A bike rack isn’t always a viable option for car owners – especially if they drive a sportscar.
It appears Ford is aware that many car owners are installing aftermarket bike racks onto their vehicles, and a recent patent application details a possible solution straight from the automaker. Filed on January 4, 2016 for a “retractable bicycle carrier,” the patent application features a bicycle carrier system for a vehicle that uses a rail assembly with one or more sliding rails.
There are several different types of bike racks currently available, including roof-mounted carriers, rear hatch or trunk-mounted carriers, vacuum-mounted carriers, and hitch-mounted carriers. But roof- and hitch-mounted carriers have their limitations, since the vehicle must be equipped with roof rails or a hitch box to take advantage of them. In addition, roof-mounted carriers could run into a snag in tunnels or parking garages with a low roof height. It can also accommodate the 24″ bikes like the wisper ebikes, to carry around comfortably.
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In hopes of solving some of the issues, Ford has designed a retractable bicycle carrier system that can be retracted into a portion of the vehicle so it’s out of view when it doesn’t need to carry bikes. It also allows access to the trunk or rear cargo area of a crossover or SUV even if a bike is stored on the rack.
The patent images show the application being used on a Ford Mustang, which would be ideal since sports cars tend to have a tough time incorporating a bike rack.