akiree (akiree) wrote in aircooledvws,

bike racks

I have a 1971 semi-automatic super beetle. I am interested in carrying two bikes around sometimes. How do I make this work on an old bug?

I used to have a trunk mounted bike rack on a different car, but I didn't think I could use something like that over the engine on a bug. I've been googling and I can only find stuff for the new beetle. There have been a few references to needing an "extender" for a roof rack, I guess to clear the domed roof, but nothing that says "can be used on a classic bug". And from long, long ago I have a dim memory of a front rack for a bug, but I'm probably making that up..

So please point me in the direction of a bike rack. I don't have a trailer hitch, but am willing to consider it if that's the best option. A roof rack would be impractical as I park outdoors and cover my car every night, but again I will consider it if it's my only option. Cheap is better though, but I'm willing to buy used. Also if it matters I'm in Southern CA.

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I used to have Thule racks on my '65 bug (we also used the same set on our '67 Westy). We just used the standard roof racks for a car with rain gutters and made extenders for them out of 2" blocks of wood, cutting them to the appropriate length (around six inches long if I recall correctly). I personally would not use anything other than a fork-mount roof rack for stability and safety reasons; I just don't trust anything else to carry my bikes. FWIW, my ex-husband (who works in the bike industry) still uses this setup on his '66 912.

However, you may have better luck going to a bike shop and checking into the options. While I personally would not want to use a rear-mounted rack, there may very well be one out there that will work for your situation and a good bike shop should be able to advise you.
I would advise against the trailer hitch. You'd be hitching to sheet metal, for one thing. For another, the poor bug's engine doesn't deserve that kind of abuse.

Finding something prefabricated that will do what you want is...not something I'd hold my breath about. what you might be better served by would be to get a regular roof rack, like the one being sold by JC Whitney, and see about making it work. I bet you could invert the bike and lash it to the rack by the seat and handlebars. That, or lay the bikes flat and stack them atop the rack. Or, dismantle the bikes partially and tuck them both on the rack and either under your bonnet or ON your bonnet, lashed to the front bumper. There's all KINDS of ways to make it work.

It might look a little funny...but...you're driving a vintage bug :) You're going to get some funny looks, period.

I drove from GA to ME and back last summer in a 71 super with the roof rack I mentioned above. I had the rack full of hiking and camping gear, the backseat full of food and supplies, the passenger seat full of HAM radio equipment and a laptop, and the bonnet full of tools for just about any mechanical or electrical mishap I might encounter along the way. My faithful bug brought me back in one piece. And boy, do I have some stories...

Good luck! let us know what you end up doing :)
the trunk mount racks will work on a bug, and it's pretty easy to mount them using the vents above the decklid. You don't want to use one if you have stand offs on the decklid, and you can't open it while the rack is on, but it's easy to get most of those on and off.

any gutter mounted rack will work on the top as long as it's tall enough to clear the roof in the center.
I once duct taped a bike to the back of my girlfriend's beetle, running tape through the vents above the engine to anchor the bike to the bug.