best bike carrier for Mini Cooper?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
thesheep
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best bike carrier for Mini Cooper?

Postby thesheep » 23 Aug 2013, 11:06am

We bought a Mini Cooper, which has a glass type roof and short glass-type rear roof spoiler. The Thule hatchback 2 bike rack we used on our old car doesn't work. We will be driving 1300 miles, much of it on motorways, in Sept and so any bike carrier has to be stable and able to cope with faster speeds over long distances. Visibility when driving is also obviously vital.
Does anyone have any recommendations? I've seen the Saris Bones rack used with hatch huggers but visibility (and security over long distances) looks an issue. I doubt we can afford BMW's bike carrier either.
Thought about the on-roof racks, but doubt I'd have the strength to get the bike on and off! 2 Cannondale hybrids - weigh about 12kg each.
thank you

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Mick F
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Re: best bike carrier for Mini Cooper?

Postby Mick F » 23 Aug 2013, 1:13pm

We've had many many Minis, and I cannot even think how BMW could sully the name of Mini. :twisted:
But I digress. Sorry.

However, I doubt I'll ever use a rear carrier again. We were rear-ended a couple of years ago with my Mercian on the back. :shock: Luckily, only the rack was damaged and my Mercian unscathed, but it was a shock to say the least. Bikes on the back of a car are too vulnerable IMHO.

If I were you, I'd get a tow bar fitted and put your bikes in a trailer, or fit a roof rack and have difficulty getting them up there. Far safer options.
Mick F. Cornwall

thesheep
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Re: best bike carrier for Mini Cooper?

Postby thesheep » 23 Aug 2013, 1:36pm

Thanks Mick. Tow bar sounds possible but will have to ask Mini (agree re BMW!) and don't imagine any solution will improve the already terrible fuel economy!

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Re: best bike carrier for Mini Cooper?

Postby djqster » 23 Aug 2013, 1:50pm

Mick F wrote:However, I doubt I'll ever use a rear carrier again. We were rear-ended a couple of years ago with my Mercian on the back. :shock: Luckily, only the rack was damaged and my Mercian unscathed


Worse, on a short car like a Mini is that the carrier bears on the rear window and in a rear end shunt could come through and smack in the the heads of any rear seat passengers.

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foxyrider
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Re: best bike carrier for Mini Cooper?

Postby foxyrider » 23 Aug 2013, 4:34pm

Currently there are no strap on racks suitable for any of the BMW Mini One range. This is due to the construction and fit of the rear door (bits of plastic etc.)

We've had loads of customers with the same problem, most have gone for roof bar mounted systems although i understand BMW do now make a bike carrier costing lots of £££££££'s! :D
Convention? what's that then?
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anniesboy
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Re: best bike carrier for Mini Cooper?

Postby anniesboy » 24 Aug 2013, 8:33am

Its without doubt that carrying a bike outside a car goes with a degree of risk.
I carry mine on a tow ball hitch,yes a risk of damage if someone runs into the back.
Having said that Im sure more bikes have been damaged when carried on the roof, mainly by forgetting they are there when driving into car parks or other barriers.

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Audax67
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Re: best bike carrier for Mini Cooper?

Postby Audax67 » 24 Aug 2013, 8:53am

anniesboy wrote:Its without doubt that carrying a bike outside a car goes with a degree of risk.
I carry mine on a tow ball hitch,yes a risk of damage if someone runs into the back.
Having said that Im sure more bikes have been damaged when carried on the roof, mainly by forgetting they are there when driving into car parks or other barriers.


Windage is non-negligible with a roof rack. I used one in the 80s & early 90s, and every time I took my foot off the gas the car slowed dramatically. And I have experienced the joy of having a chum say "Yes, plenty of room, go ahead" only to hear the thud and the rending sound as the rack was wrenched from its moorings. The bike was OK.
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thesheep
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Re: best bike carrier for Mini Cooper?

Postby thesheep » 24 Aug 2013, 9:16am

many thanks everyone. I'd be happy enough with a rear mounted carrier or suchlike for short trips, but a 1300 mile journey - assuming we can't fit 2 bikes with wheels off in the back with the seats down as have other luggage - looks like I'll have to speak to Mini about a tow bar.
Not sure if I'm allowed to post links but there are various 2 bike tow bar options, some more 'trailer' type than others, online. All of course pictured with people-carrier size hatchbacks :lol:
Roof rack and fatigue sound a bit of a risky combo (oops :D ) and as I'd not ever be able to get the bike on or off myself, think it's a non starter.

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Mick F
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Re: best bike carrier for Mini Cooper?

Postby Mick F » 24 Aug 2013, 9:29am

We have one of these.
http://www.leisureshack.co.uk/thule-950 ... rrier.aspx
We've used it many times, but since our little incident a couple of years ago, I'm reluctant to use it again with my Mercian on it. Saying that, it's a great carrier and well worth the money. It's well made and the the bikes are held securely and safely.

The carrier repaired ok after the shunt and the car that hit us only damaged the front valance etc, but it could have been a lot worse. I hit the brakes when someone stepped onto a zebra crossing in heavy traffic from behind a queue of traffic coming the other way. We were only doing 15mph or so and the car behind was too late in stopping.

As I say, it could have been a lot worse. The cars could be repaired of course, but if my precious Mercian had been squidged that would have been the end of it. :shock:
Mick F. Cornwall

thesheep
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Re: best bike carrier for Mini Cooper?

Postby thesheep » 24 Aug 2013, 10:13am

thanks! I'm starting to wish I'd not bought a Mini - it's still under warranty so we are reluctant to let third party fitters loose on it. Mini want £763 for their tow bar and rear mounted carrier and claim that you 'can't just fit a towbar' and buy a cheaper option to fit to it. I don't believe them??

I'm going to ring these guys after the weekend http://www.towbarexpress.co.uk/?gclid=C ... tAodsg4AkA
but am a bit concerned about my car warranty.

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Re: best bike carrier for Mini Cooper?

Postby Big T » 24 Aug 2013, 10:47am

If you have a towbar fitted you should be able to use any towball rack. Thule do one for a couple of hundred pounds. I've been using roof mounted racks for over 30 years and not had any problems at all. There's a slight cost in terms of increased fuel consumption (about 10%). You just have to remember they are up there. I've never forgotten.
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BeeKeeper
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Re: best bike carrier for Mini Cooper?

Postby BeeKeeper » 24 Aug 2013, 12:50pm

Get a quote before deciding on a tow bar - I suspect your car has a CANBUS and therefore fitting could be expensive because of the electrics - i.e. around the £1k mark if you are really unlucky but it depends on the specifics of the vehicle.

Edit - just read your post above - you have already had a quote. You may be able to get it cheaper elsewhere but check very carefully it will not void the warranty, it probably will! For example, if they get it wrong it may mess up the electronic stability system. Modern car electrics are like a network these days and the towbar electrics can no longer just be clipped into the wires going to the lights - not least because it probably doesn't have any - just circuit boards and electronic chips.

For example, there may only be one wire going to the rear light cluster carrying the power for all the bulbs and probably a second wire carrying the signals to tell the electronics which bulbs to turn on. The car's braking system etc may also need to know a trailer is attached so it can compensate. See how it gets expensive?

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Mick F
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Re: best bike carrier for Mini Cooper?

Postby Mick F » 24 Aug 2013, 1:09pm

I've installed a few tow bars on Minis ............. but real Minis. :D
.... and a couple of Hillman Imps and a Peugeot 205.

Our Clio is fairly high-tech in the electrical/electronic department, and I'm very glad indeed that when we bought it new, part of the deal was for Renault to fit one. These days, cars are very-high-tech, so it does need a professional company to fit it - more than likely, a main dealer.

However, having a tow bar is an investment for the versatility of a small car. Trips to the dump, going on holiday with extra luggage, camping trips, house moves, helping out other people with shifting stuff, DIY materials ............. the list is endless, and none of it has to go inside and spoil your precious trim.

It sort of turns your small car into an all-purpose vehicle. I cannot ever imagine NOT having a trailer.
Mick F. Cornwall

thesheep
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Re: best bike carrier for Mini Cooper?

Postby thesheep » 24 Aug 2013, 5:24pm

many thanks for all the helpful info.

Mini weren't keen on the roof rack option anyhow as apparently you have to drill into the glass type roof, so suggested the back rack. So will just have to think about what works financially and how much we'll use it week in, week out.
Have a good weekend. Hope we get a bit more bike friendly weather in the next 2 days.

Lesson learned: don't retro fit. Think of what you want from the dealer when you buy the car. I'm sure it'd not have been an extra £700+ with sales people's year end targets coming up. We had such old banger bikes at the time though (excuse :) )

thesheep
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Re: best bike carrier for Mini Cooper?

Postby thesheep » 27 Aug 2013, 11:09am

I've been into Mini and the back carrier option is a non starter. About £900 including fitting. Mini do not fit tow balls either.

However for £220 they can retro fit roof bars ( as in for a roof box). Can I get a 2 bike clip on holder that would fit to the roof bars and be secure for long motorway trips please? French speed limit is 130km/hr....

Otherwise don't know how much stuff a roof box holds (stuff that would normally go into the boot) but could try to take wheels off and put the bikes in the back of the car with the back seats down. Make it very dirty though and this is last choice option.
I'm thinking roof and watch out going under bridges?!