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  1. #1
    Senior Member ScottCarney's Avatar
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    Forward or backward?

    The tandem that is... on the roof of the wagon.

    I'm picking up our new DaVinci next weekend, our first tandem and the tenth bike in the household. I've got a yak rack, a spare set of towers and I'm picking up a third cross-bar this weekend. After much reading on this site (Thanks!) I'm planning to do the three-bar, fork-clamp-plus-tray-on-the-third bar thing. With the tandem facing forward, I'm pretty sure the rear wheel will keep the hatch from fully opening. I was thinking of turning it around. I think the rear wheel will only be visible if I jam my head between the windshield and the dash which is probably dangerous but not unheard of in the the Chicago burbs. I stack single bikes both ways when I'm trying to cram 4 or 5 of them up there, so I don't see any reason not to do this. Do any of you?

    Oh, yeah, the car is a 2000 BMW 528 touring (fancy talk for wagon) with standard factory rails.

    Thanks,

    Scott

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    If your new bike has a Maverick fork (not likely) the wind will rip off the guards. Otherwise, no problem, but some feel doing so will lead to bad karma. It is comforting to be able to see the bike, so mounting it backwards and as far forward as possible might be a good idea. As for the back hatch not opening all the way-does it open far enough? The rubber tire won't hurt the hatch, but if the hatch isn't high enough, eventually someone might walk into it

  3. #3
    Senior Member ScottCarney's Avatar
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    Our hatch only has two static positions: closed and all open. This is accomplished with a very trick custom option known as "the $700 stick." The $700 stick actually costs just a few dollars, but it will cost $700 to eliminate thanks to the brilliant BMW design of putting the hatch struts in the roof headliner... I'd rather spend the cash on high zoot bike parts.

    Which brings me to the fork. It's a wound-up 700c.

    Thanks. I'll try to do something to make up for the bike karma like ride in the single digit weather we've had. Gads.

    Scott

  4. #4
    Senior Member swc7916's Avatar
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    We have a Tandem Topper on a Subaru Outback and I tried to mount the bike backwards for the same reason - so that we could open the hatch - but it didn't work. The rack has a pivoting fork mount so you just have to lift the front of the bike onto the mount from the side, secure the fork, then lift and swing the back end of the bike onto the tray. The problem is that because of the shape and height of the car plus the position of the rack, the chainrings contact the window before the fork is in the mount; so we have to roll the driver's window down to get the bike on the car. With the rack turned around the rear side windows are in the way and they don't roll down.

    Addendum: I really like the pivoting fork mount; it would be a real pain to lift the whole bike onto the roof of the car.
    Last edited by swc7916; 01-03-10 at 11:46 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Being a Bimmer wagon, you also have the option of carrying the daVinci inside the vehicle.
    That is how we carry our tandem + a single, inside a Honda station wagon. You may have to pop off one or both wheels, but that's not a big deal.
    Works for us.
    Pedal on onto 2010!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  6. #6
    Member
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    I have an '01 525IT (Fancy talk for wagon) I use a yak rack with a sportworks (thule) rack. I use two bars with mighty mounts on the factory rails to mount the tandem rack. I have never had a problem. Great thing about the sportworks rack is that I do not have to take the wheel off of the tandem to mount it. the only problem is that the rack is quite heavy. Incidentally, we have DaVinci as well. PS we used this set up on my Pontiac Bonneville before the 525IT. I'm a not sure if the sportworks tandem rack is available, Thule acquired sportworks a few years back and I do not know if they are still available.

    You can fit the tandem in wagon with both wheels off, one wheel off or without any wheels off. It all depend on how tall your stoker is. If I move the passenger seat all the way forward the entire bike fits in the car. (i have a bigger problem with seat clearance (I'm 6'4" )
    Last edited by mikefranktroymi; 01-03-10 at 08:43 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ScottCarney's Avatar
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    Thanks again. I know the "how to carry your bike when you must drive a car" topic has been much cover and I hope this is a little new.

    I thought about grabbing a pivoting system, but given that 1) I'm tall and the wagon is short, 2) my secondary sport is weightlifting 3) the daVinci is 35 lbs and I've got a commuter that goes over 30lbs I put up there occasionally 4) I'm a $20 cross-bar away from a hacked together system (or maybe a $40 mighty mount system), I thought I'd wait and see how this goes. One trip could change my mind.

    The in-car option is certainly viable but if the big stoker wants to come then the little stoker and the future stoker will also need to come and since this is not the 1970s, we cant just let them roll around in the wayback with the bike. Even if just the little stoker comes, he's still required to sit in the back seat. If I go alone, I'll have the bike keep me company in the car on the way back.

    It took me a minute to picture what mikefranktroymi was describing, but I think it's a clever option. I hadn't even thought about the mighty mounts. I'm not sure about the wheels-on racks. I've got a wheels-on yak rack. I don't like clamping onto my pretty paint. I only use it to carry the commuter or the mtb which get their share of dings regardless.

    Looks like sportworks still makes bus-mounted bike racks. Makes me want to put a bus bumper on the bimmer. It's not clear how their consumer product got absorbed in to thule.

  8. #8
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    When I only transported one tandem, I used a Yakima Rack with a fork mount and a 6" wheel tray on my Subaru Wagon, with the bars spread just right. I used the forward approach. When I tried to do this with two tandems, the load seemed to move the bars, so I began to look at the various real tandem racks. I too settled on the Sportsworks U2 tandem rack, as the best choice. It keeps both wheels on, which I like, and it uses the head tube as a pivoting point, along with a tilting front wheel well, so only one end of the bike has to be lifted at a time, making it easy for loading and unloading. I should note that several years ago when I came to this decision Thule had just bought out the consumer line of Sportworks. Most websites showed the product, but claimed to be out of stock. I found two units at two different bike shops with the help of Rich Shapiro at Gear to Go, who was great even though he did not have one to sell me. The kicker that really made this work for me was that the units were completely modular, so when I bought the quad, I was able to convert the two tandem racks into a quad rack as well. I attach that photo on my Subaru below. The scary part is the total weight exceeds Yakima's suggestions for their towers, and I was disappointed with Yakima's unwillingness to help me with this. I decided to add the third crossbar as others have done to help. Thule took many parts of the Sportworks system into their brand line, but at the time, they had a deal with ATOC that provided them with a tandem rack, and they were not willing to sell the Sportworks U2 racks under their line.

    Here is a shot of the quad on my Subaru wagon. It is a bit hard to see but there are two bars mounted at the front one right behind the other, and one bar at the rear. The rack has 4 racheting arms with hooks, one on each wheel, and one on the frame with some white packing material visible under the hook. As you will see, I switched to rear facing. The rear hatch opens, but not all the way.

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  9. #9
    Senior Member ScottCarney's Avatar
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    That's fantastic. Bike. Car. Rack. Wow.

    So if the three-bar system with two tandems was moving, how does going to a two bar system with proper tandem racks help? With the home brew kluge you get all three bars sharing the fore-aft stress while the outer two bars should take most of the vertical stress and the middle bar actually getting unweighted a bit. I actually thought this would be an advantage and considered tying all three bars together with a 2x4 and some u-bolts.

    mikefranktroymi: Thanks for the bimmer specific fit info.

    Oh, wait... nevermind, you were using two bars and a 6'' tray (not 6' as my little brain registered). That makes sense. a full length rack would tie them together and stabilize the whole thing.
    Last edited by ScottCarney; 01-03-10 at 11:44 PM. Reason: careless reading the first time.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottCarney View Post
    That's fantastic. Bike. Car. Rack. Wow.

    So if the three-bar system with two tandems was moving, how does going to a two bar system with proper tandem racks help? With the home brew kluge you get all three bars sharing the fore-aft stress while the outer two bars should take most of the vertical stress and the middle bar actually getting unweighted a bit. I actually thought this would be an advantage and considered tying all three bars together with a 2x4 and some u-bolts.

    mikefranktroymi: Thanks for the bimmer specific fit info.

    Oh, wait... nevermind, you were using two bars and a 6'' tray (not 6' as my little brain registered). That makes sense. a full length rack would tie them together and stabilize the whole thing.

    One quick note, just do not over-tighten the mighty mounts or you can scratch the rack. otherwise its a great set up !!!
    Mike Frank
    Mikefranktroymi@sbcglobal.net

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