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Bike Rack Safety

Old 12-25-06, 09:46 PM
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ram123
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Bike Rack Safety

I am planning to use a bike rack to carry my bike. Could you Please tell me if it wise to use it based on the conditions below?

1. I will be driving from OMAHA to Chicago - this is a 10 hour drive. Is it adviseable to use a bike rack for this long? Will it hold up?

2. Is it adviseable to use a bike rack on the highway at about 70 miles per hour?

3. Here's the bike rack that I am buying:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...g-20/ref=nosim


Thanks for your advise
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Old 12-26-06, 12:01 AM
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This rack is not in stock. So why would you be using this one? What kind of bike are you planning to carry?

In general, people have been using bike racks for many years. There are various problems associated with each type of rack.

Perhaps if you try searching BF for "bike rack" (enclose the search term in quotes) you will get more advice than you can handle.
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Old 12-26-06, 03:21 PM
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I used a trunk mounted rack for years with no damage to my bike. Long term, did damage the finish on my car. Take care to pad the areas where the rack contacts your car. Look at how close tires on bike come to your vehicles exhaust. Hot exhaust can damage tires. Again, I learned this from personal experience. Finally, use some rope or bungees to mininimize swaying of bikes. If you just attach the bikes to the arms of that style rack, they will sway front to rear as you speed up or slow down. Might make yourself a kit with some old towels, duct tape, rope and bungees so you can adress any problems you may encounter with rack rubbing finish of car or bikes, etc. Once you have used the rack a few times, you will know what to expect and develop your own best system of use. Hope this helps and the trip goes well.
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Originally Posted by colorider View Post
Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 12-26-06, 04:29 PM
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>>This rack is not in stock.

I have this already

>>>So why would you be using this one?

Because this is the one I have now..

>>What kind of bike are you planning to carry?

plain mountain bike

Guessing you dont have any specific advise on these, huh?

1. I will be driving from Sioux Falls to Chicago - this is a 10 hour drive. Is it advisable to use a bike rack for this long? Will it hold up?
2. Is it advisable to use a bike rack on the highway at about 70 miles per hour?
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Old 12-26-06, 05:03 PM
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I logged thousand of miles carrying my Trek 8000 on the back of a VW Fox at speeds well in excess of 70 mph. Your rack should hold up for ten hours easy. Just make sure you have securely mounted the bike rack to the car and the bikes to the rack. If you go to a sporting goods store you can get foam blocks for carrying a canoe on a car roof. These blocks can be used to pad either your rack or your bikes where metal to metal contact might occur. I did this on long trips to protect my bike and car.
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Originally Posted by colorider View Post
Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 12-26-06, 05:08 PM
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You're buying a bike rack from Amazon? Why not a bike shop or online bike retailer like Nashbar, Performance, etc.? Much cheaper and all they sell is bike stuff.


If the rack (any rack) is attached to the car properly it will hold the bike and 70 mph won't be a problem. Make sure the bike is also secured to the rack properly.
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Old 12-26-06, 05:31 PM
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I don't like strap-on racks. I know lots of people who have had adequate experience with them but I've known a few people who have lost rackfulls of bikes on the highway. To me that says they're iffy.

It'll probably be OK but the fact that you asked makes me think that "probably be OK" isn't what you wanted to hear. If your heart is going to be broken if you lose your rack and your bike is crushed by a semi, take your bike apart and find a place inside your car for the component pieces.
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Old 12-26-06, 05:38 PM
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Ive driven from Ohio to Omaha dnd back again with bikes mounted on a hitch rack, and doing so at speeds of 80 and 85 (trying to keep up with trafic across Iowa. With no problem whatsoever.
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Old 12-26-06, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Milice
Ive driven from Ohio to Omaha dnd back again with bikes mounted on a hitch rack, and doing so at speeds of 80 and 85 (trying to keep up with trafic across Iowa. With no problem whatsoever.
Man! How long ago was that? There is no way that I can run consistantly at 80 or 85MPH on I-80. There's just way too much traffic.
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Old 12-26-06, 06:02 PM
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on I-80 west of the Missippi you ran into traffic? All I ever really ran into was truck traffic. The last tiem I made the run was Feb of 2005. But I guess i was allwasy hitting it on a weekday morning.
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Old 12-26-06, 06:45 PM
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When I used a trunk mounted rack, I found the bikes fitted more easily of the handle bars were turned sideways. Its easy to do this if you have a quill stem rather than one of the new fangled threadless stems. You can run into problems with the law if the bikes obscure the rear lights or the number plate.
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Old 12-26-06, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Milice
on I-80 west of the Missippi you ran into traffic? All I ever really ran into was truck traffic. The last tiem I made the run was Feb of 2005. But I guess i was allwasy hitting it on a weekday morning.
My last several trips have all been on the weekend. Thursday, however, I'll be doing the stretch from Iowa City to Des Moines. If I encounter heavy traffic I'm going to hold you personally accountable.
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Old 12-26-06, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by RonH
You're buying a bike rack from Amazon? Why not a bike shop or online bike retailer like Nashbar, Performance, etc.? Much cheaper and all they sell is bike stuff.


If the rack (any rack) is attached to the car properly it will hold the bike and 70 mph won't be a problem. Make sure the bike is also secured to the rack properly.
Most of the bike stuff you buy from Amazon is from retailers like Nashbar and Performance. Why you would do this is a different question, but do watch out when buying several items from Amazon. If they're from two or more vendors, you are going to get two or more high shipping charges, with no benefit from bundling an order.
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Old 12-26-06, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ram123
I am planning to use a bike rack to carry my bike. Could you Please tell me if it wise to use it based on the conditions below?

1. I will be driving from OMAHA to Chicago - this is a 10 hour drive. Is it adviseable to use a bike rack for this long? Will it hold up?

2. Is it adviseable to use a bike rack on the highway at about 70 miles per hour?

3. Here's the bike rack that I am buying:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...g-20/ref=nosim


Thanks for your advise
To help you out a bit I'll ad my $0.02:

Q1&2. Yes, I moved 9+ hours in a sedan that contained everything I owned including 2 bikes on a similiar rack travelling on I-81 at no less than 80mph. Still have the bikes and now my dad has the rack. The rack is about 20 yrs old. Again use some common scence to adjust the straps accordingly and to attach the bike to the vehicle. As mentioned above pad using any means available and IMO over secure both the bikes and the rack.

A quick rule of thumb, everytime you stopand get out of your ride, check the rack and bike. Most likely everthing will be fine if you take the time to set this up properly, but it can't hurt to check things out. Follow the excellent pointers in some of the posts above and you should be A-OK.

Craig
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Old 12-26-06, 08:06 PM
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Retro, And if you dont run into traffic you could send a case of Fat tire ale this way, I cant get it here.
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Old 12-26-06, 08:13 PM
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The rack looks fine. I put a 70 pound recumbent tandem on a rack like that and drove LA to north of SF 458 miles in 10 hours 70+ mph most of the way. Advice: Put sandbags at twice the weight of the bike on the rack and hit a local expressway at that speed for a while. If it holds together check the straps for loosening and take off. Stop after a bit and check the rack, repeat at each stop.
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Old 12-26-06, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Milice
Retro, And if you dont run into traffic you could send a case of Fat tire ale this way, I cant get it here.
I've heard that New Belgium will be in IA in 2007 in selected markets.
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Old 12-26-06, 10:23 PM
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Any bike rack ought to work if it is installed properly, the bike is properly loaded & you check it every time you stop. If you don't stop that often then you should plan on stopping more then you usually do to check it.

I've been using a Sportworks tray style carrier for my recumbent for about 5 years now. When I go on long trips I check it evertime I stop. Last year my wife & went to LaSalle/Peru, Illinois from Sioux City, Iowa, about a 8.5 to 9 hr drive. We stopped every so many hours or when we had to refuel the Jeep & eat. I checked the carrier every time.

No matter how secure it may look always check it. Check everything. The bike, the rack, the straps the contact points where the bike is attached to the rack, where the rack is attached to the vehicle, etc.
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Old 12-26-06, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by cydisc
I've heard that New Belgium will be in IA in 2007 in selected markets.
I can buy Fat Tire Ale. Not in Iowa, but I can easily purchase it. I'll never tell where, it's my little secret.
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Old 12-26-06, 10:26 PM
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Here's a few things you should do:

Make sure the straps are tight before you load the bike.
After you load the bike, retighten the bottom straps, as the weight of the bike will unload them.
Use bungee cords to secure bike to the rack.
Consider using a lock.
When you park the car while hauling the bike, back up to a wall or shrubbery. That will prevent theft.
Check periodically. I usually will when refueling.
If the rack or bike looks funny, STOP and inspect. Make an adjustment if needed.
Keep the bike tires away from the tail pipe.
Bottles, bags, computers, and other attachments should be removed.
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Old 12-26-06, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by ken cummings
The rack looks fine. I put a 70 pound recumbent tandem on a rack like that and drove LA to north of SF 458 miles in 10 hours 70+ mph most of the way. Advice: Put sandbags at twice the weight of the bike on the rack and hit a local expressway at that speed for a while. If it holds together check the straps for loosening and take off. Stop after a bit and check the rack, repeat at each stop.
The only problem with hauling a recumbent tandem on a trunk mounted rack is the lenght is really long & the center of gravity is really high. For recumbents a tray style is best.
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Old 12-26-06, 10:55 PM
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i had a generic rack very similar to that one and it was very rickety and unstable

now i have the saris bones, which is steady at speeds in excess of 70. very solid. small differences in the strap and arm locking mechanism do make a difference
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Old 12-27-06, 03:24 AM
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I apologise ram123, I misread your post. I had gathered the impression that you had not yet purchased the rack (because the link you provided showed that it was not yet in stock), and that you were asking advice about both the rack AND the use of the rack on your trip.

The reason for asking about the type of bike is important, as you have gathered. I have a different style of bike (a mixte) which does not have a normal top tube, and tandems are a different story altogether.

There are differences between trunk/boot mounted carriers, hitch mounted carriers, and rooftop carriers. The various carriers each have their proponents. The various manufacturers additionally have their proponents.

You've gotten a lot of good advice, but I still like to carry my bike inside the vehicle. It keeps it dry, clean, less tempting to thieves. Not to mention that you won't drive into your garage with bikes on top of the vehicle ( ), or lose them on the side of the road...

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Old 12-27-06, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Milice
Retro, And if you dont run into traffic you could send a case of Fat tire ale this way, I cant get it here.
You're asking the wrong guy to run that errand. The last time that I got drunk was April 30, 1988. I don't drink it and I don't buy it.
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Old 12-27-06, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by ram123
I am planning to use a bike rack to carry my bike. Could you Please tell me if it wise to use it based on the conditions below?

1. I will be driving from OMAHA to Chicago - this is a 10 hour drive. Is it adviseable to use a bike rack for this long? Will it hold up?

Yes, unless you want to spend 10 hours with you bike inside your car, getting grease and dirt and what ever else on your back seat. Assuming it would fit in the car. Use the rack, your wheels will thank you.
It will hold up much longer thatn you will.

2. Is it adviseable to use a bike rack on the highway at about 70 miles per hour?

70 mph? is that all? If you have a concern about the bike comming off the rack, use additional tie downs, such as a old toe strap, to secure the bike to the rack.

3. Here's the bike rack that I am buying:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...g-20/ref=nosim


Thanks for your advise
Just be sure that is NO dirt or gritty stuff on hte rack pads or the car when you put on the rack.
Attach the rack to the car securely, check it each time you stop. Keep an eye on it for movement while on the road.
Put it on the car, with the bike, before the trip, and drive around the block a time or two. This will let you know that you did it correctly.
Be aware if your bike is longer than your car is wide, then one or both wheels will stick out the side.
make sure that the bike doesn't hang too low, if it does it may hit the ground when you go over a bump, this shoudn't be a problem wit the rack you are planning to use.

I have used a trunk mount rack, that I "rescued" on clean up day, on various cars, for years with out a problem. AS long as it is mounted securely.
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