Riding a bicycle can be a great way to get some low-impact exercise, which is perfect if you want to get active but your knees or ankles just won’t let you start running. Unfortunately, if you don’t live in an area that is surrounded by trails, you might find yourself leaving the bike in the garage if it doesn’t fit into your car. The best solution is to put a bike rack on your vehicle — a task you can do yourself, even if you drive something like a BMW.
If you want to get more out of your bike, here are a few tips and tricks to help you install a bike rack on your car.
Types of Bike Racks
The first thing you need to decide is what style of bike rack you want. This will depend on a lot of different variables, from the type of bicycle you own to the kind of BMW you drive.
You may find more specific options depending on the make and model of your BMW, but in general, you’re going to have four options to choose from:
- Roof-mount racks that attach to crossbars on top of your vehicle
- Hitch-mount racks that attach to an existing trailer hitch
- Trunk-mount racks that don’t need a lot of extra equipment to install
- Interior or truckbed-mounted racks that allow you to transport your bike securely inside your vehicle or in the bed of your truck
Now that you know what types of racks are out there, let’s look at how to install each of them.
Installing a Roof Rack
If your BMW already has a roof rack or crossbar, you won’t have to do a lot of work. Most bike racks that attach to the roof are designed to work with existing equipment.
If you drive a sedan or another BMW that doesn’t come equipped with a roof rack, you can opt to have one installed by the dealership or you can attach one yourself. The only difference between the two is that factory-installed bike racks are screwed into the car’s frame, while aftermarket ones tend to just be pinched down. Both are capable of safely transporting your bike. The only time a factory-installed rack might be more convenient is if you’re purchasing a new BMW and you’ve got the option to add it on.
Installing a Hitch Rack
If you want the easiest installation possible and you have a BMW with a trailer hitch, then look no further than a hitch rack. The hardest part of installing this type of bike rack is figuring out which model will fit your bicycles. Once you bring it home, all you have to do is assemble it and hook it into your trailer hitch.
Installing an Interior Rack
If you drive a larger vehicle, like an SUV or a minivan, you might want to opt for an interior rack. These versions bolt to the cargo area of your car or in the bed of a pickup. These racks work by securing the bicycle via a bolt through the front fork. This means you have to take the front tire off to attach the bike to these racks.
If you drive an older BMW X3, it comes with an interior bike rack as standard equipment. BMW premiered this in 2003, and it’s just as handy today as it was then.
Installing a Strap-on Trunk Rack
If you don’t want to drill holes into your BMW, you can still hook a bike rack up to your car. These attach by wrapping straps around the top and sides of your trunk. Once you tighten these down, they support the bike rack and any bicycles you hook to it.
If you’re looking for something a little more secure, opt for a model that uses straps that all meet together inside your trunk. They’re harder to remove, but that means it’s less likely that someone is going to walk off with your bike.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help
If you don’t trust your mechanical skills or are worried you might mess something up, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Getting a bike rack installed is an inexpensive and easy way to take your bicycle with you everywhere, no matter what you’re driving.