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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
who can please advise me on whether there have been any developments on the bike rack/ cycle carrier front. I have a 9000 CSE and want to carry 3 bikes - rear mounted (easier for preggy wife) or roof. Which is best option, quality, reliability, ease of use etc?

I know that's a lot of questions, but easier (for you) than if I ask for you to buy me the best one, fit it for me then drive me around as well?

Thanks
 

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I've sold dozens of bike racks over the past few years and my experience would lead me to give the following advice.

1.If you have a normal tow bar fitted ( ie. not swan neck) then fit a tow bar mounted rack.

2. If you haven't got a tow bar then fit one.


The tow bar mounted racks are far superior to the tailgate mounted models, they will carry three bikes quite happily, the bikes are held well clear of the car body and the don't wobble around when loaded up.

As far as roof rack bike mounts are concerned you will find some people that like them. Personally I don't like trying to lift a crud covered bike up from the ground to roof rack level and have all the muck trickle down to my armpits . Though Saab did a really cool roof rack bike mount which used gas struts to lift the bike up from ground onto the roof. Trouble was the price & you could only fit two onto any car.

A decent tow bar mounted rack will only cost about £50 .

I carry a lot of bikes around & the rack I'm using is now fitted to it's fourth Saab. I wouldn't be without it , infact I wouldn't be without either of them .
 

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Rear-mounted carriers, either boot-lid or hatchback are basically [expletive deleted]. The bikes are pretty unstable unless you crank all the straps up super tight, and then you run the risk (quite likely) of damaging the car paintwork/glass.

Towbar mounted carriers are good for the reasons already given, plus they are the most efficient in terms of least additional air resistance when driving. The downsides are that you may (I don't actually know) need to take the bikes off every time you need to open the hatch and that you will probably need a number plate board to be legal.

I like the Thule roof-mounted carriers which take the bike with the front wheel removed. The quick-release doo-dah clamps the front forks nice and tightly, and the bikes are perfectly stable. Also, taking the wheel off makes the bike that bit lighter to lift on to the roof. Downside is increased wind resistance and having to find space in the car for the front wheel (although a seperate clamp for front wheels is available).

I only ever cart around very lightweight (20 pounds or less, defintely less without the front wheel!) road bikes, so getting tons of crud trickling down my arms isn't a problem and lifting them on to the roof isn't a problem. Also, with just me and the missus in the car there's more than enough room in the boot for a couple of front wheels. Wind resistance? Well, with a 9000 Aero I really couldn't care!

Oh, and you can get up to four of them on a Golf (colleague at work) so I'd guess you might manage 5 on a 9000.

Cheers, Ben.
 

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Been there, done that.

Went out for a ride the first or second time I had my bike on the roof. (The Saab Thule rack with the Thule carrier.) Came back to the apartment, and proceeded to pull into the garage. "Hey, what's that thing falling off behind the car? Arrrrrgh!!"

The only thing I broke was the plastic ratchet straps that hold the wheels into the channel on the carrier.

The only other thing I damaged was my pride...

After that, I made a habit of telling myself all the way home after a ride "Bike on roof. Bike on roof. Bike on roof." It sunk in eventually.

mike
 

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I think that the rubbery bits at the top of the (Mk2) CSE hatchback would suffer if a bike rack was strapped on. For this reason I have not dared use our strap-on rack on the Saab but put it onto the wife's MR2 instead.
I agree with whitesaab above - if you have a towbar use it : even the really cheap tow-bar racks work well.
 
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