While taking front- and rear wheel off, getting your hands dirty on the derailleur and struggling to fit your bike into the boot, have you ever wondered if there isn’t an easier way? Well, Punctureking used to trust a low budget strap-on bike rack to transport his bikes, which enabled the small hatch to carry up to three of them. However, after a few years, metal hooks and accidental crank contact during the loading process made a respray of the boot lid necessary in order to sell the car.
With the arrival of a new sedan came the decision to get a towbar-fitting Thule EuroRide 943 for a maximum of three bicycles. The initial cost is still something I haven’t quite swallowed, at half the cost of my road bike, and that excludes the fitting of the towbar itself. However, the goal was a convenient, reliable solution that protects bike and car at the same time.
The Thule EuroRide is a 3 bike platform carrier, so the bikes stand on a platform that is attached to the towbar. A foldable arm holds the bike upright, straps on each wheel keep the bike in position.
Does it work? I like the fact that it is a very reliable, strong carrier – and even driving at 120m/h doesn’t cause anything to move. So it’s great for long distance travel. The frame holder connectors (not lockable, so you need a cable lock) are strong and rubberized, so they don’t damage the paintwork. The connection to the tow bar is easy – a large (lockable in this case) hard plastic handle gets turned until the whole carrier sits in place. It literally takes 15 seconds to place the Thule EuroRide 943 on your towbar, position it and tighten it. It’s got it’s own driving/break lights and indicators as well as number plate holder. Buy a number plate, as the carrier covers your car’s license plate and traffic cops might charge you for obstructing number plates.
Loading bikes takes a bit longer: fold up the arm, place bike on carrier, fix the arm onto the bike frame and tighten. Then fiddle the straps through the wheel and tighten. When you load more than one bike, remember to guide the arms through the bike you loaded first. All in all you can load 3 bikes within less than ten minutes, once you got the hang of it.
The best feature is the fact that the whole bike rack can fold down, even when loaded and you want to access your station wagon’s boot.
The EuroRide 943 is 15 kg heavy and a large, bulky item which makes it difficult for most woman to use on their own. Storing it is a bit tricky, as lifting it onto hangers on the garage wall is a bit of a workout. The soft straps to secure the wheels are unfortunately less than ideal, as they tend to loosen on longer drives. It is almost impossible not to get dirty hands when fastening them, especially on the back wheel between chain and wheel.
Because of its relative ease of use, reliability and safety Punctureking enjoys the Thule EuroRide 943 but would love to see other wheel straps such as the plastic pump buckle straps Thule uses for their premier models such as the EuroClassic G6, even if it was an optional upgrade.