Monday, 29 March 2010

How To Choose A Bike Rack

If you are looking for a bike rack or carrier to allow you to transport your bikes via your vehicle then you have many options open to you and some key factors you should consider before purchasing one. A Poorly-fitted bike rack can be a safety hazard which could possibly damage your vehicle, be lost or stolen.

To help you make the right choice, we have put together a list of common considerations that we discuss with our customers. The list has been split up into sections - Usage, Bicycles, Vehicles, Safety & Protection, and Cost categories.

How frequently do you need to use the bike rack? Will this change in the future?
You will appreciate having a top-quality, durable, easy-to-carry bicycle rack if you’ll be using it on a very frequent basis. Don’t struggle with a cheap bike rack!

How far will you be traveling with your bikes?
Quality and durability are greater needs for long trips. Long trips may lead to exposure to shifting of the bicycles on some types of bike racks.

How heavy is your bike? Can you lift it by yourself, how high, and can you hold it in position with one hand? Will you be using the bike rack with a partner?
It is important to consider the weight and handling of the bikes for roof racks and some rear-mounted bike carriers. For roof racks it can be helpful to carry along a step stool to stand on when accessing the bicycles.

Where will you park your vehicle when using the bike rack? Are there any space considerations?
If you must parallel park you’ll want to consider the length of your vehicle for rear-mounted bike racks. Height must be considered for roof racks, especially when driving on roadways with low overpasses.

Where will you store your bike rack when you are at home?
If you’ll be leaving it mounted to the vehicle then you must consider space limitations of your garage. Be extra cautious regarding the height of your storage place for roof-mounted bicycle racks.

Do you enjoy other sports and activities?
You may be able to select a multi-purpose rack that will accommodate both bicycles and other types of sporting equipment.

How many bikes will you need to carry at one time?
Most bike racks will carry at least two bikes. We have some bike racks that are rear-mounted that can carry up to five bikes. If you’ll be carrying a combination of adult and child-sized bikes, you may be able to carry the smaller bikes inside your vehicle.

Do you need to carry specialty type bikes, such as tandem, recumbent, or bikes with an odd-shaped frame?
Some bike racks are better equipped to handle specialty bikes.

Does your vehicle already have a hitch or roof-mounted utility rack? What is the load capacity of that rack?
Check your vehicle owner’s manual or call your dealer to learn more about how to use the existing features on your vehicle. Some dealers will even install the bike rack for you.

Will you need to use the bike rack on more than one vehicle?
If your household has multiple vehicles you may want to consider a bicycle rack that will fit on all of the vehicles.

Are you currently renting or leasing your vehicles?
Consider both short-term and long-term needs before investing in a bike rack.

Where on your vehicle would you prefer to carry your bikes?
The two most popular locations are on the roof or at the rear of the vehicle.

Does your vehicle have a spare tire?
A rear-mounted spare tire may interfere with some types of racks.

Are you concerned with protecting the painted finish on your bike or your vehicle?
Padding may be used to cushion between the bike and your vehicle. Be sure to re-check your padding during long trips.

How important is theft prevention?
For hitch-mounted racks, a locking hitch pin is highly recommended. We sell locking hitch pins in our Accessories department. If you’ll be leaving your bikes unattended on a trip (parking lots, campgrounds), you may want to consider a locking cable to keep your bikes secured to the bike rack. It’s best to park in a highly-visible area. No rack is completely protected by a locking mechanism.

How much are you willing to invest?
Rear-mounted bicycle racks tend to be less expensive.

Is this a short-term or long-term investment?
Consider the advantages of a top quality, durable, easy-to-use bike rack when making either type of investment.

Bike racks are generally broken into two main categories: roof mount and rear mount.

Key Features/Details:
• Provides better protection against damage to the finish of bike frame
• Best for carrying tandem and recumbent bikes
• Requires an existing crossbar system on roof of vehicle
• Keeps bikes out of the way
• Bikes must be hoisted to car roof. A small step-stool or ladder may help reach a high vehicle roof
• Requires care when traveling under low-clearance bridges
• Roof mounted bicycles will create wind-resistance
• Might consider covering handlebars or saddle to protect from bugs

Three Main Types: Trunk-mounted, Hitch-mounted, and Spare Tire bike racks
Most popular location for carrying bicycles

• Modest price, wide selection available
• Precautions must be taken to protect the bikes from rubbing against each other during transit as this will damage the finish on the bikes or the vehicle
• Also protect the bike tires from the exhaust pipe on the vehicle
• When driving the vehicle, caution must be used when parking to account for the extra length off the rear of the vehicle

Rear-mounted bicycle racks may have an added swing-away or fold-down feature. This allows you to access the trunk or rear cargo area without completely removing the bike rack.

1. boot-Mounted Bike Carriers
Most trunk-mounted bike rack systems use a set of adjustable nylon straps to carry the bicycles. The straps hook to the top of the boot lid, under the boot lid or bumper, and sometimes to the sides of the boot lid. The straps must be securely tightened at all times. The straps should be re-checked frequently, especially after loading the bicycles and at stops along the trip.
Key Features/Details:
• Fits sedans, hatchbacks, minivans and SUVs
• Bikes are positioned close together, so care must be taken to protect the paint finish. Foam blocks or pieces of foam pipe insulation may be inserted between bikes.
• Very portable, low cost, easy to use, easy to store
• Bikes only need to be hoisted to waist-level
• Some exposure to damage to vehicle finish because a portion of the rack rests against the boot lid. The rack is padded to protect against damage. Be sure your vehicle is clean of any grit to prevent scratching from friction.

2. Hitch-Mounted Bike Carriers
Hitch-mounted bike carriers are a very stable and secure way to transport bicycles. They have many great features and eliminate many of the negatives of other types of bike racks.
Key Features/Details:
• Available with a carrying capacity of up to 4 bikes. Capacity is limited by the maximum tongue weight that the hitch and vehicle can carry.
• Easy to install and remove, great choice for long or frequent trips
• Connects to vehicle through the use of a receiver. If your vehicle doesn’t come with a pre-installed receiver you will need to have one installed.
• Use of receiver provides a very secure and stable attachment that keeps the rack from shifting or moving during travel
• Bikes are carried away from the vehicle to prevent damage to vehicle finish
• Prevents theft of rack because a locking hitch pin can be used to secure the rack
• Available in two styles: tube-top or tray rack. A tube-top carries the bike by the frame. A tray rack has a tray that the bike tire rests in and stands upright.
• Bikes are carried parallel to the vehicle

3. Spare Tire Bike Racks
A spare tire bike carrier attaches to the spare tire on the rear of the vehicle.
Key Features/Details:
• Available with a carrying capacity limit of 2 bicycles, due to strength limits
• Carrying arms collapse or fold down when not in use
• Some models have a centering mechanism to balance the load of an offset tire
• Use caution to ensure that brake lights are not impacted by the rack

Pickup truck bike carriers are available in multiple varieties:

1. Rods or bars that mount across the truck bed with quick release brackets that hold the bike’s front fork with the wheel removed.

2. Quick release mounting brackets that bolt to any flat surface, including a truck bed floor, sidewalls, or to a piece of lumber laid across the truck bed floor.

Key Features/Details:
• Protects the paint finish
• Quick attachment and release of bicycle
• Multiple bikes may be carried in truck bed
• Locking mechanism is available with some models
• Some options require no drilling and allow the bike tire to remain attached.

Bike racks for campers are available in ladder-style mounts, bumper mounts, and hitch-mounts. You may also use some strap-style bike racks on campers. Roof mount bike racks are another option, however carrying bikes on the camper roof could damage the camper’s fiberglass or vinyl roof.

Click here to view the GT Towing website for all your towing, trailer and caravan needs

1 comment:

  1. thank you This article gives the light in which we can observe the reality.