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  1. #1
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Feedback on Bicycle "Bras"

    Might be a strange question for the Bicycle Mechanics forum, but my first stab in Road Cycling disclosed that nobody with a road bike uses one of these things. I have a tandem and I'm not buying a new car just to fit my tandem inside the vehicle so a bicycle bra looks reasonable if they are durable enough.

    I'd be interested in user experience with bicycle bras similar to Sci-Con. They certainly look like they will protect a roof-mounted bike, but do they hold up at highway speeds (75 mph in California)? I wouldn't use one for a short transport, but for anything over an hour our anything through the bug-riddled Central Valley these things look like good ideas. I assume they are washable 'cause they are going to get very, very messy.
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  2. #2
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    I have Performance's house-brand bike bra and it has been fine. I've used it on long trips and at 70+ mph highway speed and it has held up with no problems. Be sure to pull the attachment points tight and tuck in or tie off every loose end to avoid flapping and noise as well as possible damage to the paint (bike or car).

    However, these things make an already poorly aerodynamic item (a bike on a roof rack) even less aerodynamic so expect some additional drop in gas mileage.

  3. #3
    Pokemon Master Darth_Firebolt's Avatar
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    i am almost scared to google this one...

  4. #4
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I've used a couple of different brands, a Yakima B-string and something else that I don't remember. I took some 500 mile trips in the rain using one and everything came out fine. I think it's a big improvement and would recommend using one.

  5. #5
    Senior Member digger's Avatar
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    I saw the word "bra" and rushed headlong into the thread.

    I was dissapointed...

    I use this one and it holds up fine at highway speeds.
    Originally posted by Bones_McBones: Wow Digger, wow! You've earned my respect.... I know ashoposo got werked up. You are the gutter pig of Trollheim.

  6. #6
    Senior Member jack002's Avatar
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    I never knew it was called this. Its good to stay ABREAST of all these new terms.
    Biking isn't a sport because anybody can do it. I can bike, you can bike. For goodness sakes, my mother can bike! You don't see her on the cover of Sports Illustrated, do you?

  7. #7
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=digger;10290426]I saw the word "bra" and rushed headlong into the thread.

    I was dissapointed...QUOTE]

    silly boy *giggle*

    does performance still make theirs? the day I went to order some from nashbar they were out of stock. I am told they will not be returning. nashbar goes the 'Seinfeild' route and calls them "bike Bros"
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '86 Bertoni (sold), '09 Motobecane SS, '98 Hetchins M.O., '09 K2 Mainframe, '89 Trek 2000, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

  8. #8
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    [QUOTE=Bianchigirll;10291854]
    Quote Originally Posted by digger View Post
    I saw the word "bra" and rushed headlong into the thread.

    I was dissapointed...QUOTE]

    silly boy *giggle*

    does performance still make theirs? the day I went to order some from nashbar they were out of stock. I am told they will not be returning. nashbar goes the 'Seinfeild' route and calls them "bike Bros"
    Well, boys will be boys.

    Performance lists an "XPORT Road Transportation Cover" and a similar one for MTB's so, yes, they still make them but avoid the word "bra" entirely.

    Colorado Cyclist is much more upfront (sorry, couldn't resist) about it and calls their version a "Handlebar Bra".

  9. #9
    Senior Member MudPie's Avatar
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    Seems like I used to see lots of bras on roof mounted bicks in the early 90's, and their use seemed to have dropped off over the years. Seems like a good way to keep bugs, road grime off the bike, plus it protects the brifters from getting dust jammed into the mechanism.

  10. #10
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    What is the effect of air drag from this? A bike on the roof seems terrible, at least judging by the noise.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  11. #11
    Senior Member digger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    What is the effect of air drag from this? A bike on the roof seems terrible, at least judging by the noise.
    Yes, a rack and bike on the roof does suck the gas. The bra...err....bro would increase air drag, how much I'm not sure.

    Yup, more noise as well.

    There are advantages and disadvantages to everything. A bike on the roof helps prevent damage to the bike, keeps it out of the way, and allows access to the truck or hatch of the car and this was the most important feature for me.

    But in addition to decreased gas milage and noise, y'all get bugs on the bike, the bra/bro makes a big difference.
    Originally posted by Bones_McBones: Wow Digger, wow! You've earned my respect.... I know ashoposo got werked up. You are the gutter pig of Trollheim.

  12. #12
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    If you are going to use a roof rack, then a bra makes sense to protect the bike from bugs, dirt, etc. It's particularly valuable to protect the headset and brifters and the saddle cover will keep it dry in a fairly hard rain.

    The downsides of any roof rack, bra or not, are noise, drag and the possibility of serious damage if you drive under a low hanging tree, entryway or, too commonly, into your own garage without remembering the bike is up there.

    The current crop of well designed rear racks, and even better, hitch mounted racks, have made the roof rack less necessary. A good hitch rack will let you pivot the loaded rack out of the way of the trunk lid or rear hatch so it's not the obstruction the older types were.

  13. #13
    Senior Member digger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    If you are going to use a roof rack, then a bra makes sense to protect the bike from bugs, dirt, etc. It's particularly valuable to protect the headset and brifters and the saddle cover will keep it dry in a fairly hard rain.

    The downsides of any roof rack, bra or not, are noise, drag and the possibility of serious damage if you drive under a low hanging tree, entryway or, too commonly, into your own garage without remembering the bike is up there.

    The current crop of well designed rear racks, and even better, hitch mounted racks, have made the roof rack less necessary. A good hitch rack will let you pivot the loaded rack out of the way of the trunk lid or rear hatch so it's not the obstruction the older types were.
    Agreed.

    The hitch racks require the extra expense of a hitch. Then there is the trouble of transferring the hitch to a new car and may require the purchase of another hitch. Same could be said though about a roof rack, sometimes you would have to buy new adapters for a differant vehicle.

    Although I love my wife all to death, I fear that if she has to unhinge the hitch rack and lower it down, my bike would get damaged. She's a clutz. I'm not always around to do it for her.

    You would have to carefully consider your choices and pick the one with the best advantages for you.
    Originally posted by Bones_McBones: Wow Digger, wow! You've earned my respect.... I know ashoposo got werked up. You are the gutter pig of Trollheim.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by digger View Post
    Agreed.

    The hitch racks require the extra expense of a hitch. Then there is the trouble of transferring the hitch to a new car and may require the purchase of another hitch. Same could be said though about a roof rack, sometimes you would have to buy new adapters for a differant vehicle.
    True but a Class 1 hitch on most cars costs about $150 installed and less if you do the installation yourself. New clips for a good roof rack run about $50 for the set and, if the maker has completely redesigned the rack fittings (happened to me twice with Yakima) you have to buy a complete new rack and $150 is less than that by quite a bit.


    Quote Originally Posted by digger View Post
    Although I love my wife all to death, I fear that if she has to unhinge the hitch rack and lower it down, my bike would get damaged. She's a clutz. I'm not always around to do it for her.
    That I can't help you with! How do you keep her from driving under something low with the bike on top?

    However, the only time my bike is on the hitch rack is if I'm driving the car so my wife doesn't have to concern herself about it and I don't have to worry that she will damage anything.

    BTW, I suspect everyone KNEW this thread was going to drift off to a roof rack vs rear rack discussion.

  15. #15
    Senior Member digger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    True but a Class 1 hitch on most cars costs about $150 installed and less if you do the installation yourself. New clips for a good roof rack run about $50 for the set and, if the maker has completely redesigned the rack fittings (happened to me twice with Yakima) you have to buy a complete new rack and $150 is less than that by quite a bit. .
    Ok, never used a hitch rack. But cars up here only last about 8 years before they need replacing. Although, I have no experience with hitch racks a hitch would definetly cost us Canucks more than $150.


    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    That I can't help you with! .
    Damn.

    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    How do you keep her from driving under something low with the bike on top?

    However, the only time my bike is on the hitch rack is if I'm driving the car so my wife doesn't have to concern herself about it and I don't have to worry that she will damage anything.

    BTW, I suspect everyone KNEW this thread was going to drift off to a roof rack vs rear rack discussion.
    I too, am usually in the car and with $4,000 sitting on top *I* don't forget. We thought about it and a roof rack seemed to work best for us. I am usually riding while she is involved with other things www.sca.org You are correct there are certain advantages with a hitch rack vs others.

    Yes, we are going off onto a differant tangent and I wanna talk about bras!
    Originally posted by Bones_McBones: Wow Digger, wow! You've earned my respect.... I know ashoposo got werked up. You are the gutter pig of Trollheim.

  16. #16
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    I have a tandem so a hitch rack wouldn't be practical with the exception of an ATOC rack that holds the tandem in a vertical orientation. If you've ever seen one of these the front wheel of the tandem is still pretty high, certainly a lot higher than the roof on my diesel Jetta wagon. I might give a Sci-Con a try. These are pretty affordable. If it wears out and I still think it's a good idea I'll go with the Skinz waterproof version.

    BTW, a much less expensive solution would be to use 1.5" wide blue masking tape to cover forks, head tube, handlebar and brifters. I've done this once and the stuff sticks like glue, but peels right off in 30 seconds. Have used in many times painting my house.
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  17. #17
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    The roof rack thing just wasn't going to happen on my already 7' high, full size conversion van. A hitch rack it is.
    '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdtompki View Post
    BTW, a much less expensive solution would be to use 1.5" wide blue masking tape to cover forks, head tube, handlebar and brifters. I've done this once and the stuff sticks like glue, but peels right off in 30 seconds. Have used in many times painting my house.
    I believe this blue tape is actually called "painters tape" and does peel off without leaving a residue, unlike real masking tape.

  19. #19
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    I uses to have a performance branded bike bra but it only lasted one season. I don't even mess with it now.

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