A Bike Carrier Built for 2 (or 3)
July 26, 2007 8:24 AM   Subscribe

BikeFilter: I need to get a bike carrier, and I need advice. Of course there's ...

The tricky bit is that it needs to carry three 2-wheeled bikes (i.e. normal, adult (or nearly so) bikes) OR an adult trike and two 2-wheelers.

Money is definitely a factor. If I win the lottery, I'll just buy a pickup truck.

I'd like to be able to load and unload the carrier with one person.

I have a Buick Park Avenue with no trailer hitch, but I'd be willing to put one on, if necessary.

so... anybody out there already bought a bike carrier that will carry two or three bikes? Did it work for you? Can you still get to the trunk?
posted by davereed to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I can't find my model, but I have a trunk-mounted carrier similar to this.

The only difference is mine allows me to open the trunk without removing the rack. (I have to removed the biked of course.) The straps hook to the all sides of the trunk. You can load bikes by yourself. The only limiting factor would be your ability to lift the bike onto the rack.

You also have to be sure to tighten, load, then re-tighten the rack. It also doesn't hurt to pull over after a mile or two and check again because slack can build up while driving over bumps with a load.
posted by The Deej at 9:15 AM on July 26, 2007

(Oh, just to note that some of the trunk ones don't allow access to the trunk, because they attach to the bumper instead of the bottom lip of the trunk.
posted by The Deej at 9:19 AM on July 26, 2007

The usual modular, fork-mounted roof carriers should work fine. You just gotta have one of the carriers facing backwards so you can have another bike in the middle without handlebars clashing.
posted by randomstriker at 10:13 AM on July 26, 2007

I have a Park Avenue without a trailer hitch, and have used a trunk mounted carrier similar to the one Deej linked to without a problem. Look for a heavy duty model.
posted by grateful at 10:29 AM on July 26, 2007

Seconding randomstriker's comment, at least conceptually; I don't see why that setup wouldn't work for you. FWIW, I use a fork-mounted Yakima roof rack on my Toyota Solara, and I've been really happy with it.

That said, the entire system in your case is probably going to be around $900 for that solution. Not sure if that fits your price range or not.
posted by Brak at 11:37 AM on July 26, 2007

Oh wait. Somehow I missed the part where you wanted to carry a trike and two 2-wheelers. That probably rules out the roof rack as a practical solution.
posted by Brak at 11:39 AM on July 26, 2007

Generic bike carrier recommendation: I have a Saris Bones 2 bike trunk mounted (Saris Bones 3 bike version). I have used it regularly on my Jetta sedan (2003) and has been used on a Toyota Sienna minivan (2000sh), a Buick LeSabre (1999ish), and a Chrysler Sebring sedan (2002).
*I have not seen the paint scratching issues complained about here. Noting that I don't leave this on the car permanently, and I usually wrap the contact point between carrier and bike with a hand towel for nice bikes (I do not feel this need for my bike as I see my bike as something that needs to be babied).
* The first time you mount it on a car can be a little time consuming. Once the various arms/legs are adjusted for a car, it's best to leave those set when you store the carrier. Be patient, and stop after the first 10 or 20 miles to readjust and tighten if needed.
* the bikes should alternate direction to give more room to the handlebars.
* List price about $160
* Make sure that the points where the rubber bumpers meet your car are strong and don't flex when you put the bikes on the carrier.
* I have only ever put adult mountain bike style frames on this. I would expect problems for smaller bikes and for bikes that don't have a horizontal top tube.

All in all, I would highly recommend it.

Specifics for the original poster
* You could of course not reach the trunk with bikes loaded on it. With no bikes on it, it weighs enough to stop any spring/hydraulic assisted raising/lowering of the trunk from working well. Best to be gentle raising and lowering the trunk. Some cars trunks are designed such that you wouldn't be able to open the trunk with this mounted. This was not the case for the cars listed above.
*This won't hold a trike.
posted by fief at 2:48 PM on July 26, 2007

Response by poster: Fief, the bike rack you describe sounds perfect, except for the 'no trike' part. I think I'll have to keep looking.

I'm looking with favor at the 4-bike Allen Rack. I'm hoping that a rack built to hold FOUR 2-wheelers will hold two 2-wheelers and a 3-wheeler.

This weekend I'm going to check with my local bike shop(s) and see what they can recommend. (Then I will buy it from them, it's not nice to do the research in a shop and buy online.)
posted by davereed at 12:39 PM on July 27, 2007

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