Tandem Cycling - Best roof rack for tandem bikes?
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02-25-10, 08:52 AM
I recently received my Ellsworth Ride Tandem bike. I have a hitch mount Thule T2 as well as several Sport Works roof racks for regular bikes. But, I need to find a roof rack to carry the tandem bike. I have a Land Rover LR3 with factory cross bars. I was looking at the Thule Tandem Carrier or the Yakima SideWinder. Because of the unusual tubing and wide tires on my tandem, I wasn't sure if either would work (or which would work better).
02-25-10, 03:07 PM
Just did the rack investigation myself. Started out looking
at top mounts and ended up with a draftmaster which is a
hitch mount. Very easy on / off with no lifting. I ordered it
with Mark @ PrecisionTamdem.
02-26-10, 01:26 AM
Thule makes a reasonable roof mount rack. It requires attaching a nylon strap from the handlebars to the captain's seat post to lock the bars into a straight ahead position. Then you remove the front wheel. The rack has a hinged arm the swings out 90 degrees from the rack. You attach the front fork to this arm, with the rear wheel still on the ground. Once the fork is locked into place, you lift the rear portion of the bike while pivoting the bike over the roof. You set the boom tube into a padded cradle on the rack and lock it down with plastic straps. Then you lock into place the hinged arm that holds the fork and you are ready to go. It is much simpler than the above description sounds and easily managed by one person. Check the Thule website for illustrated details.
Note, if you are going to put your tandem on the roof, I strongly suggest a bra or similar covering for the front of the bike. While the rack is rock solid and never a source of worry, bug and pebbles hitting the bike did make many small paint chips before I installed a front cover.
02-26-10, 06:50 AM
I use an ATOC which attaches to the front fork and straps the back wheel in a tray. Works very well. Has a pivoting fork mount, but I have a low car so I generally don't bother with the pivot. As an interim measure before I buy a bra I'm using blue painter's tape on the vertical tubes, brake levers, etc. Only takes a minute to apply and comes right off at the destination. The tandem alone costs me 10% of gas mileage (42 to 38 mpg). I'd sure like to hear from someone regarding the effect of a bra. If you elect to try this please use the blue tape. Lesser quality may not come off so easily.
02-26-10, 08:37 AM
The ATOC/THULE rack ( ATOK makes the rack for THULE) mentioned in the above two posts is great but on taller cars, I was using it on a RAV4, there can be a problem getting the fork to the rack without hitting the car first. I had to carry a little bucket to place the rear wheel on so I could get it secured without hitting the car.
Swinging it up and onto the rack was effortless.
Bra is good idea if you are going very far.
02-26-10, 01:30 PM
Thanks everyone. I ended up ordering a Yakima Sidewinder. I was concerned about using the racks with trays because my tandem has really wide tires (wasn't sure if they would sit securely in the tire tray). I will be using the rack on my LR3 (soon to be traded in for a LR4), so vehicle height may be an issue as well.
02-26-10, 07:23 PM
Just for information, we have an ATOC rack, our cannondale has 2 3/8 knobs and slicks, both fit in the tray fine
03-04-10, 01:04 PM
We've been very pleased with our Sidewinder mount from Yakima. We've had it ~5 years and it has held up well. My only complaint is that, due to it's design, it puts the tandem further back on the car than I would otherwise like (the fork ends up a foot or so behind the front crossbar, which makes the rear hang over the hatch a bit on our Subaru). Every year or so I take the swingarm assembly apart and regrease everything to keep things working smoothly and keep rust away.
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