Magazine article Sunset

New Bike Racks: Designs for Almost Every Vehicle

Magazine article Sunset

New Bike Racks: Designs for Almost Every Vehicle

Article excerpt

If you like to bike, but you drive a truck, four-wheel-drive, hatchback, or sports car, you may have found it tough to carry cycles on or in your vehicle.

Traditional bike racks generally don't adapt well to features such as rear-mounted spare tires, gutterless "aerodynamic" car roofs, or fiberglass shells. But several new designs deserve a look. Each holds bikes safely and securely, without straps or hooks, and still lets you open your trunk, rear door, or tailgate.

For each type, we either tried it out loading up bikes and taking to the roador got feedback from experts in the field. All hold any kind of bike. Costs for twobike models range from $40 to $200. Look for these racks in recreational outfitters and cycle shops (for harder-to-find types, we've mentioned brand names). Most of them install quickly with simple tools; a few require drilling.

Some racks come with devices to deter thieves, but it's a good idea to secure all bikes and racks with additional locks. For pickups, a rack in the back. Instead of tossing your bike into the bed of your compact or full-size truck, clamp it to a heavy-duty steel bar-type rack,

To stay put, some designs rely solely on pressure against the sides of the truck (be careful: too much pressure may bow the walls). Others attach to clamps you anchor to the walls some with screws.

Bikes can lock to the rack, but only some racks lock to the truck. Expect to pay $90 to $100 for a two-bike rack, $20 to $30 each for additional bike holders.

For four-wheel-drives, rack hangs on the spare. Southern California architect Tom Olivor came up with the rack shown at right for his four-wheel-drive. Two slightly angled "arms" attach to the rim of the rear-mounted spare tire.

To anchor the foot-long metal arms, Olivor used the two extra holes in the spare's rim. (Most rims have five holes, but only three are used to mount the spare.) A bolt in one end of each rubber-coated arm slips through a hole, then through the tire mount, fastening with a lug nut. (With some four-wheel-drives, you may have to drill 1/2-inch holes in the mount to accommodate the extra bolts.)

Attach arms as high as possible so that bikes have adequate clearance should you drive across a deep gutter or rut, or up a steep driveway. And remember that the arms are only as strong as the tire mount, something to consider if you plan to carry a pair of heavy bikes across rutted roads. …

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