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Best roof rack for a road bike?

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Best roof rack for a road bike?

Old 02-17-20, 05:58 PM
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Best roof rack for a road bike?

Hey guys,

what is considered the best roof rack for a road bike specifically? I'm looking at a THULE branded one that grabs the frame mainly and you strap the wheels. I was told that it works better for road bikes.
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Old 02-17-20, 06:02 PM
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There is no good roof rack.
Originally Posted by timtak View Post
It is as if in the past everyone was, potentially at least, a timtak.
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Old 02-17-20, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by pixel_junkie View Post
Hey guys,

what is considered the best roof rack for a road bike specifically? I'm looking at a THULE branded one that grabs the frame mainly and you strap the wheels. I was told that it works better for road bikes.
Models that grab the frame shouldn’t be clamping on carbon, if you have or intend to own one.

Yakima and Thule make versions that keep the front wheel on and clamps the wheel with a strap for the rear wheel. Yak High Road, Thule UpRide are examples.
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Old 02-17-20, 09:02 PM
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Roof racks are great for these reasons:
1. Very fast bike on and off.
2. You can add a lot of bike carriers (four!) to the rack if you have a lot of bike friends.
3. You can mount a tandem carrier.
4. You are a tall person and your bikes are tall.
5. Out of the way when not using it.

For any roof rack system an air dam on the front really helps with wind noise.

Not good for anyone who regularly uses drive through fast food or parking garages. It is VERY easy to forget your bike is up there. If you park your car in your own garage you need to develop a great routine. I throw my garage remote in the back seat whenever a bike goes up there.

Hitch mounted racks are great for these reasons:
1. Some hitch racks are pretty fast on and off.
2. Some hitch racks fold up so they are mostly of out of the way.
3. You can easily remove the rack which makes it really out of the way.
4. You can lift a bike onto it and so can your weaker friends.

Both types have versions that allow you to keep the front wheel on in case you have fenders (and everyone should) or you realize what a pain in the neck it is always removing the front wheel EVERY time you put the bike on a rack.

The 1Up is an awesome hitch rack and light enough that my 70 some stepmother puts it on and off her car.

My favorite roof rack for a single bike is the Thule ProRide but if the derailleur cables are pressed against down tube where it is clamped the paint will rub off the frame. Not so much a problem with metal frames.

The locking systems are good enough to foil the casual or time constrained thief. Most of my friends can't figure out how to get an unlocked bike off a roof rack.

I have no experience with delicate bikes whose frames cannot be clamped so I will allow others to comment on the best carrier to preserve fine features.

Here is some advice I am only now developing experience in: Thule and Yakima systems are not very compatible. I have thirty years worth of Thule components and recently bought a car that only Yakima makes a roof rack for. It's been a nightmare getting anything to work.
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Old 02-17-20, 11:03 PM
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IDK about best, but Inno beats Yakima IMO.
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Old 02-18-20, 06:41 AM
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Depends on the type of bike you are going to be putting on top of your car.

I have multiple bikes and the ProRide from Thule. For my steel bike with front rack and sometimes fenders it was the best choice. I didn't want to take off the front wheel or remove the fenders so the fork mount or over the tire systems wouldn't work. The bikes do sway in the wind which is a little disconcerting.

For my custom handmade steel bike, it works but the movement in the wind makes me less confident.

For my carbon bikes, well I don't like the thought of clamping the down tube. Thule do require you to use an adapter they sell but it is essentially just a rubber pad. For this bike I will buy a fork mounted carrier. On my second car I have fork mounted bike carriers but now, the new bikes have through axles which means replacing the units or buying adapters.

So, it works well for one bike but for my other two bikes, there are better choices. It all comes down to your needs.
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Old 02-18-20, 07:20 AM
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Thank you all!
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Old 02-18-20, 07:25 AM
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Bikes don't have roofs, so, impossible to mount a roof rack.
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Old 02-18-20, 08:56 AM
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I use the Seasucker Talon, I’ve never had an issue other than the occasional need to repump on very long trips (13 hours)

goes on and comes off easily
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Old 02-24-20, 04:53 PM
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I have older racks, sourced from local ads and Facebook Marketplace. On my Dodge Journey, I have a Yakima round bar rack that clamps to my factory rails. This sits fairly low to the roof. I have yet to ad a wind fairing to the front, so yes, it has some wind noise. I have 2 old Yakima Viper fork mount trays, and one older Yakima clamp type tray. I have room for one maybe two more, but have never needed more than 3 trays. So far. It is a bit of a stretch for the middle bike, but I am 6'1"...

On my old Neon, I have an old Graber square bar system, 1 generic fork mount tray and an older Thule BigMouth frame clamp tray. This is solid enough for my 29er, but squeezing the 2.35" wide tires in the tray makes it tough to strap the wheels down with the original straps. Later model straps work much better.

I also collected a few other trays along the way, just in case. All together, I'm in about $300 for both cars. I do have a $50 Harbor Freight hitch rack for my Jeep, and I have an Allen 2 bike trunk rack. But it's had enough time in the sun, I don't trust the straps anymore...

Is my setup the best? No, probably not, but I'm cheap, and they hold bikes on the highway at 90MPH...
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