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Thread: Car Racks

  1. #1
    Senior Member Dixie Gentleman's Avatar
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    Car Racks

    traded my quad cab in for a Lexus Hybrid and Im considering getting a rack. Im not sure if I wanna go with a roof rack or one off the back. would like to hear yalls opinions, especially if you have one.

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    Blaster of Reality Scrodzilla's Avatar
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    Angie and I have a pair of Yakima Frontloaders and love them. They're easy to put on/take off the roof rack and hold bikes very securely. The only minor drawback is that we can't open the hatchback with them on top of the car (unless we install them backward).

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    pro in someone's theory prooftheory's Avatar
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    The only way I can see this as being at all related to ssfg is if you have track bolts on your front wheel. In this case it might be more convenient to have a rear rack rather than a roof rack that quick-release locks onto the fork.

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    Blaster of Reality Scrodzilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prooftheory View Post
    The only way I can see this as being at all related to ssfg is if you have track bolts on your front wheel. In this case it might be more convenient to have a rear rack rather than a roof rack that quick-release locks onto the fork.
    That's why I like the Frontloader - you don't have to remove your front wheel.

    But yeah, there's no need for this to be in SSFG. BikeForums is a big place.

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    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Moved to General from SSFG.

    Load the bike inside the vehicle if at all possible, or you will see your fuel economy suffer.
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    Animated Member ahsposo's Avatar
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    I have used rear racks and the ones I haven't given away hang from the rafters in my garage.

    I use a roof rack now. I believe it is more fuel efficient and far more versatile. My Saris system is unfortunately no longer available but I think Thule and Yakima have similar ways of loading bikes with both wheels attached as well as front wheel removed.

    Besides bikes I'll carry Xmas trees, kayaks, furniture, cargo shells, ladders...
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    I have used rear racks and the ones I haven't given away hang from the rafters in my garage.

    I use a roof rack now. I believe it is more fuel efficient and far more versatile. My Saris system is unfortunately no longer available but I think Thule and Yakima have similar ways of loading bikes with both wheels attached as well as front wheel removed.

    Besides bikes I'll carry Xmas trees, kayaks, furniture, cargo shells, ladders...
    Everything I've ever read about bike racks indicates a roof rack system is worse in terms of fuel efficiency compared to a rear trunk or hitch rack.

    That said they ARE more convenient if you need access to the rear hatch or trunk while you are transporting the bikes. I also worry a bit less about the roof system as compared to the straps on a trunk rack getting loose.

    But hybrids somewhat change the equations and if you find yourself modifying your driving style to maximize fuel efficiency, then I suspect you will not be happy with the hit in mileage from a roof rack. OTOH, the other way to look at it is the mileage inherent in a hybrid allows you to take the hit from the roof rack and you gain all the advantages of having the bikes up and out of the way.

    Cost wise ?, a full 2 bike roof system, feet/towers, car specific tower adapters, load bars and 2 tray's for the bikes - $600 or so, maybe $100-$150 less if you buy on sale or do Amazon. Hitch system - about $180 for the hitch adapter installed from U-Haul, plus $300 or so for a nice multi-bike hitch rack, so $450-$500 ?. All versus a rear trunk rack at $200 and up for name-brand quality racks with usefull features (as opposed to $100 for a bare bones model).

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    Senior Member TiBikeGuy's Avatar
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    Saris Bones 3 - they fit most cars, saloon, hatchbacks or station wagons. If you have a odd shaped frame like those full suspension bikes, you can buy a dog-bone adaptor. It is easy to set up, and folds up flat inside the trunk when not in use. It is easier to load a heavy bike onto rear than over the top of the roof. From a safety point, you can keep an eye on the bike while driving. While roof top racks may seem more secure, there is the danger that, you may under-estimate the height of the bikes and drive into parking garage,
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    I recently went with a 1 up USA setup for my jeep. Spendy, but great quality. I have been impressed so far. Also, made in the USA if you're into that sort of thing.
    http://www.1upusa.com/

    For a car, I prefer a roof rack. Easy on and off with no hindrance to trunk access. For SUVs or something with a taller roof, a hitch mount is mich easier to deal with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    Load the bike inside the vehicle if at all possible, or you will see your fuel economy suffer.
    This is a good point, but maybe not a killer with a hybrid. Our roof rack with two bikes knocks our Civic down from ~34 to 26 on the highway. The trunk mount on the Mazda wagon only costs 2-3 mpg. The roof rack cost $600 at least 10 years ago, the trunk rack about $125. It's easier to load, but we can't use the hatch when it's on the car.
    Unless you're tall, loading a roof rack can be a problem. A friend of mine is 5'8" with a roof rack on a RAV 4, and he has to carry a little stepladder everywhere. But I got rear ended one time with my old Trek on the trunk, and it bent the crank and punched a hole in the hatchback.

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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Roof, trunk, hitch, ...they all have their pros/cons and devotees/detractors. My preference is for hitch racks, though most often I just lay the bike(s) in the back of my small SUV.

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    I've got a Scion xB. I can stuff one bike in the back if I fold the seats down, so only two people can ride. I just bought a Saris Bones 2 so I could carry 2 bikes and 5 people at the same time. Or 3 bikes and 2 people, I suppose, but who would ride the third bike?

    It's sturdy and easy to put on and take off. It does kind of obscure the rear license plate, so I'm worried I'll get a ticket at some point.

  13. #13
    bill nyecycles the sci guy's Avatar
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    unless you're about 6' tall, or you drive a F1 race car that's nice and low, a roof rack is basically a terrible idea. They also do hurt your fuel economy more than trunk racks, and keeps you from going through drive-thrus, parking garages, low bridges, etc.

    trunk rack is the way to go. hitch or strap on doesn't matter - whatever works best for your car.
    sure it can keep you from getting into the trunk, but that's only when you're taking them on long rides. short trips you don't need to get into the trunk, do you? don't forget you can always get to things through the back seat into the trunk as well.

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    With a gas-electric hybrid your optimal mileage occurs in slower driving, when the electric motor can propel your car. Once on the highway the gas-electric loses some of its advantages. Therefore if you bought your car partially to get good mileage then the trunk rack may be less intrusive, at least mentally.
    Last edited by carpediemracing; 09-25-13 at 11:32 AM.

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    Senior Member JerrySTL's Avatar
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    I'm a fan of trailer hitch racks. Of course adding a trailer hitch is an added expense, but might come in handy if you need to tow a small U-Haul or something. If you don't plan on towing anything, not adding the wiring for lights will save a few bucks.

    As others have said, putting the bike inside the car will save on gas mileage and the bike getting dirty and chipped up. It can also save the bike from getting stolen, unless they take the entire car like what happened with mine, but that's another story.

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    The rest of the "disadvantages" of roof racks I find questionable, if only from my point of view.

    I'm 5'7". We have roof racks on our cars (VW diesels, which are optimal more for highway driving). On our last long trip, 1000+ miles, we got 41 mph for the trip, bike on the roof, 65 mph avg on the highway so actual speeds were about 75 mph. 200-250 miles were on side roads. With bikes in the car we get better mileage - last trip we did with the bikes in was CT-VA-CT and we averaged in the high 40s, 52 mpg for the last tank. Since we had our son we don't have room in the car for the bikes.

    A friend of mine has a CRV, so maybe not a RAV-4, but they have a roof rack on it. I don't have a problem putting a bike or two on it. I have to open the door and step on the door sill but I have to do that to get to the inner mounts on our VWs as well. Part of it is technique and understanding how a bike likes to sit. For example grabbing the saddle and the bars to put the bike on a fork mount rack doesn't really work well. I put our tandem up there without using the "fork tilting" feature on our tandem mount - it's not necessary. I follow the same principles putting the tandem up as the single bikes.

    I do take care with driving into the garage - I actually check every time I pull in, to make it a habit, even if we only went to the grocery store or out for breakfast.

  17. #17
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    install a receiver hitch on your car and the rack will not touch the paint, and come off fairly easy .

    get the 2" type and you can pull a small trailer ..

    seen in Europe: , people often get an open bed trailer rather than a pickup truck .

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    Blaster of Reality Scrodzilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
    unless you're about 6' tall, or you drive a F1 race car that's nice and low, a roof rack is basically a terrible idea. They also do hurt your fuel economy more than trunk racks, and keeps you from going through drive-thrus, parking garages, low bridges, etc.
    They must have some really low bridges in Houston. None of these things have ever been any sort of issue in the physical world where I reside.

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    I have roof racks on my jetta wagon but I'd much rather have a hitch rack. The roof racks hurt my TDI's mileage and make my sunroof fairly useless do to the wind noise. Plus when I worn out after a ride lifting my 30lbs mtn bike up on the roof kind of sucks lol. I use the roof rack because I have dogs that I'm constantly loading in and out of the back hatch and don't want the hitch rack in the way.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    The dreaded quad.

    Guess how you can damage:
    1. your bike
    2. your car
    3. your garage door
    4. an expensive roof rack system
    all in less time than it took me to type this.

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    Thanks for sharing such a nice stuff specially this one that is install a receiver hitch on your car and the rack will not touch the paint, and come off fairly easy .

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    I have a '11 Forester who's roof is at +6ft. I can easily lift my 30 lbs touring bike on and off the Thule fork rack. The bike seat is then at a measured +9ft. but I've yet to find an obstacle that is lower. Even the parkway underpasses in the NY area lie about their actual heights and I don't have a garage. Roof racks have other uses as well and I use a Thule roof box to carry gear when we go camping and have put a canoe on top, as well as assorted other oversized crap that I need to haul to the dump. Thus I've always had a roof rack and have found it a useful thing to have.

    Had the Thule required add'l and expensive parts to transfer it from my defunct Outback, I might have gone the hitch route, but would still have paid to get the roof rack functional for the other uses.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Blue Belly's Avatar
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    one bike? In the vehicle. Just my opinion. Been rear ended a couple times. Don't know if insurance would cover that? I know it wont replace my vintage bikes. Roof rack? YOu can't see whats above you. Out of site, out of mind. Ive seen it happen to 2 friends. If I pull the wheels off of my 60cm Merckx, I can fit it into our Yaris. Safe & sound! If we get hit that hard, The bike will be the least of my worries...

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    Senior Member zvez's Avatar
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    Surprisingly enough I haven't found this to be the case, we're on our second prius, we had an 03 and traded on a 2010 back in late 09. Around town I tend to average around 48mpg. Hwy trips (t Atlanta 100+ miles each way) I average around 52-53. Not really sure why.

    As to racks. I didn't even consider a roof rack I knew sure as the world I'd forget when pulling into my garage and BOOM. So I went with a thule rear rack: http://www.etrailer.com/Hitch-Bike-R...e/TH990XT.html

    Exc. quality comes with locks etc and bike is very secure for transport. When in the up position (no bike) you do have to drop it to open the hatch but no biggie.

    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    With a gas-electric hybrid your optimal mileage occurs in slower driving, when the electric motor can propel your car. Once on the highway the gas-electric loses some of its advantages. Therefore if you bought your car partially to get good mileage then the trunk rack may be less intrusive, at least mentally.

  25. #25
    bill nyecycles the sci guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Belly View Post
    If I pull the wheels off
    way too much hassle.

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