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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 10-25-06, 05:17 PM   #1
ROJA
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Is it OK to carry a single bike on a Yakima Sidewinder roof rack?

I carry our tandem on a Yakima roof rack with the Sidewinder mount. Is there any reason why I should be worried about using it to transport a single road or mountain bike? I've done it before without problems.

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Old 10-26-06, 09:45 PM   #2
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Come on, nobody knows anything about this???
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Old 10-27-06, 06:02 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by ROJA
Come on, nobody knows anything about this???
Yakima Sidewinder FAQs

Q: Is it ok to mount the Sidewinder Facing the rear of my vehicle?
A: Yes.

Q: Can you mount a standard single-person bike in the sidewinder?
A: No. This rack was designed specifically for tandem bicycles and hasn’t been tested with standard bikes, so we cannot recommend it.


Q: Is the stabilizing strap available separately?
A: Not at this time, but the same function can be achieved with webbing or bungee cords.

Q: What is the “easy loading” feature to the sidewinder?
A: The mounting arm swings out to the side so that the bike can be raised on its back wheel while the front fork is set into the mount. Once the fork is set and secured with the skewer, it is only a matter of lifting the rear end of the tandem and placing it into the rear cradle.
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Old 10-27-06, 07:17 AM   #4
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I know that, but I've used it for singles with no problems and I've heard of others doing it as well. I just wanted to see if there were any particular concerns beyond the typical "we haven't fully tested it so we cannot guarantee functionality with that application."
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Old 10-27-06, 07:46 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ROJA
I know that, but I've used it for singles with no problems and I've heard of others doing it as well. "
Well, then I guess you have your answer...

Seriously, it's a roof mounted rack that you can strap a bike to. Given that a piece of lumber bolted to a roof rack with a scew on fork mount and a toe strap for the rear wheel will hold a bike, it's a pretty safe bet that you can also strap one to the powdercoated, box section Sidewider. While I suspect that a few roof mounted rack systems have "failed" either because they were poorly maintained (rusted or damaged skewers/hardware/straps) or were poorly thought-out or poorly fabricated home-builts, the vast majority of bikes damaged in association with roof-mounted systems are the result of human error.

Back to your Sidewinder, yeah, I've seen them used for single bikes too and they sit very high up assuming the rear wheel is sitting on the boom support. There's also not a lot of lateral support for the rear wheel but it's a 20lb bike... so how much lateral support do you need if the fork's secured? Back to the height issue, you'll definitely have to bear in mind your overhead clearance is as it will be even more restrictive than when your tandem is installed on the mount.

Bottom Line: Aside from the Yakima name, there is nothing appealing to me about the design of the Sidewinder. Yakima obviously wanted to differentiate itself from the Atoc/Thule system and to steer clear of patent infringement issues and they have succeeded. Me, I was always able to use multiple single bike mounts (which is also something Yakima warned against as those had not be tested either) for my roof mounted tandem portage (up to 3 on the roof of our '97 Suburban at prolonged highway speeds and in adverse weather) instead of shelling out for a tandem mount. If I was compelled to shell out for a tandem mount I'd likely go with a non-swivel Atoc model which has a low profile, can carry short or long wheelbase bikes, and is aesthetically neutral for about the same money as the Sidewider. If a swivel mount was essential, I'd still go with the Atoc offering for all of the forementioned reasons.

More than you wanted to know...
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Old 10-27-06, 07:57 AM   #6
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Dang, Mark I never thought of just fudging myself a long single-bike holder.....

But, on the plus side for the Atoc, when hoisting the tandem up on the holder, you can rest the front chainring in the tray and hold the bike with one hand while changing grips to grab the fork and line it up with the quick release. That's the way I do it anyway.
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Old 10-27-06, 08:13 AM   #7
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Isn't the ATOC much longer? It looks like my trunk wouldn't open with one of those. I've been very happy with the Sidewinder. As for carrying a single, I think you are right- the forks lock down and the rear wheel locks down, so what can go wrong?
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Old 10-27-06, 08:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROJA
Isn't the ATOC much longer?
Yes and no. The tandem-length models (76C & 84C) have a quick-disconnect tail section. So, when the tandem's on the roof mount it can be an issue. However, once the tandems off you can remove the tail section with a quick disconnect pin and stuff it in your car's boot. Illustration below is a single on a tandem mount with the tail section removed.



Not pimping for Atoc/Thule... just my observations over the years. Also, for those who might be scratching their heads, earlier models of the Atoc/Thule did not all have the quick disconnect tail section as it was introduced as an option before becoming a standard feature.
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Old 10-27-06, 08:31 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by galen_52657
Dang, Mark I never thought of just fudging myself a long single-bike holder.....
Three cross bars with a single long tray bike mount on the back two cross bars and a lone fork mount on the front cross bar. Used this many times with my very heavy off-road Ventana tandem and never noted any adverse effect. However, I was very attentive to the mounting hardware, making sure all were high quality stainless in good repair, not cheap pot-steel that rusted.
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