Carrying bikes on a car

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Adrian Hill
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Carrying bikes on a car

Postby Adrian Hill » 24 Feb 2009, 7:48am

I want to carry four adult bikes on a car and wonder what the best method is. I've already hung bikes on the back which scares me. On Saturday I looked at a Thule carrier which fits on a tow ball/bar. Very sturdy etc but is it safe with 4 bikes on just a ball. What about putting them on the top? I'd need a low bridge warning! Anyone got any ideas? Thanks (My first post so sorry if this subject has been done before)
Adrian

neilob
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Location: Notts/Lincs borders

Postby neilob » 24 Feb 2009, 9:18am

This is one of those issues that you think should be simple....but rarely is. There are a lot of factors to consider....it's easy to exceed the car manufacturers recommended loading for towbar nose weight and anyway hanging around 50-60kg (assuming four touring bikes) that far back is bound to affect handling. I learned this lesson a few years ago and still have the scars (actually, the car does). Roof mounting has its own issues.....how tall are you, how high is your car? Reaching the middle bikes will be difficult at all times and, again, there will be weight limits on the roof bars and the roof itself. And you have the hassle of removing the racks or wasting fuel when not in use. If you really need to travel with four bikes I'm inclined to suggest two on top and two on the back and even if it seems an expensive option, it's probably the safest.
Neil
Using a car to take an adult on a three mile journey is the same as using an atomic bomb to kill a canary.

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Mick F
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Postby Mick F » 24 Feb 2009, 10:31am

We have the Thule two-bike rig for the tow bar.

Excellent stuff. Solid and strong and quick to fit. I have issues with the two bikes rubbing against each other - so I use gaffa tape and plumbing pipe insulation.

Two bikes are carried well, and I would think the four version would be ok, though I have no experience of it at all.

Just secure them properly and stop them rubbing.

We have this one:
http://www.leisureshack.co.uk/thule-940 ... rrier.aspx
but it seems there is only a 3 bike system and not a 4.
Mick F. Cornwall

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DaveP
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Postby DaveP » 24 Feb 2009, 10:37am

I dont think you need to worry too much about low bridges Adrian :lol:
There aren't that many on public roads that are so low.
Where most roofrack problems arise is with carparks, especially ordinary open air ones, where someone has decided to fit a height restriction.
Its just so easy to turn in, especially when all you want is the loo....

And no, I haven't ... yet, but I still worry!

Three bikes on top seems to work out judging by the number seen, but four just looks precarious and has to be pushing the limits for most anchoring points. I'd dismantle one and carry it inside before going that far.
As for carrying on the back, your almost certainly going to need a numberplate board, and evey time you pass a police car you'll wish you had one! They are relatively cheap, but it can be expensive getting the necessary socket fitted.
If your car is already fitted for towing why not consider adapting a trailer. Not that expensive compared to all the bracketry you could be looking at!

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Mick F
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Postby Mick F » 24 Feb 2009, 10:52am

The Thule comes with plate board ..

Image
Mick F. Cornwall

iaincullen
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Postby iaincullen » 24 Feb 2009, 10:56am

Not the cheapest but for peace of mind, capacity, and no hassle taking racks on and off ....

http://www.trailer.co.uk/Product/Motorb ... cle/PEN006

Adrian Hill
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Postby Adrian Hill » 24 Feb 2009, 11:18am

I thought of the two at back and two on the top but I reckon that the trailer option is safest. Expensive but peace of mind certainly and loo stops no probs! (two little boys to think of!)
Thanks for all your replies so far

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cycleruk
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Location: Lancashire

Postby cycleruk » 24 Feb 2009, 4:51pm

I have made 2 bike trailers and they worked well.
The only drawback is storage when not in use. There can be issues when parking at your destination but not usually a problem?
Certainly with any bikes on the back of your car and you have to have a light board. Otherwise have the bikes high enough as not to obstruct the lights and number plate.

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mill4six
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Postby mill4six » 24 Feb 2009, 7:53pm

I have a 4 bike carrier on my tow ball, very quick to fit and remove but they should really have called it a 3 bike carrier, You can get 4 on but you have to put each one on so that the handlebars are at alternating ends, even then I had to undo the bars and turn them on one bike to get them all on. The whole thing doesn't look strong enough but I've been to the continent and back without incident so I suppose it must be. It was pretty cheap too around forty quid off the internet. The bonus is you can still hitch a trailer and hang the bikes in the gap between so it's great for camping trips. Simon.

Adrian Hill
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Postby Adrian Hill » 24 Feb 2009, 11:41pm

40 QUID??!! Are you sure? Thule 4 bike tow bar carrier I'm expecting to pay about 700 quid all in and the trailer is apparantly about 590 quid. Am I missing something here?

Manx Cat
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Postby Manx Cat » 25 Feb 2009, 8:46am

Hello Adrian and welcome.

I use one of these:

Image

Its fixed onto one of these:

Image

Rack made by a company called Pendle. Excellent service, even though I live off the coast, they delivered complete and with an affordable postage cost to boot.

Ive taken the bikes several times on this, crossing the Irish sea on the ferry caused the greatest grief, but only because the rear of the rack hit the shipping deck HARD and had a horrible crunching sound, but no damage to rack or car.

I dont find any handling changes in the car either when I have 3 bikes on board. Pendle also do a four bike one as well.


Pendle link here


Mary

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anniesboy
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Postby anniesboy » 25 Feb 2009, 6:15pm

I bought the 2 bike version Euroway http://tinyurl.com/cmaahl which a year ago cost£165 ,increased somewhat.
But a great piece of kit ,it tilts hence you can open tailgate with bikes onboard.
There is a clamp which goes around top or downtube ,chaffing is not a problem ,just dont clamp any cables.
It feels very secure ,but for 4 bikes Im sure you need to check out loading weight.

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mill4six
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Re: Carrying bikes on a car

Postby mill4six » 16 Mar 2009, 1:44pm

Yes I'm sure it was that cheap, it is just like Mary's but it's by Thule (it's still got the stickers on). I got it new by googling it and looking for the lowest price. It's super convenient to use for up to 2 bikes, then it's a little trickier but still do-able for 4. I found it again a bit more expensive now, from Fasteronline.

Thule - Thule 9705 - Thule Bolt On Bike Carrier
[THU9705]
Our price £69.99
UK delivery included
The tiltable bike carrier for bolted towbars that´s extremely easy to remove when not in use (not suitable for swan necks or quick release removable balls) A robust bike carrier for bolted towbars.
Simon...