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Old 05-17-14, 06:02 PM   #1
biker2
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Need a 3 bike rack for my car

Can anyone recommend reliable brands for my search on Craigslist? Also, how little can I expect to pay for a used one? Again, I need one for three bikes. Also, there seem to be many styles. Which is easiest to use on an suv? Which is most versatile (for a variety of cars)? Thanks!
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Old 05-17-14, 08:03 PM   #2
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Saris Bones3....fits most cars, easy to use, durable
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Old 05-18-14, 07:07 AM   #3
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...ditto to the above recommendation, Saris Bones 3 for sure! I have one that's used for my wife's and my bike on a Honda Accord and its the best bike rack we've ever had. Easy to use and quick to attach and remove, I can have it attached in less than three minutes and removal is less than one. They're also very strong and durable - and - made in the good old USA, one of the reasons I bought it. Go to Saris website and watch the video on how they're made. You'll buy one just from watching that...
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Old 05-18-14, 07:31 AM   #4
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I'd agree that the Saris Bones is the best of the strap ons. Here are the downsides:

1. If you use any strap on rack once a week for a season, by the fall you'll be able to tell where the feet set on your car.
2. Racks that hang the bikes by their top tubes were really designed for a frame style that has fallen out-of-style. Your bikes will hang at funny angles.
3. The first bike is easy to hang. The second bike is a little harder because you have to figure out how to orient the pedals and handlebar. The third bike will be harder yet to hang.
4. Once your bikes are loaded, forget about getting into the back of your van.

Your other alternative is a receiver hitch rack. It's biggest upside is it's easier to mount (assuming your SUV has a receiver) and more secure and stable. Unfortunately, you're going to have to pay more.

Receiver racks that hang the bikes from the top tubes have the same issues as a strap on but, since they usually hold 4 bikes, you have more space to orient the third bike.
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Old 05-18-14, 09:31 AM   #5
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I'd agree that the Saris Bones is the best of the strap ons. Here are the downsides:

1. If you use any strap on rack once a week for a season, by the fall you'll be able to tell where the feet set on your car.
-I've been using mine for over a year and by being careful to ensure the feet are clean, have no signs of paint damage.

2. Racks that hang the bikes by their top tubes were really designed for a frame style that has fallen out-of-style. Your bikes will hang at funny angles.
-Saris has an answer to this situation: Bike Beam

3. The first bike is easy to hang. The second bike is a little harder because you have to figure out how to orient the pedals and handlebar. The third bike will be harder yet to hang.
-This is true on pretty well any bike rack, we bought our Bones 3 intentionally for two bikes to provide the needed extra space.

4. Once your bikes are loaded, forget about getting into the back of your van.
-who said anything about a van? but yes, any rear mounted rack has this issue...
Your other alternative is a receiver hitch rack. It's biggest upside is it's easier to mount (assuming your SUV has a receiver) and more secure and stable. Unfortunately, you're going to have to pay more.
-...but many of us don't want to, or have to, purchase and install a hitch on our CAR...

Receiver racks that hang the bikes from the top tubes have the same issues as a strap on but, since they usually hold 4 bikes, you have more space to orient the third bike.
...like I said, after comparing what's available, all things considered, I found the Saris Bones 3 to be the best choice for a trunk mounted rack...
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Old 05-18-14, 10:28 AM   #6
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One thing you can do for any rack that rests on the finish is to put pieces of transparent protective film there. Pads, no matter how soft and clean can get road grime under them when driving longer distances and abrade the paint. If you're only driving short distances and keep everything really clean, it likely won't be a problem.
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Old 05-18-14, 12:39 PM   #7
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We bought a 26" bike at walmart for my son who is 57" but will be growing a lot more. The guy at the bike shop we visited said 24" would only be good for 6 months for him. However, the seat at its lowest position is too high for my son to get up on by himself. He also has difficulty dismounting. But he rides it fine as far as distance of handlebars and length to pedals. This is a mountain bike by the way. Should we return it for a 24" or let him grow into the one we bought?


We also need the bike rack. We have to go with whatever we can find on Craigslist as I'm sure the one you all recommended would be expensive new. We currently have 3 bikes but may get a 4th. I have seen racks on top of cars, as well as those that strap to the back. The 4 bike racks I'm seeing on Craigslist all seem to require hitches. We need the rack to fit either our suv or our small car. We have no hitches. One option is to get a 3 bike rack that straps to the back of the suv and bungee cord the 4th bike on the built in roof racks on top of the car. Another is to toss the 4th bike in the back of the suv, but we will lose space for bags and miscellaneous.



I need some advice on both of these issues asap.



Much appreciated!
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Old 05-20-14, 11:23 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by biker2 View Post
We bought a 26" bike at walmart for my son who is 57" but will be growing a lot more. The guy at the bike shop we visited said 24" would only be good for 6 months for him. However, the seat at its lowest position is too high for my son to get up on by himself. He also has difficulty dismounting. But he rides it fine as far as distance of handlebars and length to pedals. This is a mountain bike by the way. Should we return it for a 24" or let him grow into the one we bought?


We also need the bike rack. We have to go with whatever we can find on Craigslist as I'm sure the one you all recommended would be expensive new. We currently have 3 bikes but may get a 4th. I have seen racks on top of cars, as well as those that strap to the back. The 4 bike racks I'm seeing on Craigslist all seem to require hitches. We need the rack to fit either our suv or our small car. We have no hitches. One option is to get a 3 bike rack that straps to the back of the suv and bungee cord the 4th bike on the built in roof racks on top of the car. Another is to toss the 4th bike in the back of the suv, but we will lose space for bags and miscellaneous.



I need some advice on both of these issues asap.



Much appreciated!
The bike size question is one that only you can really answer. There is no doubt that buying a smaller bike would be better for him this year.

I know it's a bite on your monthly cash flow today but, if you think that you might be looking for a 4-bike car rack in the near future, you'll probably be money ahead in the long run by acquiring a 4-bike receiver hitch rack now. Look for one with a 1 1/4" so you can use it with either your SUV or your other car (provided you have hitches installed on both).

Roof rack systems have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. I think the biggest advantage is easy access to your car trunk or hatch while you have bikes loaded. You have to balance that with loading ease, the fuel economy hit, and the potential for overlooking a low overhead. If cost is a big factor for you (and it sounds like it is) unless you can find somebody with a whole system to sell, it's probably not going to cost out very well.

FWIW, the trick to fitting one or more bikes inside a car is to remove the front wheel. That allows you to twist the fork sideways and makes the bike a 1-plane object that fits much more easily.
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Last edited by Retro Grouch; 05-20-14 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 05-20-14, 12:08 PM   #9
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Very helpful, especially the idea of removing the wheel. Thanks!
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Old 05-22-14, 02:01 PM   #10
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for an SUV I prefer a hatchback rack, these rest on the back bumper. happy hunting!
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Old 06-01-14, 11:53 AM   #11
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We went ahead and exchanged the 26" for a 24" and the problem's resolved. That 26" was just ridiculous. Hopefully the new bike will last him many years before we have to go to the larger size. Thanks for the advice!
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Old 06-01-14, 05:45 PM   #12
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+1

my kids finally made it to adult size bikes. it was a challenge to continually keep changing their bikes as they grew. the benefits of buying used bikes. but it was still a challenge to get them sized right, in good condition, and a style that we wanted.
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Old 06-02-14, 06:02 PM   #13
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That's why you have to go with Walmart bikes on sale!
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Old 06-13-14, 12:21 PM   #14
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Here's a link to see the product if that helps.

Bell Triple Back 3-Bike Rack : Target
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Old 06-13-14, 02:06 PM   #15
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Thule Raceway
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Old 06-14-14, 10:23 PM   #16
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Is that a recommendation?
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