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I need a new bike rack for my Skoda Fabia... I don't know whether to;
1 - invest in rails for the roof and get an upright bike rack
2 - have a tow bar fitted and buy a tow-bar rack
3 - opt for a cheap (and quick) fix with a rear carrier that fits to my boot....
Any ideas? I had a rear carrier previously, it was cheap and perished....but I am on a bit of a tight budget.

Any advice would be most appreciated!

Ta!

17 comments

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SevenHills [184 posts] 3 years ago
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I know your budget is tight but i would always go for option 2 if you can afford. It will have less effect on your MPG than option 1 and it will be safer for your bikes and other road users than option 3. I have seen bikes come off the cheap rear boot type carriers on 2 occasions whilst on the move!  2
Thule do a tow bar carrier for about £150 including lights etc and number plate mount, which is something you should have even with a boot mounted one.
Not sure how much it will cost for a towbar to be fitted but having gone down the roof bars and bike mount route i paid about £200 for bars bike mount etc so it aint cheap whichever way you go.

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John_the_Monkey [436 posts] 3 years ago
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Tow ball racks are the best (I aspire to one) but roof bars are ok too - I've used them on two cars without problems.

Our current bars are Atera, sourced from Roofbox.co.uk, before that, we had the Halfords basic ones, which were fine as well. The bike carriers are made by Cruz, and cost £20 a piece - they're ok, but with hindsight, I wish we'd gone for something slightly better (ease of getting the bike in &c). Total cost for our setup would be something like £150, I think (bars, 3x carriers). The roof bars do open up other possibilities (a roofbox for family holidays &c) so there's that to factor in too.

We've kept the carriers through two car changes, and sold on our previous roofbars (making about half the purchase price back).

Roofbox, incidentally, do package deals that might be useful - f'rinstance, 2 carriers & roofbars for £85; http://www.roofbox.co.uk/scripts/rbvehsel4_tab.php/car-specific-accessor...

I echo SevenHills' misgivings about the strap on type of carrier - too many horror stories about those!

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dave atkinson [6142 posts] 3 years ago
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don't forget the option of a not-cheap rear carrier. there's plenty of really good ones out there.

I was talking to the CEO of Thule at eurobike, and they've been doing a lot of wind tunnel work to try and find out which method of carrying bikes causes least drag. and it depends on the bike. If it's road bikes - and especially aero road bikes - then it's much better to mount them on the roof; they're optimised to be efficient moving through the air and cause much less drag that way. MTBs and city bikes tend to perform better mounted to the rear, but it depends on the shape of your car.

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_SiD_ [160 posts] 3 years ago
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The cheapest and most aero dynamic way to transport a bike is to pop of both wheels and set it in the boot. I just can't be bothered with the straps, bungees, plugs etc etc. anymore.
Circling the cafe carpark for 10 minutes to find a spot close to the window so you can "keep an eye on the bikes" or reversing 2cm away from a wall so no one will nick it.

Boots were made for carrying things like this. You would't see a golfer driving around with his clubs strapped to his rear window? Carrier bag around the chain set, piece of cardboard underneath.
Cost = £0.00
Aerodynamic = 100%
Pose value = 0

If cycling really is the new golf (apologies everyone for using that phrase) then let's take it to the logical conclusion, set the bike in the boot.

S

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Gkam84 [9068 posts] 3 years ago
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I don't know what version Fabia you have, But here are a couple of options

2 bike rear carrier

http://www.roofbox.co.uk/scripts/rbvehsel4_tab.php/car-specific-accessor...

Lockable roof bars

http://shop.grahamgoode.com/roof-rack-bars--locks-skoda-fabia-estate-00-...

But I'm with _SiD_ all dependant on the space you need in the boot for other things. I'd put it in the boot. Not just taking off the wheels though. I'd get a cheap padded bag or box and put it in that way  3

Then you always have a box for any other kinds of travel. By bus, train, plane or in the boot of a mates car for going to a race/sportive or whatever  26

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manoirdelourde [26 posts] 3 years ago
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I have an Audi A6 estate, so plenty of boot space, and have 4 options, preferred in this order:
1) Two riders and bikes - fold the back seats down and bikes in the boot (with the wheels on).
2) Three or four riders and bikes but no luggage - bikes in the boot with wheels and seatposts removed.
3)Two or three riders and bikes plus luggage - towbar mounted Thule rack.
4) Four or five riders plus luggage - towbar mounted Thule rack and Thule roof mounted carriers.
Needless to say option 4 hits the fuel economy the most, especially if a roof box is added.
For your car I would put the bikes inside if possible, if not go for a towbar and carrier if you can afford it.

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stumps [3184 posts] 3 years ago
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Unless you know someone who can fit them it will cost you over £150.00 to have a tow bar fitted plus the 150+ for a decent tow bar itself.

You then have to get the bike attachment etc etc etc.

Go for roof bars if you want something rather than putting the bike in the boot (much better option IMHO).

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Gkam84 [9068 posts] 3 years ago
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Raleigh [1665 posts] 3 years ago
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Tow bar probs, at least then you can tow other stuff; boats etc.

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FMOAB [253 posts] 3 years ago
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+1 for tow bar option. Yes they are a more expensive option, but I've seen down tubes that have been damaged by the jaws of the roof mounted carriers and getting bikes on the roof may be difficult if the car is tall and the user is short.

I also like the security of being able to padlock the bikes to a towbar rack, great if you are camping or leaving them in a car park.

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sparrow [19 posts] 3 years ago
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Wow..... Thanks everyone for all the tips and links, very much appreciated.

Traveling with my wife and two boys means it needs to be carried externally most of the time....

I think after weighing up the feedback, I'm opting for a roof rack, although the potential security feature of a tow bar is attractive....

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Raleigh [1665 posts] 3 years ago
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IF you are going roofrack, get an elite san remo.

They're well good.

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zzgavin [193 posts] 3 years ago
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Went the expensive route and got a tow bar fitted and bought a thule euroride three bike carrier. Then drove 2000 miles to the Pyrenees and back. Didn't worry about the bikes once and mpg seemed to only be about 1 mile per gallon down, which I thought was ok. Gets used every weekend to take my son to youth cycling club and me to various sportives with mates. Quick to load up too. Still pop my bike in the boot sometimes, but with two kids seats it is harder to fold everything flat.
Essentially think how much you'll use it and how far you will drive with it.

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andrewleitch86 [4 posts] 3 years ago
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I like the look of these. Convenience of a roof rack but able to be put on any car.

http://www.seasucker.com/product-category/bike-racks/

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chrismday [44 posts] 3 years ago
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I have an Atera Duro XL towbar mounted carrier for sale if interested. Carries 3 bikes + 1 via removable piggyback tray. Located in Milton Keynes. £190 (cost £400)

Chrismday [at] gmx.com

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sparrow [19 posts] 3 years ago
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Thanks Chrismday but I'm opting for a roof rack....

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chrismday [44 posts] 3 years ago
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sparrow wrote:

Thanks Chrismday but I'm opting for a roof rack....

No problem.