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How To Carry A Tandem Bike On A Car?

In this article, we are going to walk you through how to transport a tandem bike by a car.

As the tandem bike is designed for 2 people to ride it simultaneously, it will not fit all bike racks built for the standard bikes. Therefore, you need to figure out the ways that work for your tandem bike.

It would be best if you had a safe and suitable road to ride a tandem bike. The best method is to go to a convenient place to enjoy riding with your friends after safely carrying the bike on your automobile.

The article includes a list of methods by which you can transport the bikes and their further explanation. At the end of the article, we also have included several tips that will help you on your journey with tandem bikes.

A Quick List Of Different Methods Of Transporting The Tandem Bike

Let’s go through the list of methods that you can follow to transport the tandem bike on a car.

Carrying The Tandem Bike without Any Rack

In this method, you will not need any racks. In fact, you can carry the bikes in your car just like any other item if you have the right type of car. However, if you are hauling other things or passengers, you have to improvise a bit. Do not worry. We got you covered on that too!

Strap On Trunk Carriers

In this method, you will need a strap-on trunk rack. The rack will be mounted the back of the car. The bike will be in a vertical position.

Roof-mounted Carriers

On the roof, you can install a roof mounted rack. Installing the rack could be a bit of a hassle, but it is indeed a secure method, one that you can get used to by regularly using. These racks are a bit expensive, though.

Method 1 – Carrying A Tandem Bike Without Any Rack

It’s not advisable, but you can actually transport a bike without a rack. For the larger car like a station wagon, minivan or SUV, it’s pretty easy. Drop the rear seats down using the electric control panel or the manual lever on the sides of the back seat. Just make sure the bike’s drive side is facing front here.

Slide the bike calmly and gently. Make sure the bike’s gear does not face too much pressure. It can damage them. Also, keep in mind that the chain and the rings are not in contact with the side of the car. Cover the bike with a sheet, if possible.

What If I Am Hauling Kids and Cargo in the Back?

In that case, remove the front wheel of the tandem bike. It’ll help you to protect the rear mechanism. The chain will also stay in place. Most bikes have a quick release. Use that mechanism and undo the clamp mechanics on the brake.

Put it in the rear as before but make sure the handlebars do not strike the top tube. After that, put the front wheel again on the top of the bike.

Make sure there is a sheet between. If you are using disc brakes, put something in the caliper of the wheel to make it secure. Or else the pistons can push out and pads close onto each other, potentially damaging the bike. Use stock plastic or hardboard cards.

Still, if the car is not able to fit, you can remove both of the wheels.

How To Remove The Rear Wheel?

Turn the bike upside down. Put the rear gear in the smallest cog. Use the quick-release mechanism if available. Now pull the real derailer upwards. Now the wheel will automatically come up.

Installing the wheels is much easier. Just follow the instructions but in reverse.

Multiple bikes can be carried through the method we have mentioned. Just follow the instructions and make sure to use soft cloth sheets to create layers between the cycles.

Method 2 – Hooking Up A Tandem Bike On The Trunk Carrier

Important! Please check the vehicle safety regulations and statutes for your home state and any state you intend to travel through before assuming you can operate your passenger vehicle with any cargo extending beyond the fender lines.

While the tandem bike is wider than the regular one when mounted on the trunk rack, the regular hanging style trunk rack can be used for short trips witout a problem. You may consider removing the front wheel or even both wheels to reduce the width and improve the stability on longer trips.

Just lift the rear side of the bike and drag it towards the wheel tray assembly. Anyone can do it easily with one hand. Attach a strap from the support of the carrier to the bike’s rear tire. The strap is adjustable, so it’s going to fit any tandem bike you have.

The next thing that you have to do is, tip the bike to a vertical position. The rack has two places where you can hook it up. Carefully hold the cycle up vertically and attach the tubes with the bolts.

The bolt also has a hand knob to fasten the grip. As we have said before, these racks are not that secure so, try to use the mechanism. Tighten the strap in the rear wheel too. Use a second strap to hook the handle. Once you do this, you should be all set.

Method 3 – Hooking Up A Tandem Bike On The Roof-Mounted Carrier

For this method to work, your racks need to have a special mechanism. If you do not have a utility bar installed on the roof, you are going to have to buy a new one. Another option is to by one of these Seasucker roof mounts that do not require roof rails and bars.

After getting the rack, assemble the carrier on the roof bar. Adjust the length of the roof rack according to the carrier. Tighten the bolt. Now do the same for the other side.

Draw the carrier to yourself and lower it to the side. Bring the tandem bike alongside the car. Secure the wheel with a strap. Lift the tandem bike and find the bottom support. Adjust the rear mount to see where it best fits. The bolts in the rear arm must be tightened and secured correctly.

Now repeat the procedure for the right arm. Grasp the carrier uptight and push it to the middle of the roof. Secure the clamp bolts. Make sure they are tight as possible. Lastly, tighten the front cross member bolts. The tandem bike should now be adequately secured.

Now for the unloading part, just follow the instructions as mentioned earlier, but in reverse. The tandem bike should now ready to ride. The two remaining clamps need to be removed entirely. You can store the carrier in the back of your car.

We just described three unique ways by which you can carry a tandem bike in your car.

Some Tips to Follow While Carrying the Tandem Bike on Your Car

While we covered the instructions, here are a few extra tips for carrying the bike.

  • Use a bike traveler bag, and it will keep your car free from your dirt. The bag will cost about 20-40 bucks.
  • Use a stepping tool for loading the bike on top of the roof-mounted rack.
  • Buy a tray-style back rack when opting for trunk strap-ons. It means less wear and tear for your bike’s tires and delicate frames. Try an aftermarket trailer hitcher to keep the cost down.
  • Use a tail-gate pad to protect both the bike’s frame and the rear bumper of the pick-up trucks. The tail-gate pads are soft pads made with foam that are installed in pick-up trucks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use hitch mounted bike rack to carry my tandem bike?

No, you cannot use the regular hitch-mounted bike rack for your tandem bike. Why? Simply because the distance between the front and rear wheels is larger and the regular hitch rack’s wheel trays will not fit. So, you have to choose between either the roof-mounted or trunk carriers. Or you can invest in a custom-built hitch tandem bike rack.

Which is the best way to carry the tandem bike in a pickup truck?

If you have a pickup truck, you can choose between two ways of transporting the tandem bike. You can use either the pickup truck tailgate bike pad just and set up the tandem along with your regular bikes. Or you can install the truck bed bike rack.


This was our comprehensive guide on how to carry a tandem bike on a car. In our writing, we explained different types of racks, and how you can use them.

The three different methods for transporting your tandem bikes were analyzed in-depth. Hope now you can go to your favorite road or track to ride the tandem bike with your family or friends.

We also understand that you could need visual help while setting up the racks, so here are few videos to walk you through the steps. Happy cycling!

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