Choosing the best bike rack

Get out of town with the best bike rack for your vehicle

Reuben Van Niekerk
Get out of town
bike rack
mountain biking
roof rack

The new advertising campaign showcases that whatever car you’re searching for you can find it on and is centred around lifestyle choices and milestones. One of the key messages of this campaign is “Let’s get out of town” and highlights vehicles which are perfect for those motorists who enjoy road trips with their family.

However, depending on your hobbies having the right vehicle to get out of town will only get you so far and specific accessories might be needed to facilitate getting out of town with all your leisure equipment safely secured.

Cycling is one of South Africans favourite outdoor past times and is growing at an incredible rate. However, not everyone lives in a place that is conducive to cycling and especially mountain bikers need to travel by car to reach the best riding spots, trails and to do so they need a way of transporting their bike.

There are three basic ways of carrying bikes on your car and these options include rooftop bike racks, towbar bike racks and boot mounted racks. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.

The rooftop bike rack

The big advantage of a rooftop mounted bike rack is that it gives you full access to the boot of your vehicle. It allows for the loading of up to four bikes, can accommodate most wheel sizes and comes in either a fork mounted configuration, like the Thule ThruRide or options like the Thule Upride that allows for mounting with both wheels fitted.

The downside of roof mounted racks is that driving with bicycles on the roof will increase your fuel consumption substantially and there will be an increase in wind noise, especially when driving at highway speeds.

Loading and off-loading of bicycles onto the roof of the car can also be tricky, especially for shorter people loading heavier bicycles.

When travelling with bikes on the roof you will also need to remain aware of your extended total height when entering spaces with overhanging structures such as garages, carports, or even low hanging branches.

Towbar mounted bike racks

Towbar mounted bike racks are the most common style of bicycle carriers and are a great option if you already have a towbar on your vehicle. These bike racks can carry one to four bikes, are easy to mount and limit the need for heavy and high lifting.

Towbar mounted bike racks are designed to make loading and unloading quick and easy, while some racks also have a tilt feature that does still allow for access to the boot, even with bikes loaded.

Towbar mounted racks will have the smallest effect on the fuel consumption of your vehicle, and it is easy to keep an eye on your precious cargo via your rear-view mirrors.

Boot mounted bike racks

For vehicles without a roof rack or towbar, a boot mounted bike rack is another option to consider, as they are substantially cheaper.

They do however take longer to fit onto the vehicle and damage to your vehicle is more likely when loading and transporting bicycles compared to the roof or towbar mounted option.

Whatever your vehicle, or however many bikes you plan on taking with you on the next ride, there are a host of bike rack styles available. Before you select the bike rack that is best for your vehicle and application, it is important to research the options out there and carefully consider how it integrates with your vehicle and lifestyle.

Looking at buying a vehicle for your next adventure browse through our selection of new, used and demo vehicles here.