Not every great bike ride starts from your front door, and if you want to go riding further afield than normal, you'll need something to transport your bike safely by car, or by air. Bike racks on cars are one of the best ways of transporting your bike from point A to point B, so we’ve put together this guide to help you choose the right one.
Most boot-mounted racks fit quickly and easily to almost any kind of car. You may need a lighting board if the number plate and rear lights are obscured by the car bike rack, so factor those extras into the overall price.
Some of the latest rear-mounted racks combine clever design with simple fitting, so you can transport your bike easily and safely. Racks like the Saris Gran Fondo use large wheel-sized tracks to sit your wheels in. The rack holds the bike vertically, which is good for smaller cars as the bike stands vertically and sits within the width of the car.
Stable and secure, the best tow bar-mounted racks are excellent, if expensive compared to a boot-mounted rack. If you don’t already have a tow bar, you’ll need to budget for one too. Tow bar racks like the Thule 9503 Ride-On provide a platform to stand your bikes on. Unlike some, it also includes a light board with number plate mount within its price.
Roof systems are usually modular, so you will you need the bike carriers, and a roof rack or fittings for integral roof bars. The advantage is that as roof-mounted racks are modular, you only need to buy enough fittings for however many bikes you wish to carry. Carry your bike on the roof and you can also still easily access the boot space.
Car bicycle roof racks are particularly useful on estate cars, but it can be hard to lift a heavy bike up to the height of a car roof. They’re not cheap either. Regarded as one of the very best is Thule's ProRide 591 - its adjustable wheelbase mounts mean it'll fit pretty much any bike, and the adjustable down-tube clamping arm includes an integral lock.
The best car rack for you will depend on several factors including the type of car you have, how many bikes you want to transport and what your budget is. At Evans Cycles we stock a range of car bike rack systems, which are regularly reviewed in car bike rack reviews online and in magazines.
When travelling by air, you can choose to transport your bike in a box or a bike transport bag. Bags tend to be cheaper, but require much more care in packing - with plenty of additional protective padding and stuffing going round the frame, wheels and derailleurs. You can use pipe lagging, or even your cycling kit as additional padding.
If you opt for a lighter, soft bag like the Polaris Cargo bag, look for details such as compartments for small parts (pedals, quick release skewers, bottles etc), integrated wheel pouches or wheel bags. Toughened corners can prevent damage to the bag, and substantial wheels or slides to make easy to transporting through the airport. Bag bikes should also have plenty of grab handles and straps to make them easy to handle. Many different companies produce bags, so if you’re unsure what to choose, it’s worth reading some bike bag reviews, or reviews of customers on our website.
A bike box like the Elite Vaison is undoubtedly the safest way to travel with your bike. A quality bicycle box will have a hard shell that's resistant to cracks, it'll be toughened where needed and include fittings to secure both your frame and wheels. Wheels and plenty of grab handles are essential for easy manoeuvrability and make sure you check the unpacked weight and factor in what the overall weight will be when it's fully loaded.
The downsides are that their large size can mean issues with storage (especially if you're sharing a small hotel room). It's also worth considering that a case is going to be significantly heavier than a bag, so check your airline restrictions before travelling, and invest in a set of travel baggage scales to check the weight before travelling.
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