bike racks

by Jon Burrage   June 14, 2010  

I need help (in many ways but this is focussing on bike racks).

I, in my wisdom, have bought a 2007 honda civic hatchback which, it turns out, doesnt take my trusty saris bones bike rack. So, before I can get really excited about driving down to the pyrenees in July, I need to work out a cost effective way of getting my bikes on the car.

My ferry booking means I cant have anything exceeding 2.4m on the roof so I was thinking either a rack that allows me to attach front forks (remove wheel) or mount the bike upside down. Failing that I would need to fit a removable towbar and a towbar rack.

What works?
What is good?
What will it cost?

Lost of questions! users, help!

6 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Will your car be full inside? You'd save fuel if you could fit it in a bike bag inside the car.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1448 posts]
14th June 2010 - 17:38


I bought an old HRV for a bike use. £1k all in had a tow bar onit, £52 toebar bar rack from Thule (ebay) jobs is a good un. For my missus hatch back had a towbar fitted for £200 so we can attach the bikes if we want to go in a car that doesn't rattle as much as the HRV. Basically £400 for a rack and tow bar is my conclusion.

Racks mean you save on fuel as there is no extra drag on the car! Cool

posted by mcfchris [6 posts]
15th June 2010 - 13:41


Yeah Im thinking that too, Ive been looking at the elite san remo for roofracks but Im going to be pushing that 2.40 limit very close. I think tow bars are the way forward for me but theyre damn expensive and look pretty ugly too. How good are those removable ones? Does anybody know?

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
15th June 2010 - 15:24


Hmm. We bought a Thule 968, for about £70. Once I understand the bizarre instructions it was pretty simple.

Key points:
1. You don't need to fit a towbar.
2. If you have a towbar, it's a good way to have the bike(s) sit lower, and drag less.
3. Hanging your bikes off the car in any way (at the back, on the top) will kill your fuel economy. We have a Prius, and it didn't like it!
4. You will need a lighting board as well - about £20-30, but then you need to also buy a spare number plate.

Good luck with it!

timlennon's picture

posted by timlennon [229 posts]
15th June 2010 - 15:52


I use the San Remo fittings but obviously there is the height issue. There is a tow bar mounted rack gathering dust in the shed because as I've moved from car to car there has always been the issue and cost of having the tow bar fitted.

Points to watch with a tow bar rack; on the way there can you access and open your rear hatch/tailgate (assuming you need to) and once at your destination what do you do with the rack, store it in the car or leave it somewhere?

Parking can be an issue with either fitted.

We tend to cross the channel via Eurotunnel as bikes on the roof don't attract a premium.

As per usual "you pays your money and takes your choice" Thinking

posted by BikerBob [116 posts]
16th June 2010 - 21:03


None of my bikes have integrated seat masts so I am factoring in 80cm for the height of the bike (without front wheel and seatpost) when rotated forward to sit on the front axle. How much should I expect the roof rack itself to add to the height? My car is about 1m 50cm at its highest.

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
17th June 2010 - 13:32