Pendle 4 bike
wheel support rack. £180
Only let down by the price.
Pros: takes four bikes, safe and strong, takes all frame types, easy mounting/removal of bikes and rack, allows opening of
boot even with four bikes if arranged correctly.
Cons: - Expensive, not for small cars, increases petrol consumption compared to putting the bikes inside the car.
Pendle are a company with a long standing reputation at the upper end of the bike carrier market. Top of the range is the wheel mounting rack which will take three or four bikes depending on the model you order. Because
of the weight of all the bikes and the not inconsiderable weight of the rack itself, it's imperative that you check the 'nose weight' of the car in your manual to see if your car can take it. Basically the four bike rack needs at least a medium family car to support it. The mount for the swan neck tow ball is as solid as they come, this is definitely a 'ground zero' bit of kit. It bolts securely around the tow ball with four huge stainless allen bolts and requires a large torque wrench for proper fixing (add this to the price of the already expensive rack if you like, but it's a useful piece of kit for maintaining your bike as well). You also need a fair sized spanner for the nuts but if you're going to leave the mount on the car you could easily borrow
Two long L shaped poles of almost scaffolding strength drop in to the upright mount tubes and protrude an alarming length from the back of your car. They are secured with a long pin which makes that job an easy one. Next the adjustable (telescopic) wheel mounts are slid along the poles and these are interspaced with uprights all of which are secured by allen bolts that clamp on to the surface of the main poles. Finally the lighting board is pushed on to the end, secured in the same way and connected to the tow ball lighting socket. You will also need a new number plate which are around £8.
The beauty of the system is that the supports can be arranged such that the boot of the car can still be opened to get at your gear. Any shape or size of bike is also accommodated, and the rack doesn't therefore limit
your own, or your mates choice of frame shapes. This is a major plus. The bikes have to be arranged alternately facing left and right, they are further secured by tough, quick release nylon straps (a bit like toe straps). Our favourite large 2.125 inch free-ride knoblies are a tight fit in the D mounts and those downhillers with really large
tyres may need to let out some air to squeeze them in.
When the rack is loaded it does bounce smoothly as you drive at speed over hump back bridges etc. This is quite alarming at first but as long as the main bolts are properly secured this is the safest way to carry your bikes. When you arrive at your destination the bikes can be lifted straight off as soon as you have undone the safety straps. The rack can be removed in one piece once it has been assembled
for the first time and this is the way I use it. This is perhaps the ultimate bike carrier, there is little chance of losing your bikes (except in a rear shunt...) but this has to be compared to the regular wrecking of roof mounted bikes on car park height limit barriers. It's a good investment that should last many years, highly recommended.
Long term test
The rack is lasting
well after a year, it's important to grease the multitude of Allen
bolts which hold the supports. Mine have rusted, but after greasing
function perfectly well. Forgetting to insert the safety pin is a
disaster waiting to happen, however the rack has done 300 miles on
mixed roads like this without bouncing off...
We got Excellent service from and can recommend The
Roof Box Company. Best prices last time I checked and no they
don't pay us to say so!