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Thread: Bike Racks

  1. #1
    Aquatics Master AquariaGuy's Avatar
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    Bike Racks

    I've been wondering, do any of you guys get 'scared' that your bike rack might fall off your car? This is my one problem with me..i get so scared i ncase it falls off on the highway on the way to school, since i drive 130km. Anyone recommend a bike rack that will fit a SUV and Car? I'm leaning towards the strap ones. I don't see how those hitch ones can hold the bikes for so long since it's just something going up and out...i guess i'm kinda paranoid. Is Thule or Swagnat (?) any good?
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    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I had the same worry after I bought an expensive bike. So I got a Swagman rack on sale from Nashbar. But I don't have the $$ right now to put a bumber hitch on the car; so I can't tell you how well it works. OTOH, I used a trunk rack for years, routinely putting 3 bikes on it......and never had any serious problems.
    We are as gods, we might as well get good at it.
    Stewart Brand

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    Senior Member djbowen1's Avatar
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    I had one give out with 2 bikes on it, it was all setup right and everything, they are generally poorly designed. Go for a trailer hitch one (the best by far) or a roof rack.

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    I too am looking to upgrade my rack. Heres a thread from a couple days ago that is very informative.

    Bike Racks and Car Racks

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    Kev
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    I figure a hitch rack is the most secure. The hitch is bolted/welded to your cars frame so that is not coming off. Now if you are worried about it comign out of the hitch itself getting a locking hitch pin it will not come out unless you unlock it. I have the sportsworks rack and they actualy give you a bolt to hold the rack onto the hitch you could do that to get a bold just slightly smaller diameter then the hole in the hitch and bolt it down tight and it wont' come off either.

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    Red
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    I've been trying to figure out how to get one on my convertible BMW. I don't want to put a trailer hitch on it. I also don't want to damage the paint. Any suggestions?

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    Senior Member Bluechip's Avatar
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    Roof racks are the best. It helps if you have a smaller car when it's time to put them on or take them off. An SUV can be a real pain. I made a homeade rack to carry my bike on my motorcycle. It was all I had at the time. I even moved to Los Angeles from Houston on it back in '88 in freezing temps through New Mex. Boy did I get the looks. Here is a pic taken at a stop in Austin.

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    Aquatics Master AquariaGuy's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Kev
    I figure a hitch rack is the most secure. The hitch is bolted/welded to your cars frame so that is not coming off. Now if you are worried about it comign out of the hitch itself getting a locking hitch pin it will not come out unless you unlock it. I have the sportsworks rack and they actualy give you a bolt to hold the rack onto the hitch you could do that to get a bold just slightly smaller diameter then the hole in the hitch and bolt it down tight and it wont' come off either.
    I'm scared of the rack 'snapping' off, since it's a 90 degree angle going up, and the pressure will be trying to rip it off. (In my paranoia) Can a hitch rack handle 130km+ ?
    My bike:
    Giant Yukon

    Wickedly lickety shot,
    Spickety spickety split lickety! :D

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    Aquatics Master AquariaGuy's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Bluechip
    Roof racks are the best. It helps if you have a smaller car when it's time to put them on or take them off. An SUV can be a real pain. I made a homeade rack to carry my bike on my motorcycle. It was all I had at the time. I even moved to Los Angeles from Houston on it back in '88 in freezing temps through New Mex. Boy did I get the looks. Here is a pic taken at a stop in Austin.
    Oh man, that is such an ingenius idea!! You should patent that motorcycle rack and sell the idea to Thule!!!
    My bike:
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    Wickedly lickety shot,
    Spickety spickety split lickety! :D

  10. #10
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by AquariaGuy
    I'm scared of the rack 'snapping' off, since it's a 90 degree angle going up, and the pressure will be trying to rip it off. (In my paranoia) Can a hitch rack handle 130km+ ?
    Take a look at some of the hitch racks sometimes. You'll find that they are made with heavy gauge tubing. I even take mine offroad. I'd be more worried about roof racks attached to the flimsy sheet metal of the roof. Yes, I know they're mounted in reinforced gutters/rails but the metal up there is still thinner than a hitch assembly. Also, there's not as much pressure on those bikes mounted on hitch racks as you might think since they're tucked into the slipstream of the vehicle. There might be some flow seperation at the rear but it's not like the bikes are directly exposed to the frontal airflow.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

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    Kev
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    You have a good point about the forces that a roof rack must withstand vs a hitch rack. Why are you worried about installing a hitch on your BMW without the rack on the car it is barely visible. And then gives you alot more options to in the future, if you ever need to move something bike you can rent a trailer for $20 at uhaul etc..

    As for a hitch being week or the rack, have you seen the tubing on those things? Figure a class II hitch can withstand 3,500 lbs. (GTW)
    300 lbs. (TW), and a class III hitch 3,500 - 6,000 lbs. (GTW)
    350 - 600 lbs. (TW). I doubt a few bikes even comes close to the max weight a hitch can handle.

    I have the sportsworks which is a more expensive one, it would take a sledge hammer to just put a dent in it. My brother has the swagman rack, that tubing must be 2-3 inches round. I admit one of the reasons I got the sports works is the mounting method I have road bikes and a FS mountain bike so limited my choices without buying top tube adapters. And I did not like the idea of bikes swinging behind me.

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    Senior Member Bluechip's Avatar
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    "Can a hitch rack handle 130km+ ? "

    I don't know about a hitch rack but my motorcycle rack handled 99mph just fine. I had the ticket to prove it. Also had one for 81 on the same trip through AZ. I never paid them until 3 years ago when I tried to get a DL in NJ and they pulled up the tickets. TX never cared about them but I was careful every time I went through Arizona. It feels good to have them cleared up though.

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    Aquatics Master AquariaGuy's Avatar
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    Kev: what did u do to stop the swinging of wheels? I'm picturing a bike on a hitch, and the front handlebar is just flopping around.
    My bike:
    Giant Yukon

    Wickedly lickety shot,
    Spickety spickety split lickety! :D

  14. #14
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by AquariaGuy
    I'm picturing a bike on a hitch, and the front handlebar is just flopping around.
    Get a tray-based hitch rack and the wheels are secured. I have a Hollywood Teamrider and the bike is secured to the rack via three points: [1] front wheel, in a tray, strapped down, [2] rear wheel in a tray, strapped down, [3] seatpost clamped via a bar extending up from the rack. Here's what a bike mounted on my rack looks like:



    In order for the bike to fall off, those three points must all fail concurrently (the clamp also is doubly-secured with a velcro strap). And if I have the clamp-bar for the "outside" bike is up, I have an added protection because most likely that bar will "hook" the inside bike and keep it from falling completely off the rack should the other securing mechanisms fail. Additionally, I often times use a cable lock to lock the bikes on the rack (for if I need to leave the vehicle unattended) which adds additional security.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  15. #15
    Senior Member spazegun2213's Avatar
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    I ruled out the hitch mounted racks because i have a jeep and open the hatch all the time. I also live in an area where traffic is bad, so i didnt want someone hitting my brand new bike on a hitch mount. I got a roof rack on for $100 from my jeep dealer, milled some of the parts so they fit the stock rack bars and went from there. It was a little weird crusing down the highway from IN to VA with my new bike on the top. I was very worried about it falling off. Now I'm very content with it, and i figure there is enough holding the bike to the rack so if it does come lose it will not fall off, and the rack is not comming of my jeep. So for a $100 and 15 min in the shop i got my rack.

    -Ross
    '11 allez Comp, very specialized & '09 Pinarello Pista, that only turns left
    It doesn't hurt any less, you just go faster

  16. #16
    Kev
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    That is why I got the sportsworks it has a set of trays the wheels sit in so the wheels can't turn, I'm a bit extra cautions and use a cable lock and lock my bikes to the rack when it is on there, more so because sometimes i'll stop and run in the store etc.. It folds up out of the way when I don't use it. So I leave it on my car all the time. One thign I did not like about some of the tray mounted ones was the Fork mount.. I have a full CF bike, I realisticaly the fork can withstand the forces but I'm extra cautions when it comes to my bikes. Also some grab the bike by the crankarm and I did not like the stress it would put on my BB. I realize none of these worries are realistic just in my mind. That left about 2-3 other hitch racks. One used velcro strap to hold the rear wheel I did not like that, the sports works has this large plastic ring around the rear wheel holds it nice and secure. And the ratcheting arm in front my bike does not move at all when I drive with it. Yes there is the worry of being rear ended, but how often does that happen. (okie I've been rear ended for the 3rd time last week in 11 years)....

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