Best Roof Mounted Bike Rack

The roof rails allow the installation on the roof of his vehicle storage units of various types and mostly safe bike rack  or the  ski door .

The choice of future roof bars is made according to the installation system planned on his car (see below) but also according to other criteria, in particular related to weight and aerodynamics. of the vehicle.

The best roof racks by type of attachment

The roof bars can be of 3 types depending on the attachment method provided in his car. To be more exact, a roof rack, in order to be fixed on the vehicle, will require feet and fasteners compatible with your car. These are two accessories that must be well chosen in order to be able to adapt to your vehicle’s roof. 

The roof bar itself does not attach directly to the roof, all roof bars are in fact universal.

Best price/quality ratio roof mounted rack: the Thule WingBar

  • Thule 9595 WingBar Edge system for fixpoint / flush rail - black - medium / long. Load capacity: 75 kg. Please also check the maximum roof load capacity of your vehicle

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The WingBar and WingBar Edge range from Thule is a series of lightweight, aerodynamic roof racks capable of supporting up to 75 kg (ideal for most roof boxes or roof bike carriers). 

Depending on your vehicle, two types of WingBar can be purchased: either your vehicle has longitudinal bars, in this case Thule markets 3-in-1 kits allowing you to attach directly to your car, or your vehicle has fixing points or is of the “normal” type, in which case it will be necessary to choose the roof bar alone, and then to obtain feet and fasteners allowing to fix the roof bar on its car.

The WingBar Edge have the advantage of having a key security system and being configurable to adapt to the exact width of your car roof (sometimes a car roof does not have the same dimensions of width front and back).

Note: if you want to be sure that you choose a WingBar model that is compatible with your car, you have two options: either use the search engine set up by Norauto to find all the roof bars compatible with your car , or search on Amazon for “WingBar Edge” + your car name, Thule selling kits adapted to each vehicle (example for if you have a Peugeot 607 ).

Advantages of Thule WingBar Edge roof racks:

  • Quick and secure installation with anti-theft with keys
  • Light – does not consume much
  • Universal roof bars
  • Very quiet on the road thanks to a height of only 30mm.

Cheap Longitudinal Roof Bar: MontBlanc Activa 1250

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Montblanc sells different systems to improve the transport process to the car such as cycling doors or even ski door. 

When it comes to roof bars, the Activa 1250 is one of the brand’s bestsellers. These inexpensive roof bars are made of aluminum and are sold pre-assembled for all vehicles that already have longitudinal bars.

Offered at a very good price, this is the solution I recommend for those who do not want to put a significant budget in these accessories, but still want to buy quality roof racks.

Cheap Car Fixingpoint Roof Rack: Thule Slide Bar

  • Slide bars
  • Full kit
  • Easy application
  • Locks into place
  • Quality material

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The Thule SlideBar is a roof rack that is compatible with all 3 roof rack mounting systems.

I present it in the section of roof bars compatible with roofs having attachment points, but in reality, this roof rack adapts very well to both longitudinal bars, attachment points, and normal roofs, subject to choosing a fastening system compatible with his car ( see the fastening systems compatible with the SlideBar ).

Made of aluminum, this roof bar has the big advantage of being sliding over 60 cm (hence its name SlideBar), which greatly facilitates the storage of your belongings without having to reach out or turn around from your car to fix your roof bike rack or your roof ski rack.

Cheap roof rack for car with normal roof (without gutter, without gallery, without rails)

  • Check the Thule Buyer's Guide to find out which roof rack fits your car
  • Plastic coating provides additional grip for rooftop cargo
  • Standard steel load bar available in a variety of lengths
  • Load bar for Thule Evo roof rack system (sold separately)

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To install roof bars on a car roof that does not have fixing points or longitudinal bars, Thule offers fixing systems to adapt to your car.

You can choose the roof rack for cars without rails that suit you, buy the Rapid System 754 in addition, then finally choose a normal roof mounting system according to your car model (see the Norauto tool to be sure of choose well when in doubt).

All Thule roof racks are compatible with cars without gutters , but I wanted to highlight here the SquareBar roof rack , a steel roof rack that allows you to support loads. heavy (up to 100 kg) and sold at a very low price.

3 criteria for choosing the right roof bars

Choose your roof bars according to the attachment system

The roof bars can be installed on any type of car, whatever their configuration, but for this you will have to choose a type of model adapted to your car. On the market, there are 3 main types of scenarios for fixing roof bars :

1. Roof bars for cars with longitudinal bars

Some car models have roof rails, especially station wagons and SUVs. These bars are not roof bars but will allow them to be fixed on them. 

Unlike the roof bars, the longitudinal bars face the direction of the car. They can be of 2 types: either open or closed (or integrated). The difference between the two being the space between the roof and the bars: those of the open type are quite high, while the closed bars are much lower, which greatly improves the aerodynamics of the vehicle.

If you have open longitudinal bars , prefer roof bars which will clip around them, if you have closed bars, prefer roof bars which clip by pinching.

2. Roof racks for cars with a fixing point

Some car models have visible fixing points in the form of screws, accessible on the sides of the roof at the level of the doors, often hidden by an opening system.  

Unlike car roof racks with longitudinal bars , the fixing point system allows you to fix roof racks on your car simply without having to buy any accessories.

To choose roof bars that adapt to this fixing system, it will be necessary to choose kits which often include 3 elements: the roof bars (2 in number), the feet (4 in number), and the brackets. fixing (4 in number).  

3. Roof bars for cars without fixing system: neither longitudinal nor fixing point

If your car has neither roof rails nor a tie-down system with an attachment point, universal roof rack models allow you to be able to attach directly to the vehicle so that you can still benefit from roof bars. 

These universal roof racks clip to the roof of the car at the doors. Just like the car roof racks for anchor point, these roof racks for normal cars are sold in kits of bars + feet + brackets.

Choose your roof bars according to load capacity

Most roof racks can support from 50kg to 75kg, some models up to 100kg. 

Before choosing your roof racks, it is advisable to check the weight limit allowed on your car model, and to make an approximate load calculation to find out if your vehicle can receive it.

The load calculation must take into account the weight of the bars, but also of the bike carrier (s) (or roof box or roof ski carrier ) and the objects that will be stored there. 

This will allow you to know if the roof racks you choose will be suitable for the use you want to make of them, but also to know if the total weight will be supported by your car. 

Choose your roof bars according to the material used

Roof bars can be made of two different materials: steel and aluminum. If the first material is the older, it is also the heavier of the two, aluminum being less compact than steel, but just as resistant to bad weather.

What is a roof rack for?

Roof bars are accessories that make it easier to transport loads outside your car in order to save space inside. Roof racks do not directly support bikes or skis for example, but they will allow you to support the roof bike rack or roof box of your choice, which will support the objects you want to carry with you.

Roof bars are sold in pairs. They attach to the roof of your car (see depending on the type of roof you have) in 20 – 30 minutes and allow you to securely attach bike racks, ski racks or roof boxes.

How to choose your roof racks?

Choosing your roof rack is important because depending on the vehicle you have, all the clips of models do not agree. Indeed if the roof bars are all universal, the roof fixing systems are not necessarily.

When you buy roof bars , they often come with feet, the latter allowing the bars to be clipped in and have a keyed security system. However, most of the time, roof mounting systems are not included.

This is explained by the fact that each vehicle has different characteristics (roof thickness, fastening system, door width for fastening systems for normal roofs, etc.). It will therefore be necessary to obtain a fastening system compatible with your car.

To facilitate your choice, I offer you two solutions: use the Norauto tool which allows you to find, by entering your car model, all the elements compatible with your roof, or to go and look for the Rameder packs on Amazon. 

The Rameder store indeed offers all-in-one packs that allow you to group together the 3 accessories needed to correctly install your roof bars . In addition to this, you need to know more about it.

The store has indeed created roof rack packs for each car model (and its possible different versions), allowing customers to be reassured about the compatibility of their purchase with their car model.

Which brand of roof racks to choose?

If there are different brands when it comes to roof boxes , magnetic ski doors , or bicycle carriers for cars , when it comes to roof bars , the choice is smaller. Few brands make roof racks , let alone when it comes to choosing quality.

Thule and MontBlanc roof racks are in my opinion the two best brands of car roof racks .

What is the maximum weight to place on its roof bars?

The recent roof bar can hold up to 100 kg load although generally the most sold models support a maximum of 75 kg . The maximum load that your future roof racks will be able to support will depend on the material used to manufacture them.

If aluminum has the advantage of being light and aerodynamic, it is steel that will best support heavy loads (only steel bars can support 100 kg, and yet not all models).

Before choosing roof racks supporting heavy loads (a choice often made by buyers of roof racks for safety and foresight), it will be necessary to check that your roof rack (or your roof) can actually support this load.

Most models of city cars and sedans only have CrashTest validation for loads of 70-75 kg on the roof, so you will not be able to carry 100 kg on your car in all cases. 

Double check this step to be sure you don’t find yourself in an uncomfortable situation on the road …

Which roof rack for which car?

All roof racks are a priori suitable for all possible and imaginable car models, and are therefore all considered to be universal (these are the mounting systems which are not universal).

There is only one point to check concerning the roof bars according to your type of car : choose the right size for your roof bars . Depending on the width of your roof, choose either a size SM, or L-XL, different sizes exist as with bicycle trailers.

The roof racks can all grow and shrink on a scale of around 10-15cm maximum, which allows you to change your bars from vehicle to vehicle, but within a certain limit. 

Roof bars and consumption

Placing loads on your car roof using roof racks constitutes a significant loss of aerodynamics. This is why I advise you to go for recent models of roof bars (see the models in this guide); in fact, contemporary roof racks can be placed at a maximum of about 3 cm from the roof (which allows little air to pass) and are often made of aluminum, a material much lighter than steel, which will allow you save between 5 to 10 kg depending on the model.

Where to find cheap roof racks

The roof bars are a cheap solution if your car already has longitudinal bars or attachment points, in the same way that if your car has a towbar installed system, I advise you to direct you to a bicycle carrier on a hitch from an economic point of view. 

The cheap roof bars are often steel . These are the oldest models. These roof bars are always of good quality but often do not have anti-theft devices, and in any case will weigh much heavier than aluminum ones , which are a little more expensive.

Other parameters can influence the price of roof racks and in particular certain options facilitating loading and unloading (see SlideBars above in this guide available for cars without gutters, gallery or rails).

Note that the roof bars can be purchased in a pack depending on your manufacturer. They are marketed in particular with inexpensive roof boxes. These sets make it possible to transport large volumes, giving the possibility of being able to transport its inexpensive evolutionary tricycle , or its baby bike trailer .

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