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Thread: Roof Racks

  1. #1
    Lets Ride Trekke's Avatar
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    Roof Racks

    I have been shopping for roof racks for bikes. So far I have pieced out the Thule and Yakima brands. I have seen the XPort brand in Performance Bikes catalog for about 1/3 the cost of the Thule or Yakima. I was wondering if anyone has any experience with the Xport roof carriers?

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    Lets Ride Trekke's Avatar
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    Wow - I expected tons of replies to this one.

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    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trekke
    I have been shopping for roof racks for bikes. So far I have pieced out the Thule and Yakima brands. I have seen the XPort brand in Performance Bikes catalog for about 1/3 the cost of the Thule or Yakima. I was wondering if anyone has any experience with the Xport roof carriers?
    Roof racks turn any car into a gas pig. Bumper/hitch racks are better.

  4. #4
    Recovering Retro-grouch CRUM's Avatar
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    You should also check into Barrecrafter and SportRack.
    Keep it 'tween the ditches

    My Blog - Lost in the Bo Zone

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trekke
    I have been shopping for roof racks for bikes. So far I have pieced out the Thule and Yakima brands. I have seen the XPort brand in Performance Bikes catalog for about 1/3 the cost of the Thule or Yakima. I was wondering if anyone has any experience with the Xport roof carriers?
    I've owned a Thule roof rack system for about 6 years that I'm happy with. My wife and I ride a tandem which complicates our car rack choices somewhat.

    Like tightwad said, our roof rack affects our fuel mileage more than I suspected. Generally I don't worry about gas mileage very much, but I took our rack off for a 1,000 mile road trip this week. I didn't bother to calculate the mileage accurately, but it looks like it made about 7mpg difference on our Saturn sedan. I think that's a lot.

    A few years ago, one of the bike magazines did a comparison test of various roof rack brands. I don't remember if Xport was included or not. If I remember right, their conclusion was that Thule and Yakima provided a greater "sense of quality" than any of the competing brands.

    I personally prefer Thule over Yakima but I suspect it's because I've installed many Thule roof rack systems and only a few Yakimas so I'm quite a bit more adept with Thule. I also really like the Thule Velovise single bike mount because it's so easy to adjust and load with only one hand. Thule designed the Velovise to fit on Yakima's round load bars too. Saris looks to be much easier to install than either Thule or Yakima, but I've never done one. If you worry about gas mileage and plan on removing the rack whenever you aren't transporting bikes, Saris might be a better choice. Unfortunately, I don't think that a Veolvise will fit on Saris's eleptical load bars.

  6. #6
    Lets Ride Trekke's Avatar
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    Thanks guys for the information. I am still looking and probably wont committ to a roof rack until spring. I have a trunk rack now. It has its ups and downs. Generally it is a pain in the rear.

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    I've always been using a roof rack, even on my current Caravan minivan, the bikes being hold by the fork. I've had up to 5 bikes simultaneously on the roof. They don't affect gas mileage more than other factors (A/C, underinflated tires, winter tires, etc.). Your bikes are safe in case of a small accident at the rear, they're more difficult to steal, you rear lamps remain visible, you can easily use your cargo space, and so on... Besides, I always use racks of the same make as my car: they are much more expensive, but there are no fit problems, they are covered by the car's warranty, and since they are more aerodynamical, they make less noise when empty.

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    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    "They don't affect gas mileage more than other factors (A/C, underinflated tires, winter tires, etc.)."

    This statment is just not true. ANY roof rack will turn the vehicle into a brick going down the road.
    Stuffing a brick through the air at speed requires much more energy (read fuel) than the aero design
    of the vehicle alone. So my advice is put up with the trunk rack and put the fuel money you save
    into a new bike.

    Roof racks of any kind will have a never ending fuel cost penalty to pay everytime you use one.

    If worse comes to bad buy a small trailer to transport your bikes & gear on. You'll not only save
    money on fuel you'll be able to use the trailer for other jobs.

  9. #9
    Senior Member waterboy's Avatar
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    I always thought the mileage issue depended on the available torque, power to weight ratio, and aerodynamics of the specific car. A relitively underpowered, reasonably aero car (like the Saturn sedan mentioned above) will see a greater impact to MPG than say a well powered van (already not the best aero platform). As an example I have a six cylinder Subaru wagon and I only see a small impact with bikes on the roof. OTOH my older four cylinder Honda with a roof rack eats the gas. The same holds true when towing- a well powerred vehicle will not see the same imapct to mpg as a car that is stretched to its towing limits

    Just my .02

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    Waterboy is perfectly right and his examples are excellent. I never said there were no impact on fuel consumption with a roof rack: I just said it was not worse than anything else, and not only as far as aerodynamics is concerned. You will need more gas if you are seven people in a van than the driver only.

    As for a "small trailer", how do you park in the street with that??? How do you manage to store it on the fifth floor???

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterboy
    I always thought the mileage issue depended on the available torque, power to weight ratio, and aerodynamics of the specific car.
    I suspect that's true. Another thing that surprised me a little bit is how much faster my Saturn goes through gas at 75mph than at 70mph.

  12. #12
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    "As for a "small trailer", how do you park in the street with that??? How do you manage to store it on the fifth floor???"

    These are issues that are user specific and should be considered prior to buying a trailer.

    Please understand there is no perfect carry solutions for bikes only better less costly
    options. Anything that changes the "frontal attack" profile of a vehicle will increase
    fuel consumption. A trailer ,if you can afford it, really isn't that hard to own,store or
    park if it's not to large.

    About that "frontal attack" profile.......
    The laws of phyisics says that your fuel consumption will go up in direct relationship to
    the speed of forward motion. That said, you will use more fuel at 50mph than 40mph
    and a LOT more fuel at 60mph........then the fuel consumption really skyrockets at
    70mph and up with each 5mph increase requiring twice as much fuel as the previous
    speed. Like I said.......pushing a brick through the air.

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    Senior Member bentbaggerlen's Avatar
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    I drive a brick, with a little crippled hamster for an engine. (Scion XB, 86 hp at the wheels ) Putting the roof rack on it had no noticeable effect on fuel consumption. The rack sits about 3 1/2" over the roof and is out of the air stream flowing over the roof. Overall I'm getting about 32 mpg. But if I put the bikes on the rack the mileage drops to about 30 mpg. The mileage will drop even more if I don't remove the seats (recumbent) that and nothing is as gross as a seat covered with dead bugs.

    Performance Bike dose not make the Export rack system, it is made for them by one of the larger rack makers (take a close look at it) Check to see if they have a clip set to fit your car. Between Thule and Yakama you can get a rack to fit just about any car. What car are you trying to fit a rack to?
    Bentbaggerlen
    "When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking." - Arthur Conan Doyle

  14. #14
    Lets Ride Trekke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bentbaggerlen
    I drive a brick, with a little crippled hamster for an engine. (Scion XB, 86 hp at the wheels ) Putting the roof rack on it had no noticeable effect on fuel consumption. The rack sits about 3 1/2" over the roof and is out of the air stream flowing over the roof. Overall I'm getting about 32 mpg. But if I put the bikes on the rack the mileage drops to about 30 mpg. The mileage will drop even more if I don't remove the seats (recumbent) that and nothing is as gross as a seat covered with dead bugs.

    Performance Bike dose not make the Export rack system, it is made for them by one of the larger rack makers (take a close look at it) Check to see if they have a clip set to fit your car. Between Thule and Yakama you can get a rack to fit just about any car. What car are you trying to fit a rack to?
    99 Mercury Sable Sedan

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    I know this thread died, but I really like roof racks and want to add some points:

    On my 96 SAAB 9000, the roof rack by itself makes virtually no difference in mileage, although it adds a minor whistle in headwinds. Not too annoying. With two bikes on top, for a long road trip (2000 miles), I lost about 2 mpg. From 30mpg highway, down to about 28. This is at 65-70mph, and I was pleasantly suprised, considering all the benefits of a roof setup:

    With a fork mount, it is way sturdier, and does not mar the bike frame, a possibility with hitch mounts.

    You have no problems with rear access (I can still use my hatch) or clearance to the rear when parking.

    In addition, on dirt roads you will get FAR less mud and dirt on your bikes if they are on the roof, as all that crap gets sucked onto the back of the car.

    Generally I think they're great, the only major drawback is of course forgetting they're up there and driving under a low clearance overhead of some sort. Ouch! Do it once and you will never forget again.

    -john

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