Here are some bicycle rack recommendations for a BMW Z3. In summary, it seems like the best way to go is with a hitch-mounted bicycle rack, although that is by far the most expensive. An intriguing option is a license-plate mounted “hitch” rack.
From Merv Hrabi (August 2002)
I purchased a hitch-based bike rack for my Z3 as you had advised; excellent decision!!!
Installed today; they took apart the entire rear of my Z3; nerve-racking!!!
a) Da’Lan hitch model no. DA247308 for Z3 roadster
b) Thule 2-bike-rack ball-mounted rack
Sent by Myself (August 2002)
I am using a Rhode Gear Shuttle for my Z3. It works, though I’m not too fond of it. The bottom straps always become disconnected from the bumper no matter how tight you make them (not a problem, as all of the load is on the top straps anyhow, but then the bottom straps are just flopping around), which I hear is common with most trunk-mounted racks. Additional disadvantages of trunk-mounted racks is that they 1) rest on the paint on the car, meaning that they can potentially damage the car, and 2) if the bottom straps were connected as intended [though as I mentioned they always become disconnected], you cannot open the trunk.
However, it is a cheap and convenient one-size-fits all solution for most cars, not just Z3’s.
A better, albeit more expensive solution, is what my friend Adrian does for his Z3—use a hitch-mounted bike carrier. The hitch itself is pretty inconspicuous, and the carrier itself keeps the bike completely away from the car. He mentioned this cost him something like $5-600 though.
From Adrian M. (April 2001)
For $80, you can just install a truck rack. Used on in Hawaii. Didn’t damage the car at all. The only down side was that to open the trunk you had to take off the rack.
Sent by Myself (April 2001)
Have you seen the type that of bicycle carrier that has a small “hitch” that attaches to the vehicle using license plate screws? I’ve seen them used on Miatas… in fact here’s a link:http://www.flash.net/~duetto/bdi.htm
However, I am very wary of using this on a Z3 since the Z3 plates are only attached with two screws, and the mounting points don’t
feel particularly rugged… Hmmm, maybe I could add more mounting points, though I’d like to avoid drilling any holes if possible..
From Adrian M. (April 2001)
[The hitch + rack] cost around $500, and is custom for the Z3. The reason its custom is that the attachment points are very specific to the frame and undercarriage.
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