Fitting a bike in a car isn't always easy, but here are just a few stylish, sensibly priced options

Bicycles. Yes, I know this is a magazine about motors, but there are times when it is important to be able to squeeze difficult objects into those motors.

In my experience, nothing is more difficult than a pushbike of the non-folding variety. Even taking the bike’s wheels off doesn’t seem to help much at all, but imagine trying to find an interesting automatic coupé that can take a bike inside. That’s just what I’ve been doing. So any thoughts of £1000 worth of Renault Kangoo can be dismissed right now.

The obvious place is to start with the fairly generous four to five-seat coupés. I find myself looking at BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz CLKs, but that seems so very obvious. So let’s go a bit weird and take a look at the Citroën C4, which, I think, is distinctive and, in VTR+ trim, guarantees a bit of excitement. The prices aren’t outrageous, either, because I came across a 2007 1.6 HDi with a reasonable 90,000 miles at £1800. There’s a hatch-like rear end, which may even mean that both wheels can stay on the bike, although I wouldn’t want to bank on that.

The French have form when it comes to compact coupés, and that brings us to the passed-away Renault Mégane. It has a suitably big rear end, like all the Méganes, and it would be interesting to see if a bike would actually fit. You can pick up tidy one-owner examples for not too much. Well, from under £4000, which delivers an unwanted 2.0-litre petrol in Privilege trim and an even less desirable automatic form. That might help when the handlebars are hooked around the centre console. It’s certainly worth a go.

I was briefly distracted by 2004 and 2005 BMW 645s with some impressively high mileages at around £5000. The boot is big, but not that big. Access to the rear of larger four-door BMWs lets you get a ‘racer’ (1970s term for a drophandlebar five or 10-speed) in the back. I don’t really want to damage a 645.

It would, of course, be super-silly not to pay some close attention to a Vauxhall Astra GTC. I rather like the idea of a 2.0 CDTi SRi, and a 2012 example with just over 50,000 miles is £7000. There are a fair few around.

What about an Audi A5 with folding rear seats? Surely, that would do it. You will pay about the same money as the Astra, but it will be a car from 2007 or so, a 2.0 Multitronic. There should also be a shout for the Volkswagen Scirocco, and the £7000 start point brings into play a 2009 2.0 TDI with a stiff 100k mileage.

Obviously, the solution is a superestate like an Audi S-something, or just a flipping bike rack. 

Our Verdict

Citroën C4
The Citroën C4 range comprises three diesel and three petrol engines, plus three trim levels

An admirable car, but there is an abundance of much better rivals

Join the debate

Comments
17

16 June 2016
1st Gen Saab 9-3 coupe was my perfect bike carrying coupe! With rear seats folded it has space in the back as full 5d hatch as they share the same wheelbase, so very generous!

16 June 2016
And I've got myself and a bike down to the Alps in a MX5. Had to take the passenger seat out though so that may be cheating.

16 June 2016
What on earth is wrong with a bike rack? I have the cheapest Halfords rack and it is excellent. Simple to fit, sturdy, easy to store and means the car doesn't get wet/dirty inside when I bring my bike home after a ride. What could be better than that?

16 June 2016
My MTB fits easily into my Golf, so it should be a breeze with these hatched coupes. A blanket stops the mud going everywhere, and it's much quicker & more secure than a rack. If I needed the back seat I'd have to go the rack route though. The bike also fits lengthways in my Defender 90, but it's tight.

16 June 2016
Admittedly this only works for a single bike, but you can generally fit one into almost any car by taking the front wheel off and putting it sideways across the car behind the front seats - fork in the footwell behind the passenger, rear wheel in the footwell behind the driver. You obviously need a towel or picnic blanket to protect the upholstery.

You lose the rear seats, but most of the answers above assume that anyway.

As to racks, they have a use but keeping your bike inside the car is hugely more secure.

David W

16 June 2016
Two bike locks linked together that reach the rear wheel or a suspension link, so you can lock the frame to the wheel/car (while parked!) solves the security issue?

16 June 2016
Firstly, the issue of bike racks. Fine for a family holiday. 4 bikes and 4 people. Maybe ok for a cheap bikes too but I have a £4000 carbon mountain bike which I want to protect from thieves and vagabonds if I leave my car for any reason. Like a café stop. Also fuel consumption rises 15% with a bike on the roof so its a price to pay as well.

In terms of cars, many coupes with a hatchback can be ideal. I actually used a mark 1 Audi TT for 14 years. With the back seats (useless anyway) dropped I could get two bikes (wheels off) and luggage for the weekend in their plus a passenger at the front.

What is surprising is how many cars with supposedly big boots can't fit a bike in. BMW 3, 5, 7 NO. VW Phaeton NO. Audi 8 NO. The problem is that many designs now use the sides of the boot for other things (battery, fuses, bits) and optimise the space for two golf bags. As if..

The list of what can and cannot carry a wheel less mountain bike is surprisingly thin. When you ask it to be also interesting to drive and pleasant place to sit in it gets quite exclusive.

David Whalley

17 June 2016
whalley wrote:

The list of what can and cannot carry a wheel less mountain bike is surprisingly thin.

That would simply be a list of every car. Just saying.

I don't need to put my name here, it's on the left

 

16 June 2016
and it damaged the top edge of the boot. It also meant the bike covered the number plate and rear lights. I'm not sure on the legality of this but I suspect I should have had one of those light / number plate bars fitted along with the plug (tow bar?) that would be required to power the lights.

Far too much trouble and expense to do it properly. Security is another big issue for me as my bike cost £3,500. I tend to pack my bike up the night before a day out so I can set out early with minimal faff. Even with the bike inside the car (Passat Estate, 2 bikes +, Polo GTI, 2 bikes (in bits) they get locked to the steering wheel, seat runners and the door pulls. Obviously, if someone wanted the bike that much, they'd get it but, other than leaving my dog in the car over night guarding it, I couldn't make it harder to steal if I tried. Last year some friends had 3 bikes (£9k+) taken from the locking roof bars while they grabbed a bite to eat in the Peak District. Sadly, in a world full of thieving scrotes, I'm not prepared to alert them to the bike I worked so hard to buy. Same issue with surfboards, I'm afraid. Numerous surf trips have seen me comfortably sleeping in my estate next to my surfboard.

A £5 tarp from eBay keeps the interior of the car clean and dry though, with a dog, the cleanliness of the interior of the Passat is a battle I lost some time ago.

17 June 2016
Beastie_Boy wrote:

and it damaged the top edge of the boot. It also meant the bike covered the number plate and rear lights. I'm not sure on the legality of this but I suspect I should have had one of those light / number plate bars fitted along with the plug (tow bar?) that would be required to power the lights.

Far too much trouble and expense to do it properly. Security is another big issue for me as my bike cost £3,500. I tend to pack my bike up the night before a day out so I can set out early with minimal faff. Even with the bike inside the car (Passat Estate, 2 bikes +, Polo GTI, 2 bikes (in bits) they get locked to the steering wheel, seat runners and the door pulls. Obviously, if someone wanted the bike that much, they'd get it but, other than leaving my dog in the car over night guarding it, I couldn't make it harder to steal if I tried. Last year some friends had 3 bikes (£9k+) taken from the locking roof bars while they grabbed a bite to eat in the Peak District. Sadly, in a world full of thieving scrotes, I'm not prepared to alert them to the bike I worked so hard to buy. Same issue with surfboards, I'm afraid. Numerous surf trips have seen me comfortably sleeping in my estate next to my surfboard.

A £5 tarp from eBay keeps the interior of the car clean and dry though, with a dog, the cleanliness of the interior of the Passat is a battle I lost some time ago.

The risk would be that if you made the bikes too secure the vermin would simply take the car.

I don't need to put my name here, it's on the left

 

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