5 ways to safely transport bicycles by car

Bicycles are not only useful means of transport, but also loyal companions in everyday life and when traveling. You can go anywhere you want with your bike. However, there are situations when you need to transport the bike over a longer distance or when you want to travel a little faster. So what can you do? You can either transport your bike on or in the car. In this article, we’re going to introduce you to some of the best options for bike transportation. None of them are perfect, and you need to choose the one that is less of a hassle for you.

Which bike racks are there?

Which bike racks are there for the car

The most popular way to transport a bike with a vehicle is by using a bike rack. The best thing about a bike rack is that you still have plenty of room in the car for luggage and passengers. The extensive range of bike racks offers the right model for every requirement. Make the choice that suits your personal preference.

Bicycle roof rack

Bicycle roof rack saves space in the interior

With this carrier you can transport your bike on the roof of your car. It is an efficient solution for transporting multiple bicycles or heavy e-bikes. Your bike is securely fastened this way and there is no risk of scratching it. Access to the trunk and interior is also unimpeded.

How many bicycles can you transport on the car roof? It depends on the bikes. But basically up to 4 bicycles fit well on the roof. If you want to transport 5 bikes, you might want to put one of them in the trunk.

Like any other option, this type of bike rack has some drawbacks. First of all, it’s not easy to lift a bike and put it on the roof rack. It is therefore practical to have a small 3-step ladder close at hand.

With a bike on the roof there are places that cannot be reached by car, such as the garage. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting about this while driving.

Another disadvantage is that your Car uses more fuel. An ADAC check has shown that consumption increases by 41 percent if two bikes are on the roof.

Bicycle rack for trailer coupling

Bike rack for trailer hitch e-bike

The tow bar rack is a great type of bike rack that allows you to carry more than one bike without a lot of stress. They’re a little expensive, but it’s worth it. In contrast to the roof rack, you do not have to work so hard to install it. With some models, you can effortlessly access your trunk whenever you want. Although you can transport several bicycles on the towbar carrier, you should make sure that you do not exceed the maximum load limit.

Transport 2 bicycles by car

This method is very safe and doesn’t affect fuel economy as much as the roof rack. However, it also has its disadvantages:

  • Your car must have a towbar.
  • The carrier can be an easy target for thieves so you will need a better security system.
  • A rear-end collision will damage the bikes
  • Storing these systems can be a hassle unless you buy the foldable models.

Towbar carrier for 2 bicycles

Image of the bike rack

Transporting bicycles without a trailer coupling

Transporting bicycles without a trailer coupling

The tailgate supports, which can be clamped to the rear of the vehicle, are a real alternative for many estate car owners. For example, in the picture above you can see the straps that secure the bike. This is a good option for the occasional ride when you don’t need a fixed rack for your bike. The advantages are the lower entry price and the easier loading.

Transporting bicycles without a trailer coupling with a rear rack

However, bicycles and the carrier are not optimally protected against theft and damage. There is also a possibility that the bikes could be damaged if they are not properly attached to the rack. A rear rack also restricts access to the trunk or tailgate of the car. If improperly installed, such a carrier can also scratch the paintwork of your car.

How to transport your bike in the car

Transport bicycles in the trunk

It’s not as easy as it sounds, but it is arguably the safest method. Especially if you own a higher quality bike from one of the best bike brands, this is something you should consider. However, you cannot just put your bike in the car. Most vehicles don’t have enough space for a full bike, and depending on how spacious your car is, you may need to take a few technical precautions.

Transport bicycles in the trunk

Transporting a bicycle standing up in the car

The smaller your trunk, the more you have to dismantle. If you have a larger trunk, your bike will fit in perfectly with the front wheel removed. If the trunk is smaller, you may need to remove both wheels. If the trunk is very small, you will also need to remove the saddle. For most bikes, you can easily do this with an Allen key.

Note: Just because the trunk is large doesn’t mean you only need to remove one wheel. Also, think about any other equipment and luggage that you will need to store there. The most important thing is that your bike is in good shape at the end of your trip.

Transporting a bicycle standing up in the car

What can you do if the bike doesn’t fit in the trunk – or if there are devices that could scratch it there? You can still carry it in the back seat.

First, clean your bike. It doesn’t have to be squeaky clean, but wipe off anything that could stain your car. You may also want to remove the front wheel. Do not place the bike on the seat, but on the floor. Set it up so that the left pedal rests on the seat for a little stability. Place a piece of cloth between the pedal and the seat to prevent stains, and also between the dropouts and the seat to prevent them from digging into the seat.

While transporting your bike in the car is safe from thieves, it can be dangerous for you and others in the car. Make sure the bike is secured while you ride to avoid serious damage in the event of an accident or a sharp turn.

And one more thing: even if you have tried to clean your bike, it can still stain your vehicle. To avoid grease stains, it is best to use some kind of protective tarpaulin.

Which car suits your hobby best?

Bike in the trunk transport which car

The size of the bike also plays a role in convenient bike transport. Most racing bikes and time trial bikes as well as small to medium-sized mountain bikes can usually be transported in a compact car with the rear seat folded down. For plus size bikes you need a suitable external bike rack.

Which car is the right one if you want to transport your bike more comfortably inside? Here are some of the best vehicle models for hassle-free bike transport:

  • Ford Focus ST
  • Toyota Prius
  • Tesla Model S
  • Honda Fit
  • Honda Jazz (with Magic Seats)
  • Honda element
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI
  • Nissan Cube
  • Volkswagen Jetta station wagon
  • Mazda 3
  • Ford Escape
  • Land Rover Discovery SUV
  • Skoda Superb Estate
  • Mercedes E-Class Estate
  • Ford Galaxy MPV
  • Nissan X-Trail SUV
  • Skoda Kodiaq