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  1. #1
    FOG
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    Roof racks for Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix

    I just bought this car made by the joint GM/Toyota venture, and mine came with a roof rack which only covers the rear half of the car. I have a box and some bike mounts I would like to put up top, but not have overhanging the rear and interfering with the hatch. Thule, Yakima and GM have been unable to help (the GM response was curt and insulting-something to the effect that we sell what we sell, don't ask for help with anything else). The car is a vibe- identical to the matrix except for badge and roof rack.

    Anyone have any thoughts on how to mount a rack and where to buy at a reasonable price-e.g. not more than the cost of a conventional thule rack for a non-rain-gutter car.

  2. #2
    Senior Member RacerX's Avatar
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    The only thing I can think of is to buy 2 gutterless mounts/ crossbar for the front half of the car and use the existing rack for the back half.

  3. #3
    Zippy Engineer Waldo's Avatar
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    Saris may have something for you, though I don't know for sure-a regular load bar front, then the Talon for the existing roof rack in the rear.

  4. #4
    FOG
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    I finally got a combo that should work. Yakima Q83 towers up front, and attachments to the factory rack in back

  5. #5
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    Sorry I am confused. You got a rack with your car? What are you using? I have a Vibe and I'm interested in getting a bike rack. I looked into the one that GM sells to mount on top, but I am worried that it may only work with the Vibe and then I will be screwed should I get a different car.

    What was your solution?
    I currently toss my bike in the back with the seats down. If I really want to work I take the front wheel off and lower the seat and it can be propped up right in the back.

  6. #6
    FOG
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    Originally posted by gigi
    Sorry I am confused. You got a rack with your car? What are you using? I have a Vibe and I'm interested in getting a bike rack. I looked into the one that GM sells to mount on top, but I am worried that it may only work with the Vibe and then I will be screwed should I get a different car.

    What was your solution?
    I currently toss my bike in the back with the seats down. If I really want to work I take the front wheel off and lower the seat and it can be propped up right in the back.
    My car came with a rack, but it only covers the rear half of the car (apparently so the same rack can work with or wiithout a sunroof). If I were to mount anything long on it, like a ski box or bicycle track, the item would be so long it would interfere with the antenna and the rear hatch. Thus I needed an aftermarket rack.

    There are racks listed for the Toyota Matrix, but they involve a pair of mounts where my rack now stands. What I had to do was find a way to mount the rear bar on my rack, and get freestanding towers in front, and rack attached bars in back. I didn't want to simply use the existing crossbars, because they are curved from side to side, and I couldnt use them well with a box or with bicycle tracks whcih need to be vertical.

    If you are interested in a good aftermarket rack, then go see Yakima's latest fitting guide, which may be on the web. Since the Vibe and Toyota Matrix are made in the same plant on the same line you can get a rack which fits ether and mount it to the other. If you get the Yakima system, you can move it to other vehicles, changing only the fit kit, and maybe not even that, and, if the vehicle is larger, getting longer cross bars. There are discount sources for Yakima on the web. www.rackwarehouse.com comes to mind. Yakima racks also have high resal value.

    If all you wanted to do was to transport bicycles, you could get by with a rear rack (I have the Rhode Gear Super Shuttle). Several good ones are out there, like Saris and Yakma (which took over Rhode Gear). You might also get a trailer hitch. There are inexpensive trailer hithces at www.e-trailer.com . then you could use a hitch mounted rack. Hitch mounted racks seem to be relatively trouble free.

    If you go with a roof mount, there are a lot of posts warning you to be careful of all sorts of things, like stress on the fork, protecting the frame against debirs and insects, and blowing the grease out of the headset bearings. I can tell you that the reason I got a roof box was that I got tired of having to retune my skis every time I got caught transporting them in rain or snow. There is a lot of crap on the road just waiting to attach itself to roof mounted cargo.

    I didn't know you could get a Vibe without a rack. It was not listed as an option on mine.

  7. #7
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Originally posted by FOG
    If you go with a roof mount, there are a lot of posts warning you to be careful of all sorts of things, like stress on the fork, protecting the frame against debirs and insects, and blowing the grease out of the headset bearings.
    I just put two VW roof racks, which have Thule fork clamps, on my Passat wagon. Interestingly, the manual strongly recommends running straps from the handlebars to the rack, presumably in response to the fork stress issue.

    I would think you could mount two bicycles facing backward on your Vibe. Assuming they are compatible with your factory rack, I would use a pair of Thule crossbars, spaced as far apart as possible. You would then cantilever the rear wheel well of each rack over your sunroof. (I plan to leave my sunroof open when transporting the bikes, as a reminder not to do something stupid.)
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  8. #8
    FOG
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    Originally posted by John E
    I would think you could mount two bicycles facing backward on your Vibe. Assuming they are compatible with your factory rack, I would use a pair of Thule crossbars, spaced as far apart as possible. You would then cantilever the rear wheel well of each rack over your sunroof. (I plan to leave my sunroof open when transporting the bikes, as a reminder not to do something stupid.)
    I don't have a sunroof, although the rack is set up so it would not interfere with one. I think the roof on the Vibe opens upward if you do have a sunroof. I sit way too tall to buy any car with a sunroof, so I will never have to worry about that.

    I think my solution is more likely to protect the cargo, as the carriers are less cantilevered. Besides that, my number one sport is skiing, and I really need the box to transport skis. The roof rack for the bikes is good, though, because it will let me carry a longer bike, such as a tandem or recumbent if I ever get going that way.

  9. #9
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    Whew! That's alot of info. But thanks. I think I will just stick to putting my bike in the back. The sunroof is the best part about my Vibe, so maybe I should just keep the roof free and clear. Besides I have enough to worry about without thinking about whats going on on top of my car. For now I think I will keeep my bike safe inside the car with me.

  10. #10
    MTB SNWBRD PDDL HIKE redrider1's Avatar
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    Old thread but I was looking for input.

    I thought anyone else might like to know I put three bikes (with just the right amount of handlebar interlocking karma) and a kayak on my new vibe for a vacation to the coast of Maine (Bradbury Mountain State Park is sweet riding but small for a long ride). Thule bars, Performance Xport fork mounts, and a lot of luck.

    I fit the kayak between 2 bikes, strapped it in, and even strapped the front wheels to the bikes since we had loads of camping gear in the car.

    To top it off, I got 25 MPG fully loaded, 3 people, 3 bikes, a kayak and the aforementioned loads of camping gear, with the AC running!!!! Love that Vibe.

    I'm looking at how to mount my Thule box for snowboard season. Maybe my old gutter mount for the front bar will work. If not I WILL figure something out, I always do.
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    Last edited by redrider1; 12-26-05 at 07:30 AM.

  11. #11
    Can't ride enough! Da Tinker's Avatar
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    I had a small receiver hitch installed on my Vibe ($125) and got a hitch rack. Save the roof for my cargo carrier. Moved elder son back from college with all his stuff loaded up, and the bike on the back.

    Also, I added brake lights to the hitch rack, to help the idiots out there notice it.
    Happiness begins with facing life with a smile & a wink.

  12. #12
    FOG
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    I had put a Thule Mountaineer box on when I first got the cross bars. It fit and worked very nicely. Unfortunately that box cracked after about six months, and REI was good enough to replace it with a yakima box. Unfortunately the yakima box is too long, and would interfere with the radio antenna, so I have the box mounted at a slight angle, so the front is closer to the centerline of the car than is the rear. This leads to many people making wild gestures to let me know that something is wrong with my box as I drive along. I attempted at one point to put a bike track on top alongside the box, but the holes in the two did not align, so I have at the moment no bike rack atop the car. FWIW, with the car full of people and luggage for a long trip, and camping gear in the top of the vehicle, performace was marginal at best, and I had to downshift the car (sometimes to third gear) almost as if I were pedaling a bike. This was especially true on I-25 in Colorado and New Mexico, attempting to maintain the 75 mph speed limit while climbing hills at altitude.

    I would also note that sicne the Vibe and matrix have been out a few years, both Thule and Yakima now have fit solutions for the vehicles.

  13. #13
    MTB SNWBRD PDDL HIKE redrider1's Avatar
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    "I would also note that sicne the Vibe and matrix have been out a few years, both Thule and Yakima now have fit solutions for the vehicles."

    Thule solutions mount to the factory rack only. Still a problem for mounting longer model boxes that can handle snowboards etc. Now that it has snowed and it's cold I am back to trying to get my box mounted. No luck yet.

    Redrider1

  14. #14
    FOG
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    Quote Originally Posted by redrider1
    "I would also note that sicne the Vibe and matrix have been out a few years, both Thule and Yakima now have fit solutions for the vehicles."

    Thule solutions mount to the factory rack only. Still a problem for mounting longer model boxes that can handle snowboards etc. Now that it has snowed and it's cold I am back to trying to get my box mounted. No luck yet.

    Redrider1
    The Yakima half rack in front is pretty good, and will work well with other brand boxes, especially Thule. In fact, I think the Thule box worked better than the Yakima.

  15. #15
    MTB SNWBRD PDDL HIKE redrider1's Avatar
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    I did it!

    To mount my thule box, I got an extra pair of the rear clamps that clamp the wheel tray of my fork mount bike racks to the thule bar. Then, I mounted them on the very end of the wheel trays of 2 bike racks positioned on the outboard sides of the thule bars. Note that the bike racks face backwards. Then took one of my bars from my truck's thule rack that I use for my kayaks and using the new pair of extra clamps, clamped the extra bar to the wheel trays. This resulted in this third bar being mounted to the bike racks and "floating" above the roof and not requiring attachment to the roof at all. Then I mounted the thule box to the new "front" bar and the rear bar, the middle bar is attached to the Vibe rack and the wheel tray. I moved the rear bar a bit forward for 2 reasons. First the box base slants upwards for the first few inches and mounting it as far back on the box as possible would lower the rear and raise the front of the box, not good for aerodynamics. And also this allows for completely eliminating interference with the hatch and antenna. This set up is remarkably stable although I wouldn't load up a lot of weight in the front! Three snowboards is no problem and that is my primary use for this box.

    I am going to try to add a photo but it seems my previous photos are no longer showing up when I go onto this forum so I am looking for an explanation why and what I could do to get the photos showing again.

    I hope this helps get more people's boxes up on their Vibe's. I am assuming that since this is a bike forum people already have the bike mounts.

    Good luck.
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    Last edited by redrider1; 12-18-05 at 12:35 PM.

  16. #16
    Feed me your soul! Jakey's Avatar
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    I know this is a really old thread but the GM accessory bars are identical to thule bars. I'm using thule fork down bike racks on my vibe...(facing backwards) ...
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  17. #17
    MTB SNWBRD PDDL HIKE redrider1's Avatar
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    Even better

    Using the longer Thule bar on the back leftover from the winter Thule box mount configuration (see above) I was able to mount the outside bike racks outside of the factory rack thus opening up enough space between the three bikes to squeeze 2 kayaks on for this year's vacation:
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  18. #18
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    Here is waht I did with my Vibe with factory racks

    Thule 4002xt Aero Foot Half Pack with the 2119 Fit Kit for the front
    Thule 4502 Crossroad Half Pack for the rear
    Two LB50 Load Bars
    Looks great and I can open the hatch

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