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Old 02-25-10, 12:01 PM   #1
dougmc
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Bike rack suggestion?

Until now, I've had a Ford Taurus Station wagon. It was long enough that I could even put my Xtracycle in it without disassembling it.

But it's been replaced with a Honda Fit. So I don't think I'll be driving the Xtracycle around in it much (though it should just barely fit if I take the wheel off and put all the seats down), but even regular bikes are a pain. I can get a regular bike in, but I have to take the front wheel off and put the seat down and even then it's a bit awkward. And sometimes I'd like to take two bikes ...

So I'm thinking it's time for a rack. Never had one before ... thoughts?

I'm thinking a trailer hitch mounted one, but am not married to the idea. It just sounds nicer. Is adding a hitch a big deal?

Do any racks come with rings/loops where one can use a U-lock to lock the bikes down, and have the ability to lock the rack to the car? (I'm thinking the trailer hitch racks might excel there.) I don't plan on leaving it in high risk areas, but the parking garage at work seems likely, and even there a cable lock can be cut in seconds. (At least a U-lock takes minutes.) (I do have friends with welders, perhaps I could add one ...)

I've also got a few recumbents -- a Vision R-40, a Bike E and a KMX X-Class (Recumbent trike shaped like the cattrikes) ... it would be nice if whatever I got would work with these too. I'm guessing a standard bike rack would, but it might be a bit awkward. Thoughts would be welcome ...

I'd rather not spend too many hundreds for all of this, but it's more important to get what's right than to save some bucks. Having a bike fall off during driving or the whole mess get stolen while at work would cost more than the cost of the right rack I'm imagining ...

Any advice for me?
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Old 02-25-10, 12:59 PM   #2
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I'm curious, why are you driving around an Xtracycle as cargo? Wouldn't it be happier driving cargo around instead?

:)ensen.
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Old 02-25-10, 02:25 PM   #3
Steve in MA
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Do any racks come with rings/loops where one can use a U-lock to lock the bikes down, and have the ability to lock the rack to the car? (I'm thinking the trailer hitch racks might excel there.) I don't plan on leaving it in high risk areas, but the parking garage at work seems likely, and even there a cable lock can be cut in seconds. (At least a U-lock takes minutes.) (I do have friends with welders, perhaps I could add one ...)
I can't speak to trailer hitch racks, but most roof racks would offer some security. I use a Yakima Steelhead rack on my Subaru Forester. The rack locks on to the Forester's roof rails, and the bike's fork locks to the rack. My buddy's Thule roof rack offers similar security. Perfect? No, but enough to keep someone from just grabbing the bike and act as a deterrent.
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Old 02-25-10, 03:09 PM   #4
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I'm curious, why are you driving around an Xtracycle as cargo? Wouldn't it be happier driving cargo around instead?
Probably. Though really, it's easier to just use a trailer when I need to carry cargo, and so it hasn't been used in a while. I think I'm going to sell it -- it's not getting the love it deserves right now.

It didn't spend much time in my car -- but it DID fit, which was convenient when I couldn't fix it and dropped it off at the shop, etc.
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Old 02-25-10, 03:23 PM   #5
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I like the Yakima and Thule racks. Both of these companies have roof, hitch and strap racks. Look at the web sites for each company.

I prefer the roof racks because my bike isn't damaged if there is a careless driver that rear-ends me also I can use a cargo box with the roof rack. But with a roof rack it is possible to try to drive into the garage with the bike on top, and damage the bike.

I also hitch racks are more convenient since you are not lifting a bike onto the roof of a vehicle but only a foot off the ground and you can see the bikes on the rack through the rear window.

I don't know what systems work with recumbents

As for security I would never leave a bike out locked or not on a car rack. I would stuff it in the car some way and cover it with a tarp or blanket. But again these rack have accessory locking systems but I wouldn't leave my bike on them except for the quick stop.
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Old 02-25-10, 04:02 PM   #6
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I switched to a Swagman hitch rack last year, because I decided I am too old to lift the bikes onto the roof. The Swagman has supports for the wheels, and hooks on the centre post, with locking provission, to hold the bikes down. The rack cost about $140 from MEC + $230 for installing the hitch. It only takes 2 bikes but then I still have the roof rack in case I need to take children's and grandchildrens bikes.
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Old 02-25-10, 09:04 PM   #7
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Ultimately, I'd like to be able to drive to work, have the bike in the rack, and ride during lunch or after work. We park in a parking garage, so a roof rack is out.

I've seen people using cable locks to lock things up while on the rack, but they're still just cable locks. I could always remove the bike and lock it up in the bike parking -- though that would be a drag, especially if I ended up not riding that day.

I'll check out Swagman, Yakima and Thule. Thanks!
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Old 02-25-10, 11:03 PM   #8
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Mounting a hitch isn't hard. Uhaul can do it for you if you wish. They make a smaller receiver if you like. I like hitch mounts that support the wheels.
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