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  1. #1
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    Best tandem mount for roof rack?

    I have a Yakima round bar rack for my Jetta Sportwagen. I'd like to be able to haul my newer Cannondale road tandem securely, so I've been looking over the options available for mounts. The Yakima Sidewinder looks appealing because I can stick with my standard lock cores. Will the C'dale's fat boom tube fit into the cradle correctly? Should I consider the Thule or Rocky Mounts option instead?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Team Fab's Avatar
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    I have been using the Rocky Mounts R4 for about two years(I prefer inside my van so not used all the time). Seems to work fine, but as a rule I just lift tandem on I don't swing it out.

    http://www.rockymounts.com/TandemMou...ack_p/0512.htm

    The best part is that I can use it with my single bikes, just slide the boom in and it is ready to go.

    As my car is a hatchback Mazda 3 before and now Suzuki SX4, I have the rack mounted so the rear wheel is facing forward. This way i can access the hatch with the tandem mounted.

  3. #3
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    We went through this recently and settled on the RockyMounts. I didn't like that the Yakima grabbed onto the boom tube, inevitably scratching it. The Yakima is the shortest though, by far, which would be good for a hatchback. The Thule (I think made by ATOC) is nice, but didn't fit our car as well as the RockyMounts. I also preferred the locking rotating head on the RockyMounts but there are plusses and minuses of each. Finally, the telescoping beam of the RockyMounts works well on our Subaru Outback - it clears the hatchback when slid in and is easy to reposition to full length once the tailgate is closed. The RockyMounts does not have a locking skewer but the Yakima locking skewers will fit.

    Ultimately it's largely personal preference. You may need to try each one to determine what you do or don't like about each.

  4. #4
    Senior Member 72andsunny's Avatar
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    1+ for the Sidewinder. I have a double boom tube, but I think it would be difficult to scratch anything in the cradle.

    Two drawbacks: 1) it does not look terribly cool when sitting atop the car with out your tandem.
    2) you can make a very big mess if you drive into the garage with your bike on top. (I know you are thinking: I'll never do that...I thought the exact same thing when I was deciding between roof transport and some other option.)

  5. #5
    Senior Member VaultGuru's Avatar
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    If they will fit your car, probably the easiest crossbar mountings to put on, and not damage your roof are Yakima. I have a Thule, only because it is the only rooftop crossbar setup that will mount to my Volvo S60R sedan. To carry your tandem, you might want to consider a RockyMount. It fits both Yakima and Thule crossbars. It is a front fork mount. The rear wheel sits in a channel. It has a rotating front fork so you can rotate it 90 to your car and lock in your fork. Then, you pick up the back of your tandem and put it in the channel. If you have a light tandem, just pick it up and put it in place.
    http://www.rockymounts.com/TandemMou...ack_p/0512.htm
    We have been using one for 10 years and a lot of miles, and it has been perfect. The new one looks vastly improved compared to ours. The engineering, and the finished product, is a lot cleaner than Yakima too. We use a Yakima locking skewer. If you get a Yakima crossbar mount, you can get a matched key for your skewer. Don't think Rocky Mount has a locking skewer.
    Last edited by VaultGuru; 10-08-13 at 06:04 PM.

  6. #6
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    Another vote for the Rocky Mount. On our Honda Pilot we mount it as far outboard as possible (outboard of the towers) and the rear tray clears our hatch even when loaded with the tandem. The one downside on taller vehicles is that the captain's chainring can whack your window during loading/unloading depending on the profile of your car. But on your Jetta I think you will be fine.

  7. #7
    Half Fast mwandaw's Avatar
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    Here's another vote for the Rocky Mounts Tandem Mount. We don't have any interference with the tail gate on our Pontiac Vibe GT. We use Yakima cross bars.

    Long distance freeway mileage goes from 31-32mpg to 27-28mpg. It's still less expensive than buying a minivan!

    I have heard good things about the Draftmaster Tandem mount: http://atoc.com/draftmasterlong.php It would be a good option if you have a hitch.

    20130528_145428.jpg

    VERY IMPORTANT - Do something to keep from driving into your garage or car port when the tandem is on the car. We attach a warning label to the strap that secures the rear wheel. When we secure the rear wheel, we remove the label and attach it to the garage door opener. Then we move the garage door opener from the sun visor to a closed compartment in the center console. YMMV

    Strap.jpg

    Opener.jpg
    Last edited by mwandaw; 10-09-13 at 09:45 AM.
    Not slow, not fast, but Half Fast!

  8. #8
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    The manual that came with your Cannondale says not to clamp the aluminum tubes. The Yakima works fine for bikes with steel frames but should not be used with aluminum frames. This also rules out virtually all of the hitch mount racks that go on the trailer hitch. We have a Thule, in part since ATOC is a local company and it works fine. Although we have never used it, the tail piece comes out making the rack useable for a half bike. We looked at the Rocky mount and were impressed, but I didn't like the way the fork mount rotated--It is at a slight angle which will cause the bike to "flop over" when loading and unloading. Owners of this rack can comment if this is a problem or not. We have a friend with a draft master which may be the best of all, but is quite expensive. I have help load bikes on it and it really works well and keeps the bike mostly out of the slipstream when under way.

  9. #9
    Half Fast mwandaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Spohn View Post
    ...We looked at the Rocky mount and were impressed, but I didn't like the way the fork mount rotated--It is at a slight angle which will cause the bike to "flop over" when loading and unloading...
    The Rocky Mount includes a strap to keep the handlebars from turning while loading or unloading. I'm not sure if that addresses your concern about "flopping over", but I haven't had any trouble like that... at least not with our tandem
    Not slow, not fast, but Half Fast!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Spohn View Post
    We looked at the Rocky mount and were impressed, but I didn't like the way the fork mount rotated--It is at a slight angle which will cause the bike to "flop over" when loading and unloading. Owners of this rack can comment if this is a problem or not.
    We have not found this to be a problem. In fact the automatic locking of that rotating portion (there's a push button) seemed far superior to the pin that the Thule/ATOC used. I loaded the bike on the Thule and nearly lost control as the fork mount rotated too far (nearly laying the bike down on the roof...) - yes, I skipped the handlebar strap, that could have potentially avoided that issue.

    As far as I can tell, none of them are perfect but all are workable. You probably just have to try them and see which works best for your application.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Spohn View Post
    The manual that came with your Cannondale says not to clamp the aluminum tubes.
    Could you point me to where this is stated? Out of concern, I just read through the standard manual and the tandem supplement. The only mention to clamping on aluminum tubes is in reference to work stands that can generate a crushing force. In the section on mounting bikes in racks it states not to use upright mounts that clamp to carbon downtubes, again because of crushing forces.

  12. #12
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    We use a 13 year old Thule tandem rack (as prev mentioned, made by ATOC http://atoc.com/tandemtopper.php) mounted on Yakima bars and towers. The Yakima Landing Pads attach to the built-in theaded holes on the roof of our Mazda 5. The towers attach/detach very quickly/easily to the Landing Pads.
    The tandem topper is just barely long enough for our Screamer, which is heavy enough that we always use the swivel feature. I've starting carrying my long wheelbase single RANS on that rack, too - it's light enough to pick up and place on the rack. (One bike at a time!) We hadn't used the Thule rack for a long time because we had a Mazda minivan that swallowed tandems whole - the first time we loaded the tandem on top of the Mazda5, I had forgotten about the strap to keep the fork from turning and had a very sloppy loading and unloading experience. Much better with the strap keeping things in line.
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  13. #13
    Trail Blazing NoTrail's Avatar
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    I use the Yakima Sidewinder rack for my Cannondale with no problems. The 'don't clamp your aluminum frame' only applies to work stands as stated above as you don't want to crush the frame. However, the Yakima Sidewinder puts very little clamping force on the frame. I find that racks that attach to the boom tube are a little more stable at highway speeds, but any of the racks mentioned above will serve you well.
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  14. #14
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    Another vote for the Sidewinder. We've been using it problem-free for over 9 years. As a fyi, we've mounted it with the Yakima Q-towers & crossbars on my stoker-wife's old Nissan Sentra & her current Hyundai Elantra. If there is a drawback to the Sidewinder it would be parking distance. You really need 4-5' between your car and the car/truck parked next to you. Also, I'd recommend using a handle bar strap regardless which roof top carrier you decide on. One final thought: again regardless on which roof top set up that you pick up, also get a front bar-mounted spoiler. Unless you like hearing a banshee wail at 15 mph+.
    Jeff

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  15. #15
    Senior Member LuckySailor's Avatar
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    As was mentioned earlier, Draftmaster. We have the hitch mounted version and it is bar none the best bike rack we have ever owned. Period! They also make a roof topper version. Over the last couple of years, I have spoken with the owner of ATOC (who makes the draftmaster), he is very keen on making sure you have exactly what you need to properly do the job of tansporting your bike. A+ to deal with.

  16. #16
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    I did not like the idea of spending a large amount of money on what is a very basic and simple device, so put together a tandem rack for 30 from 4x trailer axle u-bolts (holds the wooden rack to the roof rack), a Saris track trap (clamps the front fork), toestraps (clamps rear wheel), some 2"x2" wood, glue, screws and black paint from the shed. It took 1 evening to make and 2 more to paint it.

  17. #17
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    one more choice is the 1 UP USA rack. I have two of their single racks and they are the best and strongest racks i have ever used. They make a tandem rack as well. http://www.1upusa.com/product-tandemroofrack.html

  18. #18
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    We've had the Yakima Sidewinder for a while, and have generally been pleased with it. It's definitely helpful to use the handlebar stabilizing strap when loading. Sometimes I get lazy and don't use it, but then the bike flops around and I kick myself.

    My only complaint against the Sidewinder is that the way they designed the swingarm - with the fork mounting point being back from the actual front of the mount - makes the tandem stick farther out the back of the vehicle than it would otherwise need to. I understand why they designed it this way, as it makes loading easier when the pivot arm is swung out. However, it essentially pushes the bike back a foot or so from where it would otherwise be relative to the front crossbar (i.e., if the fork mount was directly over the crossbar vs. where the Sidewinder puts it). Not sure if I'm painting the correct picture, but if you look at the Sidewinder you'll probably understand what I mean.

    We've had it on various Subaru vehicles and also our Honda minivan for drives of up to 10 hours at highway speeds. No problems at all. Once the pivot arm fixing screw is screwed down there is very little (if any) flexing of the mount or the swingarm.

  19. #19
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    I ended up ordering the Yakima Sidewinder and I'll probably install it this weekend. The convenience of being able to use my SKS lock cores combined with a good price through Amazon won me over.

  20. #20
    Senior Member ScottCarney's Avatar
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    I was too cheap to shell out for the fancy tandem trays (despite having shelled out for 1. a DaVinci JointVenture and 2. a fancy german station wagon) and so I added a 3rd Yak cross bar to the roof, mounted a fork-holder (no tray) on the rear-most bar and then a regular tray on the front two in-line with that. This offers several advantages. The rear wheel of the bike sits just slightly over the windsheild (not visible unless you cram your head up to the front of the windsheild) so the rear hatch isn't blocked by the bike. The rear wheel tend to deflect bugs so I don't wind up with a bug-splattered frame.

    Having said all that, I'm now seriously considering a fancy swing-out type system since I hurt my shoulder a couple of weeks ago while mounting the bike. You probably get what you pay for. I will also probably mount it "backwards" too.

  21. #21
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    IMG_0012.jpgWe mount ours backwards on a Yakima in order to allow access to the hatch door. In July/August we did a 4000 mile round trip to Quebec and back with no problems. I agree the Yakima is pretty ugly with no tandem on it and am thinking of getting the Rocky Mount for esthetic reasons.

  22. #22
    Tandem newbies JeffandKathy's Avatar
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    We like our Sidewider, which we orient forwards on our Outback wagon. Yeah, the bike's rear wheel sticks out beyond the rear of roof, which prevents the wagon hatch from opening to full height. But we figure there's a simple solution: Take the bike off the car -- which is the reason why we hauled it to the destination in the first place. No biggie.

    Bonus: the rack makes it easier to find our car in crowded parking lots.

  23. #23
    certified vegetarian veggie's Avatar
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    I got the Sidewinder and love it so far. To everyone scared of clamping their boom tubes, the "clamp" isn't really a clamp, more of a pair of straps like you would use to secure the rear wheel on a normal roof rack tray. But that's not to say that it isn't secure, I have taken this on the highway before.

    on my '83 civic:



    Quote Originally Posted by JeffandKathy View Post
    Bonus: the rack makes it easier to find our car in crowded parking lots.
    My car is lower then most of the window lines of cars around here so my rack helps me find my car too.

  24. #24
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    One advantage of the Rockymounts is that it will work with a typical "euro style" factory rack:

    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    One advantage of the Rockymounts is that it will work with a typical "euro style" factory rack:

    Nice ride!

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