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Bike Rack...Never Again

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Bike Rack...Never Again

Old 03-06-20, 03:55 PM
  #1  
hrdknox1
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Bike Rack...Never Again

The other day I drove my car to the shop for maintenance, I bring my bike, as always, so that I can go for a ride while maintenance is performed on my car. I use a trunk-mounted rack to transport the bike on this car because my roof rack doesn't fit. I returned to the shop on my bike, and after picking up my car was driving on the highway when two of the straps broke that were securing the bike rack to the car. A third strap kept the rack from detaching from the car, but the rack had fallen low enough that the bike's tires were dragging on the roadway and the resistance cracked the fork and seat-stays. I was fortunate that the damage was limited, and that no damage occurred to my car or other vehicles.
There was a strong wind that day and I was driving into it. My car sits low, and the bike rack is 30 years old. After the fact it appears that these were recipes for disaster.....even though it took this many years for it to happen.
My bikes travel inside my vehicles from now on. The rack went into the trash this morning. It served me well for so many years, that I have no complaints. I'll probably donate my roof rack to a worthy cause.
Luckily I have more than one bike, so I am not too depressed.....
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Old 03-06-20, 04:00 PM
  #2  
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One might also reasonably conclude that older bike racks should be inspected periodically, and worn or aged parts (like nylon straps) replaced as needed.
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Old 03-06-20, 04:08 PM
  #3  
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I'd recommend a hitch rack
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Old 03-06-20, 04:12 PM
  #4  
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That sucks... I have a really old Yakima bike rack that lives on the back of my car. You can tell its getting time when the straps get hard and brittle or when you pull and twist them and they start to fray. For me, that was recently.. I used generic cam buckle straps and looped and sewed the metal end clips from the old straps on with nylon upholstery thread. Good as new for maybe 6 more years? I'm sure I could have got original replacements or just bought a new rack but my way was maybe $10 and maybe an hour of work playing with the sewing machine.

Last edited by u235; 03-06-20 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 03-06-20, 04:24 PM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by u235 View Post
That sucks... I have an older Yakima bike rack that lives on the back of my car. You can tell its getting time when they get hard or when you pull and twist them it starts to fray. I got worried and replaced my straps after about 6 years.. I used generic "cam" buckle straps and sewed the metal clips from the old straps on with upholstery thread. Good as new for maybe 6 more years. I'm sure I could have got original replacements or just bought a new rack but my way was under $10 and maybe an hour of work.
Yeah I thought about doing that. Other than the straps, the rack was sound. I am paranoid after this....I can't trust that my bike will be ok, regardless of how much I inspect the rack. I loved that bike.... It was a 2016 Wilier Cento1 Air.
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Old 03-06-20, 04:29 PM
  #6  
u235
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Originally Posted by hrdknox1 View Post
Yeah I thought about doing that. Other than the straps, the rack was sound. I am paranoid after this....I can't trust that my bike will be ok, regardless of how much I inspect the rack. I loved that bike.... It was a 2016 Wilier Cento1 Air.
I had and always have the same feeling, that's why I replaced them to begin with
I torture tested one off the car. The metal clip 90 bend started to unbend long before anything else was stressed out.
I clip mine on holes inside the trunk too, not on the outside lips. Even if the clips slipped off somehow, they won't fit though the small gap between the lid and the frame. That also allows easy trunk opening without the rack having any impact. I feel as confident in the setup as I possibly could for something not physically bolted to the car. I have a hitch mount on another car.

Last edited by u235; 03-07-20 at 12:41 AM.
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Old 03-06-20, 04:40 PM
  #7  
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Nylon webbing is cheap, and hardware can be bought as hardware stores. Sun in particular eats away at nylon straps, and metal can fatigue ... but since weight is not an issue you can not only replace the existing straps but add more, and use heavy-duty hooks.

My fear when transporting is that some semi--conscious driver will rear-end me ...


Sad to hear about the bike.
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Old 03-06-20, 04:47 PM
  #8  
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30 year old bike rack, most likely with original straps....well.....yea.....probably was overdue for replacement. Wonder if there is an official shelf life of these straps and racks?

I see many old bike racks that have to be around 30 years of age for sale on Craigslist and such. Example with plenty of Rhode Gear racks. They were great when new, I used to have one 25 years ago. Don't think I would trust the original straps anymore. Wonder if they are even replaceable.

I'm very comfortable with the hitch rack I have. The small straps that tie the wheels and downtube are cheap and easy to replace when needed. But rest of rack is solid. For now!
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Old 03-06-20, 08:22 PM
  #9  
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Squirels have been chewing on the plastic parts on my rack.
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Old 03-06-20, 08:28 PM
  #10  
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I take a different road. I buy my cars based on how easy it is to carry my bike inside the car for the last 20 years. I only use my hitch rack to carry my muddy mountain bike
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Old 03-06-20, 08:37 PM
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Not everyone can transport a bike inside a car though. Also, I personally don't like having to put the wheels off/on as part of the process of getting a bike into a trunk. Trunk racks are sort of a compromise, relatively inexpensive (and the ones today are nicer than ones from 30 years ago) and they work ok, but I don't like the fact they inhibit getting into the trunk. They are ok for transporting one bike, but two bikes are sometimes hard to attach without having them bump together and I also don't like the additional strain on nylon straps two bikes entail. Probably ok, but two bikes would make me nervous over rougher terrain.

Got a Kuat hitch rack a few years ago and never looked back. Easier to attach than a trunk rack and esp. a roof rack, no wind drag, no wheel removal, and it seems highly secure. Only disadvantage to it is that I have to remove a front fender to use if the bike has that attached.
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Old 03-06-20, 09:00 PM
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I now have a small station wagon with fold down seats and put my bike in the back without removing the wheels. If traveling and have a lot of other stuff, then I do have to remove the wheels. Before this, I used a hitch rack. I would go back to using that if I have a vehicle that the bike does not easily fit into.
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Old 03-06-20, 10:08 PM
  #13  
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The absence of hitch on our vehicle let me down this DIY path.

(Starting at post #23 )

Bike Racks!

Yes, the wheels and likely saddles have to be removed/lowered but the bikes are safely stowed vertically inside freeing up space for gear. Muddy bikes have yet to create any issues as a utility mat covers the upholstery on the backs of the rear seats. I admit that this setup will not work for sedans, convertibles or vehicles sporting low cargo headroom specs but should be accommodating for many models of SUVs, wagons, and hatchbacks.
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Old 03-07-20, 06:58 AM
  #14  
Moe Zhoost
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I'm surprised your original straps lasted that long. Avoid nylon or polypropylene straps for replacements as they don't resist UV degradation well. Look for straps made from polyester. Strapping and fittings are inexpensive so you may want to explore sewing them up yourself. Again, use polyester thread.
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Old 03-07-20, 07:10 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by hrdknox1 View Post
The other day I drove my car to the shop for maintenance, I bring my bike, as always, so that I can go for a ride while maintenance is performed on my car. I use a trunk-mounted rack to transport the bike on this car because my roof rack doesn't fit.... I'll probably donate my roof rack to a worthy cause.
.
Your roof rack doesn't fit what or why?
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Old 03-07-20, 07:45 AM
  #16  
hrdknox1
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Your roof rack doesn't fit what or why?
My roof rack doesn't fit because the car doesn't have roof rails to attach it. The roof rack will only fit on my SUV, but after this fiasco I'm not trusting that either.
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Old 03-07-20, 08:31 AM
  #17  
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Cracked fork and seatstays is "limited" damage?
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Old 03-07-20, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
One might also reasonably conclude that older bike racks should be inspected periodically, and worn or aged parts (like nylon straps) replaced as needed.
I'd guess more than one.
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Old 03-07-20, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Cracked fork and seatstays is "limited" damage?
sounds like a trashed frame to me.
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Old 03-09-20, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Cracked fork and seatstays is "limited" damage?
Only the frame was damaged. The wheels and all components, except one pedal, were not damaged. Also, there could have been damage to my vehicle and it could have caused an accident on the roadway, to which I would have been liable for. So yes, it was "limited" damage.
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Old 03-09-20, 01:29 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by hrdknox1 View Post
Only the frame was damaged.
I see. Just a seriously damaged or destroyed frame. That happens to me every week. No biggie.
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Old 03-09-20, 01:29 PM
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I had a similar bad experience with a bike rack... Now I try to transport my bike only in car
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Old 03-09-20, 01:38 PM
  #23  
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This is a lesson to any of us. For want of $19 worth of strapping, a $1,900 frame is lost...

Note to Self: Check rack straps and mounts for wear.
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Old 03-09-20, 02:31 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by hrdknox1 View Post
Only the frame was damaged. The wheels and all components, except one pedal, were not damaged. Also, there could have been damage to my vehicle and it could have caused an accident on the roadway, to which I would have been liable for. So yes, it was "limited" damage.
The bike is lost. You will not find a frame worth transferring all those parts to, but you will probably find a new bike for a similar price to the one you lost. Don't even think about roof racks. I don't know how many people in our bike club have driven into the garage with the bike on the roof! Do you know what happens when that happens? The bike is the least of it ...
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Old 03-09-20, 06:14 PM
  #25  
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Ouch! I have a 20 something year old bike rack that gives me the wrong kinda willies while driving. I think the steel parts are good might try to restring it with new nylons before I use it again.
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