Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Bike Rack / Carrier

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Bike Rack / Carrier

Old 06-29-16, 08:24 AM
  #1  
cycling705
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
cycling705's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: U.S.
Posts: 172

Bikes: Specialized Sirrus Sport

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 83 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Bike Rack / Carrier

Hello.

I'm looking to buy a new bike rack / carrier for our SUV. I'm not sure whether I should buy a trailer hitch carrier or a roof rack.

We have three bikes:

- Men's Hybrid Fitness (Specialized Sirrus Sport)
- Women's Recreation (Fuji Crosstown)
- Children's Bike (varies from year-to-year)

Any thoughts on the pros / cons of a roof rack vs. hitch rack?

I'd prefer not to take off the front wheel each time. Is it still possible to use a roof rack?

Thanks as always.
cycling705 is offline  
Old 06-29-16, 08:32 AM
  #2  
Marcus_Ti
FLIR Kitten to 0.05C
 
Marcus_Ti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
Posts: 5,331

Bikes: Roadie: Seven Axiom Race Ti w/Chorus 11s. CX/Adventure: Carver Gravel Grinder w/ Di2

Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2349 Post(s)
Liked 405 Times in 254 Posts
Roof racks will lessen your gas mileage a bit. They also put you at risk of damaging your house and destroying bikes if you have an idiot-moment and try to use your garage (I know a shop manager who had this happen). However, most all vehicles can be made to use them. You also need not worry about a fender bender as much. Also nice, as you don't need to unmount bikes to get in your car/SUV trunk/hatch for stuff you packed or are packing.

Hitch racks...nice things....so long as you have a suitable hitch. But get in the way of your trunk/hatch. Also can put bikes in harms way of fender-benders.



Roof racks that don't require removal of front wheels exist. I have 2 rails for my Mazda hatchback that do just that. Kids bikes might be problematic, depends on the sizing.
Marcus_Ti is offline  
Old 06-29-16, 10:48 AM
  #3  
GerryinHouston
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Houston
Posts: 540

Bikes: Novarra Randonee 2016, Trek Verve 2 2015

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 97 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I have them both. I had used Thule roof racks (3) on my Subaru Forester (07). Did not require wheel removal. You see the 3 bike carriers here (the middle one is empty).



You can appreciate that to reach out to set the middle bike on the carrier, you need a footstool and help. Although I had both, I fell over and my knees put two little dimples on the car's door. Never used the middle one again. Mind you, the bikes were nineties bikes, over 30 lbs each. A CF road bike would be a lot easier to handle.

These days I use a Thule Vertex 2. A hitch mounted hanging rack. A very well designed carrier that drops out to let even a mini van gate to open. Needless to say that you do this exercise without any bike on. Thankfully the trunk lid of my Mustang opens without having to tilt the rack out of the way. I carry it on the car most of the time. One nice feature that most of the pricier hanging models have, is the anti-sway fittings which do not allow the bikes to swing into each other.
GerryinHouston is offline  
Old 06-29-16, 02:19 PM
  #4  
PaulRivers
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 6,432
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 539 Post(s)
Liked 42 Times in 36 Posts
Hitch rack for sure.

Roof Racks:
- A LOT of people forget they have the bikes up top and try to pull into their garage, damaging or destroying the bikes and the rack
- Require a lot more effort to get the bike on and off (lifting it up a lot higher) and greatly raise the risk of loosing your grip on the bike while putting it up and having it smash onto the car and leave dents and scratches (neither is perfect but a roof rack is worse)
- Worse gas mileage than a hitch rack
- A lot of work to take on and off the car (again neither is perfect roof racks just tend to be more putzy and time consuming)
- If you buy a new car the one I was looking at required a new $100 kit to mount it on a different car (edit: Marcus_ti points out below that you'd also need a new hitch on a new car, so it's more of a draw).

Last edited by PaulRivers; 06-29-16 at 08:18 PM.
PaulRivers is offline  
Old 06-29-16, 02:32 PM
  #5  
Marcus_Ti
FLIR Kitten to 0.05C
 
Marcus_Ti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
Posts: 5,331

Bikes: Roadie: Seven Axiom Race Ti w/Chorus 11s. CX/Adventure: Carver Gravel Grinder w/ Di2

Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2349 Post(s)
Liked 405 Times in 254 Posts
Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
Hitch rack for sure.

Roof Racks:
- A LOT of people forget they have the bikes up top and try to pull into their garage, damaging or destroying the bikes and the rack
- Require a lot more effort to get the bike on and off (lifting it up a lot higher) and greatly raise the risk of loosing your grip on the bike while putting it up and having it smash onto the car and leave dents and scratches (neither is perfect but a roof rack is worse)
- Worse gas mileage than a hitch rack
- A lot of work to take on and off the car (again neither is perfect roof racks just tend to be more putzy and time consuming)
- If you buy a new car the one I was looking at required a new $100 kit to mount it on a different car
OTOH, most cars do not come with hitches....so either way if you get a new car you're looking at needing some modification of hardware to get any rack to work.
Marcus_Ti is offline  
Old 06-29-16, 08:20 PM
  #6  
PaulRivers
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 6,432
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 539 Post(s)
Liked 42 Times in 36 Posts
Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
OTOH, most cars do not come with hitches....so either way if you get a new car you're looking at needing some modification of hardware to get any rack to work.
You're right, I hadn't thought about that, edited my post.

Main thing for me is people forgetting they're up there.
PaulRivers is offline  
Old 06-30-16, 06:58 AM
  #7  
GerryinHouston
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Houston
Posts: 540

Bikes: Novarra Randonee 2016, Trek Verve 2 2015

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 97 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
It's true most cars don't come with hitches. But I'd be hard pressed to find a car that will not accept a Class I hitch with no harness. It's just a bolt on application.

If I can put one on a Mustang GT, what car wouldn't get one? A Corvette, a Dodge Viper or a Lamborghini?
GerryinHouston is offline  
Old 07-01-16, 11:47 AM
  #8  
cycling705
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
cycling705's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: U.S.
Posts: 172

Bikes: Specialized Sirrus Sport

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 83 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks, everyone. Your insights and opinions are very helpful.

I'm sold on the hitch type carrier.

Any recommendations on which brand / model would do the best job at keeping the bikes from sliding around and scratching / damaging each other?
cycling705 is offline  
Old 07-01-16, 02:29 PM
  #9  
Elvo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 4,746
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 621 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 357 Times in 196 Posts
Originally Posted by cycling705 View Post
Thanks, everyone. Your insights and opinions are very helpful.

I'm sold on the hitch type carrier.

Any recommendations on which brand / model would do the best job at keeping the bikes from sliding around and scratching / damaging each other?
Kuat NV 2.0 or 1UPUSA
Elvo is offline  
Old 07-07-16, 09:29 AM
  #10  
cycling705
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
cycling705's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: U.S.
Posts: 172

Bikes: Specialized Sirrus Sport

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 83 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Again, thank you everyone. You've been very helpful.
cycling705 is offline  
Old 07-07-16, 10:31 AM
  #11  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,343 Times in 850 Posts
Roof racks make your fuel economy less .. and worse the faster you drive.

though the bundle of bikes on a Trunk rack are also Un aerodynamic..

Adding [2"] hitch on the car you have the option to use a trailer for bikes camping gear garden supplies etc.


Noted on Europe trips: , people get trailers rather than pickup trucks .

Enclosed trailers let you lock the door, too..

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-09-16 at 09:37 AM.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 07-07-16, 10:40 AM
  #12  
sdmc530
Heft On Wheels
 
sdmc530's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 3,124

Bikes: Specialized,Cannondale,Argon 18

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 887 Post(s)
Liked 560 Times in 346 Posts
Hitch racks are great. Just started using the Thule Vertex and its rock solid. installed a receiver, so east to install bolt on and you are good to go. Bike was easy to load/unload and was very secure. Should have done this years ago.


go for it you will not regret it.
sdmc530 is offline  
Old 07-07-16, 11:59 AM
  #13  
jefnvk
Senior Member
 
jefnvk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Metro Detroit/AA
Posts: 8,214

Bikes: 2016 Novara Mazama

Mentioned: 63 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3639 Post(s)
Liked 81 Times in 51 Posts
I've been rear ended enough to never want my bikes back there. One in my trunk even took minor shifter/brake damage when my Mustang was rear-ended. Worse, in Michigan if you are rear ended with bikes back there, they are not covered under insurance (unless you have them listed under homeowners/renters).

Just this week got a roof rack, one of the fork mount kinds, but before that (and honestly, probably for the future too except when hauling two bikes) they just go in my trunk. Easier to just leave them there for nice days after work, too.
jefnvk is offline  
Old 07-07-16, 12:10 PM
  #14  
jefnvk
Senior Member
 
jefnvk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Metro Detroit/AA
Posts: 8,214

Bikes: 2016 Novara Mazama

Mentioned: 63 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3639 Post(s)
Liked 81 Times in 51 Posts
Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
My home owner deductible would mean I get nothing.
Yeah me too, and it is obviously a state by state auto insurance law thing, but it is worth considering. I don't have anything truly valuable, but I'd hate for them to end up a tangled mess AND not have a car.
jefnvk is offline  
Old 07-07-16, 03:42 PM
  #15  
PaulRivers
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 6,432
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 539 Post(s)
Liked 42 Times in 36 Posts
Originally Posted by cycling705 View Post
Thanks, everyone. Your insights and opinions are very helpful.

I'm sold on the hitch type carrier.

Any recommendations on which brand / model would do the best job at keeping the bikes from sliding around and scratching / damaging each other?
1UPUSA if cost is no object. Their wheel style rack has each tray come apart and fold in half so it's easy(ish) to store and transport. It costs around $1,000 for 4 bikes though.

I like the looks of the Saris Freedom 4. Or if you're only carrying 2 bikes, the Saris Freedom 2. No arms to deal with, just rubber straps. I'm not a big fan of the "arm" design.
PaulRivers is offline  
Old 07-07-16, 04:37 PM
  #16  
The Quiet One
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Oshkosh, WI
Posts: 127

Bikes: Felt Z100, Trek 720

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by GerryinHouston View Post
A Corvette, a Dodge Viper or a Lamborghini?

I would pay to see that.
The Quiet One is offline  
Old 07-07-16, 05:32 PM
  #17  
jefnvk
Senior Member
 
jefnvk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Metro Detroit/AA
Posts: 8,214

Bikes: 2016 Novara Mazama

Mentioned: 63 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3639 Post(s)
Liked 81 Times in 51 Posts
Originally Posted by The Quiet One View Post
I would pay to see that.
I've seen quite a few trailer hitches on Corvettes, for pulling small trailers to autocross events with race tires and tools. Find a local SCCA event, you can see it for free!
jefnvk is offline  
Old 07-07-16, 05:46 PM
  #18  
Plotone
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 19
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have a Thule Helium Aero that I use with my FIAT 500. It's far back enough that I can easily access the hatch.
Plotone is offline  
Old 07-07-16, 05:46 PM
  #19  
WVU_Engineer
Senior Member
 
WVU_Engineer's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Southern Maryland
Posts: 112

Bikes: Raleigh Venture

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
There is a Smart Fortwo in our parking lot with a trailer hitch, I wonder what they do with that.
WVU_Engineer is offline  
Old 07-08-16, 04:05 PM
  #20  
Hokiedad4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 314

Bikes: Specialized Sirrus, Giant Contend

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 105 Post(s)
Liked 29 Times in 13 Posts
Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
Hitch rack...risk getting an expensive ticket from law enforcement for intentionall obstructing your rear license plate. I did some research on this topic awhile back (since I driving on toll roads). Eventhough I see everyday people using hitch style bike racks, there's potential for hefty fines and or imprisonment...especially if you are in places with a lot traffic camera operations.
Uh, really? Hefty fines or imprisonment?

Anyway, hitch racks are incredibly convenient. I can throw the rack and my bike onto the car in less than 5 minutes. It does cost about 2-3 mpg on my sedan.
Hokiedad4 is offline  
Old 07-08-16, 04:28 PM
  #21  
jefnvk
Senior Member
 
jefnvk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Metro Detroit/AA
Posts: 8,214

Bikes: 2016 Novara Mazama

Mentioned: 63 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3639 Post(s)
Liked 81 Times in 51 Posts
Originally Posted by Hokiedad4 View Post
Uh, really? Hefty fines or imprisonment?
Yep, at least if you get pulled over for it obstructed and also have drugs and guns....

Michigan Supreme Court ruled that any obstruction is technically illegal about two months back, very much inclusive of bike racks (and, presumably any trailer ).

Tow ball, bike rack ? if your plate's blocked, cops can stop, high court says | MLive.com
jefnvk is offline  
Old 07-08-16, 04:32 PM
  #22  
Marcus_Ti
FLIR Kitten to 0.05C
 
Marcus_Ti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
Posts: 5,331

Bikes: Roadie: Seven Axiom Race Ti w/Chorus 11s. CX/Adventure: Carver Gravel Grinder w/ Di2

Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2349 Post(s)
Liked 405 Times in 254 Posts
Originally Posted by Hokiedad4 View Post
Uh, really? Hefty fines or imprisonment?

Anyway, hitch racks are incredibly convenient. I can throw the rack and my bike onto the car in less than 5 minutes. It does cost about 2-3 mpg on my sedan.
It is illegal to obstruct or cover up license plates (with anything) in lots of jurisdictions (USA and everywhere)....especially rear plates (many places don't care about front plates as much and some don't even require them).

Now how often people actually get written up for it? Probably not that often, but when they do they let the world know about it.
Marcus_Ti is offline  
Old 07-09-16, 06:55 PM
  #23  
PaulRivers
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 6,432
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 539 Post(s)
Liked 42 Times in 36 Posts
Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Yep, at least if you get pulled over for it obstructed and also have drugs and guns....

Michigan Supreme Court ruled that any obstruction is technically illegal about two months back, very much inclusive of bike racks (and, presumably any trailer ).

Tow ball, bike rack ? if your plate's blocked, cops can stop, high court says | MLive.com
Thanks for the link, but another Supreme Court ruling decided that cops can use evidence obtained after a straight up illegal stop "if the officers conducted their searches after learning that the defendants had outstanding arrest warrants":
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/21/us...tops.html?_r=0

I couldn't find it in a quick search, but there was another case where the officer pulled someone over for something that turned out to not be illegal (I think it was having 2 working tail lights, and it's not the more recent story, it was over a year ago) and the court decided it was fine anyways.

I'm not sure it's worth worrying about whether your bike rack obscures your license plate, as there's a good chance they'll just make up some excuse to pull you over anyways.
PaulRivers is offline  
Old 07-09-16, 07:15 PM
  #24  
jefnvk
Senior Member
 
jefnvk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Metro Detroit/AA
Posts: 8,214

Bikes: 2016 Novara Mazama

Mentioned: 63 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3639 Post(s)
Liked 81 Times in 51 Posts
Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
I'm not sure it's worth worrying about whether your bike rack obscures your license plate, as there's a good chance they'll just make up some excuse to pull you over anyways.
Nah, not really. To me, I more view it as just one of those things if you're spotted pulling out of a bar at night and the cop wants an excuse, gives them an excuse to flip on the lights...
jefnvk is offline  
Old 07-10-16, 06:29 AM
  #25  
Cheddarpecker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: 'Murica
Posts: 234

Bikes: Fuji Allegro

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
If you get rear ended, there's no telling what the hitch to do to compromise the safety.
You have it backwards, otherwise why would Chrysler pay to install so many hitches on Jeeps to alleviate concerns of fuel tank punctures? It's a heavy, C shaped bracket made from material that's thicker than your unibody frame, and it makes the rear of the frame much, much stronger. As a result, the frame will crush ahead of where it mounts.

I won't mount one on my four cylinder Jeep because it lacks the power to make use of it, and because I don't need to drag it on the rocks. I'll probably drag the hell out of it once I'm driving the six again.

To the OP, the only downside to a hitch mount is road debris. The low pressure area behind a vehicle is a great place for circling trash off of the road to float around in, and if you hit water, whatever is back there gets coated. That fine grit can get pretty deep, especially with open bearings like cheap hubs and bottom brackets.

I knock off both of my wheels and strap them together with the frame against one side in the back, inside the vehicle. I release one strap and it all comes out. I can carry two bikes like this easily enough but my interior storage for camping stuff is greatly reduced.
Cheddarpecker is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.