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  1. #1
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    Bike Rack options?

    Hope this is the best place to post this, here goes.
    Looking for a bike rack option for my 2001 Subaru Outback SEDAN.
    Never really been in the market for one, because I've mostly ridden everywhere I go, but a recent move putting me within driving distance of family makes me want to bring my bike with me for visits. It's been about a year and I've built an extra bike that I leave at my Mom's house for when I visit, but it's just not the same. I want to bring whatever bike I want, and possibly go on more trips where I bring my bike along. I will mostly only need to bring one bike, but having the option for two would be very nice, no more than two would ever be needed.
    The problem? I don't want to spend as much on a bike rack as I could on a bike!
    Taking the damn thing apart and storing it inside the car just isn't a pleasing task and ruins my cabin space for any trip. Sorry if this is a dumb question, but there has to be some affordable ways to transport my bikes with me in my car.
    What options can I explore?
    Your help is much appreciated!

  2. #2
    Senior Member demoncyclist's Avatar
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    Well, your three options are roof, hitch and trunk mount. I always look at roof first, just because I think it is the safest place for the bike, as long as you remember that you have something up there. I know it can be pricey, but you can often find decent deals on CL or eBay. The big name systems are easy to swap between different vehicles by just changing the feet and hooks. Hitch mount obviously has the expense of adding a trailer hitch to your car. I have had great luck purchasing through etrailer.com and installing the unit myself. Again, the rack can be purchased used, and can go from car to car. I personally avoid trunk mounts, because I think they have the greatest chance of doing paint damage, but you can get a decent rack fro short money, and some of them- notably the Saris Bones racks, will fit just about anything on four wheels. My last few cars have had roof racks and a hitch rack (I carry a lot of bikes for group rides and working as mechanical support on fundraising rides, and also use the hitch mounted rack as a spare repair stand). I have actually had the same Thule roof system on every car i have ever owned, just by swapping out the fit kit. The initial investment may have been on the high side, but I have gotten way more than my money's worth.
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  3. #3
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by demoncyclist View Post
    the Saris Bones racks, will fit just about anything on four wheels.
    ^^^ This.

    I don't own a car, but occasionally I need to borrow or rent one to go to a ride weekend somewhere. Because I can't predict what I'll be able to borrow or rent, I bought the 3-bike version of the Saris Bones. It's nearly infinitely adjustable, and it's easy to understand how to adjust it too. I don't forget from one year to the next. So far, it's fit everything I've put it on--sedans, hatchbacks, wagons, even an SUV. Folds up nice for storage too.

    BTW, there's little cost difference between the two and three-bike versions of the Bones. I bought the three-bike version because I figured I might wish I could bring more bikes, (or a friend with a bike), but I'd never wish I could bring fewer bikes.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  4. #4
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    I've had good luck with Saris products (Graber in a former life) over the years and have also found their customer service to be top notch.
    '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400

  5. #5
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    Does your back seat fold forward and create a pass-through between the trunk and the backseat? If so, you can probably fit your bike into the car just by taking off the front wheel, then putting the rest of the bike in the trunk (with part through the pass-through). I know it might sound like work, but it's not nearly as much work as removing the rear wheel, and believe me - it's no more work than putting on and off a trunk rack (I also own a bones 3 rack for times I need to carry more than 1 bike). (I assume your front wheel has a quick-release)

    If you can get the bike in and out of the car easily, it's a waaaaaaay better solution than any rack. The bike isn't hanging off the car as an obvious theft magnet, you don't have to worry about it falling off the car if you forget to cinch down the straps or something or there's huge winds, it doesn't block your view out the back, etc. On a minor note it doesn't reduce your gas mileage either, but that's probably not a big deal.

    I have a Saris Bones 3, and I'm pleased with it, but it's annoying to take on and off the car with all the straps. It probably is the cheapest option, though.

    Roof racks are the most expensive option, and I disagree with the other poster about their safey - I have yet to know someone personally who has had a bike destroyed in a car accident, but I've know at least 2 people who have pulled into their garage stuff on their rack. You just have to do it once to destroy you entire bike. I guess there's workarounds, like putting your garage door open in your car in a different place to remind yourself you have bikes on the top, I'm just saying - that's my view of it.

    The absolute most convenient thing to do, if you can't fit the bike in the car, is to use a hitch rack. You have to get a hitch installed, though - price-wise it's probably somewhere between the trunk rack and the roof rack (hitch and install is like $150 at uhaul, a good rack is like $200-$250).

    Seriously, though - I bought a new car this year and I absolutely refused to even look at anything that didn't have a fold-down rear seat so I could fit my bike (with the front wheel off) in the trunk. It's sooooooo much easier than *any* of the rack options. The front wheel on your bike should have a quick release - it's way faster than any of the other options.

  6. #6
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    i picked up a saris bones 3 off of CL for $25 a month back. Its works great. Except, I can't use the two side straps as on my Civic Coupe, the sides of the trunk are tilted in and they come undone within minutes

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    Does your back seat fold forward and create a pass-through between the trunk and the backseat? If so, you can probably fit your bike into the car just by taking off the front wheel, then putting the rest of the bike in the trunk (with part through the pass-through). I know it might sound like work, but it's not nearly as much work as removing the rear wheel, and believe me - it's no more work than putting on and off a trunk rack (I also own a bones 3 rack for times I need to carry more than 1 bike). (I assume your front wheel has a quick-release)

    If you can get the bike in and out of the car easily, it's a waaaaaaay better solution than any rack. The bike isn't hanging off the car as an obvious theft magnet, you don't have to worry about it falling off the car if you forget to cinch down the straps or something or there's huge winds, it doesn't block your view out the back, etc. On a minor note it doesn't reduce your gas mileage either, but that's probably not a big deal.

    I have a Saris Bones 3, and I'm pleased with it, but it's annoying to take on and off the car with all the straps. It probably is the cheapest option, though.

    Roof racks are the most expensive option, and I disagree with the other poster about their safey - I have yet to know someone personally who has had a bike destroyed in a car accident, but I've know at least 2 people who have pulled into their garage stuff on their rack. You just have to do it once to destroy you entire bike. I guess there's workarounds, like putting your garage door open in your car in a different place to remind yourself you have bikes on the top, I'm just saying - that's my view of it.

    The absolute most convenient thing to do, if you can't fit the bike in the car, is to use a hitch rack. You have to get a hitch installed, though - price-wise it's probably somewhere between the trunk rack and the roof rack (hitch and install is like $150 at uhaul, a good rack is like $200-$250).

    Seriously, though - I bought a new car this year and I absolutely refused to even look at anything that didn't have a fold-down rear seat so I could fit my bike (with the front wheel off) in the trunk. It's sooooooo much easier than *any* of the rack options. The front wheel on your bike should have a quick release - it's way faster than any of the other options.
    Yea, one thing I overlooked when buying this car many years ago. I didn't realize that only a very small portion of the backseat folds down. Due to all the safety stuff, air bags in the back seat, suited for child seats (for children I will never have), it only allows the center console section to fold down, rendering it basically useless. So, I would totally agree with this idea, but unfortunately, I don't have that option!

    Otherwise, I'll look into the Saris, even if I end up disliking it, it's a very low investment (which is what I'm looking for) so if I feel I want something better down the road, no huge loss. I'd probably be happiest with a roof option, so as not to hinder my rear view, but it's just such a large investment!

    Ugh, I feel a sore spot all over again from my car's stupid backseat....

    I appreciate all the input, this is a great community to have as an information resource - thanks again!!

  8. #8
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    Just to ask, what are you riding now? I prefer hitch racks and Saris Cycle-on pro is one of my favorites but hollywood makes one very much like it. I like the idea of how easy it is to mount a bike and that the bike doesn't swing because the tires are all that is clamped down.

    But an alternative might be a folding bike. I don't have one myself but i do have a friend that just bought a Bike Friday and it even had drop bars. It would fit in the trunk and could go everywhere you do.

  9. #9
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    Wow, that is crazy. I do realize you said Outback SEDAN, but even so I would have thought the people who made an "Outback" in any form would have had fold-down rear seats. Bummer.

    The Saris Cycle-On Pro looks pretty cool. Though it should for it's $400 asking price - without the two bike extension that lets you carry 4 bikes. I guess the good thing about a hitch rack is that you don't have to worry as much about it working with your next car - hitches are relatively universal. Err...except for the 1.25" vs 2" thing.

    In decreasing order of cost -

    Saris also makes a T-Rax hitch rack which holds the bike by the frame and costs $200. The latest version even comes with a 2"/1.25" adapter thing so you can use it with both. Another nice thing about a hitch rack is no worries about the bikes rubbing against your car.

    For convenience, and *if* it fits your car, Saris also makes a "Bone RS" rack which seems like it would be faster to take on and off your car. $200 though.

    If you're only carrying one bike ever, the absolute cheapest option I know of is the Saris Solo ($50) -
    http://www.saris.com/bike-racks/vehi...&category_id=7



    My biggest concern with that would be that's there's not anti-sway bar - the bike might rock back and forth all the time, hitting against the car. All the other racks I mentioned have some anti-sway thing, and if you're near a metro area you can probably find a Saris Bones rack for not much more that had anti-sway and would let you carry 2 or 3 bikes.

  10. #10
    Senior Moment Member Gee3's Avatar
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    Bringing this back up instead of posting up another rack thread...

    Saris bones questions...

    Does anyone have any experience using the Saris Bones/Solo on an SUV? I have an X3 and now that I have two kids putting the bike inside is not an option anymore. However, I don't have a hitch so I can't get a hitch rack (plus I don't plan on keeping the X3 for more than a year so the expense of getting a hitch installed isn't worth it) and I don't want a roof rack since I'm somewhat vertically challenged!

    So that just leaves me with the Saris bones...

    The website says it's not compatible with the X3 but I've seen other SUV's use them. I'm thinking it has to do with the glass hatch and liability in case of a crash. But that can happen on a VW Golf too, which they say is compatible. So would their be any reason why it wouldn't work on the X3?

    Second question... any issues with damage to carbon bikes on the Saris Bones racks?

    Thanks in advance for your input.
    This day will be over... one of these days!

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  11. #11
    Senior Member cruisintx's Avatar
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  12. #12
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    You may also want to look at adding a hitch. It might seem like a PITA, but I've had a Saris for an older car (G35 coup) and now have a hitch and Yakima for my new car and just like the ease of use of the hitch rack. So much easier, imo.

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