Best cycle carriers for my Qashqai?
Search up “Bike Rack Qashqai” on your favourite search engine and, as I write this, you get over 300,000 results.
Now, I’m absolutely certain there’s a few folk out there in the big wide world who’ve got (a) the sheer staying power, (b) the patience of Mother Teresa, and (c) nothing more pressing to achieve today than to plough through each of the links on that 300k+ list in order to sniff out the carrier that’s right for their car and them.
However, maybe, just maybe, you’re a little bit more like I am? You’ve got one or two, slightly different, and (probably) more important items on your agenda than that to complete on this fine day. You might have a kettle to watch till it boils, or some paint that you need to keep an eye on till it dries, or some other similarly exciting and fun activities.
Well, in that case, what you are possibly looking for is a totally stripped-back, short-as-you-like shortlist of the must-have best-of-the-best bike racks for the Nissan Qashqai.
Am I right about this?
Once you’re fully armed and ready with that sort of straight-talking short shortlist, you can get yourself a fantastic bike carrier, fit it onto your trusty Nissan, attach your bikes, and set off into the great outdoors for your next awe-inspiring bicycle experience. All whilst those other people are still ploughing through that list…
Well then, I’ve done the online research for you, and all the tiring legwork, and sniffed out the best-rated bicycle racks available today for your Qashqai. These have been chosen on the basis of a couple of strict criteria:
(i) Have the features you require for your Nissan Qashqai?
(ii) Plenty of positive feedback from actual real-life buyers
Let’s dive in and take a good look now.
Quick Answer: Saris Bones (I love this one!)
Where can you fit a bicycle rack onto your Qashqai?
When it comes to securing bikes onto Qashqais, there are essentially two places they can be fitted:
- Onto the boot / trunk
- Onto the towbar
Now, if you’ve done some other rack research already, you’re probably aware of another couple of alternatives. These being (1) in the boot and (2) on the roof.
I’ll talk more about loading bikes onto the roof later in this article but, suffice to say, I’m really not a fan. So, let’s talk about stashing bikes in boots. Basically, it’s never going to go well. Either you’ll be stuck with no room in the car for your bags or, even worse, you’ll wind up damaging your bike or the car. If you make your way to the foot of the article you’ll see I’ve added a video by a guy who demonstrates how to put a bike into a car boot. But, this is only included as a warning to not do it. In my (humble) opinion there are waaay too many ways that this can go horribly wrong. Much better, I think, is to spend the cash on getting a proper tool (i.e. bike rack) that does a proper job and does it well.
Right, now that we’ve got that sorted, let’s move straight on! First, we’ll talk through both carrier positions I recommend, then I’ll give you the details of my favorite rack for each. After that, it’s down to you to decide which one is right for your circumstances.
Best bike rack for the boot
I have to say, I love this style of rack and have used them for years. I just think they’re such a clever and very practical solution for cars and bikes. Take a look at the Amazon reviews and you’ll soon see I’m not alone in being a fan – words like “fabulous” and “simple to fit” jump right out at you.
What is it about them that makes them such a great buy? Well, they’re really simple to fit onto the car as I just mentioned. The rack unfolds, you hook the straps onto the car, tighten them….and that’s it, you’re ready to fit the bikes on. Bear in mind that “Many hands” can make the work lighter and that’s certainly true with this carrier style. An extra set of hands can enable you to fit the rack easier and faster.
Because these Saris racks are so easy to attach, it also means they’re incredibly easy to take off. That means you’ll be inclined to take them off your Qashqai when you’re not using them. Whilst that may not feel like a really big deal, I’ve seen too many crunched boot lids where car drivers have reversed too close to a post or wall when they’ve forgotten about the rack that’s still fitted on. Ahem…guilty….
The rack straps attach easily and secure to the car firmly. That makes the carrier really strong and safely fixed on. That’s a bonus as wobbly racks can lead to damage happening to cars and bikes from them knocking together. That’s not a problem with the Saris Bones and your Qashqai.
A question I often hear with this type of bike hanging carrier is how to fit on low-step or ladies bikes when they haven’t got a crossbar or it’s a sloping one. If that applies to your bikes, don’t worry! There’s a simple answer known as a ‘crossbar adaptor’. This adaptor is a bar which is used a temporary replacement for the crossbar, fixing onto the bike, and allowing them to hang on the rack. They’re really easy to fit on and simple to use. Swagman do a great design and you can see it in action here.
If you’re looking for the best trunk rack for your Qashqai, then I think you’d be hard placed to find a better rack than the Saris. Fundamentally, bike racks are a little dull to look at. All apart from the Saris which reminds me of some sort of alien ant crawling up the back of the vehicle. Very cool – love it!
Tow bar mounted bike carrier
Have you got a towbar fitted to your car already or are you planning on getting one? Then I think this carrier from Thule is probably the best rack option available to you for your bikes.
Let’s take a look at the reasons why.
We’ll have a run-down of the main features to begin with. First up, this is a rack for two bikes. If you’ve got an extra bike to transport, then there’s a 3-bike option available from Thule here.
If you think about towbar racks in comparison to roof-rack style racks, a towbar rack is will give you much higher fuel-efficiency. This is all down to the aerodynamics. Towbar racks only alter the shape of a car head-on by a small amount (if at all – it might just be the tips of the wheels poking out). Roof racks are totally different as they effectively double the head-on size of the car as it smashes into the headwind going down the motorway. Times this by the mileage that you travel and you’ll get a feel for the negative impact it will have on your petrol consumption.
The rack fits securely onto the towbar and carries two bikes up to a maximum of 30 kg between them. There are straps included to secure the bikes at the wheels and also the frame, so that they’re held firmly in position. It also has a rear light board and a holder for a registration plate – these are a legal requirement as other drivers won’t be able to make out your Qashqai lights through the bikes. The rack weighs 14 kg and is easy and quick to fit and remove.
Talking of removing the rack. When it’s off the car it also folds up to allow for easy storage.
All of this is great but there are two aspects to this carrier that I really love (and I think you will too). These are: (1) it tilts and (2) it doesn’t sit high up on the roof of the car.
To begin with it might not be immediately clear why you’d ever need a tilting capability on a towbar rack. To be honest, I didn’t think about it either until I got one. But, let me illustrate with a situation that happened to me. You’re about to go on holiday (with the bikes). You’ve spent a considerable amount of time getting the boot packed just perfectly – you do this yourself, obviously, because no-one else can pack a boot as well as you can. You fit the bike carrier onto the towbar and fit the bikes on….
…Then a family member (who shall remain nameless (your wife)) brings out an additional item that absolutely must go on holiday with you and has to go in the boot.
Now, when you have a rack that doesn’t tilt you’re not going to be happy. Either you’ve got to take the bikes off in order to get into the boot. Or. Or. Unfortunately, there is no ‘Or’ in this situation. The only option you have is to take off the bikes. So, you swear (loudly) and get on with it.
In contrast, with this Thule rack, it’s no problem at all. Quickly undo a bolt by hand and the whole rack bikes combo can tilt down away from the car. So you can open the boot lid and fit whatever it is in, or take anything out. Pivot the rack back up and lock it into place. Job done.
Believe me, you will appreciate this feature.
The second feature is another one that, at first glance, may not obvious: the low height of the rack. A bike weighs in the region of 15 kg. That’s a fairly substantial weight and it’s quite difficult (and dangerous) to lift that over your head and try and place it delicately on the car roof when you have a roof-mount carrier. Much easier to lift the bikes up to knee height and onto this rack.
Your skull will appreciate this feature.
There are some incredible aspects to this Thule rack. However, for just these two by themselves, I’d recommend it where you’ve got a towbar installed.
Giggle time…How to put a bike inside a car boot
If you’re wavering over buying a rack vs just popping the bike in the back of the car, then take a quick look at this YouTube video. It’s only a few minutes long and gives a demonstration of how to fit bikes in boots.
I think I’d sum my conclusion up as being: yes, you can do it. And would I recommend it? Definitely not! Look, I like my bikes and I like my car. Putting one inside the other is fraught with danger and there’s so many opportunities to damage your car or bikes. You might even lose some important bits – watch till the end and you can see exactly what I’m on about!)
Best bike carrier for your Qashqai
Thanks very much for sticking with me today to take a look over bike rack options. Hopefully, this has given you a better understanding of what’s available for your Nissan and your bikes. I love taking the bikes away on holiday (or for day trips) as it can really expand your horizons. But only if you’ve got the right kit to carry them with you. Cheap, sub-standard, racks might be ok(ish) but if you want to get most value from a rack and use it over the long term, then I believe these carriers are hard to beat.
Pick the option that’s right for your Qashqai and get out there and ride!
Have a fantastic time.