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Home Trail Cycling News 2019 Bike Rack Buyers Guide

2019 Bike Rack Buyers Guide

With hundreds of different options on sale, we cut through the noise to help you find a bike rack that is tailored to your needs!

Unless you have a van transporting bikes around can be a real headache, so much so that it can often put a stop to a day out cycling before it has even started. Different shaped cars and bikes can make finding the correct rack incredibly tricky.

We have compiled a complete rundown of the types of bike rack on offer and their respective pros and cons, as well as recommending a few of our favourite products.

Best Roof Mount Bike Racks

Pros

  • The bikes have good clearance to the vehicle’s paintwork so damage is less likely.
  • You can carry up to four or more bikes!
  • Roof bars on a vehicle can be useful for other items too.
  • Very secure.

Cons

  • Awkward to load the bikes, especially on taller vehicles or if you are shorter.
  • You can’t see the bikes on your roof.
  • Increases vehicle drag (driving can be noisy and fuel economy can be affected)
  • Vehicle height is increased, which can make some bridges or carparks problematic.

Best Allround – Thule 598 ProRide

If any company knows how to transport awkward goods effortlessly, it is Thule. The ProRide is another exemplary example, featuring a frame that automatically adjusts to the size of your bike, which helps to save unnecessary setup time, and torque limited grips to prevent over-tightening. As well as a locking system to deter thieves from stealing your bike!

Weighing in at 4.2 kg it is one of the lighter frames on the market and comes pre-assembled, meaning you are ready to go straight out of the box. It also conveniently folds completely flat making storage a breeze.

The ProRide is a serious piece of kit and costs around £90.00, considering it only carries a single bike it can’t be regarded as cheap. But if you have spent a £500+ on a new set of wheels, you are going to want to look after your ride with a high-quality roof carrier.

For bikes with odd shaped frames or that are easily damaged the more expensive Thule 599 UpRide is also worth a look.

The Thule 598 ProRide is available to buy on Amazon for £87.95

Budget Option – Thule 532 FreeRide

Thule 532 FreeRide © Thule
Thule 532 FreeRide © Thule

Thule really is top dog when it comes to bike roof racks, like the ProRide, the FreeRide is another incredibly well thought out product. While missing out on a few of its bigger brother’s premium features, such as automatic adjustment and torque limited grips, it is still a solid product in its own right.

But the rack does still feature a locking system to keep everything secured to your car, and the strap system works exceptionally well, albeit not quite as effortlessly as the ProRides system.

The clamps themselves are a little less forgiving than those on more premium Thule racks, but this is to be expected given the price saving. At £50 brand new this is a great rack if you are planning to carry two or more bikes on your roof while keeping to a budget.

The Thule 532 FreeRide is available to buy on Amazon for £50.95

The Alternate Option – SeaSucker Talon

SeaSucker Talon © SeaSucker
SeaSucker Talon © SeaSucker

The SeaSucker Talon is an ingenious piece of engineering designed for cars that don’t have roof bars fitted or are too awkwardly shaped to carry bikes, e.g. vehicles such as sports cars with sloping roofs. It secures the rack to the roof of your car using nothing but suction cups!

Yes, you read that correctly, but unlike the useless ones found around your house that fall off every few seconds, these have been tested to resist a pulling strength of 95kg per suction cup! They have even been tested on vehicle at speeds up to 140mph!

Not only does this system of mounting make the rack extremely versatile, it also means that the SeaSucker Talon is incredibly small and light. So you can leave it your car all the time, even if the car in question is a supercar with a minuscule storage compartment!

Bikes mount using the front fork QR and strapping through the rear wheel, so you will need to remove the front tyre when using the Talon.

More information is available on SeaSuckers website.

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Jamie Withamhttps://get-up-and.com/
A qualified engineer who has worked with high profile companies such as Jaguar, McLaren and Ford. Jamie now works as a writer full-time, splitting his time between Get Up And and Fine Point Solutions (Copywriting Service). Growing up his aspirations were rather different having played football for numerous professional clubs, but sadly it wasn't to be. A keen skier, tennis player and cyclist (he even had his own bike repair business) there aren't many activities Jamie hasn't tried over the years!

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