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Old 04-26-05, 03:06 PM   #1
liquideve
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Bike Rack Problems!

Just got my first bike rack, a trunk-mounted Bell Locking 3-Bike Rack. After a couple weekends of use I realized my rear bumper was scratched and/or paint scraped off in several areas... but it wasn't from the rack itself but actually from the inside-most bike on the rack! The inside pedal and front fork of the bike were actually scraping against the car as I drove. The design of the rack doesn't allow me to set the mounts further away from the car, they just slide down the bars towards the car.

I don't have enough experience with racks to determine if this is a problem with the rack itself, or if I'm mounting the bikes on the rack incorrectly. My car (Hyundai Elantra) does have a very small rear spoiler and the bottom foot of the rack is resting below the license plate instead of directly on it, but to my (untrained) eye it doesn't seem like that's the source of the problem.

Anyone who knows what I'm doing wrong or can suggest a jury-rigging that might work, I would appreciate it. I'm also wondering if some of the higher-end racks would prevent this from happening. The Saris Bones was out of my price range originally, but I might be able to swing it if I knew it would keep my bumper in one piece!
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Old 04-27-05, 07:36 AM   #2
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The higher priced racks have individual cradles for the bike's top tube to rest in. This prevents them from sliding around and causing damage to your car and the bikes.
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Old 04-27-05, 08:33 AM   #3
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The Bell rack does have cradles (which I referred to in the original post as "mounts") but they are not fused to the arms of the rack but are instead rubber "sleeves" around the bar with rubber cradles on top. Going <20 mph they stay in place, but at higher speeds, with braking, they slide down toward the car. Seems like that might be a problem!

It seems like this might simply be a problem that the rack does not hold the bikes far enough away from the car. Can anyone with a really GOOD rack (Saris Bones etc.) comment on that?
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Old 04-27-05, 09:07 AM   #4
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Maybe you can just put a thick sock over the close pedal? It would probably still put a dull spot on the finish though.
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Old 04-27-05, 11:15 AM   #5
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Sounds like a design issue based on the pricepoint of the rack. The better racks have the cradles attached to the arms so they can't slide down.
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Old 04-27-05, 12:53 PM   #6
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I use foam pipe insulation on bike parts that will potentially rub my car or another bike. It stays on so well that sometimes I get 20 miles into a ride before I notice I forgot to remove a piece.
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Old 04-27-05, 01:26 PM   #7
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How about taking some electrical tape and covering up the part that rubs against the rack?

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Old 04-27-05, 01:35 PM   #8
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That sounds like the same rack I had.
Here's what happened to it:

Losing a bike at 70mph

Enjoy
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Old 04-27-05, 01:54 PM   #9
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You could always wrap your pedals etc in bubble wrap.
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Old 05-01-05, 12:37 PM   #10
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Thanks all. Sounds like for the time being I'll be heavily padding the inside bike and making do. I did rearrange the rack, which has a weird support bar - originally I tried using it and the configuration was very odd, the arms of the rack actually angled DOWNward (not a good idea, I thought) but now it seems to be a bit better. I'll give it a shot today, but not without padding just in case!

In the long term, however, I'm grateful to report I was able to find a Saris Bones 3-rack for the same price I paid for the stupid Bell one ($80) and will be returning the Bell. Nobody seems to have any problems with the Saris, so hopefully that'll solve the problem.

Thanks a lot for all your help!
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Old 05-01-05, 01:03 PM   #11
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If you can return the rack great if not try this. Get the bike on it so it is clear of the car. Put something on the rack bars that the cradle slides on to act as a stop to halt the movement of the cradle. Maybe some zip ties or wrapping the tube with duct or electrical tape, possibly a worm screw clamp. The old socks rags etc to cover parts that hit works but is a PITA. When I had a trunk rack I also noticed the bikes moved around back there pretty good at 70MPH but never caused any trouble.
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