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On the roof or in the boot? The best way to transport bikes

CarSifu logo CarSifu 24/4/2018

BERLIN: On the roof? In the car? At the back? If you want to take your bicycle with you on a road trip, you’ll probably have to choose one of these three options.

“It’s impossible to make a blanket statement about which type of carrier system is the best,” says René Filippek of German bicycle club ADFC.

The least elaborate method is to transport the bike inside the car. “However, this only works with estate cars or vans,” says David Kossmann from a German-based cycling news agency. “In normal cars, you often have to remove the wheels from the bike,” he says.

The classic method for transporting bikes is on the roof. The advantage? With these systems, both the rear and the boot can still be used.

The list of disadvantages, however, is long. The high wind resistance leads to increased fuel consumption, while the mounting height of roof racks are usually awkward and uncomfortable. But with prices starting at around US$250 (RM977), roof systems are also among the cheapest options on the market.

Roof racks, however, tend to do poorly in tests. “On the slalom course, which simulates an evasive manoeuvre we’ve seen some bicycles on the roof snap right off,” says industry reporter Holger Ippen. In rear-end collisions, poorly secured roof cargo can also turn into dangerous projectiles.

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Rear-end carrying systems are mounted on the tailgate of estate cars, but there are also models for saloons and even convertibles. “But the vehicle must also be approved for it,” notes Kossmann. Using one on a car with a glass tailgate, for example, is out of the question.

“A disadvantage of the rear carrier is also the limited rear visibility – and you shouldn’t use the rear window wiper.” Most of these systems are mounted such that the bikes are perpendicular to the car, but there also some in which they run parallel. “The advantage of this is that the vehicle is not widened,” says Kossmann.

The favourite among the experts are systems for the trailer hitch. “The low height makes them easy to load, and some models even have a loading ramp for heavy electric bikes,” says Filippek.

“A big advantage of these systems is the fast, one-point mounting and the fact that the bicycles do not have to be heaved onto the vehicle’s roof,” says Ippen.

“In addition, they stay in the car’s slipstream, causing less noise and making for lower fuel consumption at high speeds than with a roof transporter,” he adds.

The lower centre of gravity also has a positive effect, especially when it comes to pedelecs, which tend to weigh around 25 kilograms.

In terms of price, however, the hitch carriers rank at the top. Buyers can expect to invest around US$400 to US$600 (between RM1,600 and RM2,400) for a good system, says Ippen. Depending on the model of car, there may also be the added cost of the trailer hitch itself.

bike © Provided by Star Media Group Berhad bike

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