Why You Should Not Transport your E-Bike on Budget Bicycle Trunk Rack
For the sake of all the other drivers out there risking life and limb on busy highways, please do not transport your e-bike on that cheap $39 bicycle trunk rack that you purchased at Walmart. If you are someone tempted to cut corners in order to save a few dollars, consider the potential consequences of this behavior on this particular occasion.
Picture this, you’ve just purchased two beautiful new e-bikes for you and your spouse and you are looking forward to a long weekend of bike-packing up in the Adirondacks. There's only one problem. How will you transport your e-bikes up to the park?
Do you risk carrying the bikes on that cheap trunk rack that you strap on to the trunk of your car? Or do you do the responsible thing and invest in a hitch rack which is rated to safely carry your e-bikes? After some minor deliberation, you decide to hook up that trunk rack and see just how heavy the bikes that as long as you check all of the straps and make sure to drive slowly, you'll be fine.
Fast forward a 100 miles and you are now cruising along comfortably at 65 mph. Your mind has settled into a comfortable auto-pilot mode. You are enjoying the rustic fencing, and occassional homestead when off to your immediate right, you catch a glimpse of a massive brown beast-like creature jump up onto the highway. In a split second you react first thinking "Whoa! is that a Moose?" while swerving violently to the left to avoid a collision. What happens next will become a memory that will playback in your mind for years to come.
As you correct course and take a look back in your rear-view mirror, you can see the Moose trotting happily into the brush having escaped colliding with your car. You look again and realize the your entire bike-rack complete with e-bikes and bungee knots has completely disappeared - you blink and look harder into the rear-view mirror only to realize that the mass of metal now in mid-air (after bouncing off the pavement) is hurling directly into a car some 100 yards behind.
The added sideways stress on those trunk strap buckles was too much to take and two of the buckles break. In a blink of an eye - both bikes, carrier and the network of bungees sheer completely off the trunk and hit the pavement so hard that the unit bounces so hard that it becomes airborne. As you watch in horror, that twisted ball of e-bike frame, battery packs, and trunk rack hurl mercilessly at 65mph into the mini-van behind you. A minivan with a family of 4.
Reader beware, In the coming years, there are going to be more than a few of these types of accidents involving automobiles carrying e-bikes on a bicycle trunk racks. I've already been witness to two unfortunate accidents involving some not to bright people doing this very thing. Thankfully, none of the accidents resulted in a casualty. But looking at the mayhem that one or two 60 lbs e-bikes can do to an automobile traveling directly behind a vehicle carrying heavy bikes isn't too difficult to envision. How would you feel if your decision to "cut a few corners" ended a young family?
The number of cars beginning to cart e-bikes around is increasing. It's a sign that the market is growing and the more riders are discovering the benefits. The good news is that more manufacturers are introducing better transporting racks for these vehicles each season. Please check our out Top 5 List of E-Bike Hitch Racks for 2020. This list gives you our best picks - and we have a number of honorable mentions just incase none of these racks will work on your vehicle.
BTW - just because your automobile doesn't have a receiver hitch doesn't mean that it can't be installed. There are now after-market receiver hitches made for every vehicle on the road today. We've even installed 2" receiver hitches on a pair of Mini Coopers! You can visit any PepBoys and order the correct receiver hitch kit for your make and model. The cost will run you about $150.00 which includes installation.
Every bicycle rack is rated for a maximum carry load. If you aren't sure what your bike weighs, you can easily visit any bike shop or else purchase a handheld luggage scale and weigh it yourself. Weigh the bike first with the battery installed and then without. We recommend transporting with the battery removed. This makes on boarding and off-boarding easier and also lessens the load on the rack itself.
Check out Our Top Picks for E-Bike Carriers for 2020! Discount codes are available for each model.
Thank you for taking the time to read this safety tip. If this article has in any way, helped you to make that investment in a certified e-bike carrying rack, then I'd like to know so I can personally thank you. Your decision to take the responsible course is what will keep other families and future riders safe on the roads.