Roof-mounted bike rack?

So far I've been putting my bike in the boot of the car but next weekend I've got to get three people and two bikes to a race... Last year I bought a rear-mounted bike rack from Halfords but it doesn't seem at all secure and there were no instructions so I can't even remember how to fit it. It also means you can't open the boot or see out the rear windscreeen.

I want to get a roof-mounted rack, but don't want to waste money on another rack that's going to fall apart or that my bike's going to fall off mid-journey. Any suggestions? Also anyone know where I can get one in London? Tried Halfords (only got own-brand), Decathlon and local cycle shops... I've got a VW Golf if that's relevant.

One last question - what's better for the bike - wheel-mounted or fork-mounted?

thanks for suggestions


  • Halfords own brand are rubbish, they are not very stable and may not even fit the bike properly, well they didn't on mine.
    Fork mounted puts a lot of stress on the forks, wheel mounted may be better because you have a bit of shock absorbancy in the wheel/tyre. Have you got a towball? If you have why not try a towball mounted one. We have a pendle one, which mounts to the towball bracket via the bolts and the actual bike rack just slots in and out when you need it. Very strong and stable with built in lights and number plate holder, although access to the boot may be restricted depending on the vehicle.
    you could try here
  • Snail, you could go for the Thule roof system. You still get it at Halfords.

    You get the foot pack which is specific to your car and will usually take a couple of days to order in.

    Then you get the roof bars which fit onto the foot pack and straddle the car.

    Lastly you choose the bike racks that fit onto the roof bars. I went for the cheapest Thule ones as they were doing a deal £59.95 for 2.

    The whole thing takes about 30 mins - 1 hour to set up and then you are away. Bikes on/off is a doddle and you dont get any damage to bike or car (unless you go under a low bridge of course).

    Well worth the money if you go off riding a lot.
  • Thanks. No towball, so that's not really an option unfortunately.

    Gary, how much of the rack do you leave on the car? Is it 30 mins-1hr each time, or just the first time you set it up?

    We go away for weekends quite a bit (seeing parents usually involves overnight stay) and either I take my bike with me or I miss huge chunks of training time so I want to make it as easy as poss to take the bike...

    I've not seen any Thule stuff at my local Halfords - they only had own-brand racks - but I didn't think to ask if they could order it. I take it the Thule rack is secure?!
  • Snail,
    I leave the foot pack and the roof bars on the car permanantly. I bought the locks for them so they are secure.

    To put the bike racks on the roof bars its a matter of 6 quick-release bolts each rack. Once you have it sussed its a 5-minute job. When we're away we'll leave the bike racks on the car and if needed, lock them with a bike lock (very rare). If you buy the more expensive racks or you use a bike lock you probably could leave them on permananent but its so quick.

    One problem with leaving the roof bars on permanent is there is a slight whistling sound at 40mph+ (you can aleviate this with the CD player). But then whats more important? Being able to lob your bikes on the car at the weekend is mine, a whistling sound is not.

    I always have gripes about the idiots at Halfords but if you go to a decent store and avoid the eejits you should be able to get someone to run through all you need. Dont pay to have it fitted though, its a doddle if you follow the instructions.
  • Thanks for the info Gary, am considering same thing at the moment for Sherbourne, my car is an estatate which should make it easier?
  • cheers Gary. I won't worry too much about a whistling sound, my singing is worse!!

    The Thule rack sounds ideal, I'll go and have a look.

  • Halfords bars are quite a bit cheaper than Thule, and as far as I can see functionally identical. Apparently if you buy Thule and change your car then you only need to buy new feet instead of a whole new fitting kit. Yes, but new feet will cost you 55 quid.... I bought the Halfords bars (70 all in with locks), plus Thule 575 cycle carrier twinpack which was on offer from Halfords (60 quid), and fitted fine. It gripped the downtube securely which was fine for our bikes, but we had to leave it quite loose and pad it out for my friend's cannondale, as it had thin tubing. No danger of it coming off, but we took it easy around corners.

    Haven't tried just the bars, but the bars plus carriers makes a whistling noise above ~25mph and which is annoying at 30mph. Above about 55mph the wind noise drowns out the whistling. This is on a passat, which allegedly has relatively low wind noise.
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