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Old 07-12-14, 01:44 PM   #1
nStyle
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Why do most "roof rack" types fit a certain demographic?

Maybe its just a regional thing, but I live in North Carolina and when I see roof racks (usually Thule), they are generally perched atop Audi's and VW's - occasionally BMW. Age is usually between 30-50.

Is this true where you live too? Of course there are exceptions to this "rule". I just wonder why in general people stick their bikes atop German engineered vehicles? Maybe its a monkey see monkey do type thing but it just seems to prevail.
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Old 07-12-14, 01:57 PM   #2
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It's because owners of German cars take the most pragmatic approach to transporting their bicycles on their cars, and therefore, arrive at the same conclusion that roof racks are the best way to do so.
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Old 07-12-14, 01:58 PM   #3
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I have a VW Passat - it's a royal PITA to mount a hitch to my wagon, including drilling into sheet metal and cutting the rear fascia. Luckily, it is a wagon so I just stick the bike in the hatch. But I'd guess that the other owners face the same issues, none of which enhance the value of the vehicle during resale, in the current owners' minds.
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Old 07-12-14, 02:43 PM   #4
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I don't drive a German car but are you calling me a monkey, too?
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Old 07-12-14, 03:57 PM   #5
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I have Thule roof rack set up for 4 bikes, it first perched atop a '94 Buick LeSabre, now it's set up for a 2001 Impala. I hardly fit the demographic, but then I always have been a bit of a "rebel".
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Old 07-12-14, 04:26 PM   #6
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I have one on my jetta wagon but around here it is subarus that are the most common but of coarse you see them on just about everything else too just not in the same numbers.
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Old 07-12-14, 04:27 PM   #7
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I'm your typical Texas redneck.....I throw it in the back of my Ram 2500.....Cummins diesel, of course...
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Old 07-12-14, 05:01 PM   #8
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Where I live there are sorts of variations. I wouldn't be able to make any generalizations. I use RockyMounts roof racks on a Subaru wagon so I can carry bikes and still access the hatchback.
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Old 07-13-14, 10:27 AM   #9
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Mine are on a 10 year old Buick Century.
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Old 07-13-14, 10:32 AM   #10
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Maybe its just a regional thing, but I live in North Carolina and when I see roof racks (usually Thule), they are generally perched atop Audi's and VW's - occasionally BMW. Age is usually between 30-50. Is this true where you live too? Of course there are exceptions to this "rule". I just wonder why in general people stick their bikes atop German engineered vehicles? Maybe its a monkey see monkey do type thing but it just seems to prevail.
nstyle; Generally if your preconceptions drive you to look for something, you will see it. Not a criticism, just way we people brains function.

/K
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Old 07-13-14, 10:55 AM   #11
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When I had a hatch back, I didn't like having the rack on the glass back. I also wanted to be able to carry a canoe with a couple of bikes, when I was in my 20s and pretty much made just enough to buy some toys which were bikes.

I have no hitch and have a spoiler on my current car(96 saturn) and I'm 40. I still have my Thule but need new feet. If I do want to take my bike in my car, generally I would just rather go ride since it is a road bike and don't like taking my bike somewhere just to ride, I'll get new feet for my rack to carry my bike.

Even if I had a hitch, I'd rather use a roof rack so that I can hook up a trailer for other stuff. Maybe when I get older and can't lift stuff so high I may get a different style of rack.

I also have a fairing with stickers. Can't get that with any other style of rack.
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Old 07-13-14, 10:58 AM   #12
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I always thought roof racks were for Subarus.
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Old 07-13-14, 11:01 AM   #13
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I just wonder why in general people stick their bikes atop German engineered vehicles?
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I have a VW Passat - it's a royal PITA to mount a hitch to my wagon, including drilling into sheet metal and cutting the rear fascia.
So maybe the answer is German car companies don't design their cars to easily mount a hitch receiver.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 07-13-14, 11:18 AM   #14
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My old Saris roof rack not only carries bikes but ladders, kayaks, sofas, camping equipment, etc.

It's on a Honda Accord right now but started service on a Ford Taurus 20 years ago.
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Old 07-13-14, 11:33 AM   #15
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So maybe the answer is German car companies don't design their cars to easily mount a hitch receiver.
I've seen the European version of mounting a hitch for my car - essentially you replace the rear bumper structure. The replacement piece doesn't meet US standards, so the hitch companies have come up with a kludged piece.
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Old 07-13-14, 12:56 PM   #16
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I have a Honda and a Saris rear trunk style rack. When I was shopping roof racks, the salesperson at the bike shop told me roof racks hold better for long trips. I thought that was a little odd and tried to imagine exactly why that was. I'm guessing they're more expensive so it must be better.

Long story short, I found a Saris trunk style on Craigslist for $40 and have done three round trip cross country (NY-Cali), numerous east coast trips of 8 hours or more and not a single issue. Not once.

I once had a roof rack many years ago and clipped my brand new Jamis mountain bike going through a drive through. Doh! I'll stick with my rack on the back.
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Old 07-13-14, 01:26 PM   #17
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Maybe its just a regional thing, but I live in North Carolina and when I see roof racks (usually Thule), they are generally perched atop Audi's and VW's - occasionally BMW. Age is usually between 30-50.
I fit your description, being the right age and driving a German car, although I'd think it would apply to most small sedans regardless of the owners' age... Where else would I mount a rack? I don't have a hitch, there's not an easy way to mount one, and I'd like to keep access to my trunk.

As for BMW's in particular, they often include hard points for roof racks. There are four little panels on the roof of my car. Flip 'em open and there's a threaded hole for attaching a rack.
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Old 07-13-14, 03:55 PM   #18
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If I couldn't put my bike inside my car (front wheel removed) or Tahoe, roof would be my 1st thought. I'd go ghetto on the tahoe though and just ratchet-strap it laid down to the factory cargo rails.
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Old 07-13-14, 04:04 PM   #19
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When I was shopping roof racks, the salesperson at the bike shop told me roof racks hold better for long trips. I thought that was a little odd and tried to imagine exactly why that was. I'm guessing they're more expensive so it must be better.
Trunk racks interfere with trunk access, are less secure, less versatile, more finicky, and are basically a temp solution to a long term need. Which is not to say they don't work fine for many people, but you can do a lot more with a roof rack.
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Old 07-13-14, 04:48 PM   #20
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Today I was driving down the freeway, and lo and behold what did I see?? A BMC Road Bike on a rack on the back of a VW Golf. Driver looked to be about 40. This thread came to mind and I started laughing. Maybe there is something to the bike rack / German car thing.
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Old 07-13-14, 06:13 PM   #21
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^^^Except that doesn't fit the mold. The OP was talking about roof racks.
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Old 07-13-14, 07:13 PM   #22
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It's because owners of German cars take the most pragmatic approach to transporting their bicycles on their cars, and therefore, arrive at the same conclusion that roof racks are the best way to do so.
+1 Also, I'm not sure about Mercedes, but many BMW's have factory mounts on the roof for a BMW specific carrier -- normally Thule. I have one for mine but I still prefer carrying my bike in the trunk where it's safer. One the other hand, who cares how people carry their bikes?
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Old 07-13-14, 07:15 PM   #23
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I'm your typical Texas redneck.....I throw it in the back of my Ram 2500.....Cummins diesel, of course...
Nothing wrong with that. Except I'd have a rack for the bed to keep it from bouncing around.
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Old 07-13-14, 07:17 PM   #24
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So maybe the answer is German car companies don't design their cars to easily mount a hitch receiver.
Even if they did, I don't like the idea of my bike on the back of the car. With all the tailgaters I don't want to use my bike as a rear bumper.
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Old 07-13-14, 07:25 PM   #25
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My goodness. To do really serious class warfare, we need to find out which type of bike is being carried on the finely crafted Beemer.
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