I bought this cycle rack from halfords for £30. They offered to fit it for me (at additional cost), but I preferred to do it myself, so I could get used to attaching and disembling it.
It was simple to put the rack together but very difficult to attach it to my car. After about an hour and a half of fiddling I finally managed it, and it felt very secure. It should hold 2 bikes, but I would be reluctant to try anymore than just one, as it is very lightweight. I also wouldn't want to use this for very long distances.
As I only drive a small car with a small boot, the ideal thing about this is that it folds down very compact for storage.
Halfords promised me that the rack fits every car but I am not 100% sure that is true. I drive a mini and it was slightly on the large side for my car.
This rack is fit for purpose, but looks very ugly. It may have been worth spending more money on a better rack, given that in the summer I will be using it every weekend.
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The halfords cycle carrier is a weird contraption consisting of metal bars, straps and hooks, with plastic inserts. Its aim, to attach to the back of a car, and carry two bikes safely.
I have to say I have never had a problem per se with this device, it works well, has never fallen off or dropped a bike or anything like that. however I have to be totally honest and admit, it is a massive handful to put together (which has resulted in me not really using it), and you always have this worrying feeling that at any second, the whol thing is going to come apart.
Basically this unit comes as one piece, a sort of V shapes metal bar, with foam parts that are in contact with the car to stop it scratching up your car, or smashing the glass or anything like that as it is vibrating around. On the bike side, there are 2 sets (4 in total) of plastic inserts, that have little hooks on, that are designed to hold onto the bikes. Around these plastic inserts are nylon straps that you tighten to ensure that the bikes do not fall off the carrier.
The awkward part of this whole contraption is how you get the thing to attack to the car. There are a series of nylon straps, each with these "hooks" made in metal, that are designed to go around various parts of the car, such as underneath the car, around the boot (sort of in the hinge between the car body and the boot), and around the sides. Really these parts are a bit of a faff to put together, at least on the car we did it on (peugeot 406, and 407), as once you have put one set of straps in place, its tricky to do the next batch as the thing is now on the boot, so you have to move both the boot and the straps at the same time.... its easier to do with a friend but it does feel like there must be a better way of doing this.
Overall, I give it 3/5
Although it has always worked perfectly, and really there is no reason I can specifically say do not get this... it works well, is relatively cheap, and feels robust, but its just a bit fidley, and to be honest, we haven't used it in over 5 years now, for 2 main reasons, firstly we don't ride bikes as much as we used to, and secondly, it is way to fideley to make taking a bike with you worth it, if we need bikes, we tend to find it cheaper, safer, and easier just to rent them once we arrive at the destination in question.
If you're looking for a simple, effective, good-value carrier for one or two bikes then this could be the rack for you, provided it fits your car. It's best fitted to saloons and hatchbacks, I would have thought, since it doesn't offer as much flexibility as the more expensive models in Halfords' range. However, its simplicity makes it the most stable, rigid carrier I've ever used. The rack comes with two wide plastic-covered hooks for the forward attachment points (the bootlid or hatchback top edge) and two heavy duty non-plastic-coated chassis/bumper hooks. I don't like the idea of using my (flexible) plastic bumper's bottom edge as a load point, so I bought from Halfords some additional wide plastic-covered hooks with straps for £4.99, and with these I use the bottom edge of my bootlid to hold down and stabilise the carrier. Another positive reason to use these is that I can now open my boot with the rack (and bikes) in place - they simply swing up with the bootlid. Nice. With my full-size mountain bike in place and the carrier tightened down onto my bootlid everything remains completely stable and pretty much rigid. I have to remove the pedal nearest the car since the carrier holds the bike close to the car's bodywork, but this is a small price to pay to achieve such good rigidity. Holding the bike close to the car also reduces the stress on the attachment points. The carrier is supplied with two pairs of rubber mouldings designed to support and protect each bike's frame, but I've found these mouldings to be too squashy - they don't hold the bike in the precise place that they should, which can be a pain. Carrying one bike isn't so bad, but I can imagine that two would become a problem. Protecting your car's paintwork from the carrier's load bearing tubes are two grey foam sleeves, similar to domestic pipe insulation. These wouldn't last long in regular rough use, but
as long as you're careful they ought to be OK. It would be simple and cheap to replace them with foam bike handlebar grips or something, which would last longer. ========================== In summary, I carry a single bike on the back of my saloon cars and this carrier is almost perfect, and good value for money. It's rigid and I can open the boot without removing the rack or the bike.