A bike on a car is most often placed on the roof of the vehicle or on a rack installed on tow bars. Which solution should you choose?
Bike carrier for a car should be first of all stable and safe. You should also make sure, that it does not have any elements which could damage (scratch) the transported bikes or even the car body during the ride. There are several models available on the market with different designs. You can transport your bike on the roof or attach the carrier to the tow bar. It is also common to choose a hanging carrier, which attaches to the tailgate of the vehicle. Which is the best solution for you? Check out the advantages and disadvantages of tow bars and roof racks!
The most popular choice is the roof rack. It is often just a simple stick that attaches to the rails on the car. This bar is usually equipped with a special handle, which keeps the bike upright during the ride. The biggest advantage of such solution is the price – the product can be bought really inexpensively, which for many is the biggest advantage. Nevertheless, this is not the last positive feature of this solution. The whole construction is extremely lightweight and easy to use. Assembly or disassembly of the handles will not cause any problems, even if you use the carrier for the first time. It is also worth mentioning that bikes arranged in such a way on the roof do not take up much space. You can easily carry several bikes on the roof at the same time.
Of course there are many advantages and disadvantages. Especially when you want to transport several bikes at once. You need to take into account that you need the same number of roof racks. The price then increases dramatically – from 200 zlotys it becomes 400 and so on. Moreover, for a high-quality solution, for example a Thule model, you should pay about 700 zlotys – several pieces to carry bikes for the whole family is already a considerable expense. Another may be to buy roof rails and crossbars, if your car does not have this
You should also remember that hoisting bikes onto the roof before a trip is a bit cumbersome. With unicycles on the roof, the driver has to keep in mind that his vehicle has suddenly become about one and a half meters taller. On top of all this, the driving speed should be lower than usual given the side gusts of wind
It doesn’t look like a carrier but rather a platform for carrying bikes. It is available in wider or narrower versions depending on the number of bike spaces. Each unit should consist of a platform, arms holding the bikes and mounting posts that can accommodate two to four bikes. More expensive proposals do not lack their own registration frame and lights. Despite its slightly more complicated construction, it is not a difficult solution to install. The whole thing will take a dozen or so minutes the first time. It is enough to get acquainted with the user manual.
Another advantage of such solution is no need to buy rails or crossbars. However, the prices are higher – a lower quality platform is an expense of about 700 PLN. Nevertheless, you have at least two stands at your disposal. In case of three or four stands for bikes the price rises a bit. What else? Convenience of use. You do not have to lift the unicycle to the roof to mount it. We should also mention the negligible aerodynamic resistance of the platform at the back of the car.
Disadvantages of this solution? First of all, the bike rack can obstruct the rear of the car. You lose some visibility. In addition, the platform must not obscure the license plate, which happens in virtually every model. How to remedy this? You need to make a third license plate and place it on a suitable strip. This is not a big cost – it oscillates around 150 PLN for a solution with the Polish flag or 50 PLN with the EU flag.
The solution mounted at the back of the car seems to be a more reasonable option. More solid, more stable and easy to install. Unfortunately, the roof hook requires additional components, the purchase of several roof racks is quite a significant cost. However, when you go on trips alone this option may be better.