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Bicycle Mounting Options

aloha_from_bradley

Drag Racing Champion
Location
AZ
I plan to venture out a bit more with my road bike and need a way to get it longer distances. My wife will likely be picking up a bike soon as well. We need something that makes sense for 2+ hr drives and keeps 2 bikes firmly in place with the option to lock them in place in the event that we need to leave the car.

I'd like something that I can use with my Golf, but would consider something that works for my Tiguan as well. The Tig has roof racks already, so I would just need to buy the cross bar sections with the mounts for a bike. It would be more difficult on the Tiguan considering it's so tall, so a rear hitch mounted style might be better. If I'm able to, I'd also like to explore options for the rear hitch on the Golf as well.

I see lots of different options online. What are the best? Who has something similar that can share?

Thanks
 

bro120

New member
Location
Melbourne
Car(s)
2019 GTI
I have two Thule Proride 598’s so I can comment on these.

Mounting or dismounting a bike takes about 30 seconds and I can do it single-handedly. Never had any concerns in driving long distances, though the wind noise is definitely there above about 30mph. One of the things I like most is you don’t need to remove the front wheel.

I think a hitch mounted option would be superior though. You don’t have the height concerns, and more flexibility if you want to carry more than 2 bikes. I personally couldn’t justify the cost of installing the hitch/tow bar but I do regret it a bit now.
802D36D6-59A4-48C7-A90C-076790D0AA58.jpeg
 

shovelhd

Autocross Champion
Location
Western MA
Just stand on the door sill.

I'm the only road rider in the family so when I take my bike in the GTI it goes inside with the seats down, wheels on. No problems. For family vacations, we take the wife's RAV4 which has factory roof racks. I'm a big fan of Inno racks. They're well made and a good value for the money. They bolt onto the factory crossbars and lock everything but the front wheel. We only take my bike, so there's room for a Thule Sidekick roof box next to the bike.

Roof racks have height issues but they are easy to avoid. Rear mounted racks, hitch or platform, have rear clearance issues, plus your bike(s) will get a lot dirtier back there.

Inno, Thule, Yakima, Rocky Mounts, Saris, they all make good products at various price points. Beware of the cheap knock-off racks that will use inferior components. Look at the good brands first and you'll spot the cheapness.
 

tigeo

Autocross Champion
Have run roof racks for over 30 years on multiple cars without drama. I use a small Walmart kids potty step stool to reach my bike. Currently have Yakima Frontloaders. Downside is it does ding your mpg a bit and will give a bit more noise.
 

swcrow

Autocross Champion
Location
Virginia
Car(s)
7.5
My wife has a trailer hitch for if the family goes (3 bikes), but my GTI has two fork mount type (thule) up top.....have run them flawlessly and super easy to mount bikes too.
Having said that, bike weight can be a factor, especially if you have shoulder issues. My bike is CF and I air my car out, so I don't really have to lift much or lift too high LOL.
 

Jozooka

Go Kart Newbie
Location
Bucks County, PA
FWIW, I take 2 cyclocross bikes to races and put both inside the GTI with a blanket between. Plenty of room for lots of other gear too. I guess popping off the wheels and arranging inside isn't the coolest look, but you never have to worry about height or ground clearances, it's free, and no locking/security issues.

I can think of 4 friends that hit something low and ripped bikes off of their roof racks. Sometimes after a long ride or race you're a bit brain-dead and mistakes happen.
 

Chogokin

Autocross Champion
Location
So Cal
Car(s)
GTI Sport | Audi A3
I was leaning this way as well. I just have zero experience with them.

If you're willing to install a hitch...IMO...hitch racks are the way to go...especially if you ride mountain bikes. MTBs are bigger and heavier than a road style bike. It's just easier to put onto a low mounted rack like a hitch one vs lifting onto the roof of the car. Just about all the vehicles I see at the trailhead use one...including trucks.
 

HelloNewman

Go Kart Champion
Location
SoCal
Car(s)
Mk7
I have the same setup as bro120 except all VW "brand" because it's rebadged Thule for less than half price. Theft deterrence on the Thule racks is comically bad:

Also that one arm design is a bit of a PITA to get the bike into depending on your frame design.

In the battle between roof vs hitch mount it really depends on your needs. Hitch mount is easier access, less lost mpg, no wind noise. Cost is significantly higher overall and if someone rear ends your car you are out thousands of dollars in the value of your bike/s. Roof mount adds noise, severe mpg loss, difficult to get bikes off for some, but the bikes are protected in an accident (unless you roll the car, in which case you have bigger issues on your hands than a broken bicycle) you retain access to the hatch, and if you have a hitch you can still use it.
 

bentin

Autocross Champion
Location
Austin, TX
Car(s)
18 GTI SE - 3 Pedals
Hitch and a 1Up, be done with it. Roof racks will damage the paint and window seals. I had roof racks on two cars with direct mounts, but hate the window clip versions. If you can find the $110 Curt that mounts to the frame rails and doesn't require dropping the bumper, it's a super easy install on ramps and works great with any 1 1/4 rack. I prefer 1Up for the all metal construction and the ability to expand/contract it as needed. I typically just use one tray, but add one or two as needed for the wife and kid, or the made up friends. Plus you can lower the 1Up, and really most hitch racks, to still be able to access the hatch.

Oh, and your bikes are covered by your car insurance. I also have riders on my bikes incase they get nicked when I'm away from home (homeowners covers them at home or in the garage.) It's $14/yr for $12k of coverage.

And Oh, part 2, you lucky Mk7 / Mk7.5 people can get the Stealth hitch that has a removable receiver, so when you're not using it, it's absolutely not visible. More money than the Curt, but also available in a 2" and just all around a better design. They've already said they won't be making it for the Mk8 because of low volume. I'm still tempted to see if the Mk7 one will work, but need a car first.
 

Rojito

Drag Racing Champion
Location
Georgia
Car(s)
2021 GTI SE MANUAL
Roof racks are the more economical option and hitch mount the more convenient. That being said, I would definitely recommend the hitch mount for the Tiguan.

We had a hitch installed on my wife's CX-5 at the local uhaul and then used the 4 bike rack from Hollywood Racks for the bikes. Super convenient and it easily converts to a 2 bike rack. They also sell just the 2 bike version, but at a minimal price difference.

https://www.amazon.com/Hollywood-Ra...lywood+racks+sport+rider+2,sporting,95&sr=1-7
 

Chogokin

Autocross Champion
Location
So Cal
Car(s)
GTI Sport | Audi A3
Look for stuff used. I bought my Curt hitch for $120 new (couldn't find one used) and the rack (Saris Superclamp 2) for $200 on Craigslist.
 

bentin

Autocross Champion
Location
Austin, TX
Car(s)
18 GTI SE - 3 Pedals
Look for stuff used. I bought my Curt hitch for $120 new (couldn't find one used) and the rack (Saris Superclamp 2) for $200 on Craigslist.
Lots of people selling the old 1Up to get the newer, fancier Equip D. I see used ones relatively often.
 
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