Maybe you’re gearing up for your first biking expedition? Or maybe you have found the most scenic sights a little further afield from your back garden? Or perhaps you just want to bring the family bikes out of the shed for a test ride with the little ones? Whatever your biking adventure, you’ll need a cycle carrier for your car to haul everything to your destination.
So what kind of cycle carrier do I need? Good question, because there are so many different makes of cycle carriers out there to fit thousands of bicycle shapes and vehicles. To ensure you don’t make any on-the-spot decisions, we consulted the leading manufacturer Bosal on what, today, are the best cycle carriers for your next biking holiday.
Choosing the Right Cycle Carriers for Your Car: Where to Start
Bikes vary in terms of size, style and weight, all of which should be a factor when transporting them. You’re probably not going to pay for a low quality cycle carrier that costs less than your bike tyres when transporting a £3,000 biking beauty!
Also consider whether the product will suit your needs both now, and in the near future. Will you be looking to grow your fleet with the addition of family bikes? If so, then investing in a strong, long-lasting cycle carrier, with the ability to transport a family of explorers (and their bikes), is the one for you.
Types of Cycle Carriers
1) Rear Mounted Cycle Carriers
Fixed to the back of vehicles, these are usually a little more expensive than other mounted carriers, but the ease of loading and unloading bikes without having to lift them onto the vehicle’s roof make them a popular option. They even leave space for you to store biking essentials such as pumps, spare tyres and helmets on the roof if space is tight.
Most feature a simple locking mechanism that hold the bike in place when on the road. Clever designs enable riders to load their bikes in a matter of seconds, and when finished, fold the carrier away in anticipation for your next holiday.
Pros: Good ones are strong, and as they’re behind the vehicle and out of the way, the fuel consumption doesn’t suffer too much. Loading and unloading bikes couldn’t be more simple. Security can be very good.
Cons: Once the bikes are removed, then reversing can yield horrifying results if you forget the carrier is still attached!
2) Roof Mounted Cycle Carriers
Most roof racks consist of feet that attach to your vehicle’s roof, and cross bars that accessories can be attached to. Roof mounted styles vary between that that require front wheel removal, and carriers that allow both wheels to remain on the bike. Front wheel removals keep the bike lower, can be easier and lighter to load, and is the classic way of loading bikes on to your car.
While they are not a permanent fixture, cycle carriers generally stay on the vehicle at all time as they are extremely versatile. If you’re a sporting explorer and love nothing more than bringing your bikes, kayaks, skis and cargo boxes along with you for the ride, then roof mounted carriers are ideal. They allow you to transport all manner of sport-specific accessories on your next trip along with your bicycles.
Pros: Super versatile for all kinds of gear hauling. One of the most secure carriers around. Doesn’t hinder access to any doors, boot, hatch or mirrors.
Cons: Drive under something low if you’ve forgotten about your bikes and you could risk damaging your bikes and your vehicle. They’re also trickier to load than rear mounted carriers.
3) Tow Bar Mounted Cycle Carriers
Towbar mounted cycle carriers are a firm favourite with Bosal and for good reason. These nifty cycle carriers are the most simple and effective way to store your bikes.
Loading and securing your bikes takes mere seconds, and once in place, access to the boot is maintained with a unique tilting function on the carrier. When not in use, the carrier can be folded into your boot without the hassle of finding a place for storage.
However if you plan on taking your caravan on holiday, or need to use the tow bar for other means then consider an alternative. The tow bar cycle carrier does not give you the freedom to tow at the same time as using the carrier!
Pros: Nothing is directly attached to your car’s bodywork. Foldable feature is available in some models. Tilting allows for easy access into the car boot.
Cons: Requires a towbar. Cannot tow at the same time as using the carrier. Tow bar nose weight needs checking to ensure it does not exceed capacity with the combined weight of your cycle carrier and bikes.
Just like the bikes you ride, a lot of thought and engineering has gone into the carriers designed to take your bikes on new adventures. So figure out what your needs are and what cycle carrier best suits your lifestyle, and transport your bikes with the peace of mind that you’re in safe hands.