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Tandem Carriers

Derek Perry2020-09-10 19:39:47

Now then folks. Has anybody used these roof mounted carriers



Stephen Cook2020-09-10 19:58:52

I’ve had one for 5 years or so and I really like it. I prefer having the tandem in a horizontal position on the car roof and I also use it for transporting my mountain bike. I’ve even used it to carry a suitcase!

Depending on your height, you will need to lift your tandem to about chest height to get it on the rack. To get it on to the roof is much easier. If you have a heavy tandem you may need to try one first before you buy, unless you are very strong.

Tim Dowson2020-09-10 20:49:44

What I liked about ours was that it was easy to completely remove it from the roof when not in use, leaving just the roof bars themselves. And it works, if you are tall and strong enough to heave it up off the roof of your car and over the side to hang while you undoing it. Putting it up is actually easier.

It feels a bit like a prototype in some ways.  A couple of times when removing the tandem, the hooks holding it up off the side of the car slipped -  I hadn't judged the loosening just right - and the tandem and rack nearly fell onto me. There could easily be better failsafe elements to the design.

Once it's on, it seems safer, driving, than an upright system that holds your tandem vertical but a bit wobbly; the bike lies at about 30* - a lot higher from the roof than it should need.  You can still catch it on the height limiters at the entrance to car parks. And there are a lot of other little things that could work better, to do with paintwork, cables, and chains. Especially if you are not on top form after a tiring day's ride, and it's dark or wet.

But I know there are not many ideal systems, unless you have a large van to just wheel the tandem into!


Pete Norman2020-09-10 21:33:20

It is excellent, can load the tandem by myself easily

Ted Savoie2020-09-11 09:24:23

Just a thought

Is this carrier ISO 11154 (city crash) tested and approved, or alternatively is it TUV certified?  If not you may ask yourselves WHY not.

R.N. Goodman2020-09-11 10:39:06

We've used one for 10 years and found it brilliant.  We've taken the tandem on long motorway trips through Europe and UK without any hint of a problem.  Don't forget to padlock the bike to the roofbars.

Yes the lift needs some strength but is much easier than trying to lift a tandem directly onto the roof.  It is can be re-adjusted for another tandem.  But be aware that there is a limit of distance between roofbars which the standard model can fit.  Ours fitted our 2005 Mondeo and newer Focus but does not extend to fit our later 2012 Mondeo.  The website offers a larger option at a small extra cost. 

Good point about safety and ISO certification.  My guess would be that the cost involved is prohibitive for a small business rather than any sinister failure to comply.  But perhaps we should hear from Helton on this?

Tim Goffe2020-09-11 11:06:52

We have also used a Helton for years (20+?) and it no longer looks pretty with the paintwork beginning to rust, but it still works very well. We can even carry our heavy Gepida Thoris e-tandem on it, although this does require both of us to lift it onto the side of the car and then up onto the roof bars. We have completed long distance trips all over the UK with the tandem on the roof and it feels very secure. The carrier is designed to work with standard rectangular roof bars NOT aero bars. Our tips:

  • secure the front wheel tightly to the down tube with a strap before lifting tandem onto the carrier
  • try and ensure the tandem is evenly placed between the roof bars and centrally located from left to right
  • After setting off, stop after a couple of miles to check and retighten the wing nuts holding the carrier to the roof bars
  • Although I do padlock the tandem to the roof bars if leaving overnight, I think this is probably overkill! I honestly don't believe there is a significant risk of theft as it would be much too awkward to remove from the roof or to even take the tandem
The only disadvantage is that the carrier is an ungainly and awkward shape to store when not in use.
John Little2020-09-11 11:33:52

Unfortunaetly, I've always ruled them out because I need to put get more than one bike on the roof.

Bob Cordran2020-09-11 13:36:09

If transporting more than one bike, or indeed if you want to avoid "discussions" caused by trying to lift the bike(s) onto a roof system I can thoroughly recommend the six bike trailer from Pendle.  You have to get the extension bit to fit tandems on it, and it will "only" take two tandems at a time, but it really does the job.  Pendle have also been super-helpful and nice when I've dealt with them.  https://pendle-bike.co.uk/products/6-bike-trailer

Obviously, a slightly more expensive option, but having made a few trips with my Dawes tandem on the roof (using a Peruzzo Roma rack) and switched to the trailer, I would not go back.  Do check wheelbase to be sure it'll fit though.

2020-09-12 07:41:51

I use a Pendle works well although not easy lifting the tandem up, once on though very secure. 
I find having the car leaning away from me helps and the use of a step an asset. 

tony@tonyhutt.co.uk2020-09-28 12:33:36

Having used the Helton for 10 years, our tips are:

  • Screw a locknut onto the end of each screw for the wingnuts, to stop the wingnuts from coming off
  • Use a strap at each end of the bottom bar, rather than just one, otherwise it can work loose.
tony@tonyhutt.co.uk2020-09-28 12:38:17

Strap at each end