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Lifting a tandem onto a car roof

chris Peachey2018-08-11 22:03:45

I have been asked for ideas as to the best way to load a tandem onto a car with a high roof.

Can anyone help please?

Chris Peachey, Technical Officer


This is a copy of the original request...

My wife is quite tiny, about 5'9" and partially-sighted (AMD). We have ordered a Landescape with a custom frame from Pete Bird. We have a standard Pendle tandem carrier,as yet unused, and a Ford Kuga with a  relatively high roof line. I am concerned that I might have difficulty in loading the Landescape (aluminium frame) on my own. Given that there is little information on the web, I wonder if the there is  a recognised technique? We have an array of step ladders, but these seem a little unsafe for a ascent with a tandem held at head height! Work platforms are about 50cm high and this is a big step up.  We also have a domestic plastic stepping stool with a height of 23cm. I feel sure that other tandem riders have met and overcome this problem. If you have any suggestions they would be very welcome.
Roger Pratt
Peter Weeks2018-08-12 10:44:11

Chris, Roger and TC friends

There are at least 2 and probably several more kinds of tandem roof carrier.  Not an expert, as we carry our tandem inside an estate car when split, but I have seen tandems carried upright as well as tandems carried lying on their side.  There is at least one make of carrier with built-in lifting assistance, using I think gas struts, to allow just one person to carry out the lift-and-locate manoeuvre from ground to car roof and to drop it safely.

Chris I feel a review article coming up in the Journal on this subject!


Peter Weeks, TC Publicity Officer


Alastair Mackie2018-08-12 12:50:17

We live in South Africa and carry our tandem on the back of the vehicle with a Thule rack (you get ones that clip onto a tow bar or on the back of a vehicle. If yo ucar is quite narrrow you can take the front wheel off to make it fit quite comfortably.

It is going to be easier for you to get a new rack, in my opinion.

Steve Edmunds2018-08-12 13:15:15

Hi, I have used the gas strut BTS tandem lift for years but it is not now available although SJS have odd spares

Therefore I recently purchased an ATOC Tandem toper carrier from SJSbut my Hase Pino is hsort wheelbase and the rear has to sit on a picnic table to reach the front forks and secure them. Not ideal

Ruth from JD tandems recently sent me this, they can get them

and I think the extra reach would help with a higher roof line. I would have purchased this if I had seen it beforehand. 

Hope this helps


R.N. Goodman2018-08-12 15:38:02


Sorry I can't offer advice about the Pendle carrier.  I do think that steps etc sound precarious!

We have used a Helton carrier for many years and I would recommend these.  It carries the tandem flat on the roof.  The advantage is that the carrier will slide across and down to rest against the side of the car.  So you mount and attach the tandem to the carrier with a vertical lift of just under a metre (for my Mondeo but would be a higher lift for a higher roofed vehicle).

But still much easier than trying to get the tandem up onto the roof!  Once mounted at the side of the car you lift and pivot the carrier (with tandem) across the roofbars then tighten the rack to the roofbars.The carrier needs to be assembled but has proved very reliable for over 10 years and easy to adjust to support our latest tandem. 

There is a video of mounting a tandem on this carrier here: 

Note that several parts of this video are about setting the carrier frame to fit your roofbars and your tandem - these only need to be set on first use.

Good luck