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  1. #1
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    roof vs hitch rack for bike with fenders....thoughts?

    my car is a 2006 mazda 3 hb (has the 4 points on top for rack mountings)

    i have fenders on all my bikes, and as a result am finding it diffiult to locate a suitable roof rack in which the stabilizing arm wont' interfere with my fenders
    (my touring bike also has lowrider tubus ergo front rack)

    seems one that may work is the thule 594xt sidearm...any others one can recommend?
    i do like the idea of roof mount given i also ski alot too
    http://www.rackattack.com/product-pa...xt-sidearm.asp

    however i read that that fenders can break or crack when on roof mounted racks due to hitting higher winds at faster the highway speeds (???)
    i'm wondering if going 'hitch' is the better, easier way so am now looking at the
    thule helium 970xt 2 bike hitch rack)
    http://www.rackattack.com/product-pa...0xt-helium.asp

    also considering newer platform hitch racks as from sportrack below
    http://www.rackattack.com/product-pa...orm-system.asp
    as well at the yakima stickup
    http://www.rackattack.com/product-pa...ma-stickup.asp

    regardless it can get $$$, once you start to enter the 'rack' zone.
    thoughts, suggestions, please?
    Last edited by canali; 04-29-12 at 10:59 AM.

  2. #2
    More Energy than Sense aroundoz's Avatar
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    I have a Yakima set up and you can mount a bike with fenders using their Boa bike mount which doesn't have a continuous full length wheel tray. However, you are limited in your crossbar spread so if you don't have a lot of adjustment for and aft, it may not work for you. My wife's roof is short so the Boa won't work on her car because the rear wheel falls to far aft on the rear crossbar so I have to use a full length wheel tray. You are right about fenders breaking from the bike being mounted on the roof. Not an issue with shorter distances but indeed with longer ones. This happened to me on my road bike. As far as being able to mount a bike with a low rider rack on your roof, that might be pushing it. However, my wife has a Tubus Tara and it is doable.

    Some advantages to mounting bikes on the roof are your bike will stay cleaner and there is less chance of scratching your bike especially with if using a fork mount. Disadvantages are wind resistance and wind noise. Get a couple of bikes up there and you will actually get less gas mileage.

    Advantages to a hitch carrier are you can leave fenders, front racks and wheels on and there is less wind resistance. Disadvantages are when transporting your bike in the rain, you will spend the next day cleaning it due to the spray from the car wheels. Hitch carriers are more prone to scratching bikes due to contact with the carrier and other bikes. However the newer carriers do a much better job of protecting your bike and I wouldn't worry about it. I only say this because scratches or more likely than compared to a roof carrier. Hitch carriers are also pretty heavy to install and remove and kind of a pain to deal with every time you want to open your back hatch.

    Personally I like roof carriers. I transported my bike on a hitch carrier once in bad weather and like I said, it took quite a while to get that wind blasted grime off of it.

  3. #3
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    thanks aroundoz...seems that as in life, no solution is perfect....
    ...decisions, decisions..

    luckily the thule helium hitch rack that i was referring to above is lightweight aluminum and supposedly very easy to install (no wrench needed to tighten a bolt connector...done instead by a knob)...
    ...see video
    http://www.rackattack.com/product-pa...0xt-helium.asp

    still deciding...
    Last edited by canali; 04-29-12 at 01:45 PM.

  4. #4
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    I just bought a 2012 Equinox yesterday. I think I will go with a hitch rack as it will be easier to load/unload bikes. Also that will leave the roof rack for hauling cargo. From what I have seen the trailer hitch is pretty easy to install. Thanks for the RackAttack web site. Lots of good info. I also noticed there are a lot of racks for sale on Craigslist here in San Diego. May search around Craigslist first, but I suspect I will need to get a new rack if I want to get some of the more advanced features.

    After reviewing the hitch platform racks I see the Yakima folds up and out of the way whereas the SportRack does not. This I think is a feature I would want. Less likely to back into something when driving around without a bike onboard.
    Last edited by Keith K; 04-29-12 at 11:53 AM. Reason: Added info.

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Yakima made a roof rack mount that held the bike by the left crankarm..

    but your Gas/ milage goes up with the air-resistance, which sucks ..
    more the faster you drive..

    putting a small trailer with the bikes inside, on the hitch keeps them secure.

  6. #6
    Fraser Valley Dave
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    I prefer hitch racks for several reasons. Less likely to scratch the car if you slip or trip when reaching high and over to a roof mount. Far less likely to forget that your bike is sticking way above your car when driving under a low obstruction such as underground parking etc. You can always visibly check on your bike as you drive with a hitch mount. Less wind resistance, especially if carrying more than one bike.

  7. #7
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    you might be seeing an older model of the sportrack.
    the sportrack ez premium platform model does fold up and also down.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith K View Post
    I just bought a 2012 Equinox yesterday. I think I will go with a hitch rack as it will be easier to load/unload bikes. Also that will leave the roof rack for hauling cargo. From what I have seen the trailer hitch is pretty easy to install. Thanks for the RackAttack web site. Lots of good info. I also noticed there are a lot of racks for sale on Craigslist here in San Diego. May search around Craigslist first, but I suspect I will need to get a new rack if I want to get some of the more advanced features.

    After reviewing the hitch platform racks I see the Yakima folds up and out of the way whereas the SportRack does not. This I think is a feature I would want. Less likely to back into something when driving around without a bike onboard.
    Last edited by canali; 04-29-12 at 01:47 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member djyak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Lew View Post
    I prefer hitch racks for several reasons. Less likely to scratch the car if you slip or trip when reaching high and over to a roof mount. Far less likely to forget that your bike is sticking way above your car when driving under a low obstruction such as underground parking etc. You can always visibly check on your bike as you drive with a hitch mount. Less wind resistance, especially if carrying more than one bike.

    Exactly! Here in Europe, even my mini-van can barely make it into some of these garages! And I like being able to see my bike.

  9. #9
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    The Swagman XTC2 looks like another good option, though it is rated to carry 70 lbs whereas the Yakima Stick Up allows 90lbs.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGs0aMDoztU

    I ended up buying the Swagman XTC2. Price was great, folds up nicely, amazon.com reviews were really good and it looks like I can adapt a cargo carrier in the future (just a thought).


    Quote Originally Posted by canali View Post
    you might be seeing an older model of the sportrack.
    the sportrack ez premium platform model does fold up and also down.
    Last edited by Keith K; 04-29-12 at 06:49 PM. Reason: Made my choice

  10. #10
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    If you go with a rear rack, zip tie the mudflap to the rear wheel. Front wheel is more sheltered.

  11. #11
    Senior Member 12bar's Avatar
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    I just ordered a Thule 990XT for my 2011 Subaru Forester so we can transport our touring bikes and 29er's the roof rack is fine for the light weight road bikes but just doesn't work for the others.
    "It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for someone you love". Blazeman, Warrior Poet

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  12. #12
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    I transport my bike with SKS feneders on a fork mounted Yakima rack a lot. It has the quick disconnects on the front fender mount. I pop them loose and just put it on the roof rack. I probably don't want to know what it is doing when I'm going 70mph down the freeway!

    Thread about my experience with SKS fenders. They don't snap!

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ht=sks+fenders

  13. #13
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    Here is the hitch rack I have. It will work with some fenders. The contact points are on the tires, nothing touches the frame
    http://www.1upusa.com/
    Comotion Speedster, Caad 9, Salsa Vaya

  14. #14
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    Looks well made with quality materials.

    Quote Originally Posted by CoMotionRider View Post
    Here is the hitch rack I have. It will work with some fenders. The contact points are on the tires, nothing touches the frame
    http://www.1upusa.com/

  15. #15
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    I have the Yakima Holdup hitch rack http://www.yakima.com/shop/bike/hitch/holdup. Since you can't clamp down on the front wheel with a fender, the bike goes in backwards from the normal position, and the swing arm clamps down on the top tube just in front of the saddle. The bike has a sloping top tube, so it is very secure in this position - as secure as the traditional mounting. The front fender sticks out in the wind a bit and vibrates, so a rag stuffed between the tire and fender with a bungee cord wrapped around eliminates any movement.

  16. #16
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    also looks interesting is the swagman titan 2 (2 armed hitch carrier)
    http://www.swagman.net/products/two-...cks/titan-two/

    or their newer g2 platform carrier
    http://www.swagman.net/products/platform-racks/g2/

    ...i just wish these companies would produce 'weight' so i can compare it against the lighter aluminum but more pricey thule xt970 helium(under 20lbs) (i'll call swagman today to findout)

    ...any more swagman owners out there care to comment on product reliability/user friendlieness?

    unsure of which is better: 2 armed hitch or platform (now that i've decided to go 'hitch' route)

    thanks for tips on tying down fenders with zip and/or with cloth to avoid movement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith K View Post
    The Swagman XTC2 looks like another good option, though it is rated to carry 70 lbs whereas the Yakima Stick Up allows 90lbs.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGs0aMDoztU

    I ended up buying the Swagman XTC2. Price was great, folds up nicely, amazon.com reviews were really good and it looks like I can adapt a cargo carrier in the future (just a thought).
    Last edited by canali; 04-30-12 at 08:15 AM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Clarabelle's Avatar
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    http://www.softride.com/rack-product...sist_bike_rack

    I have an older, non-hydraulic version of this Softride. Purports to carry 4 bikes, but I'd be hard pressed to get the 4th on it. I love the parallelogram design that keeps the mounting bars level when lowered. Still wrestling with transporting our new tandem. It sticks out a couple of inches further than the mirrors on my mini-van.

  18. #18
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    I have had the Swagman XTC2 for a few days now. It was easy to install on the vehicle and I was able to mount the bike with panniers attached. I think it will work just fine. I didn't want to leave it on the vehicle, so I will be installing it every time I use it. That may become a pain and I also have to have a wrench with me to tighten the bolt to the hitch. Was easier with my pickup because the rack was on the bed 24/7. For two bikes I think it is fine. Not sure if I would want the 4 bike version. For the money I think it is a good option. There are better racks out there, but they cost more. I will only have one bike on this rack 90% of the time, but it may have loaded panniers.

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