Opel’s Flex-Fix integrated bike carrier system
By Mike Hanlon
October 4, 2006
October 5, 2006 General Motors recently debuted this innovative integrated rear carrier system for bicycles named Flex-Fix” in its new European-only Opel Corsa, but such has been the reaction that it will also offer the exclusive extra with the new Antara as of early 2007. The four-wheel drive crossover Antara is currently debuting at the Paris Motor Show and will be available at Opel dealerships in a few weeks. Opel now sets new standards in exterior on-board flexibility with the practical Flex-Fix system as it can carry two bicycles and be easily pulled out like a drawer from the rear bumper, so no tools are needed at all. Two major benefits compared to conventional bicycle carriers are the more convenient loading, as bicycles do not need to be lifted as high, and the fact that Flex-Fix is always available, because it is an integral part of the car.
Owners of SUVs and crossovers like the Antara are often active people who want to transport bicycles, just like the Corsa’s young target group. This is where the spontaneity and versatility of Opel’s Flex-Fix perfectly matches the needs of these customers. It is capable of transporting loads of 40 kilograms and is suitable for standard bicycle tire sizes of 18 - 28 inches.
In the Trixx concept car at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show, Opel first presented the idea of increasing car cargo capacity with a permanently integrated carrier system that disappears into the body when not in use.
But there was still much work to be done before it could be used in a production car; all important car design specifications, such as crash safety, had to be met without compromise, and the system had to be quick and easy to use, requiring no prior technical knowledge.
As the Flex-Fix system is an integral part of the vehicle, it must conform to Opel’s strict requirement that it last the car’s lifetime. The steel parts are therefore not only galvanized, but are also primed via cataphoresis and protected by a resilient topcoat to withstand years of abuse from grit and road salt.