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  1. #1
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    Please help how to properly install bike rack for car?

    If this is in the wrong forum- my apologies. I tried to choose the one that applied the most.

    Hello- I am not a cyclist. I am just a dad who wants to take his family bike riding. My kids love it.

    We have been trying to acquire bikes and the necessary equipment to take them riding on local bike trails.

    We just bought a used Bell bike rack. The instructions were not included. I do not know the model number and have had no success finding anything online. I do not want to drive down the road until i can feel that it is properly secured.

    I installed as i imagined it should go. It seems very unstable. I was wondering if anyone had any ideas, or suggestions. Below are some pictures and one short video of what happens when i move it. The top cushioned bar seems to pull away from the vehicle due to the weight. Should it do that? Will the straps loosen while driving? How do you get the straps tight enough?


    Here is an 8 second video of what happens when i move the rack a little with no bikes on it.



    The top straps attached to the top. The side to the side and the bottom to the bottom. I crossed the bottom straps in an attempt to stabilize. (All the straps are marked.)

    The person who sold us this said that it would work on a wagon. (They also said that it would hold 4 bikes and i just don't see it, so i wonder...)

    Please don't make fun of our cheap bikes! We just want to have a good time with our kids before school starts. Thank you very much for any help!!!

  2. #2
    lost in the ozone
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    That rack sold ( still sells?) through Walmart . it is more or less designed to fit on a sedan with a lower deck that a wagon. On your car it is hanging too far off the rear with the upper support too low to be stable. and it is a three bike carrier IIRC



    http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...Specifications



    Oh BTW ......Ha! Ha! you are driving a Taurus!
    Last edited by Hartmann; 08-02-07 at 07:40 PM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hartmann View Post
    That rack sold ( still sells?) through Walmart . it is more or less designed to fit on a sedan with a lower deck that a wagon. On your car it is hanging too far off the rear with the upper support too low to be stable. and it is a two bike carrier

    http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...Specifications

    Oh BTW ......Ha! Ha! you are driving a Taurus!
    Thank you for your post!

    Dont get me started. I hate that car. It was a gift for my wife. They thought it was a great car because it had low miles and was cheap. It was cheap because it was a Taurus. Nothing but trouble.

    Anyway- that similar rack at Walmart says "Suitable to fit all car styles"

    Is there no way to get this to work with this car?

  4. #4
    lost in the ozone
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    I have never used a rack on a wagon before, A quick search came up with Swagman racks which sells a similar rack to yours. Here is the instructions:

    http://swagman.net/80200%20MR%20Insts.pdf




    note the high mounting position of the rack on a stationwagon. I am guessing they do that so that the straps are shorter resulting in less movement of the rack

  5. #5
    cab horn
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    This is the best question thread i've seen so far. Replete with information. This forum needs more people like you.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    This is the best question thread i've seen so far. Replete with information. This forum needs more people like you.
    Thank you. I hate it on other forums where people post a question but give you no information.

    This is a real bummer though. I wanted to take my kids riding tomorrow.

  7. #7
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Put it higher on the window, just don't put the lower section of the rack on the window. I had a similar rack with an identical Mercury Sable wagon, until the engine tossed the main bearing out.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
    Put it higher on the window, just don't put the lower section of the rack on the window. I had a similar rack with an identical Mercury Sable wagon, until the engine tossed the main bearing out.
    Thank you! I wasn't sure how it went on at all. I will try again tomorrow.

  9. #9
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    Or, you could remove the wheels & stick the bikes IN the car?

    I agree with DieselDan, though... that should work for you.
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by apclassic9 View Post
    Or, you could remove the wheels & stick the bikes IN the car?

    I agree with DieselDan, though... that should work for you.
    Well i stuck it up a bit higher and so far it looks much more stable. Although i havent loaded any bikes on it yet.

    We already have another smaller bike in the back of the car.

    I know we have bikes that aren't very valuable. But i do wonder how often these things get stolen. (Bike rack and all.) It is easily removable without a key or anything. My theory is that people steal because they can. My wife said "who would want our dumpy bikes?" I don't think anyone would take because they needed to, just because it is there and that is what people do.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Pedal Wench's Avatar
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    You can use a cable lock that might provide a slight theft deterrant - just lock all the bikes together, so they're harder to move.

  12. #12
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    We use top of car mounts without locks, but when we're going places where people actually live (as opposed to a bike race), the wheels & seat posts come off & the bikes go into the Outback (which we affectionately call Alberto).
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  13. #13
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    For one thing I believe you need to have it opened up more and the top of the rack needs to be up towards the top of your glass. I know you don't have a Yakima rack but I'm giving you a link to their sit. Just click on Instructions. I have the Yakima and use it on a Subaru Forester. The top bar is up near the top of my back glass and the bottom of the rack is at license plate level.

    I hope this helps a bit. http://www.yakima.com/Product.aspx?id=107#

    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedal Wench View Post
    You can use a cable lock that might provide a slight theft deterrant - just lock all the bikes together, so they're harder to move.
    Thank you. That is a good idea. I could even wrap it around the bike rack too. Thanks!

  15. #15
    Amateur Hack
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    Quote Originally Posted by spencejm View Post
    For one thing I believe you need to have it opened up more
    this is the key. There should be buttons or nuts or something at the joints that you can loosen so you can open the rack up a little wider (top to bottom). That will make it much more stable.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by spencejm View Post
    For one thing I believe you need to have it opened up more and the top of the rack needs to be up towards the top of your glass. I know you don't have a Yakima rack but I'm giving you a link to their sit. Just click on Instructions. I have the Yakima and use it on a Subaru Forester. The top bar is up near the top of my back glass and the bottom of the rack is at license plate level.

    I hope this helps a bit. http://www.yakima.com/Product.aspx?id=107#

    Joe
    I thought the same thing. That is as far as it opens.

  17. #17
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Just remember to retighten the lower straps after you load the bikes.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  18. #18
    Very Senior Member MikeR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen2 View Post
    We just bought a used Bell bike rack. The instructions were not included. I do not know the model number and have had no success finding anything online.
    I have 2 of the sam racks. It's hard to tell but it looks like you have the top straps way too long. I have a wagon like yours and the rack works fine with it. If you want I'll teka some pictures of my rack tomorrow.

    Meanwhile I'll check out your pictures and see what else I can learn.

    EDIT:
    OK I looked at the pictures better. Your rack is similar but not the same. Mine has 3 legs and they open up wider than that. I think that your model will not handle a hatchback (like the other posters said).
    I would not carry bike on that car with that rack.
    Last edited by MikeR; 08-04-07 at 03:57 AM.
    It's better to cycle through life than to drive by it.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
    Put it higher on the window, just don't put the lower section of the rack on the window. I had a similar rack with an identical Mercury Sable wagon, until the engine tossed the main bearing out.
    Thank you DieselDan (and others)!

    I set it much higher on the car where the top bar rested on the window. I tightened the straps and loaded the bikes. Then i re-tightened the straps by flexing the rack and pulling on the straps. I was actually surprised at how tight it held it.

    We traveled about 20 miles one way and both trips had zero problems. The bikes never once seemed to move. (I was afraid i would see a violent rocking and then my cheap-o bike bouncing down the road. )

    I wouldn't want to move them very far like this. I hate seeing all that weight on those small cloth straps. If there were 3 or more i would feel better. But with all the weight on 2 straps- it worries me.

    Even though it could hold 3 bikes, we only put 2 adult bikes on it. The kids bikes went in the back.

    Thank you so much for your help!

  20. #20
    And he's single... jmarkley710's Avatar
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    Now you need to head over to the Recreation and Family sub forum and start posting.
    Live in the Tampa Bay Area?
    Want to meet some people, join group rides, find local resources for cyclists?
    Check out Tampa Bay Cycling Group @
    http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/tampabaycycling/

  21. #21
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    The rack looks like it'll be inhehently unstable on any car but a sedan. +1 on putting the bikes insode. Does the back seat split?
    Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

    I'm in the celtic folk fusion band Baroque and Hungry. "Mended", our new full-length studio album, is now available for download.

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    Expensive bikes, cheap bikes, who cares?
    your riding, with your kids, that is the important thing.

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