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Old 04-30-06, 09:15 PM   #1
ccrnnr9
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Car for transporting all my cycling gear

I am a college student who has recently gotten into cycling (road) competitively. I currently drive a 1996 Mazda Miata that is in good condition. The problem is that as much as I love the car, I have trouble fitting all of my gear in the car. I was wondering what those of you who ride a lot and use your car to travel long distances to races drive? I am a college student so it would have to be something I can buy for under 4000$, gets good gas mileage, and that I can find with relatively low miles. Any help is appreciated.
~Nick
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Old 04-30-06, 09:45 PM   #2
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i was going to suggest a roof rack for the car, but re-read it and noted you have a miata. so scratch that. you could just get a trunk rack for your bike. Your other stuff could fit in the trunk and the inside of the car maybe?

Otherwise look for like a used civic hatchback and put roof rack on it.
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Old 04-30-06, 11:12 PM   #3
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I managed to fit all my cycling gear in to toyota corolla (bike was outside on a rack), and in to firebird (with bike inside). Just how much crap do you have?
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Old 05-01-06, 09:00 AM   #4
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The main problem is that the trunk is just barely too small to fit my wheels. I end up having to put the wheels on the luggage rack behind the driver's seat and with those there the seat has to be moved up significantly. I would like to have something where I can put all my cycling gear in and still be able to take a passenger with me. Maybe I am being ideal. I may just have to figure out better ways to pack. Do any of you worry about putting your bike on a rack? I have a nice trunk rack but it always seems to me that it puts the bike in a position to easily get hit by rocks and such.
~Nick
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Old 05-01-06, 09:12 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ccrnnr9
The main problem is that the trunk is just barely too small to fit my wheels. I end up having to put the wheels on the luggage rack behind the driver's seat and with those there the seat has to be moved up significantly. I would like to have something where I can put all my cycling gear in and still be able to take a passenger with me. Maybe I am being ideal. I may just have to figure out better ways to pack. Do any of you worry about putting your bike on a rack? I have a nice trunk rack but it always seems to me that it puts the bike in a position to easily get hit by rocks and such.
~Nick
Couldn't you go and have a trailer hitch welded on and then use a hitch rack? I am sure the people doing the hitch work will think you are nuts, but the hitch racks are sturdy and you will have the interior and trunk much more empty.

And it sure would be cheaper than another car.
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Old 05-01-06, 09:43 AM   #6
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If you shop carefully there are small folding utility trailers that can carry
all your cycling gear with ease. Since they are small your car can easily
pull a small trailer / cycle set up. My guess on price is 1k or less total.

To me this is a win-win for you due to the cost savings alone. You keep the
car you like so well while still being able to transport as much cycle gear as
you might need with new found ease (a lot easier than stuffing your car with
cycle stuff, mate). Then there is the bonus that once set up the trailer can
be used for a long time no matter what car (or minivan when married) you
have. It can also be used to move you after school is done.

Like I said.....
For you a win-win.
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Old 05-01-06, 11:05 AM   #7
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As far as trailer hitches, are you guys kidding? I just don't think thats a practical idea. I'm pretty sure Miatas were not meant to be driven with trailers, hence you will need a custom installation and possibly upgraded suspension if you plan on hauling anything that weighs more than 50 pounds. You will also need a trailer wiring harness installed just to be legal if you ever attach a trailer. Add in a $1000 trailer and I think you might as well be buying a new(used) car. The hitch rack idea could work but why bother?? Buy a trunk rack instead.

If you want another car, just buy a cheap 4 door sedan or spacious coupe made in the mid to late 90's. Most anything in that range from the big three or Honda, Toyota, VW, etc will come in under 4 grand. In fact alot of nice ones will easily come in under 3 grand. I'm not sure what Miatas sell for, but you could probably break even or better than even if you sold it.

Most cheap sedans get pretty good gas mileage (30+ mpg highway). Most have a lot of room in the back seat and in the trunk (more than a Miata anyway). THere are a lot of vehicles that will work, you just have to go looking.
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Old 05-01-06, 11:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TYB069
As far as trailer hitches, are you guys kidding? I just don't think thats a practical idea. I'm pretty sure Miatas were not meant to be driven with trailers, hence you will need a custom installation and possibly upgraded suspension if you plan on hauling anything that weighs more than 50 pounds. You will also need a trailer wiring harness installed just to be legal if you ever attach a trailer. Add in a $1000 trailer and I think you might as well be buying a new(used) car. The hitch rack idea could work but why bother?? Buy a trunk rack instead.

If you want another car, just buy a cheap 4 door sedan or spacious coupe made in the mid to late 90's. Most anything in that range from the big three or Honda, Toyota, VW, etc will come in under 4 grand. In fact alot of nice ones will easily come in under 3 grand. I'm not sure what Miatas sell for, but you could probably break even or better than even if you sold it.

Most cheap sedans get pretty good gas mileage (30+ mpg highway). Most have a lot of room in the back seat and in the trunk (more than a Miata anyway). THere are a lot of vehicles that will work, you just have to go looking.
Impractical??? Not as impractical as the cost of owning ANOTHER vehicle.

As to trailers for this job here are some light duty trailers that could do the job nicely for way less than
the 1k I mentioned. Just take your pick. Hitches can be bought /installed at any U-haul store.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...nd=Haul-Master

U-Haul brand hitch for the Mazda.......
Hitch for a 1996 Mazda Miata

Hitch# 247262
Type/ Sportframe 1 1/4 inch Rec
Class/ 1
Max weight/2000 #
Finish/ Black
Price $199.95 (on line)

Last edited by Nightshade; 05-01-06 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 05-01-06, 11:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccrnnr9
I am a college student so it would have to be something I can buy for under 4000$, gets good gas mileage, and that I can find with relatively low miles. Any help is appreciated.
~Nick
Nick,

Wanna trade for my 1996 Ford Taurus, with 147,000 miles? Still gets 22-24 mpg on the road and can carry lots of stuff. Even-steven for that 1995 Miyata. Cost you nothing but getting rid of that undersized, totally useless car of yours. What a deal!
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Old 05-01-06, 11:55 AM   #10
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I had a 96 Acura Integra that was perfect. I could fit my bike in the hatchback and never needed a rack. The only problem is that it's a thief magnet for wannabe ricers.
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Old 05-01-06, 11:58 AM   #11
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Easy answer, if you don't mind the looks of it: station wagon.

Seriously....roughly the cargo capacity of an SUV, lower to the ground (thus more stable), some get around 30+mpg. They just look ugly as heck.

I used to use a station wagon through high school...it looked like something my grandparents would drive, but it got about 24mpg highway (5.0L V8, wasn't bad since gas was about 94c a gallon back then), and had more than enough power to haul my friend's racecar to the track on the weekends, and was roomy enough inside for the entire group of us to pull off a rather awesome roadtrip later on
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Old 05-01-06, 12:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad
Impractical??? Not at impractical as the cost of owning ANOTHER vehicle.

As to trailers for this job here are some light duty trailers that could do the job nicely for way less than
the 1k I mentioned. Just take your pick. Hitches can be bought /installed at any U-haul store.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...nd=Haul-Master

U-Haul brand hitch for the Mazda.......
Hitch for a 1996 Mazda Miata

Hitch# 247262
Type/ Sportframe 1 1/4 inch Rec
Class/ 1
Max weight/2000 #
Finish/ Black
Price $199.95 (on line)
I'm still not convinced. So we are looking at $250 for the trailer and another $200 for the hitch. So thats $450. Not too bad.

Okay, now the Blue book of a miata is roughly $4000. The blue book of a 1996 Pontiac Grand Am (picked randomly) is somewhere in the neighborhood of $2500. I see a profit of roughly $1500.

If the Miata is not to be sold, then things get stickier. Now we are looking at $2500 vs $450. I guess you win that argument. But get a quote for installation and a trailer and I doubt you'll come close to $450 for everything. I am of the believe that if it was, say, $1500 for the trailer and installation vs $2500 for the car, might as well get the car. Then you have two cars. If one breaks down, you have a spare. If it is raining you have a hard top so you don't get wet in the Miata. If you need to haul a keg or get something big like a TV, you can put it in the trunk and not have to deal with towing a trailer through a city and parking lot (I don't know about you, but I really hate parallel parking with a trailer). I guess, I just don't see putting a trailer on a Miata.

Maybe the best idea is a $125 trunk rack.
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Old 05-01-06, 12:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TYB069
I'm still not convinced. So we are looking at $250 for the trailer and another $200 for the hitch. So thats $450. Not too bad.

Okay, now the Blue book of a miata is roughly $4000. The blue book of a 1996 Pontiac Grand Am (picked randomly) is somewhere in the neighborhood of $2500. I see a profit of roughly $1500.

If the Miata is not to be sold, then things get stickier. Now we are looking at $2500 vs $450. I guess you win that argument. But get a quote for installation and a trailer and I doubt you'll come close to $450 for everything. I am of the believe that if it was, say, $1500 for the trailer and installation vs $2500 for the car, might as well get the car. Then you have two cars. If one breaks down, you have a spare. If it is raining you have a hard top so you don't get wet in the Miata. If you need to haul a keg or get something big like a TV, you can put it in the trunk and not have to deal with towing a trailer through a city and parking lot (I don't know about you, but I really hate parallel parking with a trailer). I guess, I just don't see putting a trailer on a Miata.

Maybe the best idea is a $125 trunk rack.
Boy!! You're sure working hard to cost this student some bucks. Sure, a rack may be cheaper. So
will a trailer compared to another car. However, what say we let this young fella make up his own
mind on what's best for him based on the info "we've" offered. You're no more right than I am
in this case. What's "right" is his choice.
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Old 05-01-06, 12:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad
Boy!! You're sure working hard to cost this student some bucks. Sure, a rack may be cheaper. So
will a trailer compared to another car. However, what say we let this young fella make up his own
mind on what's best for him based on the info "we've" offered. You're no more right than I am
in this case. What's "right" is his choice.
Agreed.
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Old 05-01-06, 02:29 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccrnnr9
I am a college student who has recently gotten into cycling (road) competitively. I currently drive a 1996 Mazda Miata that is in good condition. The problem is that as much as I love the car, I have trouble fitting all of my gear in the car. I was wondering what those of you who ride a lot and use your car to travel long distances to races drive? I am a college student so it would have to be something I can buy for under 4000$, gets good gas mileage, and that I can find with relatively low miles. Any help is appreciated.
~Nick
Honda or Toyota hatchback. I bought a used Toyota Starlet and drove it for 13 years then bought a Honda Civic. Drove that for 8 years. Just paid off my 2003 Element, looking forward to driving it many more years. Bikes just roll right into the back or I put them on the hitch rack and pile all my camping stuff inside.
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Old 05-01-06, 02:29 PM   #16
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get a hidden hitch. people install them on sport compacts all the time. check you're owners manual, even compacts are rated to tow at least one of those small u-haul trailers. the hitch mounted rack is a good idea.

but seriously, if i can ride my bike to an event with just a mess bag and myself, you can fit your crap in a miata with a back rack of sorts. if you're worried about rock chips, well, don't ride the bike period.
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Old 05-01-06, 06:58 PM   #17
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I have a '95 Honda Odyssey I bought for $2500. It runs perfectly, and gets 28-34 mpg. It also holds my road bike inside, with the help of a homemade rack (2 x 4 and a fork block) and hauls all of my gear inside. it also holds all of my wife's stuff, inside, and all of my kids' stuff, inisde.

Yes, it is a bit plain looking, almost ugly. It's more station wagon like, as it had 4 doors like a sedan. All the first generation Odysseys are overbuilt Accords and share drivetrain parts with them. The thrid row folds flat into the floor, and the second row can be removed easily. It's big enough, with the 2nd row removed and third row folded flat, to roll out a mat and sleep in one in a pinch, inside.
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Old 05-01-06, 08:38 PM   #18
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Quote:
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As far as trailer hitches, are you guys kidding? . . .
very economical if he doesn't pull a trailer--he uses the hitch to carry his bikes.
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Old 05-02-06, 07:44 AM   #19
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I imagine these will be dirt cheap on the used market real soon!
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Old 05-02-06, 08:07 AM   #20
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I pulled the rear seat out of my Crown Victoria. Gas milage sucks, but I can fit 2 bikes and a trunk load of gear.
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Old 05-02-06, 08:27 AM   #21
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A minvan is the way to go if you don't need to "compensate" .Two bikes easily go in with the wheels on. I carry a tandem in mine and at mudhole events like Pedros Fest I can camp in the back.
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Old 05-02-06, 12:17 PM   #22
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I imagine these will be dirt cheap on the used market real soon!

Nah, mate they'll all wind up as hotels for the homeless.
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Old 05-02-06, 12:22 PM   #23
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http://www.teammiata.com/mall/Miata_Hitch.asp

Here's your hitch link.
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Old 05-02-06, 02:00 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccrnnr9
I have trouble fitting all of my gear in the car. I was wondering what those of you who ride a lot and use your car to travel long distances to races drive? I am a college student so it would have to be something I can buy for under 4000$, gets good gas mileage, and that I can find with relatively low miles. Any help is appreciated.
Maybe this is what you are looking for?
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Old 05-02-06, 09:19 PM   #25
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Thanks for the replies guys. I already considered the trailer idea but I am not sure I like that idea. I do realize the car is capable of towing small amounts (I used to autocross and lots of guys did this with their MR2s and Miatas) but with 165,000 miles I don't know if its the wisest idea. I will still consider doing it. Other things I am looking at are older vans (i.e. dodge caravan) or station wagons/hatch backs. Other vehicles under consideration are:

Saab 9000
Volvo 850 wagon or sedan
Civic hatch or 4dr (although these are hard to find without having the hell beat out of them)
corolla
hyundai accent

I prefer a manual and something that is going to be cheap. Good gas mileage is a must. If it cant get 30mpg on the hwy it is probably out of consideration.
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