Five things to get right when driving a bike-mounted car

By DPA | 13 June 2019

BERLIN: There are lots of things that can go wrong when a bicycle is mounted to your car, from unexpectedly long braking distances to something falling off and hitting the car behind you.

That's why you should pay attention to a few things when you've mounted a bicycle to the roof or rear of your car.

1: The most important thing is to make sure nothing falls off. First, make sure to remove anything that could come loose, like a basket, water bottle, clip-on light or battery.

2: To prevent the frame coming loose from your car, before a long journey double check that all the mount's screws are tight. An additional strap can help reduce the amount the bike will be rattled during the trip.

3: If you're using a rear mount, try to keep the heaviest wheel lower. This keeps the rear load as low as possible, which will make driving safer.

4: If you're carrying two electric bikes on a mount fixed to the car's draw bar, you might want to check the draw bar's maximum load. That's because a mount and two electric bikes with batteries can easily amount to 70kg, while some cars can only manage 50kg. The same goes if they're being mounted on the roof, which also has its weight limits.

5: If you're driving with bikes on the roof, remember the car's centre of gravity will now be higher. That means you should take extra care in sharp turns and when it's windy out. Your braking distances will also become longer and acceleration slower.

If you're still deciding between roof or rear mount, it helps to remember the pros and cons of both approaches. The main advantage of transporting bikes on the roof is that both the rear and the boot can still be used.

The list of disadvantages, however, is long. The high wind resistance leads to increased fuel consumption, while the mounting height of roof racks are usually awkward and uncomfortable. But then again, roof systems are also among the cheapest options.

A disadvantage of the rear carrier, meanwhile, is the limited rear visibility – and you shouldn’t use the rear window wiper. But they make up for that with ease of use, as you won't have to heave any heavy bike onto the roof.