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Which is the best roof mounted bike carrier?

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There’s a huge selection of different bike carriers and styles available these days.

Please have a read of the pros and cons of each below and if you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Fork Mounts:

Fork mounts require the removal of the front wheel and for the bike to be secured via the fork tips or the thru axle.

The big advantage of this style is that the carrier doesn’t touch the frame, just the fork tips.

Another advantage of these carriers is that the bike sits a little lower on the roof, there is less movement of the bike on the roof and most fork mounts take up less room on the roof rack, so if you’re a little pressed for space or need to get five bikes up there these are often a popular choice.

The carriers themselves are often a little lower profile so when there isn’t a bike on it you can expect a little less wind noise.

The big disadvantage is having to put dirty wheels in the car and of course remove and replace the front wheel everytime. It generally takes longer to fit a bike onto a fork mount carrier than a frame mount especially using bikes with a thru axle.

With some fork mount carriers it is necessary to purchase a separate thru axle adaptor which can cost extra. The new Whispbar WB200 gets around this by having an ingenious built in thru axle adaptor.

Frame and Front Wheel Mounts:

The big advantage of these carriers is their ease and speed of use. There’s also no need to worry about dirty wheels in the car and they’ll work with any bike, thru axle or not.

The Thule 598 ProRide has replaced the industry standard Thule 591 ProRide and it improves on the design with longer wheel straps for chunky MTB tyres and a more cushioned frame holder amongst other design improvements. There are excellent carriers now available from Yakima and Whispbar that don’t require the removal of the front wheel.

Many people are reluctant to use the Thule 598 Proride on their lightweight carbon rigs or were unable to use it on their MTB duallies because of the rear suspension mounting points (some of the old GTs were a good example). The 598 also doesn't work with the early versions of Di2 where the battery sat under the bidon cage on the downtube and interfered with the battery.

The latest addition to the Thule range is theThule  Upride 599. This carrier joins other carriers that hold your bike by the front wheel only ensuring no frame contact. Read more about the Thule Upride 599 here. 

The Yakima FrontLoader enjoys the best of both worlds. It holds the bike via the front wheel so there’s no frame contact, no removing of the front wheel and it’s extremely easy to mount the bike as well as fit the carrier on and off the car. It also fits just about all factory bars and after market roof racks and will accept any wheel size between 20 inch and 29 inch irrespective of frame type, material or design.  Yes, we like the Yakima FrontLoader carrier a lot!

The new Yakima HighRoad is probably the easist to use and most aero bike carrier we've used. Very solid construction and your bike is on and off in seconds and with no frame contact!  It mounts to virtually any cross bars thanks to it's wrap around the bar fittings. A great addition to the Yakima range.

The disadvantage of frame mount carriers like the older 591 as mentioned before was the reluctance to put a lightweight carbon bike on it, the slight movement of the bike when travelling and the inability to use it with some bikes. The new Thule 598 ProRide has a built in torque dial so it's safe to use with your carbon frame now with the Thule Carbon Frame Protector 984.


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