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Old 08-03-13, 03:44 PM   #1
RealGomer
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Good carrier for Subaru Forester

My daughter will be moving about 1,500 miles driving her Subaru Forester. She wants to take her bicycle with her but doesn't want to use a roof rack. There is no trailer hitch. What type of bicycle rack for her Suby would be suitable. We don't want to spend an arm & a leg.
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Old 08-03-13, 04:01 PM   #2
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There are tons of carriers out there. I was just looking into one myself. You can search by your vehicle by brand, such as Thule, Saris, etc., costing anywhere from $100 to over $300. But if you don't want to spend that much, there's even more generic carriers by Wal-mart and other chains, many costing less than $100. Given she's carrying only one bike with the vehicle, you have a little more flexibility. But get one that secures to your vehicle securely as well as securing your bike, obvioulsy. I'm leery of those carriers which just use straps to attach to your vehicle, but they can work if they are checked periodically particularly on long trips.
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Old 08-04-13, 10:53 AM   #3
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You can get a bolt-on hitch for under $150. Then put a hitch rack on it. http://www.etrailer.com/
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Old 08-04-13, 11:05 AM   #4
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If you go with a strap on hatchback type mount, ensure she definitely checks the strap tension at gas stops. Particularly when new, the straps stretch and will loosen.
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Old 08-04-13, 11:16 AM   #5
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Even though there is no hitch, I have not had good luck with strap on carriers. I only use hitch type. The one I had broke a strap and I nearly lost the whole thing and the attached bikes. They are jsut so much sturdier and most can be lowered independently to allow access to the rear cargo area or trunk.
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Old 08-04-13, 11:44 AM   #6
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Re consider.. Might spring for a roof rack setup, Thule , Yakima ..

not only have the bikes up on the roof , locked in with added cables ..

but have capacity to carry more stuff on top too..


If the MPH is kept reasonable, the added MPG hit, from having all that stuff up there, wont be too significant.


cross bars will take other sporting goods in the future too, anoes, Kayaks Skis , and Etc.



No hitch receiver , or roof rack, a strap on rack, is all you have left , (Saris Bones is good)

or take the bike apart and put it inside ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-04-13 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 08-05-13, 08:40 AM   #7
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Re consider.. Might spring for a roof rack setup, Thule , Yakima ..

not only have the bikes up on the roof , locked in with added cables ..

but have capacity to carry more stuff on top too..


If the MPH is kept reasonable, the added MPG hit, from having all that stuff up there, wont be too significant.


cross bars will take other sporting goods in the future too, anoes, Kayaks Skis , and Etc.



No hitch receiver , or roof rack, a strap on rack, is all you have left , (Saris Bones is good)

or take the bike apart and put it inside ..
Just remember you have a roof rack with bikes on it before you pull into your garage
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Old 08-05-13, 09:32 AM   #8
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You can get a bolt-on hitch for under $150. Then put a hitch rack on it. http://www.etrailer.com/
$150 for the hitch, which you have to install and that takes some drilling and work under the rear of the vehicle to get installed (according to some install directions I've read). Probably closer to $300 installed from U-Haul.

Then the cheapest rear bike rack that fits in the receiver is $90.

Plus shipping. So at minimum $250 or so for a cheap rack. If you intend to use it a lot then investing in better models yields easy of use, a 3rd bike, etc...

Roof racks are pricey, load bars, feet, feet adapters, bike tray, etc.. can easily see you spending over $550 all included, but are convenient as the bikes are out of the way, they are secure if you have the lock kit (another $50), and can be cable locked for add'l insurance. They can also make noise as I discovered yesterday, having installed my Thule load bars and bike trays on my new (used) 2011 Forester. Resulted in a whine/wind noise at speeds above 35. Adding the wind deflector I owned stopped the noise, but that's another $85.

Hitch racks yield better gas mileage yet are a pain to work around if you need to get in the hatch. Some (better and more expensive) models have pinned and hinged designs to make it easier

Strapped on rear racks are a lot less expensive and can work well (I own and use a Graber 2 bike model). Fairly secure but you do have to pay attention to keeping the straps tight. Also makes the hatch very heavy if the bike is on the rack and typically the hatch piston will not support the weight when the hatch is raised.
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Old 08-05-13, 10:52 AM   #9
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$150 for the hitch, which you have to install and that takes some drilling and work under the rear of the vehicle to get installed (according to some install directions I've read). Probably closer to $300 installed from U-Haul. ...
Pshaw... Curt Hitch is $149 at etrailer and mounts with 4 bolts in existing holes:

http://www.etrailer.com/hitch-2010_Subaru_Forester.htm
https://www.curtmfg.com/masterlibrar...120470_INS.PDF

Don't know what Uhaul would charge but I think many could manage to accomplish installation themselves, no? Especially with not needing to hook up trailer wiring.

I've installed two hitches myself, on an Ford Explorer and a Toyota SUV, both pretty straightforward, even with wiring, as both had an existing receptacle for a plug-in trailer harness.

Last edited by Looigi; 08-05-13 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 08-05-13, 11:05 AM   #10
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Pshaw... Curt Hitch is $149 at etrailer and mounts with 4 bolts in existing holes:

http://www.etrailer.com/hitch-2010_Subaru_Forester.htm
https://www.curtmfg.com/masterlibrar...120470_INS.PDF

Don't know what Uhaul would charge but I think many could manage to accomplish installation themselves, no?
I've installed two hitches myself, on an Ford Explorer and a Toyota SUV, both pretty straightforward.
Yes, it's doable but it's not exactly a bolt on hitch. Both require that existing bolt holes be enlarged with a drill/bit. For a lot of people, this plus the removal and reassembly of existing parts may well not be something everyone wants to tackle. Thus if you are not wanting to put in the time and effort, paying U-Haul is another $50 or so, though the whole package - hitch plus install runs about $200.
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Old 08-05-13, 08:41 PM   #11
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I use a pair of Thule Big Mouth racks on my Forester.
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Old 08-05-13, 11:02 PM   #12
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All this arguing about hitch racks (I'm a big fan, so take my comments based on that).

He said he wants an inexpensive rack. A hitch or car top rack might be better, but would be the most expensive option compared to modestly priced (i.e. not the "best" but workable) strap on racks.

OP: just go to a local bike shop and buy one within your price range. I've used - for many, many years - an exceedingly cheap one I bought at a Target or similar store back in the 80s!! It's not great, if installed carefully and checked regularly, it will work fine. Little or no security against theft though.

I don't know what they cost, but the absolute best strap on rack I've ever used was a Saris Bones that was loaned to me when I rented a bike a couple of years ago. Really a nice piece of equipment, but probably expensive, and really doesn't solve the security against theft issue.

If her Forester already has a roof rack with cross bars, another pretty inexpensive way to go is get a set of these: or similar - many options and less than $150 with lock cores which means it can be locked. I use this Forklift type on my Forester all the time on the Forester's factory crossbars. There's several other similar options that work fine on Forester and other factory cross bars and cost much less. My good friend uses this one all the time:

, it's probalby less than $100 including the lock core.

They all work with standard factory cross bars or aftermarket round bars as far as I know (mine does, and my friend's does)

No problem, just have to be paranoid about the height. Often available on Craigslist, etc.

Last edited by Camilo; 08-05-13 at 11:13 PM.
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Old 08-06-13, 02:13 AM   #13
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http://www.seasucker.com/shop/hornet/#tab-description
How brave are you ?
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Old 08-06-13, 04:50 AM   #14
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I literally just had a hitch installed on my 2010 Subaru Forester by u-haul last month. It cost 180 dollars fully installed. 30 dollars for the install itself was not bad.

The cheapest solution by far is to not buy any kind of rack or hitch. Just open up the hatchback and put your bike in the back on a tarp with the seats down. The Forester will be able to fit it. This however will severely limit the amount of space used for boxes or other things she is planning to take with her. It is however the most secure and the cheapest by far.

After that I would recommend the u-haul way of having the hitch installed. I went with the Kuat Beta rack. The two inch is selling for a little over 150 dollars on amazon right now. The theory on this hitch being that you don't lock it to your vehicle but just remove it when you get to your destination and put it inside your vehicle. This may not be viable on a cross country journey though so you might want a hitch that comes with a locking bolt (ie get the 2 inch hitch) and one that comes with a locking strap for the bike.
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Old 08-06-13, 10:12 AM   #15
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First thought: a Subaru Forester is too heavy to carry on a bicycle. Maybe you can rig up a Bob trailer hitch to a U-haul car trailer, but that's going to be a bear on any kind of uphill. Leave the car at home.



Second thought: if the car has a roof rack, go by an appliance store and get a piece of a refirgerator, washing machine, etc. box. Lay that on the roof (to prevent scratching), and lash the bike to the rack. We carried a bunch of bikes all over the place like that when we were kids.
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Old 08-08-13, 08:53 AM   #16
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after 1st hand experience, hitch racks are over-rated. I just got one of these for wifey's Toyota matrix. it would work well on my 2011 Forester, and probably any year. I have an older model that pretty much fits the same way, resting on the back bumper and held on at 6 points with straps hooks. tie a knot at the strap fastener with the left over strap and it won't loosen.

http://www.amazon.com/Hollywood-Rack...449080-0258634

here are some others you can consider
http://www.amazon.com/TRUNK-MOUNT-CA...449080-0258634
http://www.amazon.com/BuzzRack-Skipp.../dp/B004JKUDNQ
http://www.amazon.com/SportRack-SR31...im_sbs_auto_21
http://www.amazon.com/Trunk-Mounted-...im_sbs_auto_48
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Last edited by rumrunn6; 08-08-13 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 08-08-13, 09:24 AM   #17
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Hold on. Break away from the rigid thinking: Bike + Car = Bike Rack.

This is a one-time thing, right? That is, she's going to drive 1,500 miles to her new home, carrying all her stuff and wants to take the bicycle also.

In this case a bike rack is not necessary. An important feature of a bike rack is easy on/off convenience, which she does not need for this trip. She might want one later, but for now it is unnecessary.

So, consider:

1. Disassemble the bike to some degree and pack it in with the other stuff inside the vehicle. Pedals off, handlebar rotated, etc. With smart packing (e.g. clothes in the spokes) it will take less space than you think. An advantage is that when she stops at a restaurant or hotel, the bike is locked inside.

2. If you've got rails on the roof, simply lay the bike down it's side and strap it on securely.

Expenditure: $0
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Old 08-08-13, 09:39 AM   #18
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she's moving, so the car will be loaded. also gotta leave room for the occasional sketchy hitch hiker ... only kidding ... Dad you driving with her or what?
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