Motabars Guide to Bike Racks

bikes on a Thule roof bike rack

There’s nothing more exciting than loading up your bikes and setting off for a day out in search of trails, cycle routes and open countryside.

Most of us are keen to load up and be on our way as quickly as possible, so it’s important to choose the right bike rack for your vehicle and the number of bikes you’re planning to take with you.

Here is our quick guide to bike racks to get you moving:

Roof mounted

Roof mounted bike racks can take up to 4 bikes. They allow you to load your bikes away from the rear of the car, maintaining full rear view visibility, and you’ll have easy access to the boot should you need it. There is also no need for additional number plates or rear lights.


These are only an option for you if you have roof bars on your car.

Lifting and affixing the bikes at such a height is not easy for everyone, and should be considered before you purchase.

Be aware if your car is already very tall, that the overall height may restrict you from entering covered car parks.

Rear mounted

Rear mounted bike racks are affixed to the back of your vehicle with straps so do not need additional roof bars, tow bars or accessories. They are a cheaper option than roof mounted or tow bar mounted bike racks and so are a good choice for occasional users. They can also be removed quickly and easily when not in use and are not a permanent fixture on your vehicle.


Maximum capacity is 3 bikes so they may not be suitable for families.

Fitting the bike rack is specific to your vehicle and care needs to be taken to avoid making marks or scratches. Not all vehicles are therefore suited to rear mounted bike racks.

Lighting boards and an additional number plate will need to be affixed if they are obscured once the bikes are loaded.

Tow bar mounted

Our best selling bike racks are those that are tow bar mounted. They are ideal for regular use, can be loaded and unloaded with ease, and are lockable and secure. They can carry up to 4 bikes and some models can be tilted allowing access to the boot.

We recommend THULE bike racks as they are well made, durable and will last a long time.

Tow bar mounted bike racks have the following advantage over roof mounted bike racks:

  • The height of the vehicle is not affected so access to car parks etc. is not a concern
  • Bikes don’t need to be lifted overhead to affix to the rack
  • They are universal to any tow bar
  • They can take more weight so are more suitable for E-Bikes or multiple E-Bikes
  • They are available with ramps so it’s possible to load without needing to lift the bike
  • They have multiple locking points to secure the bike, wheels and frame

Motabars recommendation

Whilst we sell a whole range of bike racks to suit our customers’ differing requirements, we recommend the THULE EasyFold or the VeloCompact as they offer the ability to open the boot when bikes are still attached to the tow bar, they are robust, secure and have locks on the tow bar and the bikes.

The EasyFold folds up neatly so is better for small cars and people with limited space for storage.

The VeloCompact 3 bike is popular because it can be upgraded to a 4 bike carrier if needed so is ideal for expanding families.

Both can easily take E Bikes and are secure with locks on the tow bar and the bikes themselves.

For cars that are unsuitable for towing, it may still be possible to affix a tow bar for a bike rack only so please talk to us to explore your options and we’ll be happy to help.

We’re happy to discuss the best option for bike racks for you and your vehicle. Why not call us or better still, pop in to our store for free, friendly advice.

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