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Customer Discussions > Cycling forum

Good bike rack for BMW 3-series

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Showing 1-25 of 46 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 12, 2011 4:49:27 PM PDT
ILGS says:
Can anyone recommend a good bike rack for transporting 2 or 4 bikes on a BMW 3 series? Most racks apparently scratch or damage the heck out of the BMWs - according to the multitude of the reviews that I read. Is there a good-quality sturdy rack that would not scratch my beemer? Something under $200, hopefully?

Posted on Jun 13, 2011 8:51:34 AM PDT
Ragnar says:
I would recommend the Thule roof rack. I had one on my car, and it didn't scratch the roof or damage the car. Very secure, so I never had to worry about my bikes falling off even on bumpy roads or very windy days. Very easy to use, too, and I swapped the bike racks off for ski racks in the winter in only a few min.

The only issue I had with it was that when I finally removed the rack after 6 years, the portions of the roof that were covered by the rack mounts were noticeably brighter in color, since the rest of the roof had faded from the sun but these parts were protected. Not an issue if you plan to only use the rack temporarily. Alternatively, just leave the rack on the car until you retire it and don't care anymore.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 13, 2011 12:04:55 PM PDT
lenf says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 13, 2011 12:32:03 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 13, 2011 12:33:12 PM PDT
ILGS says:
Thank you for the suggestion. I admit I have not considered the roof rack. I live in this building with a standard gate which is about 6 feet something high, and I have this paranoia about forgetting that the bike is on the roof, and entering the garage. I have actually seen people do it before.
Anyway, I guess I can handle remembering where the bike is. Can you recommend any particular Thule rack?

Posted on Jun 14, 2011 7:33:33 AM PDT
I completely disagree with Lenf!.
I have a 3 series, and I did use cheap Hollywood rack and it's did scratch my edge of my truck.
And btw, BMW uses one of the highest gage steel on their cars, and paint what I read and seen, is much superior then
Acura, Lexus, and by far better then domestic Ford and GM, etc.

IlyaGS, I just got Thule Raceway 3 Bike Trunk Mounted and that thing works great, do not get the Thule SPEEDWAY, it's good, but stick with bone shape, that will allow you to place bike of same size without bumping into each other (like paddles and handle bars). Also, use bungee cords to secure handler bars from flapping while driving.
I have few friends with bike roof racks, and it's a nightmare, getting bikes on and off. Especially in my case when I have my and couple of my kids bike.
The trunk Thule rack is great, take a minute to put all 3 bikes on and off. IlyaGS, here what you must consider, if you do bike trips often, like I do (almost every weekend) then you should consider something easy to use, which is trunk rack or Hitch Rack. However, if you only need something that you will use few time a summer, like going to Jersey Shore or Cape, then I guess you can get Roof rack. But, then again, it's ruins the whole look of the car, since the rack is always there. Here is another Trunk Rack which is highly recommended, SARIS RS-3 Saris Bones RS 3-Bike Trunk Mount Rack .
The BMW do not recommend Bike rack with more then 2 bikes, and again, BMW just CYA (cover you're a$$).
I have been caring 3, and few time even 4 bikes and it's all fine. Just make sure all straps are tight and use bungee cord on handle bars, that will reduce any swaying while driving. And after 20-30 min drive, just tight them up since they get bit loose.

One more thing, consider buying one that is foldable and bright color, since I have many cyclist friends, I hear how some idiot back up the car into car with bike rack and not only broke a rack, but damaged the drunk. Also, if you plan to do trips few days in a row you don't even need take off the rack, just fold the bone extension, and you good to go.

Ne puha, ne pera!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2011 5:14:56 PM PDT
ILGS says:
Hi Vladeek:
This is really good advice, thank you. I checked out both racks, and voila, plenty of 5-star reviews and no scratching mentioned. Also, a roof rack is not for me - you are correct, it is ugly and affects the look of the whole car.
And thank you for the install and other tips. Also, I agree with you about the BMWs. I have had many BMWs over the years and have never had an issue with the paint or peeling. I think it is totally reasonable not to want my car scratched if it does not have to be. Hence, I asked my question.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2011 9:17:31 PM PDT
N. Anderson says:
Lenf is clearly jealous. Or clueless. Regardless, he's probably just bitter that his three cylinder Geo Metro is slower going up hill than walking. If you read his reviews you'lll notice that all of them are negative.

In response to to Ilya, it depends on the year of your 3-series. If it was made before 2010, Thule makes some great trailer hitch racks. They can't possibly scratch your car, cost about $200 or so, and the hitch will run you about $150. (yes, that's a bit outside your price range, I know.) I bought the BMW-branded roof rack, because it's all that will fit on the new models, but a friend of mine has the hitch rack on his slightly older model and it works great.

Also, I don't know what kind of bike you are mounting on the rack, but remember that some of the modern carbon bike frames need to be in a tray rack, not one that clamps the top tube, because they can be damaged.

Have fun, and happy riding.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 16, 2011 12:22:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 16, 2011 1:14:23 PM PDT
ILGS says:
N. Anderson:

Thank you for the input. My BMW is 2009, so Thule is probably the best option. I appreciate your input about the tray rack also. I am fairly new to bicycling as an adult although I used to cycle all the time when I was a kid. Cycling as an adult is a whole new experience, with so many more fun and long-distance places to go. I am currently hitching rides with my bicycling friends who already have their racks, but it is time for me to "grow up" and get my own.

Thanks again for your input, and happy riding to you too.


Posted on Jun 16, 2011 12:59:02 PM PDT

I have a 3 Series (2007) and keep it in perfect condition -my service rep at he dealer always compliment me on how well maintained my car is.

As you can imagine, getting the right rack was a major thing for me. After much research, I settled for the Thule 9001 Raceway - 2 bikes.

It is a fantastic rack. I've carried my bike and my wife's around several times in different road types (paved, gravel, etc.) and even used it while getting into a ferry. The rack sticks to the car, and the gel-like resting areas do not scratch the paint at all. Bikes are well secured with the silicone straps. Putting the rack on and off is a breeze thanks to the dial feature, so no weird additional nylon straps, or cheap hooks with just a coat of brittle-prone rubber.

In one word; the Thule Raceway 9001 is the bike rack for the 3 Series.

Here's the link to it:

Thule 9001 Raceway 2 Bike Rear Mounted Bike Rack

It is a bit pricey, but $200 is a small price to pay to have a rack that carries your bikes securely while keeping your beemer as if nothing ever hanged from it. It just works!

One word of advice: Our bikes have odd geometry (full suspension) so we need the Thule bike adapter to make everything work. If your bike has a slightly odd geometry -meaning there's no parallel top tube on the frame relative to the floor- get the adapter. It is only $30 and works flawlessly.

Hope this helps! And happy riding!


In reply to an earlier post on Jun 16, 2011 1:41:04 PM PDT
ILGS says:
Thank you for your advice - it definitely helps. I will check out the rack you recommended. At this point, Thule racks are at the top of my list.
Maintaining my car in good condition is important to me as well. I see no reason to get my car scratched if it can be avoided with a bit of good advice and some research.
Happy riding!

Posted on Jun 27, 2011 7:58:26 AM PDT
DJ says:
I just bought the Thule Raceway 9001 (2 Bike). It is fantastic. Only issue I have is that while the rack was recommended to me by a "rack expert", I was susequently informed that because m 3 series is a convertible hard top, Thule does not recommend the rack. I think they are simply protecting themselves as Yakima and Saris both recommend a rack for the convertible (Yakima Quickback and Saris Bones) and the attachment points are the same. I found this out after using the Thule once and it was much more secure than any reck previously used with other cars. Bike was not moving at all. Of course I can't open the roof.

Posted on Jul 4, 2011 4:32:02 PM PDT
Dr. D. says:
My suggestion is to look on the internet for a OEM bikerack for your beamer. I have an X3 and there were a couple differnt ones available. It may take you a little fishing on the internet to find it and order it if you have more time than money. If you have less time then money go to the BMW dealer and tell them what you want and have the order it for you.

Posted on Nov 16, 2011 9:45:12 AM PST
Emd says:
Hello, I am new to this discussion, but I am in the same dilemma IlyaGS. I have narrowed my choices to either the Thule 9001/9002 and the Saris Bones 2/3. Although BMW and Thule recommend that BMW owners stick with a 2-bike rack, I may still consider the 3-bike rack for versatility, allowing extra space between 2 bikes and at least the capability JUST IN CASE I may have to accommodate a 3rd bike. I use a road bike which is lightweight and I am concerned about a few factors: 1. security of the bikes and rack while on the trunk; 2. damage to either the bike or the car. Given the choice of either the Thule or Saris, can anyone provide further advice regarding which may be the better choice? I have read several reviews for both systems. I guess I would just like to hear more opinions: this group discussion appears to be extremely helpful and I am looking to put the rack on a 3 series sedan. I just want to hear experiences, regarding the stability of the bikes while they are in the individual cradles, the locking mechanisms while the rack is on the trunk, etc. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 7, 2011 4:25:22 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 7, 2011 4:26:47 PM PST
J. Li says:
Finally found some reviews on the 9001 Raceway Thule rack. Planning on purchasing this for the sedan, but the instructions states to put the lower arm on the upper tier of the bumper. I assume they are referring to the the flat part of the bumper on top and not on the bottom part of the trunk face right under the license plate.

There are reports for other vehicles of different brands which do not recommend leaving the rack on since it may leave a indentation on the bumper so I wouldn't go with anything bigger and heavier. So my question is for those who has this for the 3 series sedan if you place the lower arm on top of the bumper before right before it meets the trunk crevice or higher on the trunk itself? Did it leave any indentations when removed since the bumper is not that stiff?

Hope some of you that has this installed can comment! Thanks!

Posted on Dec 24, 2011 10:44:07 PM PST
Dan R says:
Saris Bones 2/3 is the only high option that is real as long as you take care of it you will be very happy

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 16, 2012 11:35:47 AM PST
Mark says:
After less than one hour with one lightweight road bike on the Thule Raceway 3 carrier, the weight and force left temporary crimps in the top of the bumper on my 2007 335i. Shortly thereafter the bumper restored and the indentations are no longer visible. Nonetheless, I will not place this rack on my car again as I am not willing to gamble that I'll be so lucky after repeated and longer usage. It's a shame as this rack is otherwise superior to the others I've seen. It's just too heavy and the weight is borne on too little area.

Posted on Feb 18, 2012 5:13:50 PM PST
P. Freeman says:
I have both a 3-series (E46) and a 5-series (E39) and I am very happy with BMW's OEM roof rack. I purchsed one at a dealer and the another from Pacific BMW's on-line store (only $170 for base system + $110 for a bike holder). The system attaches directly to factory mount locations in your roof which allows fast installation/removal with no possibility of paint damage. I did see that you have a parking garage issue, but I still think the OEM roof system is superior to the trunk mounted options.

I think Thule has a system that also attaches to the factory roof mounts, but I suspect the on-line price from Pacific BMW is cheaper. Note that I called their parts department directly once and was quoted standard list prices much higher than their on-line price.

Posted on Feb 18, 2012 6:42:25 PM PST
B. Kaufman says:
I suggest you use a hitch mount rack, not only do you not ding your paint while putting bikes on, but the mount is lower and you will not run into your garage with an expensive bike. It might prevent you using a trailer, as it extends the length of the body, and your garage door might not close with the rack in place, but you pull the pin, and simply remove the mount. Either that or get a folding bike that fits in the trunk.

Posted on Feb 26, 2012 8:34:51 PM PST
expertguy says:
Kuat NV if you can afford it. Add the add-on kit for 4 bike capacity.

Posted on Mar 5, 2012 4:35:53 PM PST
Jacob D says:
Go for the Saris Bones. Buy a small diameter pool noodle or black pipe insulator from home depot and slide it over the strap clasps if you're worried about them slapping your car.

Posted on Mar 30, 2012 12:22:32 PM PDT
Jonnyb says:
I have a M3 2008 Sedan. I purchased a Hollywood trunk rack. IT performs well. Yes, if you leave the rack on for a while, there will be obvious "marks" where the rack rests on the trunk as well as the bumper. My car does not allow for a trailer hitch. To put a Thule or BMW or Yakima roof rack destroys the lines of the car. Since my car does not have a folding rear seat, I have elected to place an old quilt in the back seat to protect it. I remove the front wheel and place my bike in the back seat. I was always concerned about leaving the bike on the bike rack for fear of the bike being stolen. Also, the bicycle tie down straps and supports mark, and scratch the fine finish of the bicycle. Uggh! That has happened. By putting the bike in the car, the likelihood or ease of the bicycle being stolen is much lessened. SO the take home.....put a quilt in the car, place the bike on the quilt. IF you have to transport more than one bike, get a trunk mount. It is much easier to put on and take off. Also, they successfully can haul up to 4 bicycles. Good luck!

Posted on Apr 5, 2012 12:51:27 PM PDT
Raleighphile says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2012 11:03:18 AM PDT
luvtoride says:
For whatever it's worth, I wish I'd seen a post like this before I bought the Saris Bones:
The small little feet of the Bones product left ugly scratches at every place they touched my car. I took photos and attempted to communicate with the Saris Bones company and was repeatedly ignored. I am not impressed with their product or their (lack of) customer service.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2012 9:11:45 PM PDT
Jie Yao says:
how easy it is to install and remove the OEM roof rack? I just bought a 2011 328xi and am thinking about getting a roof system for transporting bikes and skis, but I do not want to roof rack permanent installed, because that ruins the look. Is it practical to put on the roof rack every weekend for bike trips and take it off after the trip?

Posted on Jun 4, 2012 9:16:26 PM PDT
Jie Yao says:
I just purchased a 2011 328 xi, have a bike trip coming up in July, am thinking of OEM roof system + bike rack. Can anyone tell me how easy it is to install and remove the roof system bars? I certainly don't want them permanently installed, which alters the look drastically. Can I use the roof system like a trunk mount bike rack?
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Discussion in:  Cycling forum
Participants:  32
Total posts:  46
Initial post:  Jun 12, 2011
Latest post:  Dec 31, 2014

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