Are you set for summer? Here's a quick guide to where to put your bike when you hit the open road to head to new trails.
Put your bikes on the back
This is a handy option for a lot of reasons. You don't add to the height of your car, which is great for parking and any low bridges - or low anything. It also means less heavy lifting, especially if you're looking at an E-MTB.
The constraints here are whether you have a hitch mount, a towball - or neither. Thankfully there are options.
This is a premium rack, but being able to slide the beds to suit bikes makes a huge difference, especially with the variety of wheel sizes, frame lengths and of course the sizes of bikes. The rack also folds up and is pretty compact to store when not in use.
There are also towball mounted options, like the Thule Velo Compact. We used one for a visit to Tropical North Queensland, and as it mounts onto a towball it was easy to fit. It also had lights built in, and a place for a number plate. This keeps you legal, and it's an important point to remember for almost every state. Your number plate needs to be visible, as doe your lights and indicators.
If you don't have a tow ball or hitch mount option, there are countless racks that strap onto the car. Some strap on and have a tray to support the wheelbase, others have 2 or 3 cradles for top tubes. The real caution here is make sure the design works for your bike. We reviewed the Yakima King Joe Pro and loved it, but it does depend on your frame design as to how well it will work. The other question is - did you secure it properly? That's a hard one to get out of your mind.
- No risk of damagin bikes on low hanging trees, roofs, bridges or awnings.
- Aero and fuel efficient on long trips
- Easy to put on, and brands like Thule have options that support e-MTB weights
- Typically cheaper than most roof options
- No need to understand every axle standard
- "Sorry, did you want to get something out of the boot?"
- Reversing into things
- They can demand certain Tetris skills
- Not all racks work with all bikes
- You have to factor in a light/number plate board in most states
We have also tested the near bombproof KUAT NV - check out our review.