How to Carry Bikes On Your Mini Cooper Convertible!

24 11 2010

Update! This application only works with Mini Cooper Convertibles from 2002-2010 except the S models. In 2011  the rear taillights and back end of the Mini were altered, the reverse lights were moved from the taillight assembly to a separate light in the center of the bumper although this is a minor change it affected the car in a major way.  This light assembly needs to be removed in order to install a trailer hitch.  Removing this light will leave the vehicle without reverse lights; which is illegal, preventing a hitch from legally being installed on the vehicle even though all the attachment points are the same.

The reverse lights are with the taillight assembly.

The reverse lights are with the taillight assembly.

The reverse lights are on the light assembly that needs to be removed.

The reverse lights are on the light assembly that needs to be removed.

Hitches are always an excellent way of carrying bicycles on your car. Whether you are intimidated  by the idea of lifting your bicycle on to the top of your vehicle or  you simply lack a solid roof, a hitch-mounted bicycle rack provides a great alternative to carrying your bikes. This was the case for the owner of this 2008 Mini Cooper Convertible; its soft top did not allow a roof rack, so we installed a Class 1 hitch from Curt Manufacturing. This in turn allowed us to mount a Thule Helium 2-Bike rack

Mini Cooper Convertible with hitch mounted bike rack

The finished product looks amazing! The hitch has been designed to use the light fixture at the rear of the vehicle as an access port. This means that the hitch is well hidden and the car still looks great after the install is finished. There is a  hitch that works with the standard roof models as well, so if this is your preferred option, we can make it happen.

A close up of the hitch access through the Cooper’s light fixture

However, the key element of this install is the bike rack, and the selection of the Thule Helium was perhaps the smartest choice. This carrier is made with aluminum, which keeps the rack both sturdy and light. It is loaded with locking features to give you all of the security you require. And the most significant feature on the Helium pertaining to this particular install was its “no tools required” install. The knob featured in the above picture must be turned to expand the rack’s “foot” inside the hitch, this secures the load to the vehicle. This worked well in the case of the Mini since there was relatively little room to work with a tradional style bolt and wrench combo.

Ready to hit the streets and the trails

Ready to hit the streets and the trails

The owner of this Mini is now ready to take up to two bikes out on the road, with a finished result that looks great. If you would like a hitch installed on your vehicle, give us a call at 416-424-1201.

Jordan

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40 responses

27 05 2011
Tina

Jordan, Will this set up work on a mini cooper with dual exhaust pipes in the center of the back of the car?

30 05 2011
rackattacktoronto

Hi Tina
I believe we have a solution for that car, but it is a different hitch. We would need to know the year and specific model to tell you for certain. Give us a call at 888-77-RACKS in Canada or 888-399-RACK and we can give you a better idea of what is involved. Note that we would have to trim part of the mesh above the exhaust – this is where the hitch comes out.
thanks
Rylan

2 03 2012
Andrea

Rylan
I have an 08 convertible mini and need to add a hitch and a rac. Can you help me?
Andrea

9 03 2012
rackattacktoronto

Hi Andrea
Can you let me know if your Convertible is an “S” model?
Please reply to toronto@rackattack.com and I’ll see what I can tell you.
thanks
Rylan

12 06 2011
donna

hey Jordan – will this work for a 2006 mini s convertble and is it a 2 ” receiver hitch? I’m in NH – any suggestions who to trust to do this install? wish you were closer!

13 06 2011
rackattacktoronto

Hi Donna
This hitch does not fit the 06 S convertible. I do not list a hitch on the S Convertible until 2009 models (and no, it is a 1 1/4″ hitch – the largest size you can get on a vehicle of that size). I’m not sure if it is possible to put a hitch on the earlier S models, you may have to get one custom made.
And I don’t know a lot of stores in the US, but our Boston store is probably the closest I know of:

http://www.rackattack.com/rack-attack-boston.asp

thanks
Rylan

19 08 2011
Cheryl Tuttle

We have 2010 Mini Cooper convertable that we are interested in getting a receiver hitch and bike rack. Can you send us any info on this product?

8 09 2011
rackattacktoronto

Hi Cheryl
Sorry for the delayed response. The only information about the hitch I can send you is the instruction sheet from the manufactuerer
It is pretty good at showing you some pictures of the product being installed on the car. The bike rack that we installed on the car was the Thule Helium 970xt 2-bike. Our webpage on the product has some information on it, and you may find more on Thule’s website – thule.com.
Hope that helps
Rylan

8 09 2011
andrew

Hey Rylan. Curious about the cost to mount the hitch and rack?

Thx. Andrew

8 09 2011
rackattacktoronto

Hi Andrew
That hitch fit Mini Convertibles (except “S” models) from 2005-08. Newer Cooper Convertibles use a different hitch. We would charge $360.75 + tax to install the hitch (including the hitch). That bike rack is currently $409.99 + tax.
thanks
Rylan

23 10 2011
MINI COOPER CONVERTIBLE TORONTO | World Car Blog

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30 12 2011
Mikey

I like the setup for the 2008 convertible! Absolutely awesome! Can I get a similar bike rack for 2011 Mini Cooper S Convertible?

30 12 2011
rackattacktoronto

Hi Mikey
Unfortunately, I do not list a hitch as of yet for the 2011 S Convertible. However, there is a hitch listed for the 09-10 S Convertible, so it could be a case of the manufacturer having not tested yet. I’m not sure if Mini changed the model at all between 2010 and ’11, but sometimes small variances can change the application in such a way as to prevent proper fitting. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help, but maybe email us again later in the spring?
thanks
Rylan

21 05 2012
Patti Jo White

Where can I get the bike hitch and/or rack for a 2005 mcconvertible ~ and I am in Little Rock, AR. ?? Thanks for any info!

22 05 2012
rackattacktoronto

Hi Patti
My suggestion would be to contact Curt (the hitch manufacturer) to see if they can tell you their dealers in Arkansas:

http://www.curtmfg.com/Contact

I believe that Curt hitches are available off of our website in the US, so you could also order everything through Rack Attack and have someone install it in your area. I believe our Minneapolis store handles Arkansas, here’s their email if you would like to contact them: minneapolis@rackattack.com

Hope that helps you out!
thanks
Rylan

31 07 2012
Nancy

Where can I find a hitch for a 2011 mini cooper convertible non S? Trying SO hard to find one!! Thanks…

2 08 2012
rackattacktoronto

Hi Nancy
Sorry, I do not know of any hitches for that model. Maybe try and find somebody that does custom hitches?
thanks
Rylan

21 08 2012
Betsy

Hey Rylan,

Just purchased a convertible Mini 2011 S. I see from an earlier post (Mikey) that you didn’t have info about a solution at that time. Hopefully you do now?

22 08 2012
rackattacktoronto

Hi Betsy, Craig here as Rylan is off this week. There is a hitch for the Mini Convertible S, 2011 model. It is made by CURT MFG and we have installed it here in Toronto. You need to know that this hitch requires cutting a hole in the lattice-work bumper trim at the back in order for the hitch receiver to come through. As well, if you are using it for a bike rack, installing the bike rack is a bit tricky as you have to reach up and under the bumper in order to install any bolt or safety pin for the rack. The heat shield may have to be trimmed or modified at time of installation. Also, since the tailpipe is right below the hitch, it will heat up so you will need to let it cool down before installing or removing any accessory (i.e. bike rack) in your hitch. Hope this helps.

22 08 2012
rackattacktoronto

Hi Betsy,
There is a hitch for the 2011 Cooper S Convertible. It is manufactured by Curt and we have installed it here at our Toronto store. You should note that the installation requires cutting a hole in the lattice work rear bumper trim for the hitch receiver to poke through. (not a clean access through the light socket). As well, putting any bike rack on this hitch is tricky as you have to reach up, under and behind the bumper to detach the rack.

But it is possible,

For more information give us a call at 416-424-1201

Thanks

Jordan

31 08 2012
mustangs20

Is there a version for the 2012 MINI Cooper convertible non-S? I can get to the Rack Attack in Framingham, MA if they can put a hitch on my car.

Thanks!

31 08 2012
rackattacktoronto

Hi
Unfortunately, there is no hitch available for that model. The issue with the 2012 is that there is a light in the centre of the bumper where the hitch would come out. On previous models, this was a reflector or simply a fog light, but it is now were the reverse lights are located. Unless you live in an area where these are not necessary for your road laws, I wouldn’t recommend trying to custom fit a hitch to your 2012, as that light would need to be either removed or replaced for the hitch to fit.
thanks

16 09 2012
Rhonda

Could you tell me what would work for a 2005 cooper s convertible. I’m in Vancouver, do you know where I could have this done?

17 09 2012
rackattacktoronto

Hi Rhonda
I do not believe that there is any hitch available for the S model of that car. However, try contacting our Vancouver store and they may be able to help you out: vancouver@rackattack.com
thanks
Rylan

12 03 2013
Bill

Hello I have a 2012 convertible looking for bike rack.for the back. Anyone have info.thanks Bill

12 03 2013
rackattacktoronto

Hi Bill
I do not know of a hitch listed to fit your car. It may be possible to install a Curt hitch on your vehicle, but you would have to modify and re-position your back-up light, which would not be easy to do by even trained technicians.
thanks

27 03 2013
NAncy

HI my name is Nancy and I have a new 2012 Mini S convertible and I need to have a hitch installed for my bike. Can you help me please?

2 04 2013
rackattacktoronto

Hi Nancy
I do not know of a hitch solution for that vehicle. I think the problem with attaching a hitch to that vehicle is the fact that the Reverse Light in the centre of your back end sits exactly where the hitch is supposed to go – at least on the older Coopers.
If you could find someone that could re-locate the Reverse Light for you, then maybe the Curt hitch would work. Failing that, you could maybe try to get someone to custom fabricate a hitch for you, but I would not suggest going that route for use with a bike rack.
thanks

17 04 2013
Bobbie Dobronz

Just got an 08 Smini cooper convertible and desperately want a bike rack/and or hitch for 1 bike. anything in the Delaware area or Md?

18 04 2013
rackattacktoronto

Hi Bobby
I do not know hitch installers in the US other than our American stores. My suggestion would be to try contacting our Boston store: boston@rackattack.com and see if they can point you in the right direction.
thanks

3 07 2013
Jonathan

Hey there –
I have a 2009 mini cooper – NOT the S model. I’m dying to install a bike rack but can’t find the parts anywhere. I have a local auto body shop that will install if I can find the parts. Can you help me?

9 07 2013
rackattacktoronto

Hi Jonathan,
We’d be happy to help you out, simply contact your nearest Rack Attack:

http://www.rackattack.com/store-locations.asp

thanks
Rylan

20 11 2013
Finlay

Hi,
i live in the UK but would love to fit this to my mini, do you know anyone who does this in UK, or are you able to provide more detail about the hitch used and how this is fitted?
Many thanks
Fin

20 11 2013
rackattacktoronto

Hi Finlay,

We’re not too familiar with European traffic regulations or with the hitches available for the cars in Europe. The hitch we installed was the The Curt 11126, it doesn’t fit the Mini Cooper S models in North America as the reverse light is in the hole that the bike carrier is mount. With no reverse light the vehicle cannot be on the road.

The hitch is attached to the frame of the car and much of the interior (behind the bumper fascia) impact foam must be cut and removed to install the hitch. I do know that European hitches have the ball and draw attached to the body of the hitch. North American hitches don’t work on the same principle, so I’m not sure that even installing this Curt hitch will allow you to use the hitch mount bike racks available to you as they attach differently. You may need to purchase everything in North America and have it shipped over and installed there.

If you have any other questions please Email us at toronto@rackattack.com

26 03 2014
Cheryl Wilsenach

I love the Hitch style bike support. I have a Mini One which is very similar to a Mini Cooper. I believe you are in Canada? I am in the UK. Do you by any chance know how I could find a similar product?

26 03 2014
rackattacktoronto

Hi Cheryl,

We’re not too familiar with European traffic regulations or with the hitches available for the cars in Europe. The hitch racks available in North America are different from those in the UK. You may need to purchase everything in North America and have it shipped over and installed there if the hitch even fits your car. Your best bet is to visit your local Thule dealer for the available options.

27 03 2014
onemooresam

I’ve a 2007 S. Is there a rack that works on these?

27 03 2014
rackattacktoronto

Hi
If you are looking for a hitch-mounted rack, it is possible on the hatchback and not the convertible. Obviously, the same is true for a roof rack. I would contact your nearest Rack Attack for further information.

http://www.rackattack.com/store-locations.asp

thanks

12 08 2014
Mike

This is fantastic – do you know of anywhere in the UK that can do this too?

16 08 2014
rackattacktoronto

Hi Mike,

I’m unfamiliar with the local laws regarding hitch installation and towing regulations, you’d be best to contact one of your local hitch installers or bike rack dealers and see what they have to say.

Cheers,
Matthew

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