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Toe hitch vs roof rack bike mount?

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Toe hitch vs roof rack bike mount?

Old 01-02-12, 01:35 PM
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SykesAT
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Tow hitch vs roof rack bike mount?

I'm trying to decide which route to go. Roof or tow hitch mount and was wondering the pros and cons of each.

Tow Hitch:
pro: easy to put you bike on and off; easier to unhook from your car when you don't need it.

con: makes your car longer; could be hit from behind;

Roof rack
Pro: can be left on the car (if you don't mind the look); no chance of the bike being rear ended

Con: having to lift your bike on the rack and secure it; possibly of scratching your car or damaging your bike when putting it in or out.

Last edited by SykesAT; 01-02-12 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 01-02-12, 01:40 PM
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Also a lower fuel economy with a roof rack , unless you slow down..

and it is a aerodynamic drag even when empty.

Door #3, a small enclosed trailer , and then everything can be locked up in the trailer

a tear drop trailer would be cool !
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Old 01-02-12, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by SykesAT View Post
I'm trying to decide which route to go. Roof or toe hitch mount and was wondering the pros and cons of each.

Toe Hitch:
pro: easy to put you bike on and off; easier to unhook from your car when you don't need it.

con: makes your car longer; could be hit from behind;

Roof rack
Pro: can be left on the car (if you don't mind the look); no chance of the bike being rear ended

Con: having to lift your bike on the rack and secure it; possibly of scratching your car or damaging your bike when putting it in or out.
Car can be hit from behind = new bike! I like my hitch rack. Sturdy, and the bike is out of the way from flying debris.
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Old 01-02-12, 03:20 PM
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I have a hitch mount and wouldn't trade it for a roof mount. My wife can get a bike on the hitch mount, but not on the roof of her van. And I don't have to worry about forgetting a bike is on top and driving into the garage (or something else) with the bike.

If we had an attached garage, I might have to worry about closing the door on the bike / rack, but we exit through the garage door so we see it.

It's a 4 bike rack, and I don't think I could do that on the roof. It does make the van longer, but with bikes on it, it's almost impossible to forget about it if you use your rearview mirror.
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Old 01-02-12, 03:32 PM
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Depends a lot on the shape of your car, too. Roof racks may be expensive or difficult to mount for some kinds of cars. On the other hand, hitch mounts may expose your bike to a lot of side wind force with low profile cars.
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Old 01-02-12, 03:53 PM
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SykesAT
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johnny99,

I have a BMW 3 series coupe. It has the ability to have roof racks and a tow hitch. I am currently leaning towards a tow hitch which supports the bike from the wheels and does not hold the bike from the frame, like this link. It just seems easier for a day to day use and the only downside is damage to the bike doe to a rear impact.

Last edited by SykesAT; 01-02-12 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 01-03-12, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by SykesAT View Post
johnny99,

I have a BMW 3 series coupe. It has the ability to have roof racks and a tow hitch. I am currently leaning towards a tow hitch which supports the bike from the wheels and does not hold the bike from the frame, like this link. It just seems easier for a day to day use and the only downside is damage to the bike doe to a rear impact.
I have one almost exaclty like that I got on Amazon. I wouldn't have anything else. It takes a bit of fiddling to figure out how to get the bikes on the first time, but as long as you remember how to did it, everything can stay set up for the next time. That being said, I forget almost every time since we only use ours twice a year for a 600 mile trip to our in-laws.

One downside is that I have the cables on top of my top tube. The first time I didn't put something between the cables and the frame where the clamp went down on the top tube and the cables rubbed some paint off.
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Old 01-03-12, 12:51 PM
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Chand,

would you mind posting a link to the tow mount rack you bought?
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Old 01-03-12, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by SykesAT View Post
Chand,

would you mind posting a link to the tow mount rack you bought?
http://www.amazon.com/Swagman-Cross-...5617465&sr=8-2
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Old 01-03-12, 02:08 PM
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I was looking at the 2bike version of that model. Sounds like a nice rack.
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Old 01-03-12, 02:38 PM
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I happen to work with one of the folks that drove his car into the garage after a long day. It was a Trek Madone. Emphasis on WAS.

And no, insurance didn't cover a penny.

Use the Tow hitch version.
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Old 01-03-12, 06:08 PM
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I've used both--been rear-ended with the hitch rack and drove under a low overhang with the roof rack, so I know the disadvantages. I think I slightly prefer the roof rack, but only by a little.
Don't underestimate the mileage effects of the roof rack. My Honda will get 34mpg all day long at 70mph. With three bikes on top, that drops to 26. Even the bare rack costs four or five mpg. I take it off when I'm not using it.
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Old 01-03-12, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by SykesAT View Post
johnny99,

I have a BMW 3 series coupe. It has the ability to have roof racks and a tow hitch. I am currently leaning towards a tow hitch which supports the bike from the wheels and does not hold the bike from the frame, like this link. It just seems easier for a day to day use and the only downside is damage to the bike doe to a rear impact.
That rack in your link is sold under a couple of different names, one of which is Hollywood sportrider. They are a great budget rack. I used to sell lots of those in my shop, and I still use the two bike version.
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Old 01-03-12, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by SykesAT View Post
I'm trying to decide which route to go. Roof or tow hitch mount and was wondering the pros and cons of each.

Tow Hitch:
pro: easy to put you bike on and off; easier to unhook from your car when you don't need it.

con: makes your car longer; could be hit from behind;

Roof rack
Pro: can be left on the car (if you don't mind the look); no chance of the bike being rear ended

Con: having to lift your bike on the rack and secure it; possibly of scratching your car or damaging your bike when putting it in or out.
You forgot a major con, and one that is much, much more likely than getting hit from behind (which you list as a con for the tow hitch carrier): running into the garage with the bike on top.

I frankly have never personally heard of anyone having a bike damaged on a rear carrier (I'm sure it happens, just that I haven't heard of it). On the other hand, running into a garage with a bike on top is something many of us have heard multiple stories about.

I might get a roof rack, but right now I either put the bike inside the car, or use the receiver-mount Yakima "tray" type carrier. I have had a couple of occasions with my Suburban where I've put two bikes in back (upright, fork mount), two on the receiver carrier and borrowed the hardware to mount one or two on top. I figure after borrowing something 2 or 3 times, a guy should just buy it.

But rear or inside is mo'betta'.
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Old 01-04-12, 07:17 AM
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My tow hitch has been ordered. Thanks guys.

There has been some brief discussion in this thread already but are there any tow hitches that can be recommended or should be avoided?
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Old 01-04-12, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by SykesAT View Post
My tow hitch has been ordered. Thanks guys.

There has been some brief discussion in this thread already but are there any tow hitches that can be recommended or should be avoided?
the actual hitch or the rack? for a hitch get a Drawtite or a Reese and have it professionally installed. just pay the extra and get the class 3.

I have little experience with hitch racks but, except for my Allen 103 truck rack, I never skimp on bike racks.

Personally I am roofrack person, but I also try and carry my bike inside when I can.



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Old 01-04-12, 07:46 AM
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I know the OP made decision already...just wanted to comment that one advantage of roof racks is the ability to carry other stuff -- kayaks, skis, lumber. You don't get that benefit with a hitch rack.
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Old 01-08-12, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
I know the OP made decision already...just wanted to comment that one advantage of roof racks is the ability to carry other stuff -- kayaks, skis, lumber. You don't get that benefit with a hitch rack.
Yet another reason for a hitch carrier... it leaves room for other stuff on the roof!
And I agree that the dangers of low garages definitely outweigh the dangers of being rear-ended. Rear enders are the other guys fault but scalping your bikes and car is all yours.
Another consideration I don't believe was mentioned is the ability to open the rear hatch or trunk. My rack theoretically holds four bikes hanging from the top bar but in reality only holds two (maybe three) without damage. And I can't open the rear door even when there are no bikes mounted. My next rack will definitely be something that hold the bikes by the wheels.
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Old 01-08-12, 07:25 PM
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I have all THREE types....the third being a rear mounted spare tire Yakima, which is my favorite since the bikes swing out when mounted (however, some latest hitch mounts also swing out on their own AND sit securely in channels too, they are really nice but costly). The roof racks on my Expedition require a ladder to get the bikes up and secured, really a hastle.
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Old 01-08-12, 11:40 PM
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One of my friends just drove into an underground parking garage this past week, destroying his almost new Cervelo AND his roof rack.
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