Top positive review
57 people found this helpful
A solid, verstile carrier but is being pushed to the limit with 4 bikes
on 15 August 2011
With a Center Parcs holiday looming, I needed to get 4 bikes on the car with one bike being a small childs. The carrier itself is well built, has great flexibility through the two sets of pivots (the frame itself and the bike arm) that are toothed wheels and simple cantilevers to open and lock, and six straps to secure it in place. The hooks on the straps stayed firm and didn't chip the paint but their plastic covering was a little too 'hard plastic' for me and I'll be looking to place or glue a foam pad to them in future (especially with new car just around the corner!) There's an extra strap too to pull the bikes firmly onto the frame but I think it's way too short.
I drove the 150 miles or so, each way, with steady motorway speeds of 70+ mph, with the four bikes on the rack and it stayed firmly in place. However, I did have a pack of four webbing straps previously purchased and I made use of these to further strap the bikes to the frame and (using the toggles included with the rack) added too extra straps from the bike rack frame into the back doors. Better safe than sorry I feel! The feet on the rack should be against the tailgate and not rested on the bumper but don't think about opening the boot with bikes on - the weight is tremendous! Even without bikes, I was dubious as the strap hooks rubbed on the bumper and also where the boot lid meets the roof. Cars are built nowadays with such small tolerences that gaps between panels are small!
The business part of the frame that holds the bikes has hooks onto which rubber straps need to be fitted. Which way round they go is not obvious - the instructions don't show the detail - so take a bit of time to work out how they form the base onto which the cross bar rests and then how they pul over the cross bar and hook back on. That said, depending on the bike frme, it isn't always the cross bar! A Y frame - so bikes with rear wheel suspension - don't fit easily and need a combination of jiggling, trail and error and brut force to fit alongside other bikes, I found. I imagine, over a few years, the rubbers might start to perish. I wonder how I will get replacements? The brackets (with rubber straps) onto which the bikes are placed are close together and with handlebars, seats and pedals clashing, together with a mix of bike frames, it's not the easy placement of bikes onto the carrier that the instructions suggest. Alternating the direction of each bike, as the instructions suggest, isn't always the answer, and additionally I found the order the bikes went on made the difference between success and frustration. However, the arm is a cantilever so be sure to get the heaviest bikes nearer the car.
That brings me onto the last point. The carrier has a 45kg weight limit and I'd suggest that 3 mountain bikes are pushing that limit. With the fourth 'kids' bike also on, I was probably exceeding the maximum working load! On first use, I didn't appreciate how far the bike weight would pull the arms down and so what started out as the 10 degree recommended incline to the arms on fitting, ended with horizontal bars once bikes were added and so the bigest stress on the arms. Thank goodness for the other straps I had to take some of the bike weight back onto the frame. On the return trip, I angled the arms up more and the bikes hung much better.
So, all in all, it did what it said on the tin and for less than £100, it's pretty good value too. It's pushed to the limit with 4 bikes (although road bikes or even hybrids would travel much more comfortably) and the generic arms made for cross bars are not ideal for Y frames or small bikes.