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  1. #1
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    Car top carriers

    Any suggestions/experience with cartop carriers? Have a Yakima base rack. Looking at Yakima and Thule Tandem carriers.

  2. #2
    My own worst nightmare
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    I "frankensteined" a tandem upright mount from two single upright mounts (Saris). Drilled a coupla holes in one of the wheel trays. Slid carriage bolts into the "slot" of one tray, overlapped it with the other by dropping the bolts thru the holes, and held them fast together by tightening nuts onto the bolts. Put one upright arm on each load bar, slide the "super-tray" onto the two arms, and Bob's your uncle. Nice thing is, it does double duty as a tandem mount or two single mounts.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by psychlist
    Any suggestions/experience with cartop carriers? Have a Yakima base rack. Looking at Yakima and Thule Tandem carriers.
    Hera are several options that I can think of:

    1. Thule/Atoc tandem topper
    These are basically the same as ATOC makes the tamdem carrier for Thule. Both are around the $350 (MSRP) range but I have not been able to find cheaper. The major downside is that there is no integrated lock for the carrier. I solution that I am going to use is:

    a. Yakima replacement locking skewer ($20)
    b. Thule/Yakima SKS (6 cores - 4 at the foot packs and 1 at the bike) ($43)

    2. Yakima Sidewinder
    The design looks good but since I do not have one I am not sure what the stablity is compared to the Thule/Atoc. Looking at it from a design perspective I would assume that its more stable since it locks the frame verse the rear wheel. The swivel mechanism definitely seems better on the Thule/Atoc though. The real advantage is the $260 at http://www.rackwarehouse.com/y2071.html. And it comes with an integrated lock system (no cores though)
    dave

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    I have some concerns about the Yakima gripping my Santana on the bottom tube (thin walls not really designed for lateral forces), but I think it might fit better on the top of my car than the Thule rack--I have limited clearance with my hatchback door


    Quote Originally Posted by digitalWok
    Hera are several options that I can think of:

    1. Thule/Atoc tandem topper
    These are basically the same as ATOC makes the tamdem carrier for Thule. Both are around the $350 (MSRP) range but I have not been able to find cheaper. The major downside is that there is no integrated lock for the carrier. I solution that I am going to use is:

    a. Yakima replacement locking skewer ($20)
    b. Thule/Yakima SKS (6 cores - 4 at the foot packs and 1 at the bike) ($43)

    2. Yakima Sidewinder
    The design looks good but since I do not have one I am not sure what the stablity is compared to the Thule/Atoc. Looking at it from a design perspective I would assume that its more stable since it locks the frame verse the rear wheel. The swivel mechanism definitely seems better on the Thule/Atoc though. The real advantage is the $260 at http://www.rackwarehouse.com/y2071.html. And it comes with an integrated lock system (no cores though)

  5. #5
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psychlist
    I have some concerns about the Yakima gripping my Santana on the bottom tube (thin walls not really designed for lateral forces), but I think it might fit better on the top of my car than the Thule rack--I have limited clearance with my hatchback door
    Under normal use and conditions, the Yakima carrier will not damage your boom tube when used with the factory provided restraining straps. FWIW: The Yakima tandem carriers going back many years to the previous two models have all used the same type of a cradle for the boom tube vs. the rear wheel being the second holding point. I have previously owned a couple of the Yakima 9mm tandem mounts which preceeded the Sidewinder as have several friends (including Sovereign owners) and we have regular riding partners who have the Sidewinder. The have a very-long tandem & boom tube that is just as delicate than the Santana boom tube which rests on the cradle at the mid-point, well forward of where most tandems are held. Again, I can not recall any issues but most use a cloth or foam wrap around the tube to help protect the finish from being mared by road grit caught by the restraining straps.

    As for the Thule rack, it is made by ATOC. However, the ATOC Bike Topper/Tandem Length and Tandem Topper versions have a quick-release, removable tail-section that allows the rack to remain on the vehicle when not in use or when only being used with personal bikes. Once the tail-section is removed, most rear hatch / trunk interference issues are eliminated. Again, we have friends who use the pivoting and the non-pivoting ATOC models and they are very good products. However, for piece of mind, they use the optional support strut to eliminate the slight side-to-side movement that is normal with the ATOC swivel head model. The www.ATOC.com website has more detailed information on their racks and information on the 9mm, universal fit "Topper Lock" locking skewer that ATOC markets for use with its rack systems. Again, the Thule tandem mount does not have the removable tail section.
    Last edited by livngood; 08-03-04 at 10:05 AM.

  6. #6
    Mad Town Biker Murrays's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by livngood
    Again, the Thule tandem mount does not have the removable tail section.
    Are you sure? The Thule site appears to show a pin on the tail end of the tandem rack http://www.thuleracks.com/thule/prod..._id=8&sku=558p

    Also, under the Spare Parts page, it states

    Rear tray can be removed for carrying single bikes
    http://www.thuleracks.com/thule/prod..._id=8&sku=558p

    -murray
    "I feel more now like I did than when I first got here"

  7. #7
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murrays
    Are you sure? The Thule site appears to show a pin on the tail end of the tandem rack...
    I stand corrected (not the first time, won't be the last). My last data point was that the Thule did not have the removable tail section, which is probably a pretty old data point or perhaps it was even erroneous. Heck, I didn't realize Charlie had purchased the the Draftmaster brand and product line until only recently: things change, gotta do a better job of keeping up. Regardless, the money still goes back to ATOC whether you purchase the product with the Thule brand name or ATOC's so bear that in mind when doing your price comparisons.
    Last edited by livngood; 08-03-04 at 11:58 AM.

  8. #8
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    Nashbar has the ATOC tandem/recumbent rack with removable wheel tray on sale....

    http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

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    Thanks. This is helpful info. I can't find any other reviews of these products.

    Quote Originally Posted by livngood
    Under normal use and conditions, the Yakima carrier will not damage your boom tube when used with the factory provided restraining straps. FWIW: The Yakima tandem carriers going back many years to the previous two models have all used the same type of a cradle for the boom tube vs. the rear wheel being the second holding point. I have previously owned a couple of the Yakima 9mm tandem mounts which preceeded the Sidewinder as have several friends (including Sovereign owners) and we have regular riding partners who have the Sidewinder. The have a very-long tandem & boom tube that is just as delicate than the Santana boom tube which rests on the cradle at the mid-point, well forward of where most tandems are held. Again, I can not recall any issues but most use a cloth or foam wrap around the tube to help protect the finish from being mared by road grit caught by the restraining straps.

    As for the Thule rack, it is made by ATOC. However, the ATOC Bike Topper/Tandem Length and Tandem Topper versions have a quick-release, removable tail-section that allows the rack to remain on the vehicle when not in use or when only being used with personal bikes. Once the tail-section is removed, most rear hatch / trunk interference issues are eliminated. Again, we have friends who use the pivoting and the non-pivoting ATOC models and they are very good products. However, for piece of mind, they use the optional support strut to eliminate the slight side-to-side movement that is normal with the ATOC swivel head model. The www.ATOC.com website has more detailed information on their racks and information on the 9mm, universal fit "Topper Lock" locking skewer that ATOC markets for use with its rack systems. Again, the Thule tandem mount does not have the removable tail section.

  10. #10
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psychlist
    I can't find any other reviews of these products.
    Your search results underscore just how small and specialized the tandem market really is... and why you need to cast a warry eye (or ear) towards what you do find.

    In addition to this forum, Tandem@Hobbes is the long-standing (since 1992) source for tandem-specific discussions and knowledge sharing that I discovered in '96 while doing my early tandem research. http://<a href="http://search.bikeli...ope=tandem</a>

    It definitely gave me an entirely different set of expectations for what tandeming could be and how hard it was to get good and reliable information and support. With regard to specialty products for tandems, it routinely fills the huge void that exists in most "consumer review" resources and on the general cycling discussion boards. For example, a search of the T@H archives will produce quite a few discussion threads on the ATOC and Yakima rack mounts for tandems; some of which are more helpful than others. Like most forums, you still must work to separate the wheat from the chaff (and even a few sour grapes) to get useful information. As an example, here is a link to some results from Alex Wetmore's cycling list search engine targeted at the Tandem@Hobbes.ucsd.edu list: http://search.bikelist.org/?SearchSt...D&Scope=tandem

    The search string was: atoc AND thule AND yakima
    It produced 136 messages.

    For this search string: tandem AND roof AND racks
    The archives yield 677 messages.

    If nothing else, it would be worthwhile to keep a link to Alex's search engine in your bookmarks / favorites.

  11. #11
    Mad Town Biker Murrays's Avatar
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    Just to confirm, I just bought a Thule tandem rack from a friend and it does have the removable tail section.

    Thanks for the link to the Nashbar site; it helped me whittle another $25 off my original offer. I paid $225 (never been opened) figuring I didnít want to nickel and dime a friend, plus there would be shipping charges.

    The unit looks nice. Now I just need the tandem to mount on it!!

    -murray
    "I feel more now like I did than when I first got here"

  12. #12
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    As for the ATOC universal locking skewer, I am not a fan for several reasons. I cannot use any SKS cores with as its basically a quick release with larger head to accommodate a hole that you can fit a padlock through it. For th emoney that they charge very lame! I got one of these thrown into the ATOC package and I still do not use it...anyone interested?

    After some research into a more integrated system, I came across the Yakima replacement skewers for their racks and for $20 (no lock core) it was a no brainer for me...upgraded my SKS cores from 4 to 6 (can't buy 5) and I was good to go. here is what the replacement skewers look like:

    http://www.rackwarehouse.com/y2080.html

    Becareful...do not get

    http://www.rackwarehouse.com/y2062.html

    as it is twice as much and does not come with a lock core so one is needed. I was able to confirm this at the local REI store. The only difference that I can tell is that this one is silver and "beefer" looking.
    dave

  13. #13
    Mad Town Biker Murrays's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by digitalWok
    As for the ATOC universal locking skewer, I am not a fan for several reasons. I cannot use any SKS cores with as its basically a quick release with larger head to accommodate a hole that you can fit a padlock through it. For th emoney that they charge very lame! I got one of these thrown into the ATOC package and I still do not use it...anyone interested?
    Yeah, I was ready to order the ATOC locking skewer. I agree that the cost is high, but I've got all Thule stuff so I don't think a Yakima locking skewer would use the same lock core that Thule uses.

    Email me at mcmurman@mailblocks.com if you're interested in selling. I'll start the bidding at $10

    -murray
    "I feel more now like I did than when I first got here"

  14. #14
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by digitalWok
    After some research into a more integrated system, I came across the Yakima replacement skewers for their racks and for $20 (no lock core) it was a no brainer for me...upgraded my SKS cores from 4 to 6 (can't buy 5) and I was good to go. The only difference that I can tell is that this one is silver and "beefer" looking.
    A quick assessment of the different locking skewers....

    $25 Yakima model: Lever is made of resin and the locking device is at best a theft deterrant that can be defeated in about 5 seconds with a pair of vice-grips or a dent puller. Great for running into the store, but not for higher-security needs. If you don't already have Yakima cores, a pair will set you back $20. If you do have cores, you can always special order extra ones from Yakima that are keyed to match your existing ones (well, at least you could in the past). So, $45 for a theft deterrant less any deals.

    $49 Yakima model: This is a replacement skewer for the Steelhead (and one other model) mount system. In addition to locking the bike to the mount, if the mount is intalled inboard of the towers it also locks the mount to the rack. The L-shaped arm used with the mounts can be cut-off so that this can be used as a stand-alone skewers lock. The device itself is much more robust and harder to defeat than the $25 model except that the lock core is the weak link, i.e., everything is anodized/hardened and you need a hacksaw, power cutter to cut through but a dent-puller can be used to jerk the core out in a few seconds. The knurled adjusting nob is held on by a hidden c-clip that can only be removed when the lock is open and the locking mechanism is sealed in the lock-body housing. You also need a Yakima core for this device so first time buyer is looking at $69.

    $39 ATOC model: Machined and powdercoated, actually a nice piece of hardware. It can also be characterized as a theft deterrant. Uses any type of padlock; you decide how much lock you need. Priced to be competitive with the other two options. A bit more secure than both of the Yakima models, but not by much if someone has the right tools.

    If you must leave a bike or tandem on the roof a vehicle unattended overnight or anywhere that you want added security, run a high-security cable through the frames, rear wheels and around the lock rack towers and use a good padlock in addition to any of these fork lock systems. Why make it too easy. Or, you can always get a vehicle with tinted windows that's large enough for your bikes or tandem so you can keep it out of sight, out of mind.

    Lastly, if you are on the road you can always sneak your tandem into your hotel room. I included a tip on how to stand a tandem up in a corner in this thread which comes in handy for this type of overnight storage arrangement: Size of tandem (for storage)

    Just my .02.

    Personal qualifiers: Been using Yakima since '84 and have a huge investment in the stuff, e.g., 6 Steelheads, Boa, old single fork mounts, ski racks, various towers and cross bars, and about 12 lock cores. However, I just call 'em as I see 'em.
    Last edited by livngood; 08-07-04 at 08:55 AM.

  15. #15
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    Has anyone used the Rockymounts Tandem Carrier? I ended up order it from sportsrack.com when I ordered my Yakima parts. I intially liked it because of the price $179, but now Nashbar has the ATOC for $199. I wonder if there is any appreciable difference between the two. The only thing that stands is the removeable tail on the ATOC. I have single bike mounts, so would this be a big advantage?

    Thanks for the advice!!

  16. #16
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    You can read some of the comments that reference the Rocky Mounts at this search string: http://search.bikelist.org/?SearchSt...D&Scope=tandem

    Note: Charlie Buchalter is Mr. ATOC. However, knowing Charlie as I do, he's a fair minded guy who is very honest and candid... you know, an Engineer's Engineer. Very precise and detailed and not one to engage in hyperbole. So, even when he's talking about his own products, he's usually spot on with his observations.

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    With all this talk of carriers, I thought I'd share my saga.

    I started out purchasing the Yakima base package, Rocky Mounts Tandem, and 2 single carriers from Sports Rack back on the 15th last month. As of yesterday 5pm my order still had not shipped. I had called them a week ago, and they assured me that all my parts were in stock, and would ship that day. Upon calling yesterday I was informed that the lock cores were out of stock but should be in stock in a "week or two". So after 3 calls to them I'd received a different story each time. Unacceptable, cancel my order.

    Well after much surfing, I came across ORS Racks Direct . I've ordered the same equipment from them (less the Rocky Mounts tandem carrier, decided on the ATOC from Nashbar), and saved $157 in the process. Even with the higher price of the ATOC carrier! They offer free shipping, no tax, and currently 20% off all Yakima parts, 10% off all Thule. They will also price match if you find it cheaper.
    Now I guess I just have to wait and see if I actually receive them. I did the BBB search and they had a stisfactory record, so I figured what the heck. Has anybody heard of them?

    So I guess I just want to say "Thanks!" Sports Rack, for being such LOSERS. You saved me $157!
    Last edited by ottodog; 08-12-04 at 08:41 AM.

  18. #18
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    Well thought I'd post follow-up on my ORS Rack Direct order. Within 16 hours of placing my order I received an email stating my order had shipped, complete with tracking info. Yesterday I received everything as promised. I was missing a wheel strap for one of the Rocky Mount single carriers. I emailed customer service and received a prompt response that one would be shipped out to me.

    So after the nightmare with sportsrack.com, it was great to find a company that actually knows what customer service means! I highly recommend them for all your Yakima, Thule, Rocky Mount rack needs. Their service, and prices are top notch!!

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