This summer, I bought a cheap Halfords bike rack for my 2004 X-Trail. It fits the tailgate well enough and carried the bike securely without movement once properly fitted and tied-down. A piece of pipe insulation slit and fitted over the pedal side will protect the number plate.
The big thing to remember with this kind of bike rack is that when it's on and loaded with a bike, you can't open the tailgate! Something to work around. It didn't bother me much, access to the boot area from the back doors is acceptable.
One of the alternatives to this is of course the roof bars cycle location. I would forget they were up there and drive into a multi-storey car park......
Am currently fitting a tow bar to take a bike rack, I have a Mottez 4 bike rack, the advantage of this particular one (and similar from thule) over a rear door mounted and roof mounted ones is more bikes can be carried they are away from the car so don't knock it, they are secured individualy and don't bang into each other, I can get the whole families bikes (4) on one rack, the rack can be tilted to allow access to the boot, you don't need to put your back out raising them to the roof and hoping not to drop them, no increased vehicle height. Disadvantages; cost of tow bar if not fitted, cost of carrier £300 up depending on type and number of bikes, extends length of vehicle. These type of racks seem few and far between in this country but are extremely common on the continent.
Ive been looking in to this and getting very frustrated. The Thule version which fits the tow bar and allows attachment of a caravan is excellent and cheap and allows access to the boot but websites state "you may need to extend the electrics". Not very helpful!! how do you find out if you do or dont until youve bought it? I contacted the sellers and they just reitterated the blurp on the website. Other option is a Witter ZX89 which fits on tow ball but doesnt tilt however it doesnt seem to have issues with the electrics. The strap on racks are OK but from experience you normally end up with scrapes on the car from the pedals as the bikes move around or from the end of the staps made from hard plastic or metal There is also the issue of having to possibly buy extra lighting and reg number plate. Oh the joys and I go away in 4 days just to add pressure.
Hi rallyfan67 sorry I know its a bit late , hope you had a good time When the websites mention extending the electrics I believe they are just refering to the fact that these racks do not come with a number plate and lighting bar as standard and its just a gentle hint in order to absolve themselves of responsibility. Just because these racks don't come with lighting bars doesn't mean you don't need them, if your bikes are obscuring your lights or number plate you do, although many people are either ignorant of this or chose to ignore it as it's extra hastle.
Hi,had fab time in North Berwick. Thanks for reply but its the tow bar electrics that interfere with the fitting of the bracket for the Thule 9705. I eventually phoned Thule direct and the helpful basically said if you have caravan electrics to the left of the tow ball then your better not buying this type of bike rack. Shame. Have ordered the Witter rack which is great but does tilt away from boot to allow access. Oh well, next holiday to France looming. :starwars: