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Best way to transport a bike with a car?

Old 07-01-14, 06:07 PM
  #1  
chico1st
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Best way to transport a bike with a car?

I am buying a car. One of my criteria is it has to able to carry a bike or two easily.

I was wondering what everyone thought the easiest way to carry a bike with your car was?

I assume the options are:
in the back (big hatch back/suv/van)
roof rack (never used one.. i imagine its hard to get a bike up there).
Trunk rack (seems easy). Can all cars use those?

My bikes are typically big clunky utility bikes and thus heavy and large (baskets etc) if that makes a difference.
I dont imagine i would want to put my bikes in the rear of the car since I would think the car would have to be huge to fit it. I will get the smallest car i can to save money and gas.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 07-01-14, 06:20 PM
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I take the front wheel off, push my back seat down, and put my bike into my Corolla. I couldn't fit two bikes in there, though.
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Old 07-01-14, 06:20 PM
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Good quality hitch rack, all truck racks use straps that may break or damage the cars finish.
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Old 07-01-14, 06:24 PM
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For just a single bike I remove both wheels and put the bike and wheels in the trunk. That way I don't have to drop the rear seat of the car and the bike is out of sight.
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Old 07-01-14, 07:13 PM
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I can easily fit two upright inside my Suburban with the back seat (but not third seat) in place, with fork clamps bolted to a 2X6. I could maybe carry three inside, but the handlebars make it tight, and more inconvenient. I can carry two more on a hitch rack (the type that olds the bike by the wheels, not dangling from the top tube). I can carry a 5th on my roof rack, and could carry two more up there if I bought the hardware.

I can fit one inside my Subarus, back seat folded down, don't need to remove the wheel, so only one inside compared to 2-3 for the Suburban. They also have the same external capability as above - same hitch rack (with receiver adapter) and same roof rack. So that car can only carry 4 (or 6), not 5 (or8).

Just buy the car you want and get the right rack(s). If you want to carry them both inside the car, with little muss/fuss, you'll need a fairly big SUV or one that you can remove the back seat.
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Old 07-01-14, 07:25 PM
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I feel your pain...

Trunk/hatch racks are great, but make getting into the trunk or hatch a challenge sometimes. They also scratch the paint. Some of the cheaper once also allow the bike to swing back & forth a bit... not good.

Hitch racks are great, but again... make getting into the trunk or hitch cumbersome. They're also pricey since you have to get a hitch installed AND buy the rack. Plus, too and also, you're going to be hitting your shins on that hitch! LOL! *been there, done that...

Roof racks are my preferred method, but like you said, you have to be able to lift your bike over your head and then be agile enough to get it into the rack.

I have a minivan, a coupe and a station wagon. The wagon & minivan have roof racks from the factory. I bought a couple of bike fork clamps like the one in the picture:

I have one permanently mounted to the roof rack on the wagon. This meant I had to drill two holes into the roof rack for the bolts to mount through. The bonus to one like this is that I could mount it towards the edge of the rack so I don't have to reach very far onto the roof. Since the rear tire just sits on the roof, I don't have to fool with lining it up with anything or getting it into any silly slots. In 2 years of using it like this, I have yet to have the rear wheel move more than a couple of inches. If I'm going a long distance, I'll use a small bungie cord to hold it in place.

The other is mounted to a removable roof rack I sometimes put on my coupe. This means the rear tire is on the rear window. It works, and again, have never had the rear tire move much at all.


I've tried a ton of solutions to carrying bikes and find the simplest to be the best. Some of those big fancy racks companies like Yakima sell are just overkill.
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Old 07-01-14, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
Just buy the car you want and get the right rack(s). If you want to carry them both inside the car, with little muss/fuss, you'll need a fairly big SUV or one that you can remove the back seat.
Not necessarily. As I said above, for just one bike I put it and the wheels in the trunk. A second bike would fit easily in the back seat area but I'd put a sheet or blanket down first to protect from the oil of the chain and other parts. And that's in a Corolla with pretty big (60 cm) bikes. Yes, it's a bit more fuss, but I can't see driving a much bigger car than necessary most of the time just to avoid a few seconds of fuss when transporting two bikes inside.

Agree with the comment that racks are available for just about any vehicle. When using my car for SAG support I put on both roof and rear racks so I can carry 5 bikes and up to 4 riders (those with minivans can generally carry more riders than bikes so it works out ok).
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Old 07-01-14, 11:38 PM
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A bike that Folds makes it easy..
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Old 07-02-14, 02:24 AM
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We use a van ...


(Click photo for more)


But soon we'll be using the folding method too.
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Old 07-02-14, 06:19 AM
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2003 VW Jetta, front wheel removed, back seat folded down. Giant Escape fits nice. This is just my work runner though, so the seat is always folded down and the bike is always in the back for stopping at the trail on the way home from work.

My previous bike was just a junk Walmart bike. Had a regular trunk mount rack and it lived on the rack. Problem is, it sat out in the rain all the time also, but I didn't care as it was a Walmart bike. The straps will eventually wear and probably break, but inspecting them often will tell you when it's ready to replace the straps. Again, I wouldn't have done this, nor do I do this with a "good" bike since it was on there at all times so I could ride at will after work.

I might take my bike out of the car on a Friday evening and leave it in the garage if I am riding at home on the roads on the weekend. Even during the week, if I ride at home, it goes back in the car for if I want to stop at the trail after work.
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Old 07-02-14, 06:29 AM
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A van if you want to carry more than 2 bikes and two people. I want my bikes in the vehicle. Loading is easy and the bikes stay dry. I also know that the bikes are theft and tamper-proof inside the car, as long as the car is locked and alarmed.
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Old 07-02-14, 07:36 AM
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Inside the car is much better. They are away from weather and road grime and tailgaters and low overheads and thieves and, if one of your hold downs fails, they're still inside the car. The best and cheapest bike rack is a canvas drop cloth from Sherwin Williams.
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Old 07-02-14, 08:12 AM
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A van would be the best option if it is an option. On our Honda , were very happy with our rack over the trunk. It does make trunk access problematic when using the rack however. Scratching a bikes paint must happen, but on our bikes it hasn't happened to a noticeable extent yet.
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Old 07-02-14, 08:32 AM
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You can basically fit your bike inside any car. You will have to remove at least one (maybe both) wheels to do so. It's not a hassle at all to do that. If you are wanting to get a small car then get one. Your bike will fit inside of it.
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Old 07-02-14, 08:35 AM
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my 2 cents, I'm a big fan of SUVs and SUV racks, the kind that look like trunk racks but rest on the rear bumper, (great for heavier loads). if I downsize to a sedan with a "trunk" I will get a traditional but modern trunk rack. easy peasy, quick and cheap. my racks outlast my cars, trucks, suvs, etc. I also have a couple hitch mount racks and use them sparingly when the road trip calls for one of them. pretty complicated topic. good luck with your choices! you might google pictures of the cars you are considering, and then google them with bike racks and see wut folks are using. if you go with the hitch mounted rack idea be sure you get a class II hitch. lots of little hitch's out there that are only class I like my subaru forester
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Old 07-02-14, 08:43 AM
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I ride fairly heavy bikes, so a roof rack isn't a good match for me.

Trunk racks seem too inconvenient when I want to get into the trunk.

I use a hitch rack... My car is so low that I have to be careful about scraping, even without the rack on, but I find it is the best option for me. I prefer the types with wheel trays and not the hanging type, since I can more easily accommodate bikes for others as well. I use the Yakima Hold Up rack for 2 bikes, and have the extension for 2 additional bikes, which I only use rarely, but it is handy when I do use it.
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Old 07-02-14, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by chico1st View Post
I am buying a car. One of my criteria is it has to able to carry a bike or two easily.

I was wondering what everyone thought the easiest way to carry a bike with your car was?

I assume the options are:
in the back (big hatch back/suv/van)
roof rack (never used one.. i imagine its hard to get a bike up there).
Trunk rack (seems easy). Can all cars use those?

My bikes are typically big clunky utility bikes and thus heavy and large (baskets etc) if that makes a difference.
I dont imagine i would want to put my bikes in the rear of the car since I would think the car would have to be huge to fit it. I will get the smallest car i can to save money and gas.

Thanks for your help!
Borrowed a friend's Chevy Spark for a couple of days while my car was being worked on. Tried every way possible to get my trunk rack on that sucker. Just could not do it.

Thankfully my Dodge Avenger has a large truck lid that makes using my rack very easy. In addition to the rack, I have also taken wheels off, and put frame in back seat and wheels in my trunk.

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Old 07-02-14, 11:20 AM
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I can see why, no rear bumper (lip) (well it does have a lip I see now but it's probably un-supportive) and top fin. So maybe that goes into the car criteria, need a sturdy step style rear bumper lip and no fin to help accommodate a rack. Did find one but it's awkward looking

Chevy Spark - F2 Over-the-Top Bike Rack - Spoiler Clearance Solution - Bike Fit Gallery


https://www.amazon.com/Hollywood-Rack...449080-0258634

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Old 07-02-14, 11:30 AM
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I use a class one hitch from Curt and a Yakima "stick up. The hitch was $105 and the Yakima was $100 (Craigslist) used. I am very happy with this arrangment. Easy to put two bikes in and out of the rack, and the rack folds down for access to the hatch and up when not in use. I installed the hitch myself, it was bolt on.

StickUp | Yakima
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Old 07-02-14, 12:20 PM
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For my Trailblazer I use this one:

HoldUp 2" | Yakima
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Old 07-02-14, 01:37 PM
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Most often I just toss the bikes in the back of our small SUV with the rear seats down. Well, actually, I carefully lay them on their sides separated by a doubled moving blanket. But I also use a hitch rack when called for. I also have a trunk rack but haven't used that in years.

In rental cars, I've fit two bikes with one in the trunk with one or both wheels off and one crosswise behind the front seats with the front wheel off.

Inside the vehicle is nice as they're out of the elements and safer from theft, vandalism and fender benders.
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Old 07-02-14, 03:00 PM
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I had an '85 Honda Civic hatchback, and by folding down the rear seats and removing the front bike wheel, my bike fit *perfectly* lying down in the back. Like it was designed to do so. I could stack another bike on top when necessary. I loved that car.
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Old 07-02-14, 03:39 PM
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Curt hitch. Rack such as a Yakima Stick up or the equivalent from other brands. I've had roof racks or hauled my bike inside my car my whole life. After getting a hitch rack where the bike sits in a tray (not hangs), I'll never go back.
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Old 07-02-14, 04:05 PM
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I faced this same dilemma in 2006 when I bought my last new car but with a slight twist. It had to be able to carry a recumbent trike inside and be able to accommodate the same trike outside of the car on a regular rack which I already owned. I admit to being terminally cheap so buying a truck or SUV was not going to happen. I may transport the trike once or twice a month but I needed the car to go to work daily. I didn't want an expensive, gas-guzzling vehicle. I ended up buying a Scion XB. It is reliable, cheap to operate, and has enough room for me and the trike if I didn't want to mount the rack. It will easily accommodate two DF bikes if you take off the front wheels and fold down the rear seats. The rack I use is Rhode Gear 2 bike rack - no longer available new, but fairly easily found used. I mount the front wheels of the trike on the rack and the rear on the roof of the Scion. There is no way I could use a roof rack on this vehicle and still get the trike up and down off the roof.
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Old 07-02-14, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by chico1st View Post
I am buying a car. One of my criteria is it has to able to carry a bike or two easily.

I was wondering what everyone thought the easiest way to carry a bike with your car was?

I dont imagine i would want to put my bikes in the rear of the car since I would think the car would have to be huge to fit it. I will get the smallest car i can to save money and gas.

Thanks for your help!
How small do you want to go? Here's my BIG car.



And then my small one.

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