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Bike Racks Buyers Guide

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If you don't have space in your car, or you just want to keep the interior clean, a bike rack is what you need! Here's our guide to help you find the right one.

Bike Racks Buyers Guide

Whether you're going away on holiday and want to explore the local roads, or you're off to the races every week, a bike rack is a really practical way of getting your bike from A to B (without pedalling).

Having a bike rack on your car means that you don't have to worry about muddy or oily bikes making a mess of the back of your car, and you can fill the inside of your car with things like people and luggage instead!

First things first: What are you driving?

Obviously, not every bike rack is going to fit every car. You probably won't be able to get a roof rack on your convertible, for example. The kind of car you drive has a big impact on how you carry your bikes.

Don't forget: What else are you taking with you?

It's also important to think about what else you might need to carry on your vehicle. Planning on using the boot of the car? Then you might not want a rear mounted cycle carrier, as you'll need to remove it from the vehicle each time you want to open the boot! If you're taking a roof box with you, then make sure there's still plenty of space on your bars to carry a roof mounted cycle carrier.

Roof mounted bike racks

Roof mounted bike racks put the bikes (as you might have guessed) on the roof of the car. You'll need a set of roof bars to fit these.

  • You can normally fit up to 4 bikes on the roof, or fewer bikes and a narrow roof box.
  • The rear of the car is free, so you can still open the boot or attach a trailer or caravan.
  • They hold bikes securely, and many are lockable.
  • Your number plate and lights will still be visible.
  • If you have a very tall car, you might struggle to get the bikes on and off the roof if you don't have something to stand on!

Rear mounted bike racks

These bike racks are often the least expensive. They attach to the back of your car, normally with a set of straps. Rear mounted cycle carriers only fit certain vehicles, though, so be sure take a look at the fitment guides (or pop in and see us in store) to ensure you choose the right one for your vehicle.

You won't need any extras to make them fit, but you might need a lighting board if your lights and number plate are covered.

  • Rear mounted bike racks are normally the cheapest.
  • They don't need any extras, like roof bars or a tow bar, which can add to the cost if you don't have them already.
  • Fitting is vehicle specific, so you need to make sure you choose the right one for your vehicle.
  • They can't normally be locked - you can pass a lock through the bikes, but the rack can still be removed.
  • They normally carry 2 or 3 bikes.

Tow bar mounted bike racks

Another way to carry your bikes is to use a bike rack that attaches to a tow bar. The main advantage is that as being really sturdy, they hold the bikes nice and low - so you can get to them more easily!

  • Can carry up to 4 bikes.
  • Mount directly onto the vehicle's tow bar, leaving the roof free to carry other loads.
  • Most models come with a lighting board attached, but you'll need to get an extra number plate.
  • Some models will tilt out of the way, allowing you to access the boot.
  • The bikes can be locked to the rack, and the rack to the car.
  • It's easy to lift the bikes onto the rack, meaning they're good for tall cars - or short people!

Spare wheel mounted bike racks

If you've got a 4x4 with a spare wheel on the back, you normally can't fit a rear mounted bike rack. Spare wheel mounted cycle carriers attach to the wheel instead, so you can carry your bikes without fitting a tow bar.

  • No need to fit a tow bar or roof bars (and the roof is normally quite high on a 4x4!).
  • The roof is still free for all your safari kit.

How do I know what will fit?

Tow bar bike racks and roof mount bike racks aren't vehicle-specific - you just need to have a tow bar or roof bars fitted, then the racks can be fitted to these whatever vehicle you drive!

If however you'd prefer to use a rear mounted cycle carrier then you'll need to check the fitment guide for this kind of carrier. Not sure whether a rear mounted carrier will fit your vehicle? Pop along to your local store and ask - we'll be happy to help you!

Bike rack fitting at Halfords

If you'd like to get your bike rack professionally fitted, you're in luck! We can fit your cycle carriers from just £15. Just get in touch with your local store.

As you can see, you can carry your bikes on almost any kind of car - without having to worry about fitting them inside! Head over to our range of bike racks to have a look and plan your next adventure.

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