Q&A: Help! I need a bike carrier for a VW Touran

Today's request for help has come from Sarah, a mum of two from London, who needs a bike carrier for a VW Touran.  Sarah tells us:

"We're going away in Wales with two kids (aged 4 & 1) and our dog in our VW Touran. We want to bring our bikes: hubby's is a standard hybrid; mine's a women's frame sit up and beg.  We need access to the boot for the dog. We'll be buying a bike trailer for the kids from eBay but in future years we'll also need to transport two kids bikes too. I would welcome any advice as the cost of all the accessories is vast!"

Choosing a bike carrier for a VW Touran

Before buying an bike carrier, Sarah should check it fits the exact model of VW Touran she has.  Most manufacturers have good websites that let you check out what cars they fit. Some of the options available to Sarah are:

Roof mounted cycle racks

Thule 591 cycle carrier for a VW TouranRoof carriers fit onto roof bars which then attach to the car. For this Sarah's vehicle would need to have roof rails. Most VW Touran's have them, but not all.

Sarah could initially purchase two racks, and add more as her children grow.

Personally, we  have Thule roof mounted carriers which are great as they are lightweight and easy to use. However, VW Tourans are higher than our Audi A4, so Sarah will need to check she is OK lifting the bikes on/off roof.

Sarah can check the fit of the Thule cycle racks on the Thule website, and then buy at Wiggle if she decides to go with this option.

Rear door mounted bike carriers

Rear bike carrier for a VW TouranRear door mounted carriers ones tend to be reasonably priced, and could be a good starting option for carrying the two adult bikes. They do restrict access to the boot, which could be a problem for Sarah's dog and the children's bike trailer.  They also interfere with your rear wipers (although hopefully Sarah will have wonderful weather for her trip!), and fit directly against the paint work of the car.

A lot will depend on how much Sarah wants to get in and out of the boot whilst the bikes are in position.

There are a number of specific racks for the VW Touran available here on Amazon, although Sarah does need to consider if she's going to swap cars in the near future.

Towbar mounted bike carriers

Another option would be a towbar and towbar mounted bike carrier (there are various types available, some high level some low for 2 to 4 bikes). High level ones tend to tilt out of the way to allow access to the boot (although Sarah should check if they need to bikes taken off to do this if she plans to store the bikes on the carrier whilst she's away).  

Thule and Witters are popular choices of towbar mounted carriers.

2 or 4 bike carriers

Sarah will also need to decide whether to go for a 2 bike option now, and then reinvest in a 4 bike option when the kids have outgrown the trailer, or whether to go for the 4 bike option now.   This will depend on her budget and storage space.

Fitting a ladies bike to a rear mounted cycle carrier

Ladies bike adaptorSarah has a "Sit up and beg" style ladies bike, which will not fit onto a standard rear door or towbar mounted cycle carrier. However, for between £20 and £40 she can purchase a cross bar adapter, which will fit to the frame of her bike, making both these options available to her.

Which cycle carrier to choose for a VW Touran?

Sarah is going to have to do some further research, to choose the best make and model for her budget and car specification.

There are various manufacturers of cycle carrier on the market, and we'd advise she visits their websites to check compatibility against her vehicle.

 If you have a VW Touran and carry all the family's bikes, why not let us know how you do this in the comments section below.

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