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Car Rack Guide
Car Rack Guide
Car Rack Types
Car racks & E Bikes
Extra considerations for E Bikes
An E bike will generally weigh considerably more than a regular bike, especially an E Mtb. Racks will have a maximum weight rating that must not be exceeded. You may find that a rack that can take multiple bikes will only be suitable for one E Bike. There are dedicated E Bike racks available from the likes of Thule and more are being released as the popularity of E bikes grow.
An E Mtb tyre will generally be either a plus tyre or a wider than usual, any rack that uses a system to give support to the wheels must accommodate these wide tyres. Thule again does offer adaptors for larger tyre widths.
What to consider
Your budget will determine the type of car bike rack you want. Roof racks tend to be the most affordable car racks, starting from around £30, while entry level boot racks begin around £40 and towbar racks from £50.
If you’re planning on transporting more than one bike, you’ll want a higher budget to buy a more sturdy cycle carrier.
Bike tyre width
Road bikes use slim tyres and will easily mount to most car racks. However, if you’re transporting mountain or some hybrid bikes then you’ll want to consider the width of your tyres.
Some MTB’s come with very wide tyres (such as 27.5+ MTB’s and fat bikes) that won’t fit into the standard wheel holders on roof racks and towbar racks. You can buy specialist bike racks made specifically for these types of cycles, and brands like Thule offer adapters to accommodate wider tyres.
Most car racks with come with a recommended maximum weight per bike, which will depend on the style of rack you’re using and the durability of it. Most roof and boot racks have a max weight of 15kg.
Towbar racks are generally stronger, so can fit bikes up to 20kg. These weights can be found on our product pages. It’s worth remembering that E bikes are heavier than standard bikes, so choosing a rack that can accommodate the extra weight is essential.
The number of bikes you’ll transport
Roof racks will carry just one bike, but you can fit two or three racks to your roof, depending on the size of your vehicle. Boot racks often fit three bikes but can go up to four in rare exceptions (check the maximum weight capacity of the rack).
Towbar racks can also fit up to four bikes as weight isn’t so much of a problem.
The length of your bike’s wheelbase
Car racks will fit most standard road, hybrid and mountain bikes. However, bikes with long a wheelbase, such as enduro and downhill MTB’s may struggle to fit the length of the wheel holders.
You can buy extenders and adaptors to help with this, although you can get adaptor beams which fit to your seatpost and headset for easier mounting.
Also, if you’re using a long wheelbase bike with a boot or towbar rack, be aware that the front and rear wheel may stick out on either side of your car. When measuring your wheelbase, remember the distance is from your front axle to the rear axle.
How often you’ll be travelling
If you’re going to be using the rack regularly, you want it to be easy to use. A roof rack is ideal for securing your bikes out of the way. You don’t need to worry about reversing or parking unlike with boot and towbar racks. You’ll also have access to your boot.
However, because your bikes are so high up they can be fiddly to mount. Boot and towbar racks make it easy to secure bikes but you’ll need to be careful parking up.
The easiest bike carriers to use are the innovative new vacuum suction SeaSucker racks. All you do is press the vacuum cups down to create an initial seal then press the vacuum pump until low pressure keeps the pump fully depressed. To attach your bike simply remove the front wheel and attach the front dropouts to the metal bracket with the QR lever. The whole process takes a few seconds.
How far you will be travelling
Drag reduces fuel economy. If you’re heading up to the highlands for an epic weekend away, then a roof rack may not be your best bet.
Boot racks and towbar racks keep your bikes out of the wind for more efficient aerodynamics.
Vehicles with spoilers
If your car has a standard metal sheet rear spoiler, you may be able to use a boot mounted rear rack. It’s very unlikely you will be able to use this type of bike carrier if your car has a plastic rear spoiler (as the plastic will be too weak to support the combined weight of the rack and bikes).
Please check our car rack compatibility section for more information.
Do I need a light board for my car rack?
Before you buy a car rack you should determine if you need to fit a light board to your car. Your number plate and rear lights have to be visible from all angles at all times. The easiest way to do this is by fitting a light board. Don’t fit the light board to your bikes (this is illegal), fit it to the car rack itself.
Car rack compatibility
If you have a towball on your car then you can use most towbar racks with no problems. Roof bars and boot racks are a little more complicated. Please follow the links below to find the compatibility for our main brands:
Delivery & Guarantee
UK Delivery Information
International Deliveries – Temporarily Suspended 11/11/20
Note: We are still offering deliveries to the Isle of Man, Scottish Highlands, Scottish Islands, Channel Islands, Isle of Wight, Jersey and Guernsey.
Note: We are still offering international deliveries to the Isle of Man, Scottish Highlands, Scottish Islands, Channel Islands, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Wight, Jersey and Guernsey.
Courier Delivery update: Due to the COVID19 situation, we are currently experiencing some delays with deliveries. Our couriers are working around the clock to get your order to you as soon as possible but there is a potential delay of up to 48 hours . Please check your tracking on track your order here.
Please note on the TNT tracking app it may show your delivery status as ‘Collecting’ (as per image below). This means your delivery has left our warehouse and is currently held at TNT main depot and there could be up to a 48 hour delay.
Please keep checking the TNT tracking for further updates. On behalf of TNT we apologise for any delay and inconvenience this may cause.
We are committed to offering fast and free delivery, whether you’re ordering bikes, accessories or clothing. Our standard delivery service is FREE in the UK, regardless of the size and on all orders over £20.
Please note that bulky products and bikes shipped to outlying UK regions are excluded from free shipping.
Please note that Pre-Order dates can sometimes change due to updated stock information.
Click here for more UK and international delivery information.
Returns & Warranty
It’s easy to return a product with our 365 day, hassle free returns.
We will give you a full refund on any item that is returned to us unused/unfitted, in a resaleable condition and in its original packaging (where possible).
Please note: For hygiene reasons, we cannot accept returns of facemasks, undershorts or underwear if the item has been removed/unsealed from its original packaging.
If your item develops a fault or arrives damaged, please contact us first so we can resolve the issue for you as quickly as possible.
For more information please visit our Returns & Warranty page.