger fine than speeding here :? ) so factor that into the cost.

I love my bike carrier. It frees you up more than you'd realise and many of my trips just wouldn't have occured to me before it.

Richard
Last edited by europa on Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby LuckyPierre » Wed Dec 06, 2006 1:27 pm

Richard has pretty much said it all - get a detachable three / four bike carrier with a tow bar mount. Mine is a single post, but you can't leave the mount attached when you need to use a trailer.
I put the first bike in and position the cranks so that the pedal arm (if anything) touches the carrier. Then, I put additional bikes on 'head to foot' (or should that be seat to handlebar), but usually only three at a time. I use occy straps to stop any wheels spinning and the bikes from swaying.
I'd like one of the fancy roof racks, but it would be a b*gger getting bikes up on top of the Hilux! :?
Oops, I forgot - I'm a naughty boy and don't use a carrier mounted number plate, because it makes getting mtb's (with a removeable bar) and compact frames like the girlie bike really hard to get onto the carrier. :oops:
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Postby sogood » Wed Dec 06, 2006 1:47 pm

It's all a question of risk profile. I always have a fear of being rear ended with those rear mounted solutions. And then there's the dirt and mud that gets thrown about at the rear of the car. I already have enough to clean. Didn't like those roof mounts that keeps the front wheel and anchors on the down tube. Just doesn't look that stable. Even if it is, a clamp on an oversized alloy or carbon down tube makes me uncomfortable.

I opted for the roof rack version with front fork QR mount. These are the most stable of the lot. As already pointed out, just have to remember to duck from low lying objects. A sunroof helps as you can be reminded of the bike above.
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Postby tuco » Wed Dec 06, 2006 2:32 pm

Nothing like getting information from experience. I never thought about being hit from behind, better check insurance policy about that.
See, this is the sort of information you don't get from children salesmen would may have read a brochure.

The one Richard has sounds like the one I saw as it also had the wide velcro straps.

My tow bar tongue/ball section doesn't live on the car. Although our drive way is flat, the end of bit is steep and if left on the car the bolts gouge tracks in the road especially when the back seat is occupied. It got worse when they resurfaced the road!

Thinking about it, a roof mount would be silly. We live in a high set old Queenslander style house and it'd only be a matter of time before I drove under the house and forgot the bikes were on top. I've already tried to drive under with a fridge on a trailer. It didn't fit.
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Postby heavymetal » Wed Dec 06, 2006 3:14 pm

tuco wrote:Thinking about it, a roof mount would be silly. We live in a high set old Queenslander style house and it'd only be a matter of time before I drove under the house and forgot the bikes were on top. I've already tried to drive under with a fridge on a trailer. It didn't fit.


I know of someone who did that, except it was a brick garage, and wrote off two $3,000 carbon fibre bikes and damaged the car roof.

While everyone was laughing, I sincerely made the comment that a steel touring bike probably would have survived the impact to some degree :lol:
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Postby sogood » Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:05 pm

bicyclewa wrote:While everyone was laughing, I sincerely made the comment that a steel touring bike probably would have survived the impact to some degree :lol:

And destroyed the car roof top! :roll:
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Postby rider06 » Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:30 pm

just to continue this - has anyone tried the carriers that require neither roof racks or tow ball each of which are pretty expensive on their own. the sort of thing i'm talking about are at http://www.cellbikes.com.au/product.php?id=63
my concern is over how secure they actually are.
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Postby europa » Wed Dec 06, 2006 9:22 pm

I've no direct experience with these. However, for many years (five plus), and MGB wore one of these - I use to pass it everytime I went past where he worked. Now, I never saw a bike on it, never saw the MG driving, but you don't leave something like that on the back of an MG if you aren't using it and you don't use something for that long if they don't work.

Personally though, I'd be looking very carefully before buying one. There is a loooottttt of force on a bike carrier - an engineer I heard being interviewed about them years ago waxed lyrical at the engineering challenge they offer. My feeling is that you want the things mounted to something pretty darned solid and a tow bar is about as solid and unbreakable as you can get. But that's bias based on ignoracne and fear on my behalf - I might be wrong.

Richard
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Postby tuco » Wed Dec 06, 2006 10:34 pm

rider06 wrote:just to continue this - has anyone tried the carriers that require neither roof racks or tow ball each of which are pretty expensive on their own. the sort of thing i'm talking about are at http://www.cellbikes.com.au/product.php?id=63
my concern is over how secure they actually are.


They are the other type Anaconda had. I didn't even give them a second look. I could picture myself getting home and then wondering where the bikes fell off.
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Postby sogood » Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:51 am

rider06 wrote:just to continue this - has anyone tried the carriers that require neither roof racks or tow ball each of which are pretty expensive on their own. the sort of thing i'm talking about are at http://www.cellbikes.com.au/product.php?id=63
my concern is over how secure they actually are.

They are good enough for hatchback/stationwagons. Although I would only trust those from reputable manufacturers eg. Thule.
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Postby matagi » Thu Dec 07, 2006 7:13 am

rider06 wrote:just to continue this - has anyone tried the carriers that require neither roof racks or tow ball each of which are pretty expensive on their own. the sort of thing i'm talking about are at http://www.cellbikes.com.au/product.php?id=63
my concern is over how secure they actually are.

Yes, we have one which is similar although ours does not have the "notches" for the bikes.

We live on a very bumpy rural road and have actually exceeded the thing's load capacity and it worked fine. Normally we carry 2 bikes on it, with a combined total weight of around 25-26kg.

The trick is how you attach them. We used sail ties (which are rated to quite high loads) and threaded them over the edge of the boot and attached them to the child restraint anchor points and under the car we attach to the sway bar. You have to make sure the rack is secured in such a way that the bulk of the load is taken by the bumper bar (otherwise you may put a dent in your boot lid).

As with anything, if you think about what you are doing and take the time to make sure everything is properly secured, you should have no problems.
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Postby Bernard » Thu Dec 07, 2006 9:07 am

I had one of those strap on to the boot carriers (still do in my garage somewhere actually) I wouldn't recommend using it for regular bike carrying, while not a hassle to attach to the car you wll spend 15 mins just putting it on the car and making sure it secure, do this regularly and you will get sick of it. Also with resting it on the bumper bar - make sure your bumber is very sturdy, when I had my laser, on a hot day the plastic bumper bar would soften just enough for it to flex and the bottom bar of the carrier to wedge between the car body and the bumber bar, resulting in the wheels of the bike dragging on the road !

When I got the new car I got one of the detachable towbar ones and it literally takes 30 sec to put on / off. Being removable it also doesn't get in the way when you want to put groceries / luggage in the boot.

Does anyone have hassles with the number plates? (being to wide) mine is quite bent from trying to get the bikes through it onto the rack!
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Postby europa » Thu Dec 07, 2006 9:12 am

The number plates you have to carry annoy me intensely. They are far too big - you can buy smaller ones for cars for heaven's sake, but it's required in SA that you use theirs. I can't fit a drink bottle holder to my g/f's bike because if I do, I can't get it past the flamin' number plate. Bad design, bad law, and there just so they can make more money with the speed cameras.

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Postby Bnej » Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:28 pm

you're a cyclist saying people shouldn't get done for speeding? mkay....

Would be better to have a rack that doesn't obscure the plates.

You might not like it but the law makes a lot of sense.
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Postby Bernard » Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:56 pm

Bnej wrote:you're a cyclist saying people shouldn't get done for speeding? mkay....

Would be better to have a rack that doesn't obscure the plates.

You might not like it but the law makes a lot of sense.


I think what Richard meant was that paying $30 for the Bike Rack number plate is a bit excessive, not that he wants to speed. It is illegal to use anything but the RTA bike rack number plate and if you have a bike rack you are required by law to have a number plate on it. The minute you stick bikes on the bike rack you obscure the number plate that's on the car

I agree with Richard and think that someone designed the plates without thinking of its actual usage.

Richard -> I've been toying with the idea of sticking velcro to the back of the plate and the bike rack that way I can pop it off and on easily, just need a safety chain so it doesn't come off when travelling at speed.
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Postby Bnej » Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:14 pm

Bernard wrote:I think what Richard meant was that paying $30 for the Bike Rack number plate is a bit excessive, not that he wants to speed. It is illegal to use anything but the RTA bike rack number plate and if you have a bike rack you are required by law to have a number plate on it. The minute you stick bikes on the bike rack you obscure the number plate that's on the car

I agree with Richard and think that someone designed the plates without thinking of its actual usage.

Richard -> I've been toying with the idea of sticking velcro to the back of the plate and the bike rack that way I can pop it off and on easily, just need a safety chain so it doesn't come off when travelling at speed.


Well, velcro makes sense, would be easy enough to make safe too.

But $30 is only $30, once, and the RTA can't very well let anyone fabricate number plates and hand them out. The plates legally identify your vehicle.
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Postby sogood » Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:36 pm

Another reason for roof top rack! :wink:
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Postby uMP2k » Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:50 pm

sogood wrote:Another reason for roof top rack! :wink:


Roof top racks definately would be my preferred choice, but unfortunately while I would not have a problem lifting a bike onto the roof of the car it might be a bit different for my wife...
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Postby sogood » Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:56 pm

uMP2k wrote:Roof top racks definately would be my preferred choice, but unfortunately while I would not have a problem lifting a bike onto the roof of the car it might be a bit different for my wife...

I agree. It's a bit of a struggle to lift a heavy MTB, but with lightweight road bikes, it's easy. Weight weenies have an advantage here. :wink:
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bike racks

Postby cludence » Sat Dec 09, 2006 11:28 am

I currently use one of the strap type racks and I have never had a problem. I have a tendency to overload the rack and it still is fine. No bike has ever fallen off. The only drawback with them is they do mark your paintwork where they clip in to your boot. My car is old so thats not an issue, but worth considering if your car is a good one. They take less than five mins to put on, but you do have to make sure it is done up tight.

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Postby bda20 » Sun Dec 10, 2006 8:22 pm

Ok we have got the roof top mounted bike racks and on the weekend have just reversed the car in the garage with me bike still on (the second time it has happened last time at my mum and dads place with there carport) so this will be the 3rd roof on the car (its only 4 months old!!!) so the wife says the racks have to go but they are the best way to get you bike around just need something to remind you the bikes are up there!!! (you cant see them at all) no damage to bikes last time (it was our mtb's) but have busted a set of carbon forks this time on my roady :roll:

So my point is yes they are great but be warned :shock:
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Postby heavymetal » Sun Dec 10, 2006 8:44 pm

bda20 wrote:just need something to remind you the bikes are up there!!! (you cant see them at all) no damage to bikes last time (it was our mtb's) but have busted a set of carbon forks this time on my roady :roll:

So my point is yes they are great but be warned :shock:


Ouch!! We'll put our thinking caps on and see what we can come up with to remind you that the bikes are on the roof.

....Off to see if I can borrow a car...... :D
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Postby europa » Sun Dec 10, 2006 8:52 pm

Ouch.

It's not only garages though - low trees can be an issue. It's not unkown for my to scrape my roof racks on an overhanging tree.

I don't have a problem with on the back. They don't seem to get too much road grime on them in normal conditions - rain would be different of course and as for the danger of someone running into you, well, how many rear enders have you had?

But it's all up to what you're doing. I'm not far off putting the roof carriers back on so I can carry more than three bikes (two on top and two behind).

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Postby sogood » Sun Dec 10, 2006 9:23 pm

bda20 wrote:Ok we have got the roof top mounted bike racks and on the weekend have just reversed the car in the garage with me bike still on (the second time it has happened last time at my mum and dads place with there carport) so this will be the 3rd roof on the car (its only 4 months old!!!) so the wife says the racks have to go but they are the best way to get you bike around just need something to remind you the bikes are up there!!! (you cant see them at all) no damage to bikes last time (it was our mtb's) but have busted a set of carbon forks this time on my roady :roll:

So my point is yes they are great but be warned :shock:

You need a sunroof! You'll be able to monitor whether the bike is still there... ;)

There's no perfectly safe and clean method of carriage apart from inside the car. Everything has a risk but the risks are different. You'll just have to decide what's more likely to you.
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