HOW TO BECOME A CARRIER
ALMOST all vehicles can be used to carry bicycles but the ease of transporting, the safety issues and the security will differ.
The easiest devices are external and require no bike disassembly. That is, a rear carrier or some roof racks.
But these may not guarantee security and can be susceptible to damage in an accident, or breakage of the carrier or its tethers.
Tow-bar mounted racks are quick and easy to carry and can have quick release devices to remove them entirely. Tow-bar bike beaks are priced from about $120 (Buzz Rack), $400 (4-bike Yakima) and $649 (Thule Reece-hitch bar).
Strap-on racks can be transferred between vehicles but will require a lot of adjustment to fit correctly. They also carry a fear of coming adrift from the car. Strap-on racks cost from about $100 (Allen) to $250 (Saris Bones).
Roof-top carriers are handy because they reduce the risk of theft. But taller vehicles, including SUVs, can make installation of the bicycle difficult and introduce the potential for damage to the bicycles from passing low overhead trees or bridges or even driver distraction when entering a garage. Roof-top carriers are priced from $70 per bike plus roof rack but can be used to also load kayaks, timber, surfboards and so on.
Floor mounts — often called cool bars — fit into a ute tray. They are a single bar with quick-release attachments for the front wheels.
The front wheel must be removed (to be stored elsewhere) and the bikes are carried upright, making it possible to fit three bikes abreast on the tray. Cool bars for utes, trucks and wagons cost from about $90 for a single-block mount (Thule), $270 for a two-bike bar (Yakima) and a three-bike is about $400 (Thule).
Placing a bike within a vehicle interior has maximum security but you need a large vehicle and generally only two occupants.
Bicycles usually have to have the front wheels removed to fit. The process can be awkward but does away with the need for additional carrying gear. And there’s no extra cost.