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  1. #1
    Senior Member Devil Dog's Avatar
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    Roof rack's-pros/cons?

    I have to upgrade my bike carrying capabilities on my car. I have been looking at Yakimas roof rack systems rather than a hitch rack because of the versatility of the roof rack allowing me to carry other things like canoes, gear, or anything else I can strap up there along with my bikes. I also like the fact that the bikes are upright with the front wheel left on(King Cobra) and no touching of painted surfaces. In a rear ender fender bender at low speed you also have a chance for your bikes to survive. Security I believe is also a little better due to the increased visibility of the bikes. Whats the cons of a roof mounted rack system? Is the Yakima roof rack a good roof rack? Thanks!

  2. #2
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Height.... Getting the bike on and off may get annoying... especially if you have one of those heavy downhill rigs. If you garage your vehicle then it can be a pain at best or an expensive pain at worse. Also be careful with low-hanging branches. There might be some speed limitations as well although I've seen people travelling in excess of 70MPH with bikes up there for extended periods of time with no problems. All roof racks, I've seen don't seem to hold bikes as securely as the high-end hitchracks. If you've got a lot of rocking or swaying of the bike up there, you need to be careful that you don't start fatiguing the gutter/rail mount or the roof itself. Most roof systems can handle around 200lbs but that's static load pushing straight down and not necessarily that of random dynamic weights trying to rip the rails off the top of the roof. That said, plenty of bikes have been carried atop plenty of cars over the decades. I think both Thule and Yakima make excellent roof racks. Most of my friends went with Thule though.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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  3. #3
    OTB is imminent travis200's Avatar
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    I have Yakimas and love the racks. I use the 2 steelheed trays where you remove the front wheels. All in all they are a wise investment but the price is not cheap. Unless you can find everything used it will set you back a pretty penny. Worth it IMO but depends on your budjet. Both Thule and Yakima are great roof rack systems.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member spazegun2213's Avatar
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    Check with you car dealer about the racks. I got a bike rack from Jeep for my Jeep for $100 and I love it. The only problems are that i need to remember how high the SUV + the bike is. So far my bike has almost 2K of rack miles on it and i have never had a problem on the highways or where i live. I opted for the rak over the hitch because The jeeps have the back hatch and i didnt want someone rearending me and taking out my new investmnet.... thats what the steel bumber is for

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  5. #5
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Devil Dog
    Whats the cons of a roof mounted rack system? Is the Yakima roof rack a good roof rack? Thanks!
    There are no cons. Just make sure you have enough clearance in the garage or carport. Some people forget and drive into a low carport or garage and.....well you can guess.

    Originally posted by sherpa
    I have Yakimas and love the racks. I use the 2 steelheed trays where you remove the front wheels. All in all they are a wise investment but the price is not cheap.
    I too have Yakima steelheads. Great security (the bikes are locked into the carrier) and excellent support. I'm one of those fools you've seen driving down the highway at 70+mph with the Litespeed in the roof rack.
    No problems after nearly 2-1/2 years.

    I still don't have any of these to keep the bugs and crud off my bikes. Guess I'll have to get off my lazy back side and order some.

    My bikes --> 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2013 Cannondale CAAD 10 2 (5) "Racing Edition"

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  6. #6
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    I have the yakima roof rack with the ankle biter holder on top of my pickup. Couldn't be easier lift, snap the lock closed on the crank and go.

  7. #7
    A Lost Member aluckyfiji's Avatar
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    I would say look around for a used one, it was save you alot of money, I bought mine (yakima) used five years ago, and it was three or four years old then, and I have had zero problems with it

    I think it is the Q-towers by yakima that have the clip that you buy seperate that fit it to your car, this allows you to take the towers and move them to a new car when you buy a new car, I am sure thule has the same set-up I just dont know what they call it

    I have one rack that is a locking fork long tray, a non-locking fork long tray, and one that locks to the crankarm long tray (I think it is called something like ankle biter, but i dont know) and I really dont like this tray personally, the bike has less stablity in the set-up b/c the only contact point is the crankarm, and any motion is directly transferred into the BB, it is just me though
    but if I had to buy a new roof rack, I would in a heart beat, and I would get three locking fork mount long trays

    I have never heard of anyone damaging their car from the roof rack under normal wear, there is a weight lift on them so it you exceed that you could damage your car, and if you leave a bike on the rack and put into your garage they fork mounts are strong enough it will probally break your frame and dent the roof of your car (I have seen the aftermat of this experience) so that is the one downside to a roof rack but if you are aware that you have your bike on there and where you are driving it is no trouble
    "Please don't be mad. I know we were supposed to bequeath to the next generation a world better than the one we were handed. So, sorry."
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  8. #8
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Does anyone know why the fairing is so expensive? It's just a piece of plastic.
    I'd like to get one to display all my decals and stickers but I'm too cheap to pay $50.
    My bikes --> 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2013 Cannondale CAAD 10 2 (5) "Racing Edition"

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  9. #9
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    I've got a Yakima roof rack with 2 steelhead and 1 copperhead, and have used it for years. I like the fact you can lock the bike on the rack, a very nice feature. A couple of hard learned points of advise; 1) If you get a fork mount model don't ever put your front wheel down except into the vehicle. Plenty of guys (me included) have left them behind or ran them over. 2) If you live anywhere it snows and they salt the roads, remove the trays for the winter. The winter environment wreaks havoc on the whole mounting mechanism. I left mine on for two years, and found after the second year that the nice locking skewers were wrecked. I called Yakima about getting replacements and they sent them free! Very good customer service.
    1 Chainring; $35, 1 Cog; $25, 14 Gears; Priceless.

  10. #10
    A Lost Member aluckyfiji's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RonH
    Does anyone know why the fairing is so expensive? It's just a piece of plastic.
    I'd like to get one to display all my decals and stickers but I'm too cheap to pay $50.
    b/c you/we will buy it

    what is 50 dollars, some people that spend more on a chain then the cost of a new fairing
    i think it makes it look more "finished" and it is a great place to put stickers on
    "Please don't be mad. I know we were supposed to bequeath to the next generation a world better than the one we were handed. So, sorry."
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  11. #11
    Senior Member djbowen1's Avatar
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    I have a Yakima Roof rack on my '03 Jetta, it is awesome, it was very expensive compared to trunk and trailer ones. I paid near 415 to carry one bike, the only thing that sucks is you have to buy every little piece seperately. I want a faring also it is so freaking loud on the roof it's not even funny. When i get on the parkway someone, usually my girlfriend says "ladies and gentleman please fasten your seatbelts and put your seats in the upright position" It is that loud up there. It is a bigger pain taking off the front wheel compared to the anklebiter which grabs the crankarm or the gator one that grabs the frame. ut the one with the front wheel off (copperhead, steelhead and 1 other) the bike doesnt move an inch up there it is rock solid. My LBS said not to buy the anklebiter they have seen bikes fall off.

  12. #12
    Rabbit Herder
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    also a benefit for the roof mount is it is transferrable between various vehicles with usually only a $30 fit kit. Ive had the same basic rack parts on an old school escort, my 02 jetta, and now my grand cherokee. I can still use the feet from the jetta on my fiancee's gti, so thats 4 vehicles with basically the same parts. i can hardly notice the thing on the jeep, theres no more wind noise on it than normal, unloaded. with the bikes on, it is noticable, but you can still have a conversation without yelling. i have a fork mount rail for my bikes, and i also have a wheel holder to keep the muddy wheels out of the jeep and on the roof to add to the dirt on the outside.
    plus i ski, so i can just swap the bike rails off for the ski attachments im good to go for the winter months.
    yes, they are expensive, but well worth it. very secure and quite versitile.
    check ebay, ive seen full racks for ~$120 with everything you need including the bike rails. i got most of my rack there, virtually brand new

    also, ive seen that the round Yak bars seem to be a bit noisier than the square Thule bars. My girl's parents have a Yak rack on their passat, and the round bars whistle quite a bit without a fairing. i never had that problem with our without a fairing on any of my vehicles. maybe just a bad vehicle/setup combo though....

  13. #13
    Senior Member Devil Dog's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RonH
    There are no cons. Just make sure you have enough clearance in the garage or carport. Some people forget and drive into a low carport or garage and.....well you can guess.


    I too have Yakima steelheads. Great security (the bikes are locked into the carrier) and excellent support. I'm one of those fools you've seen driving down the highway at 70+mph with the Litespeed in the roof rack.
    No problems after nearly 2-1/2 years.

    I still don't have any of these to keep the bugs and crud off my bikes. Guess I'll have to get off my lazy back side and order some.

    RonH,

    Please tell me where I can get a couple of those bike covers you posted the picture of? I need to get a couple of them. They look great and look like they protect the bikes nicely up there. Where can I find them? Thank you all for the comments and helpful advice!!

  14. #14
    Rabbit Herder
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    ive seen them in a nashbar or maybe it was a performance catalog, i cant remember which. it was one of them though

  15. #15
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    Colorado cyclist or Excel both have the covers.
    They are called bike bras. I have no clue why.

    Marty
    Sono pił lento di quel che sembra.
    Odio la gente, tutti.

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  16. #16
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by lotek
    Colorado cyclist or Excel both have the covers.
    They are called bike bras. I have no clue why.
    That reminds me of a phonecall I got a long time ago from a girl I knew...

    Do I need to raise my top and take off my bra before I wash the car?
    And yes, she did have a convertible with one of those protective bra-things on the front so I figured she was asking a serious question.
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  17. #17
    Rabbit Herder
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    ---only if she was wearing a tight t-shirt

  18. #18
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    Anybody know anything about the Thule Expressway hitch rack? I like the idea of the integrated locks. I need to order a hitch rack, but it seems pretty overwhelming with the choices. I saw some positive reviews for Swagman, but I don't know if I can get it here (Virginia) from BC in the next week.

    Any advice?
    Not enough time in the day

  19. #19
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by wza97
    Anybody know anything about the Thule Expressway hitch rack? I like the idea of the integrated locks. I need to order a hitch rack, but it seems pretty overwhelming with the choices. I saw some positive reviews for Swagman, but I don't know if I can get it here (Virginia) from BC in the next week.

    Any advice?
    You might want to check out this thread about hitch racks.

    ... or anyone one of these other threads.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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  20. #20
    Senior Member djbowen1's Avatar
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    Those exact bike bras from the previous page are on sale @ Performancebike.com for 24.99, backordered until 8-15 though.

  21. #21
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    khuon-thanks. I read those, but I am trying to find information on this specific rack that wasn't mentioned by anyone. Bad sign? Thule seems to make good stuff, but nobody has mentioned that rack.
    Not enough time in the day

  22. #22
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by wza97
    khuon-thanks. I read those, but I am trying to find information on this specific rack that wasn't mentioned by anyone. Bad sign? Thule seems to make good stuff, but nobody has mentioned that rack.
    Ah... the Thule Expressway... I saw one close up. It looks like your standard run-of-the-mill top-tube mounting hitchrack but has a cable-lock built in. It wasn't anything special in my eyes and nothing that you couldn't do with any other hitchrack and a set of Kryptonite cable locks. I personally like the hitchracks with trays instead of arms. Then I'd get one or two (or even three if you have lots of bikes) Kryptonite cable locks (you can find them for as low as $15 each) and either daisy-chain them together or use them individually. The Kryptonite cables are probably stronger than the ones that come with the Thule rack and you can replace/upgrade/change to a different brand as your heart desires. Most hitch racks come with a cable-loop. Be sure to also get a locking hitch-pin.

    P.S. One thing I forgot to mention was that I think you have to remove the bikes to lower the rack if you want to get at your liftgate. I think this is the case with a lot arm-based hitchracks although many do have some sort of way to allow you to keep the bikes on when moving the rack to a liftgate access position. My tray hitchrack (and I think most tray based racks) allows you to tilt it down without having to remove bikes.
    Last edited by khuon; 08-06-03 at 01:22 PM.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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  23. #23
    Senior Member Devil Dog's Avatar
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    Originally posted by wza97
    khuon-thanks. I read those, but I am trying to find information on this specific rack that wasn't mentioned by anyone. Bad sign? Thule seems to make good stuff, but nobody has mentioned that rack.
    Are you responding to the right thread? This thread is about ROOF RACKS. It has nothing to do with comments about a hitch rack you're looking at.

  24. #24
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    Originally posted by Devil Dog
    Are you responding to the right thread? This thread is about ROOF RACKS. It has nothing to do with comments about a hitch rack you're looking at.
    Gee, sorry to ruin your thread

    Anyway, it is a current thread about racks, so I thought I'd get opinion while people are paying attention. Sometimes a new thread doesn't get the attention it deserves, and I know people are paying attention to this one.

    I feel really bad about making you read three extra posts.
    Not enough time in the day

  25. #25
    Senior Member Devil Dog's Avatar
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    Originally posted by wza97
    Gee, sorry to ruin your thread

    Anyway, it is a current thread about racks, so I thought I'd get opinion while people are paying attention. Sometimes a new thread doesn't get the attention it deserves, and I know people are paying attention to this one.

    I feel really bad about making you read three extra posts.
    Its not about anyone reading your off topic posts in this thread its about when the other forum members who may do a search on uh lets see...how about "roof racks"? and getting good results that pertain to their query. I wish you well in your rack search and good riding!

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