Five ways to transport your bicycle:
1. Ride it.
2. Stuff it in your car/ SUV/ pickup. If you are using a car, this requires some dismantling of your bike. It is the cheapest method, though a bit hard on your car interior and/or exterior. And then there is the possible damage to your bike.
3. Trunk mounted bicycle carriers mount to different parts of your vehicle, the trunk, rear gate and/or bumper using straps. Not recommended for pickups.
4. Roof mounted bicycle carriers mount to a roof rack. The bike stands upright (Tour de France style) and may or may not require removal of the front wheel.
5. Hitch mounted bicycle carriers require a trailer hitch on your vehicle. Your bicycle then either sits on a tray or hangs from an arm(s) that extends behind the vehicle.
6. Suction Cup bicycle carriers require a clean flat mounting surface. A painted body panel or glass are ideal.
What should I consider when choosing a bike carrier for my car?
Things to consider when choosing a bike rack; Does the bike rack hold your bike, budget, number of bikes, value of your bikes and your physical attributes.
Fit: Does your bike mount to the bike carrier? A ‘ladies’ bike with the angled crossbar could be a challenge. The lack of any crossbar that can be grabbed creates a problem for many bike racks. You can purchase an artificial crossbar to solve this problem. More recently, heavy e-bikes and extra wide fat tires create a problem for bike racks that have not been reengineered accommodate these trends.
Budget: If you have little or no budget for a bike rack, then option one or two above may be your only choice. Trunk Mount bike racks are next on the list for budget conscious consumers. Roof Mount and Hitch Mount bike racks are close in cost depending on the number of bikes to be carried. You must however add the cost of the roof rack or trailer hitch if you do not already have one on your car. Suction Cup bike carriers do not require a roof rack, but they can get pricey when multiple bikes need to be transported.
Number of Bicycles: There are bike carriers to accommodate from one to six bikes. We ignore the “stuff it in your car” and “ride it” options moving forward in this article. Trunk Mount bike carriers handle a maximum of 3 bikes; Hitch Mount bike carriers carry up to 5 bikes; Roof Mount bike carriers can squeeze up to 6 bikes, when the roof rack has extended cross bars; and Suction Mount bike carriers can manage 2 bikes with 2 more if a second rack is added to the roof.
Value of Your bikes: There is a huge cost range for bicycles. Bicycles can easily sell for thousands of dollars. The value of your bike(s) influences the bike rack you choose. The Walmart Special can comfortably be carried around on any of the bike rack styles mentioned above. With the more expensive bikes you are concerned with the sturdiness of the attachment; is road debris going to coat or damage your bike; does the bike stay ‘tuned’ or do cables be pulled and stretched.
Physical Attributes: Here we are thinking about you the user. Are you strong enough or tall enough to place a bike on the roof of your vehicle? Trunk mount bike racks can be tricky to attach, e-Bikes heavy to lift.
COBRA has been serving the Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, Brampton and Toronto areas since 1984 (37 years). Thule, Yakima, SportRack and Sea Sucker are the primary bike rack manufacturers we represent. Our 400 sq metre showroom has most products on display.