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  1. #1
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Car Top Carrier - Request for Opinion

    The situation: I have an event this summer I'll need to drive to, about 30 miles, and maybe an occasional shorter drive to a ride. Currently I have never transported a bike prior to any ride, so I'll just need something temporary for occasional use. As you may know I have a fairing on my bike so a rear carrier is out. The fairing adds only about 10-12 pounds but it's high center of gravity, and aero enough that highway speeds shouldn't be a problem but crosswinds might be.

    I was considering this combination from Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/Highland-20052.../dp/B00002N9G1
    http://www.amazon.com/Aluminum-Uprig.../dp/B003WHT9BO

    What do you think? Would it be sufficient or would I risking dumping my bike on the highway? Worst case I can disassemble the fairing and carry it separately but I'd prefer not to.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mountain Mitch's Avatar
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    I use a Thule roof top rack which looks very similar and I have never had a problem. Key points are, how high is your car? It can be a real chore to get the bike up on a big SUV. And how well does the rack fit it? Most racks won't lose the bike, but some lose the car.

  3. #3
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Would help to know what type of vehicle you drive.
    Pickup truck? Van? Sedan?
    Surprised many folks when we hauled our tandem out of our Honda hatchback at a tandem rally!
    Sure, took off the pedals, wheels . . . but it fit.
    A little ingenuity and the 'impossible' becomes possible!

  4. #4
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Mitch View Post
    Key points are, how high is your car? It can be a real chore to get the bike up on a big SUV.
    Another key point is how good is your back? Lifting that much awkwardly balanced weight, that high, unassisted, can be a big problem; or lead to it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    If you're going to transport the bike with the fairing on, the ONLY good choice is to transport it inside a vehicle. Do yourself and your fairing a favor, and remove it for transport of anything over a few miles at non-highway speeds.

  6. #6
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    Would help to know what type of vehicle you drive.
    Pickup truck? Van? Sedan?
    Surprised many folks when we hauled our tandem out of our Honda hatchback at a tandem rally!
    Sure, took off the pedals, wheels . . . but it fit.
    A little ingenuity and the 'impossible' becomes possible!
    Dodge Stratus.

    The weight, getting it up and down, shouldn't be a problem.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    Four touring bikes on our Toyota Matrix. These are Yakima racks and fairing. I have the same setup on my pickup truck's canopy. I just carry a little step stool in the truck so I can reach everything. I usually only haul 2 bikes, but our daughters were going on this trip with us. I like the fork mount model, but it does create a problem of what to do with the fronts wheels. We've hauled our bikes thousands of miles like this with nothing more serious than having to clean a few squashed bugs off of them.

    However, gas mileages does go down a little.

    Last edited by Doug64; 03-24-13 at 08:10 PM.

  8. #8
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

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    Senior Member woodcraft's Avatar
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    Pic of the bike?

  10. #10
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    Senior Member VNA's Avatar
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    Mileage will be down and the noise is too much on long drive!

  11. #11
    Senior Member oldbobcat's Avatar
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    As a guy who once transported team bikes on top of a VW bus using a rack made from gutter posts, two 2x3s, and a few old inner tubes, I vote in favor of the rails and posts shown, but the bike rack looks a little manky.

    Instead, I recommend a fork-mount carrier by Thule, Yakima, or Rockymounts, and, if you like, front wheel carriers.

  12. #12
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    The rails and most of them are good although some of them do not have a good fixing to the car. They won't fall off but could damage the fixing points on the car. I used to work for a Vauxhall (GM) dealer and The Vauxhall accessory rails were made to fit the car- were well made and surprisingly- they were at a competitive price,

    The bike fixing though and this is where cheap ones may not be the best even for occasional use. You have an unusual bike and I don't know if you can use the Fork mounted carrier but they do secure the bike better.
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  13. #13
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    Most responders are missing the most important detail here. OP has a fairing on his bike.

    That fairing was constructed to withstand bicycle speeds, not highway speeds. That roof top rack will be fine for the naked bike, but the fairing needs to be inside the car.

    A pic of the bike with fairing would be useful.

  14. #14
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Here's a youtube that someone else took of me on the bike: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akTv5ZwTBSM

    The fairing should be OK for highway speeds. I don't know surdy those mounts are for sidewinds however.

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    A picture is worth a thousand words.I wouldn't place that bike with fairing on any roof top carrier.Looks cool I'd like to try it.What about one of those rear mount platform carriers

  16. #16
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shamrock View Post
    A picture is worth a thousand words.I wouldn't place that bike with fairing on any roof top carrier.Looks cool I'd like to try it.What about one of those rear mount platform carriers
    That's an idea. I'd forgotten that there's not that much wind on the rear mounts, or so I'm told. I'll probably need a trailer hitch for those, right?

  17. #17
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldbobcat View Post
    As a guy who once transported team bikes on top of a VW bus using a rack made from gutter posts, two 2x3s, and a few old inner tubes, I vote in favor of the rails and posts shown, but the bike rack looks a little manky.

    Instead, I recommend a fork-mount carrier by Thule, Yakima, or Rockymounts, and, if you like, front wheel carriers.
    Is a fork mount appropriate for a carbon front fork?

    edit: I'm kind of interested in the gutter post/2x3 mount also. Did you use the gutter post as a rail for the wheels and clamp above it with the boards? Clamp on the wheels? Or as a wide support from the rails to the frame, clamped to the top tube and spread both ways at the bottom?
    Last edited by wphamilton; 03-25-13 at 07:37 AM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    I agree with Shamrock. I'd not place that on any roof top carrier. Just out of curiosity, how is the fairing attached? Can it be easily removed and reinstalled? I ask, because I'm not a fan of racks the rely on hooks and straps. Hence, a roof rack has always been my preference, and given I don't park my car in a garage, I'm not worried about forgetting a bike is up top.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  19. #19
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    Is a fork mount appropriate for a carbon front fork?
    Yes, you can mount carbon forks. If it has carbon dropouts, you just need to keep the torque under 40 foot lbs.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  20. #20
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    I agree with Shamrock. I'd not place that on any roof top carrier. Just out of curiosity, how is the fairing attached? Can it be easily removed and reinstalled? I ask, because I'm not a fan of racks the rely on hooks and straps. Hence, a roof rack has always been my preference, and given I don't park my car in a garage, I'm not worried about forgetting a bike is up top.
    The rear is one piece that hooks over a tail cargo rack and ties down to the stays. The front has one aluminum strut which hooks under the top tube and over the headset which has about an inch extra steering tube to hold to, and the front and sides are stiffened by the plastic shield curving up from the down tube, which is just tied on at the down tube. So it's not difficult to remove but inconvenient, and possibly needing further deconstruction to fit it in the back seat of my Stratus. One thing to bear in mind is that it really is aero and doesn't catch that much wind from the front - I don't feel any turbulence at 40 but I haven't tried it at higher speeds. It might be a good way to find out, using a roof mount.

    edit: thinking about this, I can use the fork mount only if I remove the fairing for sure because the wind angle will change.
    Last edited by wphamilton; 03-25-13 at 08:26 AM.

  21. #21
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    Cool fairing!

    +1 on not mounting that on a roof. The better ones are very secure, but with the kind of torques that could be generated from crosswinds ... I dunno ... I would not attempt it.
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  22. #22
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
    Cool fairing!

    +1 on not mounting that on a roof. The better ones are very secure, but with the kind of torques that could be generated from crosswinds ... I dunno ... I would not attempt it.
    LOL, I guess that makes it unanimous! Since I have a couple of months I think I'll get the rails first and see how they do, and maybe first attempt a DIY rack like OBC mentioned with a regular bike, and go from there to see if I need something less flimsy than the amazon rack. Thanks for the advice.

    ps, anyone try just laying a bike on its side and strapping it down? I'm not really concerned about scratching the paint on it.
    Last edited by wphamilton; 03-25-13 at 09:27 AM.

  23. #23
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    Every time I've looked into a Thule or Yakima roof rack I've felt like trying to figure out how to configure all the pieces is something akin to trying to build a nuclear power plant in the garage. OK maybe it's not that bad but it is a PITA.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Steve Sawyer's Avatar
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    One thing to consider is that even if the FAIRING survives the highway speeds and crosswinds, even a good roof rack might have a problem.

    Made the stupid mistake of driving into the garage forgetting the bike was on the roof in a fork-mount Yakima rack (I meant to go riding after work but 30+ MPH gusts made me change my mind). Didn't do any damage to the bike or rack, but ripped the rack right off the top of the car and did some cosmetic (though probably expensive to repair) damage. From this I came to the conclusion that the weak link is the attachment to the car.

    This was reinforced when the wife & I went on vacation last summer, and to save interior space (I drive a dinky little Fiesta) I got those racks that mount the wheels to the crossbars. I'd been driving around with this rack all summer, but after 4 hours in the slipstream the additional drag from the wheel mounts slid the rack back about 8", and actually loosened the mounts as they'd been slid to a narrower part of the roof! Unfortunately I didn't have the keys to the tower mounts with me, and had to pick up some cargo straps to make sure the rack didn't come off. Needless to say, the wheels rode back home inside the car.

    Bottom line is that I'd be seriously concerned about the forces on the roof rack (of whatever kind) from that fairing.

  25. #25
    Senior Member woodcraft's Avatar
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    Laying the bike on a basket carrier should work OK, but any padding -blankets, etc- would tend to flap and shift.

    I had a Yakima fork mount carrier that mounts to factory crossbars, and found the mounting and fork clamping mechanisms frustrating and stupid.

    I swapped out for INNO. Works better, looks better, cheaper, and locks. http://www.innoracks.com/details/ina381/

    Also, I once saw a front drop out separate from the fork when the bike was on a fork mount carrier during a trip down a bad dirt road.

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