Anyone who travels regularly with their bike will probably tell you that a bike rack is a godsend.
Racks are dependable when it comes to carrying bikes safely over long or short distances or even carrying along more than one.
As much as bike racks are the best option, the downside is that the bike(s) can still be damaged.
Some situations that can cause damage to bikes while they are on the rack include:
- If you have more than one bike on your rack, they can keep colliding with one another.
- For hitch and trunk mount bikes, the bikes are likely to be damaged by the road’s pebbles, grit, and dust as the vehicle is moving.
- Swaying of the bikes can cause damage and scratches to the connection between the rack and the bike, and also between the rack and the car.
- Rain and water damage
Now that you know that a rack is not necessarily damage-proof, let’s explore how to protect a bike when on a bike rack
How To Protect A Bikes On Car Bike Rack
1. Check your rack
Firstly, your choice of a rack is very important.
For example, a hitch or truck mount will likely expose your bike to damage caused by debris as indicated at the beginning of this article.
Roof mount racks are also risky when it comes to driving through low-level roofs and areas. Nevertheless, people who are inclined to choose them are drawn in because reaching the bikes at the top requires a lot of effort, a factor that will keep off burglars.
The state of the rack is also of great importance. The rack should be firmly installed onto the vehicle and be able to accommodate the weight of the number of bikes you intend to carry on it.
The clamps on your rack should be rigid enough and the spacing between them should be sufficient to keep the bikes from hitting each other.
You might also want to look into getting racks that come with straps used to keep the bike in place or racks that safeguard bikes by their frame as opposed to their wheels.
2. Bike rack and bike covers
The next way to protect a bike is to cover the bike – so, How to cover bikes on a bike rack?
Covering your bike from debris and dust while it is on the rack has been made possible by bike covers. Bike covers also avert damage from the sun which destroys bike tires upon prolonged exposure.
Furthermore, when bikes are left out in the open and it happens to rain, there is a possibility that there will be some rust on the chain.
If you are interested in purchasing one, most of them retail at around $20 to $50 but some go up to even $90. A bike cover will be a plus if it has extra protective padding on the inside. You can also purchase saddle or seat covers.
The cheaper alternative to bike covers is to cover the bikes with plastic covers or vinyl wrapping and secure the makeshift cover with some straps or rope.
3. Secure the straps
If you want to keep the bike(s) from moving about in the rack and slamming against each other, use as many straps as needed and make sure they are taut enough to keep the bike in place.
You can use bungee cords, Velcro straps or even Voile straps which are said to be better than Velcro straps in terms of functionality.
To secure your bikes, run the straps around the top tube, down tube, the seat stays and between the wheels’ spokes. Once the straps are on, try to move the bike about to check if will shift about.
4. Space and cushion your bikes
Bike damage can also come from the points of contact between the bikes and the rack experiencing friction.
It is for this reason that adequate spacing and protective cover is needed. Spacing is more critical when you are transporting more than one bike.
In order to keep your bikes from damaging each other upon impact, invest in bike bumper pads which will reduce the impact if the bikes do collide. You can also rotate and adjust the cranks and handlebars in some bikes.
You can also use foam pool noodles as padding between the points of contact, but make sure you inspect and change them if necessary since prolonged exposure to sunlight will cause melting and the melt residue will remain on the bike surface.
Another popular choice of protection is a bike shield protection kit. Bike frame protection is a cost-effective alternative because it is easily padded on and peeled off so your bike will still look fresh.
5 Lock the bike.
It is not enough to just put your bike on a rack, locks are extremely important to keep bike thieves at bay.
Some modern racks already come with locks attached which makes your job easier. If your rack doesn’t come with one, you can purchase either a D-lock, a cable lock, or a chain lock.
D-locks are said to be the most secure lock type because of their strength and ability to ward off people who might try to steal the bike.
The other lock types can also work separately- but are more effective when used together. For example, people use D-locks and cable locks together. Straps are also a good addition to any of these locks.
6. Protective spray
Before transporting your bike by whatever means you choose, you might want to consider using bike protection spray.
Bike protection spray will lubricate the bike and leave it looking good as new. It will also prevent corrosion by leaving a non-sticky coating that will prevent the moisture that causes rust.
Reputable sprays will retail at between US $17 to US $40.
All the measures discussed above will work just fine- but it is key to ensure that you keep checking the systems you put in place.
While your bike is on a rack, you should check if your bikes are secure at every stop you make, especially if the bikes are on the roof.
Check the straps, the security of the locks, and if there is any scratching or movement.
Keep updating your bike protection kit and keep bike covers in good condition.
Final remarks. – on How To Protect your bike when on a car bike rack
There you have it.
These are the best ways to ensure your bikes are safe while on the rack. You can manage most of these options, even with a limited budget.
Invest in any of these options, and you will be sure that your beloved bike will be fine.
And remember- Always double-check.