Being a family of 5 it does throw up its complications, it was one reason why my husband wasn’t sure about having three children as it makes things a little more tricky. Like finding a bike rack for a family of 5…….but I had other plans, and had surprise twins when trying for our second child!!! We wouldn’t change a thing, it’s amazing having three children, and we love it! But we do need to think of ways around the issues it brings up, like how we fit 5 bikes onto one car so we can all go out together on our bikes.
I did lots of research into bikes racks, and what we wanted from ours. But also being sensible about the price! It was summer 2020 and people were going mad for bike racks, cycling and nothing was in stock and the wait for items was huge.
What Bike Rack For 5 Bikes
I think you will find over here in the UK we don’t have bike racks for 5 bikes, and it was impossible to find anything that suited us. So our solution was to go for a 4 bike rack that attaches to a tow bar for the main lot of bikes, and also an easy-to-fit 1 bike rack to attach to the roof. It also meant that as my son is 16 now he may not be coming out with us on the bikes as much, so we can just use the 4 bike rack when he doesn’t.
Thule ProRide 598 – £125.99
This post will mainly be about the Halfords Advanced 4 bike rack as there is plenty of reviews of the Thule ProRide online. It fitted our requirements perfectly, which was an easy to install bike rack for the roof as our car is very tall and takes some muscles to lift it up onto the roof to strap it all together. The Thule ProRide has one bracket that holds the bike by itself to the bike rack, it’s is lockable to the car so when you leave it on there for your bike ride it cannot be stolen. You can also lock the bike to the bike rack if you’re nipping in somewhere and leave the bikes on the rack.
Tow Bar and Roof Bars
For the Halfords advance 4 bike rack, you will need a tow bar installed to attach it onto. This needs to be professionally done and can cost quite a bit. We used Tow Bar Services Ltd if you’re near me, and they we’re very efficient and got the job done well. We got a detachable tow car which I really recommend you get. It means you have a key operated one, and it doesn’t have to be in the car all the time. You can install it whenever you need it, and you can hardly see the electrics and holder when it’s not on.
For the Thule ProRide 598 you will need roof bars on your car to attach the bike rack to. As a family of 5, we already had a set of these as we need a roof box when we go on holiday, we have the Thule branded ones and very very pleased with them and have used them for a number of years.
Unboxing The Halfords Advanced 4 Bike Rack
Halfords do a simpler version of a 4 bike rack, but this doesn’t have a few features on it that were important to us. It also didn’t look as sturdy as this advanced one. The cheaper one is priced at £199, compared to this one at £345
This was pretty easy to install once you got your head around what needed to be done, and done the first install. The bike rack comes in the box nicely folded up, with the number plate holder and wires to connect to the tow bar.
You need to get yourself a number plate, which is easy to do at Halfords, but you must bring your ID and the car V5 to show you own the car for a new number plate.
Attaching The Halfords Advanced 4 Bike Rack
It is very easy to attach to the tow bar, you unscrew this section and it has a metal grip attachment. It grips over the tow bar and when you tighten it, it grips harder. Then use a spanner to tighten the nut, and make sure all attachments are tight. Once this is done, it feels very sturdy and doesn’t feel like it’s going to move at all.
This is the tow bar folded up, which is why we loved the Halfords Advanced one, this makes it so much easier to store as we don’t have a garage since our extension. Much neater to store folded like this!
It also has a section to attach the number plate section to when folded and stored.
We also loved the tilt feature the advanced version has, as it allows you to have access to our boot when the bike rack is on. We have a dog and a large boot, so good to tilt it back to gain access. But I don’t recommend you doing it when it is loaded with bikes! It’s so heavy and the bikes will scrap on the floor…..believe me, we tried and unless we’re doing something wrong….!
The number plate section is so easy to install. Slide it onto the poles and clip the red clip, then attach all your wires to the tow bar underneath. Check out if your wires are dangling, we attached them up with straps to keep them tucked up.
Check your lighting works, it will beep when the indicators are going, and a solid beep when reversing. This is a feature to remind you that you have a tow bar installed and a bike rack on the back of your car! I’m not sure if this would do it when the tow bar is installed by its self, if so another reason to get a detachable tow bar!
Loading Up Bikes On Halfords Advanced 4 Bike Rack
The plastic wheel sections are really sturdy for the bikes to sit on, and each one has a ratchet strap to wrap around the bike wheels.
So just work your way through adding the bikes on one at a time, but don’t do what we did here and leave the boot open. As you have to tilt the bike rack with the bikes on, to shut the boot! A bit annoying when you have to put the dog in and then load the bikes on.
Each section also has a rubber cushion, which protects the bike frames. Wrap the strapping around the frame of the bike to attach tightly to the bike rack frames.
It was also important to have a way to lock the bikes together to the bike rack, as this makes it a little safer when traveling, but also if you need to leave the bikes on the rack at any time.
Once all wrapped around the bikes, lock into this lock and it’s all secure.
Finished! Our Car With 5 Bikes Racks – A Bike Rack For A Family Of 5
A Bike Rack For A Family Of 5 – How We Fit 5 Bikes On Our Car
We had such a good day out together, now the kids are older and into different things, it was lovely to do an activity that everyone loved. So I am really pleased with our purchases and that we found a way around carrying 5 bikes on a car! It wasn’t easy finding a bike rack for a family of 5 but I think we’ve come up with a good way of doing it, and I am so pleased with the quality of the Halfords Advanced 4 Bike Rack and the ease of the Thule ProRide 598.
Check out my video of the bike rack for a family of 5 and the installation of the bike rack. You can also check out the products on the links below. The prices are correct at the time of writing the post.
- Halfords Advanced 4 Bike Tow Bar Mounted Bike Rack – £345
- Thule ProRide 598 1 Bike Roof Rack – £125.99
- New Number Plate – £16.25
- Thule Roof Bars