Carbon bike transport by car

damaged racing bikes due to roof transport underpass
Roof transport bicycle, source: unknown

At regular intervals we have repair requests due to transport damage, classic roof transport. This usually affects the handlebars, stem and head tube or the transition to the down tube. If the collision has been relatively mild, we recommend replacing the handlebars and stem. For further safety, the frame itself should be subjected to a non-destructive test independent of any obvious cracks in order to exclude any invisible structural damage (delamination).  


Fahrradtransport eines Carbonbikes mit dem Auto auf Deutsch lesen

How do I transport my carbon bike ?

The basic consideration of a passionate biker, who loves his sports equipment, also includes the consideration of how to transport it with the car ? On the roof, at the rear (flap), trailer coupling or in the car itself.  Certain things should be taken into account and risks weighed up in advance. 


The safest option is the transport of the complete bike in the car, whether station wagon or van. Here the expensive bike is best protected against rockfall, vibrations, wind and weather in general, as well as overlooking a lack of headroom. Not to mention the risk of theft, which also offers the best protection here.  


Only who buys already a car suitably for the bicycle transport ?, one will consider it with a new vehicle acquisition surely, if this is pending. 


If there is no car to be purchased, three further options remain:

  • trailer hitch
  • rear mounting
  • roof transport

Road bike transport trailer hitch

If a trailer coupling is available, this variant is the first choice. The MTB or road bike is largely protected and in the wind cover of the car, but also produces aerodynamically unfavorable confusion.  The sports equipment can be loaded and unloaded comfortably, an additional advantage offered by most trailer systems is the possibility of folding away so that the boot remains freely accessible. 

Structural damage Clamping jaws vibrations vehicle transport
Structural damage due to excessive clamping and vibrations during vehicle transport

There are fixing systems, with straps and eyelets, as well as with screw / clamp jaw connections, but watch out ! Carbon is very pressure sensitive and a tube can easily be cracked / crushed by an uncontrolled tightening, so that it can come to a serious structural damage, which may first unnoticed, but then continues gradually under further stress, ongoing use, and can so lead to an abrupt failure. Attention, danger to life !

Chain Stay Bicycle Transport Car Carbon Vibrations
Chain stay damage due to clamping on rear carrier trailer hitch

Here is an example of structural damage caused by excessive clamping and vibration while driving. It shows a typical crack pattern in the paint which indicates a damaged carbon structure.  


The disadvantage of the trailer hitch is the limited visibility when manoeuvring and the accompanying risk of a crash. The roof rack offers better visibility here, but again the risk of a crash at low passages.

Bicycle transport tailgate

If there is no trailer coupling, the tailgate carrier remains. It is fixed by means of tension straps, which are held by stoppers and guided through the gap between the rear body and tailgate. The belts can come loose during the journey by wind and vibrations, the carrier can slip and in the stupidest case scratch the car. 


The disadvantage of the tailgate transport is the limited visibility when manoeuvring and the accompanying risk of crash; a little less than with the trailer hitch, because it is more compact on the vehicle.  

Bicycle transport roof carrier

If there is no space in the car, no trailer coupling, the personal risk of a tailgate carrier is too great, the roof transport still remains. Roof rack systems for bicycles are available for little money, but it should not be saved in the wrong place. Here, however, the somewhat more cumbersome loading and increased fuel consumption would have to be considered. Not to forget the crash risk at low passages, as well as the additional loads for the carbon bike due to vibrations and the lack of protection against flying parts.  At this point it should be noted that it would not be a good idea to protect the expensive bike with a tarpaulin, which drastically increases fuel consumption and reduces the overall driving safety of the car. 

Conclusion transport of a carbon bike

The ideal way to transport a carbon bike is the interior of the car. It offers protection against wind and weather, protects against vibrations that can affect the carbon structure. The driving behaviour of the car remains unaffected and the theft protection is maximum. The carbon structure cannot be crushed by excessive tightening of claws during fixing. Please secure the bike inside against slipping !  


If there is not enough interior space, we recommend the trailer coupling, then the roof transport. Who drives abroad with it please inform himself in advance about the national regulations, e.g. additional marking for load, which protrudes beyond the vehicle. The recommended maximum speed of 120 to 130 km/h for fastening systems outside the vehicle, regardless of the type, must also be observed. 


In this sense "keep cycling" and a safe transport of your expensive racing bikes, the Carbon Bike Service !


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