The Citroen C1 and its two sister cars – Toyota’s Aygo and the Peugeot 107/8 – are an increasingly frequent sight on Britain’s roads.
Low running costs and quirky detailing have cemented them as a favourite among young people and that means plenty of riders now own these cars too.The compact dimensions of the cars make for a surprisingly spacious experience for passengers but anyone who’s ever shopped with ones of them will realise storage space is limited.
A dismantled bike will fit into the C1, but you'd better be travelling alone as you’ll need to fold the rear seats for starters – and most likely the passenger seat will have to move forward to leg-crushing extremes also.The lightweight, one-piece tailgate of the C1/Aygo/107/8 is a clever design but it also means a regular strap on style rack won’t fit this car, or at least it isn’t recommended.
The peaky three-cylinder petrol powerplants fitted to these vehicles aren’t exactly ideal for towing use and so it’s hardly a surprise that towbars aren’t readily available. You can get roof-mounted cycle carriers, but lifting and securing a bike onto the roof of a vehicle at the end of a big ride isn’t too much fun – particularly a downhill bike. So basically, those who want to travel with a bike in one of these cars are going to face difficulty, particularly if they want to do so with friends.
Thankfully Westfalia, the company that devised the original towball type towbar, has produced its own bike carrying solution for the C1/Aygo/107/8. Bolting to the underside of the car's chassis, the Westfalia kit leaves two semi-permanent fixings below the number plate into which two removable arms are then inserted; these join together to form a sturdy A-frame structure at the rear end of the car.
The great thing about this rack is that it folds away into the car’s boot space when not in use. Once practiced a few times you’ll be able to have your car bike ready in just a couple of minutes; it’s all very neat.
The Westfalia kit mounts to the rear chassis of the vehicle
Once in place the A-frame structure is very stable. Westfalia rates it for two bicycles or an impressive combined payload of 40kg (88lbs). We've usually used the rack with one bike, albeit a heavy full suspension one, and even at motorway speeds and on rough roads it's proved extremely stable.
Two foam-covered bars are used to hang the bike. This means that with certain frame designs you’ll have to get a bit creative – and this is where things can get a bit tricky.
One full-suspension mountain bike (the Empire MX6-EVO, pictured) that we mounted had to be positioned in a way that left questionable clearance of the front wheel. This meant the wheel had to be placed inside the vehicle – not ideal by any means. Most hardtail and road bike frames should go on without issue though.
You’ll also have the time consuming task of having to strap the bike securely to the rack, and this hardware isn't included.
Certain frames simply will not work perfectly with this design of rack
If a mounted bike obstructs your lights or number plate then you’ll have to fit a lighting board too, taking this from a cost effective solution to something that simply wouldn’t be worth it for many. One way around this is to remove both wheels from the bike and strap the wheels directly to the frame.
As a bike rack in general this isn't a complete solution. But for owners of these cars it is still probably the neatest way to travel with bikes, meaning that plenty of people will be glad of its existence.