With a view to taking bikes on the Leaf I’ve been experimenting with roof bars. Having ordered the appropriate feet for my Thule Aerobars, and also Yakima Frontloaders
for the bikes I set about fitting them. The car will not be tolerant of the rack pads being poorly positioned, with the instructions specifying the distance from the windscreen and then between centres. The pad shaping prevents distortion of the recessed gutter strip. Roof load is a bit on the low side at 40kg, with the bars an carriers already at 19kg. Lightweight bikes essential then! As the Aerobars are louder and have nearly 50% more resistance than the newer wingbars, I decided to experiment to see what impact it had on range. With just the bars and carriers the drop is between 10 and 15 miles on the Guess-o-Meter values I’ve been achieving.120 to 125 miles. That’s over the same journey with a good length of motorway.
Noise was higher, not unexpectedly. However it wasn’t intrusive, I had to point it out to Sasha while out in the car. With the radio on it is almost unnoticeable. The next test will be with a bike on top as well. What I expect is a further drop to just over 100 miles range.
I did look at rear mounted carriers like the Saris Bones, but the thought of load straps on the plastic spoiler, along with the partial obstruction of the lights was enough to put me off. Saris don’t recommend it, although there are lots of people who are content that no
lasting noticeable damage occurs. So far I’ve carried the bikes wheels off with the seat down, certainly not ideal! It’s an area that the Nissan Accessories catalogue needs to address for a family car. Although the Leaf is not type approved for towing, there could be design scope for an underside mounted cycle rack as developed by the aftermarket in the States. No drilling required, no towing allowed (in the EU), a demountable rack with integrated lights would be a welcome addition. Nissan UK, can you ask the question? What would be the warranty implication if such a kit was fitted with a receiver socket, with no ball hitch available?