How to Carry an E-Bike on Your Car: Simple Solutions

Have you ever sat at work, excited for the day to end so that you can hop on your e-bike and go for a ride? You’re not alone. But there comes a point where your excited feelings begin to dwindle because you know you are stuck riding the same roads and trails as yesterday. So, why not pop your bike on your car, and take it to a completely different area to ride into the unknown?

The two most common ways of transporting an e-bike by car are to use a bike rack or to remove the wheels to fit your e-bike inside your car. When choosing a rack, ensure that it is rated to carry the extra weight of an e-bike and that you carefully follow the mounting instructions.

Understandably it can be pretty daunting to transport your e-bike for the first time. Your head is likely swirling with concerns about damaging your bike or car, neither of which are cheap. But riding should be fun, and transporting your bike will be relatively stress-free as long as you do it properly.

How To Carry Your E-Bike On A Bike Rack

One of the most common ways of transporting any bike is on a fixed bike rack. They come in various shapes and sizes, from racks that strap onto the back of a hatch-back, racks mounted on the towbar, and even racks on the roof.

Step 1 – Choose The Right Rack

The first thing you should know is that, unlike non-electric bikes, you’re more limited in the type of bike rack you can use.

E-bikes typically weigh between 40 and 80 pounds, depending on the type. In comparison, a typical mountain bike weighs around 33 pounds. The problem is that most bike racks are designed and rated to carry the weight of standard bikes and not necessarily the added weight of an e-bike.

So, the first thing you need to do is make sure that you get one that can carry the weight of your bike.

This added weight also means that roof racks generally aren’t a good idea for e-bikes. Even if a particular rack is rated high enough, it’s still a heavy bike for you to lift and wrestle onto the roof of a car. In that process, a lot can go wrong when gravity reminds you who’s the boss.

Step 2 – Remove Expensive And Important Components

Once you have a rack selected and fitted to your car, the next step is to prep your bike for transport. Generally speaking, you always want to remove your e-bike battery, which not only saves a fair bit of weight but also prevents it from being stolen off your bike while you’re parked for a post-ride beer.

The same applies to other components like a Garmin computer, removable controller, etc. It’s better to store those safely in your car, away from sticky fingers and the wind and rain.

Similarly, depending on the type of rack you have, it may be a good idea to remove the wheels. Obviously, if you have a standing rack, your bike will be mounted on the wheels. But if you have the style of the rack where your bike hangs from the top tube, then the wheel can be removed.

Step 3 – Mount & Secure Your E-Bike

With your bike prepped and all the bits and pieces safely stored, you can mount your bike on the rack. For this step, you must closely follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure the bike is safely secured.

Two added top tips are buying a few boat tie-down straps because they can be pulled tight and are easy to release without needing to untie a bunch of knots. Also, if you carry more than one bike on a rack, do yourself a big favor and prop a pool noodle or two between the bikes.

Pros And Cons Of A Bike Rack

The biggest benefit of using a back rack is that you don’t take up any space inside your car, meaning you can take passengers and luggage. This makes the bike rack option ideal for taking your e-bike on holiday.

On the other hand, the biggest drawback is that your bike is completely exposed to the elements, such as rain, hail, wet tar, or even another silly driver bumping your rear end. There’s a lot that can go wrong between your departure and arrival.

Another drawback is that bike racks, especially ones rated for the weight of e-bikes, can be costly, while the next option on this list is free.

How To Carry Your Bike Inside Your Car

If you just want to take your bike out for the day to go and ride trails closer to your house, for example, it may be a better idea to carry your e-bike inside your car.

Step 1 – Take Your Bike Apart

It may seem like a lot of effort, but you can take your bike apart with little practice.

Start by putting the blanket down on the ground and removing any added protruding components from your handlebars, like computers. Then you can flip your bike upside down, rest it on the handlebars and seat, and remove the battery, wheels, and pedals.

Chances are that your e-bike wheels use either quick-release or through-axles. For quick release, simply release the camlock and your wheel should be free to release. However, if you have through-axles on your wheels, you will need to pop open the camlock and then unscrew the whole axle to get the wheels off.

Even though you could fit your bike in your car with the pedals attached, they protrude quite a bit and can easily damage the upholstery, so it’s best to just take them off.

Some countries, like the UK, don’t allow you to transport your e-bike in your car with the battery still attached, so for safety purposes, it’s always better to remove it during transport.

Step 2 – Prep Your Car

If you have a smaller car, you will probably need to collapse the rear seats to fit your bike in. Another tip is to have a few extra blankets in your car. Place one over the space on which your bike will rest and another over the rear bumper, which will help prevent any scratches while putting your bike inside.

Step 3 – Carefully Put Your Bike Inside

With everything prepped, you can put your frame inside the car and carefully lay it on its side. Now grab the blanket you used to protect the bumper and spread it over the bike’s frame. With the blanket in place, you can now rest your wheels and other bits on top without scratching your e-bike frame.

Pros And Cons Of Carrying Your Bike Inside Your Car

The big benefit of this method is that your bike is completely safe from thieves and the elements. You don’t have to worry about it so much when your car is left unattended or if you hit snags along the way, like loose gravel.

However, depending on the size of your car, you will be a lot more limited and probably won’t be able to take passengers or luggage with you.

Finally, while taking the bike apart may seem like a lot of effort, it’s important to remember that if you use a bike rack, that rack still needs to be mounted, and the bike needs to be safely secured. So, in terms of pure effort, the two options are pretty equal.

Conclusion

There are two options to transport your bike with your car. Firstly, you can buy a bike rack to mount your bike to the outside of your car. This is great for long trips because it doesn’t take up any space inside, but it does leave your bike vulnerable. Alternatively, you can just take your bike apart and put it inside your car, which protects it and is also free.

Author

  • Miles Baxter

    Miles Baxter is an engineer with a longstanding love for bicycles, sparked by winning a mountain bike in a childhood lottery. Balancing a keen interest in mechanics with the thrill of biking, his career is a testament to the art of turning wheels and gears into adventures.

    Baxter Miles