I would sometimes like to transport my tandem by car, and it would be convenient to use one of those "strap-on" bumper carriers. Is it feasible to use this type of carrier?

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    You might be better off with a roof rack
    – Kibbee
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 17:41

3 Answers 3


If it sticks out from the width of the car DO NOT carry the bike in the bumper carrier. If necessary, take both wheels out but take no chances, anything wider than the car is a danger to yourself and others, think about motorbikes.


Yes, yes it is possible...

If the tandem is loaded onto the carrier at an angle, it won't extend much beyond the width of the car or minivan (maybe not at all for a larger vehicle). It's not totally clear in the following picture, but the horizontal bars are tilted up a bit to make it more secure.

tandem on carrier

It's necessary to bungee-cord the bike or otherwise secure it otherwise it'll tend to slide "down" (in my case, the front will tip down, which will make it stick out on the driver's side). I use 2 cords to secure it:


Other notes:

  • I immobilize the bars so that the wheel doesn't flop while loading/unloading (and while removing the front wheel, which I have to do to keep it from sticking out on the driver's side.
  • It's not clear in the picture, but behind our mini-van, the front forks don't stick out at all, and the rear wheel sticks out maybe an inch beyond the width of the van. Also, the bar-ends I have don't stick up above the roof box.

Although it looks ridiculous, the same technique can be used on a small car:

mazda tandem

The bike doesn't actually stick out beyond the width of the car as much as it appears to in the picture, it's less than a foot on each side. It does stick way way up above the car, however, so when I've done this (only a couple times) I'm very careful about going into underground parking.

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    Be exceedingly careful where/how you park, if the bike is hung like that. It would be very easy for someone (in a car or walking) to not see the bike and hit it. If they're in a car you'd quite likely lose the bike. If they're walking you'd likely lose the lawsuit. Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 0:54
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    I can several things that concern me.... the rear wheel is hanging very low to the ground, the height - in the last picture the bars appear to be higher than the sewerage pipe. Wouldn't want to have to clean up that mess...... and the amount of windage would be much higher than these racks are designed for, likely not a problem, but....... Best to use roof rack IMHO
    – mattnz
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 1:27
  • With the mini-van it's been fine, the bike doesn't stick out much/at all. (And the vehicle's never been parked with the bike on it.) The pic with the small car is deceiving, the wheel isn't as low as it looks and with the bars immobilized, they weren't close to the pipes. But I've only ever transported the tandem on the rack the one time. Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 19:13
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    Depending on the jurisdiction you also might get in conflict with the police as in some countries it is not allowed that mounted things (like bikes on a rack) are wider than the car's outer mirrors. Commented Oct 15, 2013 at 16:39
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    @Criggie I haven't done it for at least 5 years, I think once my kid got old enough to not need a car seat, I was always able to get the tandem inside the van or car. But at the time, it was really securely wedged in place - the bike couldn't slide backwards because the front seatpost was on one arm, and the front bungee was wrapped around 3 or 4 times so there was too much friction for it to rotate. That rear bungee wasn't actually touching the bottle cage, it just wrapped around the rear down tube and pulled the back of the bike towards the bumper of the car. Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 3:58

Can you tow a trailer with your car? That would be the safest and most responsible way to move your tandem.

Second option would be to ride it there, over the course of a day with rest stops you and your co-rider could do 100 km.

Another option would be a roof rack, like others have mentioned. Your vehicle's roof looks long enough to accept the full length of the bike. Brands to search for may incluide Thule. Possibly you're looking for three cross bars, and two normal "bike rails" in line-astern or as close to that as possible. May have issues with the front bottom bracket being super low, which means an adapter to raise the front fork a bit more than normal.

Please let us know what you end up doing.

  • 2
    As mentioned in the other comment, I didn't do this for very long after posting this Q&A, it's probably been at least 5 years since I had to do it. We got a different minivan that holds the tandem better (different rear seat layout) so I just stick it inside the van now. I can get the tandem, one road bike, and 4 people in the newer van. We also got a Nissan Leaf electric car and I can put the tandem in the back of that, too, because there's no exhaust so even if the hatchback doesn't completely close, it's ok. Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 4:02

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