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Old 10-15-12, 06:21 PM   #1
SAHabanera
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transporting a bike/carrier confusion

I'm ready to get my month-old bike out of the neighborhood and go across town to a park with bike paths. I have a 2007 Toyota Corolla & brand new Electra Townie. Racks, hitches and mounts are kind of confusing, and prices are all over the map. What's the best way to transport my bike? How much would I have to spend to assure everything works out safely for car and bike?
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Old 10-15-12, 06:30 PM   #2
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I like hitch-mounted racks the best as they have a solid attachment to the car without touching the paint. Trunk-mount ones are good but you need to make sure the pads that touch the car are clean, the car where the pads touch is clean and you install correctly.

I've got a Yakima Kingpin hitch-mount, Yakima trunk-mount and a set of roof racks (that mount on the factory rack on my van). I'd keep an eye on Craig's List as it seems trunk racks come up often. I paid $10 for my trunk-mounted one and $50 for the hitch-mounted one. Both were virtually new when I got them.
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Old 10-15-12, 08:27 PM   #3
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Fold down the rear seat, remove the front wheel and put it int he trunk.

Its the safest place.
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Rule #25// The bikes on top of your car should be worth more than the car
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Old 10-16-12, 04:37 AM   #4
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... a frequent cause of bent dérailleur hangers and torn computer harnesses.
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Old 10-16-12, 05:10 AM   #5
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I originally tried removing the front wheel and putting the bike in my trunk -- but decided sliding it across the trunk was too rough on the bike.

So, I bought a single bike trunk mount Sarris carrier. I was not impressed: the straps and buckles were flimsy and the I the bike kept scratching the car. Plus, the straps kept loosening and I had to readjust them every ride.

When a fried started riding I got a Sarris 3 bike carrier from Sarris and I like it far better. The straps and buckles are far more robust and the bottom legs of the carrier rest on the bumber which makes the whole thing far more secure -- and I no longer have to keep adjusting the straps because they stay tight. Plus, when hauling just one bike, the bike is further from the car.

But, the 3 three bike carrier makes it hard to get the bike on the car -- especially because my main bike has the cables and brake line running under along the bottom of the top-tube. And, because of the thick supports and semi-flexible plastic straps, the cables keep getting cauught and pulled by the plastic straps.

So, the 3 bike carrier from Sarris is far better than the single (even if you are hauling only a single bike) -- but neither is a pancea. But, it's cheaper than a hitch mount.
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Old 10-16-12, 05:27 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by SAHabanera View Post
I'm ready to get my month-old bike out of the neighborhood and go across town to a park with bike paths. I have a 2007 Toyota Corolla & brand new Electra Townie. Racks, hitches and mounts are kind of confusing, and prices are all over the map. What's the best way to transport my bike? How much would I have to spend to assure everything works out safely for car and bike?
The electra is probably a little heavy for lifting to a roof rack so I would go with a hitch rack. Last time I had a bike with me in San Antonio I used the Via bus. If you have no aversion to public transit, that may be a viable option.
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Old 10-16-12, 06:22 AM   #7
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For just taking one bike I pop off both wheels and set it in the trunk. Easier to take off the rear wheel than bothering to fold the car seats and it keeps the bike totally hidden if I want to stop somewhere. Also have both rear and roof racks that I use mainly when driving Sag since that lets me take up to 4 other people and 5 bikes. I'd vote against a roof rack based on the number of stories I've heard from people who forgot about the bike when entering their garage or a low overhead drive-through.
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Old 10-16-12, 06:34 AM   #8
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I am firmly in the hitch rack camp. This is a fifty plus forum. It would be bad form to interrupt our riding for several months due to an injury futzing around trying to load a roof rack. Leave that to kids and kayakers.
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Old 10-16-12, 06:43 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by GeorgeBMac View Post
I originally tried removing the front wheel and putting the bike in my trunk -- but decided sliding it across the trunk was too rough on the bike.

So, I bought a single bike trunk mount Sarris carrier. I was not impressed: the straps and buckles were flimsy and the I the bike kept scratching the car. Plus, the straps kept loosening and I had to readjust them every ride.

When a fried started riding I got a Sarris 3 bike carrier from Sarris and I like it far better. The straps and buckles are far more robust and the bottom legs of the carrier rest on the bumber which makes the whole thing far more secure -- and I no longer have to keep adjusting the straps because they stay tight. Plus, when hauling just one bike, the bike is further from the car.

But, the 3 three bike carrier makes it hard to get the bike on the car -- especially because my main bike has the cables and brake line running under along the bottom of the top-tube. And, because of the thick supports and semi-flexible plastic straps, the cables keep getting cauught and pulled by the plastic straps.

So, the 3 bike carrier from Sarris is far better than the single (even if you are hauling only a single bike) -- but neither is a pancea. But, it's cheaper than a hitch mount.
That's interesting. I had a Yakima roof rack on my various cars for years. I kept it there for the once or twice per month I used it. I then bought a Sarris single rack and like it much better. After each use it takes less than a minute to take it off and store it in the trunk. Then putting it back on only take a wee bit longer than that. I put an old sock over the pedal facing the car trunk and use two bungee cords to keep the bike stable. So, I've no scratches on bike or car. While I wouldn't use it for long trips, for the kind of trip the OP is contemplating, it might be a good, inexpensive solution.
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Old 10-16-12, 07:21 AM   #10
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Hitch rack? It's a Corolla!! How many Corollas have a receiver? Just put a trunk rack on it and go. Easy, less expensive and you don't have the resale problems if someone doesn't want to see that receiver on the car they are buying.
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Old 10-16-12, 07:25 AM   #11
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The key thing about the Electra Townie and bike carrier racks is not its weight--although that's considerable--but the swoopy sloping top tube. It's not really going to work well on trunk racks, which are designed to hold the bike by the top tube. Or even hitch racks that hold it by the top tube. Yes, with adapter rails and futzing, it can be made to work, but life's too short.

You need a rack that holds it by the wheels. Given the gravity in Townies, hitch racks are your best bet. This past spring I bought a Yakima Holdup. Saris, Thule and others make essentially similar models. I was able to get a better deal on the Yakima.

There are cheaper models out there, but this type of rack seemed to be right for me. It's easy to use, folds up out of the way when the bikes are off, and of particular note, you can lock the rack to the car, and lock the bikes to the rack, which is handy when stopping to eat on the way, or on the way home.
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Old 10-16-12, 07:31 AM   #12
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Now if you are talking about support by the wheels, that is another story but then you have the added expense of getting a receiver put on the car and like I said the ultimate resale problem of such, unless you take it off before resale.
Might be easier and cheaper to sell the bike and get another with a "normal" top tube.
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Old 10-16-12, 07:36 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by bigbadwullf View Post
Hitch rack? It's a Corolla!! How many Corollas have a receiver? Just put a trunk rack on it and go. Easy, less expensive and you don't have the resale problems if someone doesn't want to see that receiver on the car they are buying.
I have a receiver on my 01 Civic
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Rule #25// The bikes on top of your car should be worth more than the car
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Old 10-16-12, 07:37 AM   #14
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I added a hitch to my car a year or so ago. It was a little bit of expense to have the receiver added by my mechanic as well as the cost of the hitch itself. I have been very happy with it and it is well worth the investment.
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Old 10-16-12, 07:41 AM   #15
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Thule makes an adapter for bikes where the top tube is at too much of an angle for proper use on a carrier--such as a women's BMX or an unusual frame(like the townie). I would contact Thule(other carrier brands may have something similar) and ask about using the adapter with a Townie.

http://www.thule.com/en-US/US/Produc...Frame-Adapter#


Here's a Google search of top tube frame adapters.

http://www.google.com/search?q=tube+...w=1377&bih=765
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Old 10-16-12, 07:51 AM   #16
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After using one of the trunk mounted racks for a couple years, I finally bit the bullet and had a receiver installed onto my Accord and I bought a Thule T2 tray rack. The tray folds down, you set the bikes on and they are secured by the wheels. Easy on, easy off. Nothing touches the bike frame, and there is no rubbing or scratching. My skinny tire road bike and my fat-tire full suspension mountain bikes fit equally well on the rack with no adapters. Built in locking cables to deter the casual thief while you take that quick bathroom break. Not cheap but completely worth the expense IMHO.
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Old 10-16-12, 08:28 AM   #17
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I use a Bell 2 bike trunk mount carrier. Besides my relatively level top bar bikes, it handles my wife's cruiser, and mountain bike, both of which have odd configurations of top tube, I just move them around so they fit.

I modified the carrier slightly by adding side straps for extra stability, and black neoprene pipe insulation (self sealing) for where the carrier can come in contact with the bike frame. Like one of the other posters, I just use a couple of bungees to keep the bike stable, and to stop the wheels spinning. If I have 2 bikes on there I use a cam buckle strap to anchor them both in place to the carrier, and with the side anchoring straps, the carrier doesn't move at all even when it's fully loaded with a couple of steel frame cruisers.
Takes me less than 5 minutes to get the carrier mounted and the bike on.

Last edited by fire; 10-16-12 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 10-16-12, 09:28 AM   #18
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That's interesting. I had a Yakima roof rack on my various cars for years. I kept it there for the once or twice per month I used it. I then bought a Sarris single rack and like it much better. After each use it takes less than a minute to take it off and store it in the trunk. Then putting it back on only take a wee bit longer than that. I put an old sock over the pedal facing the car trunk and use two bungee cords to keep the bike stable. So, I've no scratches on bike or car. While I wouldn't use it for long trips, for the kind of trip the OP is contemplating, it might be a good, inexpensive solution.
I very much agree -- it is a good, inexpensive solution for short trips. (and It too used 2 bungee cords to stabiize the bike at the front and rear.

But, unlike you, I left mine on the car and that meant I had to keep re-tightening the straps. The same carrier in a 3 bike style turned out to be much more stable. And, although 99% of my riding is local, I still end up getting on highways and interstates -- so i appreciate the extra strength and stability of the 3 bike rack even though I am only using it for 1 bike.
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Old 10-16-12, 09:35 AM   #19
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The key thing about the Electra Townie and bike carrier racks is not its weight--although that's considerable--but the swoopy sloping top tube. It's not really going to work well on trunk racks, which are designed to hold the bike by the top tube. Or even hitch racks that hold it by the top tube. Yes, with adapter rails and futzing, it can be made to work, but life's too short.

You need a rack that holds it by the wheels. Given the gravity in Townies, hitch racks are your best bet. This past spring I bought a Yakima Holdup. Saris, Thule and others make essentially similar models. I was able to get a better deal on the Yakima.

There are cheaper models out there, but this type of rack seemed to be right for me. It's easy to use, folds up out of the way when the bikes are off, and of particular note, you can lock the rack to the car, and lock the bikes to the rack, which is handy when stopping to eat on the way, or on the way home.
The manager of my LBS -- who is quite experienced and knowledgeable -- very much agrees with you and, in fact, that is what he himself uses.

BTW though, I lock my bike on my car even though I only have a Saris trunk rack. I use a 6foot cable lock and under the car bumber is a ring that I thread it through and then up through the frame of the bike. It's not long enough to secure the wheels, but I only use it for short stops in a store or in other public, well travelled areas... But, it does mean that I can stop on the way home from a ride and even run a few errands without worrying about the bike being stolen.
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Old 10-16-12, 09:42 AM   #20
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Another option is to put an old blanket or tarp on the back seat and put the bike there, on the floor, with the front wheel removed. Load it rear wheel-first from the driver's side. With some care, everything stays clean. Works for me.

I've gotten away from racks now because I drive a Prius and like to keep the aerodynamics intact. A receiver hitch on a four-cylinder passenger car just rubs me the wrong way, though I did consider it for the Prius. If I were going to load a bike frequently (I don't), that's probably what I'd end up doing.
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Old 10-16-12, 01:54 PM   #21
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Why not just ride it to where you want to go?
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