There is, a of yet, no perfect system for transporting bikes using one’s car. Pickup owners can simply lay them in the bed, and those with larger SUV models can stick them in back, but car owners really only have imperfect solutions available to them.
The situation isn’t about to reverse, but it could get a bit better, thanks to a recent Ford patent for a new type of hideaway bike carrier. The system uses a pair of rails that protrude from the rear bumper cover when deployed, and retract back into the bumper cover when not in use, hidden from view. This maintains the clean, unencumbered look of the rear of the car intact, while at the same time presenting an always-ready-to-go solution that requires no involved setup, no complicated vehicle modifications (bolting on a trailer hitch, for instance), doesn’t damage paint, and doesn’t put the bikes on the car’s roof, where clearance might become a concern.
As always, just because it was patented doesn’t mean it will reach production. However, Ford’s hideaway bike carrier design is a more sensible, elegant solution to bike transport on smaller vehicles than most of the existing alternatives; we’re sure it would resonate with plenty enough buyers.