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  1. #1
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    2013 Subaru impreza - Should I get factory rails?

    Hi,
    I'm looking to get a 2013 Impreza 5d wagon or perhaps the new XV crosstrek. The non-sport versions of the impreza don't come with roof rails, while the sport versions and the crosstrek do. Are the factory rails a good thing or would I be better served to pick up the Yakima or Thule solution for cars without rails?

    If I decide on the Impreza, should I opt for factory rails?

    I plan to put a kayak solution on the roof for sure, though for bikes I may do trays on a hitch or use the roof.

    Thanks for any advice/insight.

  2. #2
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    I would get the rails if I had the option. It does seem to save quite a bit on parts to purchase. I would just check the weight limit on them from Subaru.
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    I would get the factory rails, they are cheaper and super easy to install and remove

  4. #4
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    I've got the factory rails on my STI, they were significantly less expensive than Thule or Yakima and are super easy to install. They are somewhat narrower than the other options so if you really need a lot of width that might be a concern. The Subaru branded rack attachments (ski/bike) are just rebrands of Yakima parts with a price increase though so I wouldn't recommend any of those.

  5. #5
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    I think the roof rails look good on that car, and I would want them.

    I have just picked up a 2013 Outback a few days ago, and I cant decide: hitch install & Kuat rack vs using the roof rack and a yakima setup on the roof.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camel Toad View Post
    I think the roof rails look good on that car, and I would want them.

    I have just picked up a 2013 Outback a few days ago, and I cant decide: hitch install & Kuat rack vs using the roof rack and a yakima setup on the roof.
    I agree. I have a 2012 impreza hatch and I kinda wish I had the rails. I'll probably end up buying some feet fom thule or yakima and as they do make kits for the impreza either with or without the factory rails. It woulda been nice to knock it out when I bought the car and roll it into the financing instead of shelling out a few hundred bucks for a new rack.

    I did install an aftermarket hitch on mine so taht I could use my hitch rack and taht's a great option that carries two bikes.

    Most companies make attachments for bikes and skis that will work with factory rails these days, so I agree... don't buy the subaru yakima stuff.

  7. #7
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    If you're thinking about carrying kayaks get the rails. Then get a thule or yakima setup to clamp to them. That way you can adjust your bar spread. Not a huge issue with most shorter kayaks, but it makes a big difference if you ever get a longer boat.
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    Quote Originally Posted by csledd281 View Post
    I would get the factory rails, they are cheaper and super easy to install and remove
    Do you know if these can get installed after you buy the car either from the dealer or from an independent company? I have been trying to find them and it seems difficult. Thanks for any assistance.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tubored View Post
    Hi,
    I'm looking to get a 2013 Impreza 5d wagon or perhaps the new XV crosstrek. The non-sport versions of the impreza don't come with roof rails, while the sport versions and the crosstrek do. Are the factory rails a good thing or would I be better served to pick up the Yakima or Thule solution for cars without rails?

    If I decide on the Impreza, should I opt for factory rails?

    I plan to put a kayak solution on the roof for sure, though for bikes I may do trays on a hitch or use the roof.

    Thanks for any advice/insight.
    the non-sport version are all 4-door sedans.

    the Impreza sport are 5-door only and for 2013, come with the side rails.

    THen it becomes which cross bars to get?

  10. #10
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    I just picked up my 2013 Impreza Sport Premium a couple weeks ago.
    Fun car to drive and happy with the gas mileage.

    The factory side rails / roof load limit is 150 pounds.
    I'm also trying to decide which cross bars to get.
    The Subaru aero bars are only rated at 75 pounds, which a couple bikes nearly puts you there.
    I'll probably go Thule or Yakima for load and they are lockable.
    These cars aren't listed on the Thule fit guide, but Thule did send me info on which bars fit.

    Since riding is getting a little wet I'm just using my truck.

  11. #11
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    For road bikes or kayaks, get the side rails and whatever Yakima rack fits. For mtn bikes get a 2" receiver hitch installed and get the Yakima Holdup or if you have big bucks to spend a Kuat.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BShow View Post
    I agree. I have a 2012 impreza hatch and I kinda wish I had the rails. I'll probably end up buying some feet fom thule or yakima and as they do make kits for the impreza either with or without the factory rails. It woulda been nice to knock it out when I bought the car and roll it into the financing instead of shelling out a few hundred bucks for a new rack.

    I did install an aftermarket hitch on mine so taht I could use my hitch rack and taht's a great option that carries two bikes.

    Most companies make attachments for bikes and skis that will work with factory rails these days, so I agree... don't buy the subaru yakima stuff.
    Any problems with the hitch dragging? These cars are kinda low.
    Also, which 2" hitch did you get? I have a bike hitch rack I'd like to use.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvray View Post
    Any problems with the hitch dragging? These cars are kinda low.
    Also, which 2" hitch did you get? I have a bike hitch rack I'd like to use.
    I have a 13 WRX and I put a 1 1/4 hitch. No problems dragging whatsoever. Got the 1 UP rack system so I can carry 3 bikes total on the back. Very nice setup.

  14. #14
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    Some of you are confusing "rails" and "cross bars".

    The rails OP speak of run front to back. Cross bars run side to side and attach to the rails.

    Imprezas without rails have 4 fixed hard points to which crossbars can be mounted, either OEM or aftermarket. The benefit to the rails, as mentioned earlier, is the ability to move the crossbars fore and aft as needed. Plus I imagine they are stronger.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheelman55 View Post
    For road bikes or kayaks, get the side rails and whatever Yakima rack fits. For mtn bikes get a 2" receiver hitch installed and get the Yakima Holdup or if you have big bucks to spend a Kuat.
    ???? Why would I put a road bike on the roof, but a mountain bike on a hitch?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheelman55 View Post
    For road bikes or kayaks, get the side rails and whatever Yakima rack fits. For mtn bikes get a 2" receiver hitch installed and get the Yakima Holdup or if you have big bucks to spend a Kuat.
    Quote Originally Posted by XJaredX View Post
    ???? Why would I put a road bike on the roof, but a mountain bike on a hitch?
    The Holdup doesn't like road bike tires.

    The "Strong Arm" will constantly slip and rub on the brakes, even when I put my 190 lbs of weight onto the arm to secure it....

    The Strong Arm does fine with knobby tires, ie MTB's or Cross

    but.... that's why I ended up selling my Holdup for cheap and got myself a 1up rack instead.

  17. #17
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    ^ yeah, but, one can always put their MTB on the roof? If he is getting an impreza with rails its far cheaper to get crossbars and a roof bike rack.

    I get all the reasons why one would choose a hitch rack, but I was scratching my head as to why that was suggested in here to begin with.

  18. #18
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    maybe the MTB weighs a ton and the road bike is very lightweight to easily throw on the roof.

  19. #19
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    Go for the factory bars, they work well. I have an 07 Impreza with the aero bars - I carry bikes on a hitch rack, but the bars serve to support a basket on the roof for overflowing cargo.

    I see some mentions of getting a 2" hitch - you won't find a class II hitch for the Impreza. 1 1/4 inch hitch is all that's available due to tow rating of the car. In regards to dragging the hitch, I've occasionally scraped very slightly, but only with ~150 lbs. on the roof, 4 people inside, and a full hatch area.

    Currently on the fence of paying the car off and swapping to Forester struts/springs or trading it in on an XV. Might just wait until next winter and pull the trigger, though.
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  20. #20
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    I never scraped in my WRX, but I treated it like a low-clearance car all the time (even though it's not really that low). The T2 rack is designed to not impact the approach angle, as it raises up the further you get from the vehicle. If you got an abnormally steep driveway or entrance, maybe, but other normal cars will have problems too.
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  21. #21
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    OK. I've been roof rackin for decades. I've been using the Yak Holdup for 5 years.

    Road bike looks great and works great on the roof. Mtn bike is heavy and works better on the hitch mount. FYI I had a 2" hitch mount installed on my former Subie Outback. I simply told the installer that I wanted to carry a 2" bike mount.

    The Yak Holdup works really well with either road or Mtn. I routinely carry my Trek 6.9 Di2 Madone on it. The Holdup gives the best clearance due to the curved design on the stinger. It lets you back out of the driveway without bottoming out. I think it now comes 1 1/4 too.

    You can...and I have...carry either type of bike on roof or hitch...it's up to you.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by XJaredX View Post
    Some of you are confusing "rails" and "cross bars".

    The rails OP speak of run front to back. Cross bars run side to side and attach to the rails.

    Imprezas without rails have 4 fixed hard points to which crossbars can be mounted, either OEM or aftermarket. The benefit to the rails, as mentioned earlier, is the ability to move the crossbars fore and aft as needed. Plus I imagine they are stronger.

    I was going to say just this. The hard points on the roof without the rails work really well, and can hold more than I'd feel comfortable putting on there (on my 2008 it says 100kg; I'd be surprised if you can put more than that on the rails).

    like you said, the advantage is being able to position the cross bars. Even without that, I have no problem carrying a 15' kayak on mine.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joules View Post
    I was going to say just this. The hard points on the roof without the rails work really well, and can hold more than I'd feel comfortable putting on there (on my 2008 it says 100kg; I'd be surprised if you can put more than that on the rails).

    like you said, the advantage is being able to position the cross bars. Even without that, I have no problem carrying a 15' kayak on mine.
    I'm sure you can, after all it has to be able to deal with Gs and loads during turns and accelerations. Then of course, it will be out of spec during such events though....
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I'm sure you can, after all it has to be able to deal with Gs and loads during turns and accelerations. Then of course, it will be out of spec during such events though....
    I don't quite understand what you're saying here, but it sounds like you're implying that Subaru didn't consider that the car will be moving when they set the load limits for their racks.
    Is that really your belief? That they didn't do the standard engineering practice of taking into account dynamic loading when specifying a static load.

    FYI, the load limit for 3rd party towers mounted to the hard points on cars without factory longitudinals is 100kg, per Subaru. The limit for the factory rails is 150.
    Last edited by Joules; 11-22-2012 at 01:31 PM.

  25. #25
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    Research on Yakima vs. Subaru factory rack trays

    Quote Originally Posted by MrMatson View Post
    The Subaru branded rack attachments (ski/bike) are just rebrands of Yakima parts with a price increase though so I wouldn't recommend any of those.
    I just got the 2013 Subaru Impreza Sport with rails. A friend ironically bought the same car as I did and wanted to reuse her rack set up from her previous car - she had already purchased the crossbar kit so I just bought it from her. I do however still need racks/trays. I did some research and it does look like - based on the pictures - that the Subaru factory racks for the Impreza are just Yakima's "Raptor Aero".

    Figuring this out makes comparison shopping for the best price easy then... $170 from Subaru and about $135 from REI/Moosejaw and others. All of this of course is assuming that these are good racks for roof-mounted bikes (I'd consider a hitch but I live in SF and don't want the length of my car to be any longer than it already is, lest I have to squeeze into a teeny parking spot).

  26. #26
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    ^ Yeah, you're correct. I am not a huge fan of down-tube mount racks, anyhow. But if you get them, just get them from Cracks and Racks or something.

    All you need to look for is a bike rack that says "OEM crossbar compatible" or whatever. Most are these days.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by XJaredX View Post
    ^ Yeah, you're correct. I am not a huge fan of down-tube mount racks, anyhow. But if you get them, just get them from Cracks and Racks or something.

    All you need to look for is a bike rack that says "OEM crossbar compatible" or whatever. Most are these days.
    Thanks for the tip on the "OEM crossbar compatible" language - the process of determining what is the right fit hasn't been as straight forward as I would have liked considering I'm not going for the whole package, just the bike racks themselves.

    And if down-tube mounted racks aren't awesome, would love to hear any other recommendations. I have both mtb and road bikes to consider. Thx again.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtylittlegrrl View Post
    Thanks for the tip on the "OEM crossbar compatible" language - the process of determining what is the right fit hasn't been as straight forward as I would have liked considering I'm not going for the whole package, just the bike racks themselves.

    And if down-tube mounted racks aren't awesome, would love to hear any other recommendations. I have both mtb and road bikes to consider. Thx again.
    Well, it all depends on the shape of the downtube. Like, my friend has a Thule Sidearm, and it seems to be a fine rack but occasionally, if the downtube is a weird shape, it needs to be tightened after a minute or so of driving, it tends to "settle in" and then needs adjustment. But that wouldn't dissuade me from owning it.

    The main reason I get leery of downtube mount racks is the older Subaru OEM racks that we use on display cars in the showroom, they are Yakima and have a horrendously scary clamping method- but I should retract that statement. I just actually saw a Subaru / Yakima Raptor Aero in person and it looks to have a very nice clamping system. In any event, be wary if you have a funky bike.

    I have a Thule Sidearm and really like it.

    This is a fairly exhaustive list of what will fit on your car:

    Thule & Yakima Bike Rack Carrier Accessories for Factory Racks

    ...if you don't have a local bike shop you'd like to support, and are looking for an awesome deal coupled with fantastic service, I highly recommend Cracks and Racks, plus they're an MTBR sponsor.
    Last edited by XJaredX; 02-18-2013 at 06:22 PM.
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  29. #29
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    I just picked up my wrex. I was thinking about getting the roof rails but both my bikes weigh about 35 pounds. Should I get the racks or a hitch? Also it seems like theres two mounting options for the roof racks. Fork mount or leave the tire on. Both my bikes are 20mm axles. Not sure how those racks work.



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    RE: 2013 Subaru impreza - Should I get factory rails?

    Don't get the aero bars if you are putting bikes on the roof, mine buckled from one bike. It is not the weight that is the issue it is the lateral movement that puts a large bending moment on the bar. The aero bars worked great for my rocketbox and probably your kayak, then you should get a hitch rack for the bikes.
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  31. #31
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    Skip the OEM bars regarding that wrx and get some Thule or Yakima bars. Will be stronger. No need to go hitch for strength reasons.
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  32. #32
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    The factory rails are cheaper and aerodynamic. The yakima rails can bear a higher load weight. Depends on what you want to do.

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    The Thule AeroBlades I have are like seriously silent. Shockingly so. They for sure are quieter than the OEM bars. I assume the same could be said about the Yakima Whispbars or whatever they're called.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodyak View Post
    I have a 13 WRX and I put a 1 1/4 hitch. No problems dragging whatsoever. Got the 1 UP rack system so I can carry 3 bikes total on the back. Very nice setup.
    Any pictures of your hitch? Did you have to cut the bumper or rear diffuser to make the hitch fit?

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    There seems to be a little confusion in this thread. I have the same question... Should I get the factory rails (ie the SPORTS package) and install crossbars or should I get the clean roof and install a rack system?

    Does anyone have experience with the noise of the factory rail and crossbars vs a roof rack system? do either affect gas mileage?

    if you get the sports package with the roof rails should I get OEM cross bars or some yakima whispbars?

    If I get a clean roof should I get the OEM racks or a whole yakima Whispbar setup.

    At most I will be carrying 2 mt bikes at a time. Mostly just to throw my bike on top.

    THANKS!!

  37. #37
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    At this point, I wouldn't recommend a roof rack system at all. After using one for a few weeks on my Impreza to haul bikes around, I've noticed the hit to mileage and roof noise has become too severe for me. Between losing about 2mpg average, and being unable to use my moonroof due to noise (there is a lot), and added to that is the fact that every freaking time I lift or unload my mountain bike, a bunch of dried dirt gets on the roof, I've decided to move on to a hitch rack and forego the roof mounting altogether. For a road bike, I might be able to ignore a few of these factors, but I'm constantly worried about smacking my bike on something low, which I already did with a tree branch (no damage to anything), so it's time to move on to better ideas.

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    what were use using? The factory rails with crossbars or the rack system? Was it the OEM or aftermarket?

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    Quote Originally Posted by petruccelli View Post
    what were use using? The factory rails with crossbars or the rack system? Was it the OEM or aftermarket?
    I was using the factory fixed crossbars with a 1upusa roof rack.

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    I have Subaru factory aero crossbars bars on my Forester. Silent!!! My forester also has the massive moon roof, and there is no additional noise or hit to mileage with the bars. With square bars, of course there would be noise and wind buffing, but the aero bars are low profile and silent with the roof open.

    With fork mount racks on, I also see no noise or hit to mileage. However, I think that has more to do with my rack choice...I use a Rocky Mounts fork mount system - also very aero/sleek, more so than any Yak or Thule system because of the aero leading edge. With the moon roof open, even with the Rocky Mounts on, there is still no noticeable noise.

    With the bars loaded with bikes, of course there is noise and a hit to mileage. I regularly carry 2 MTB's on the factory crossbars. No buckling or worry about load limits, but of course you can feel the wind effect.

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    Awesome! I have been hearing that a lot, that they are virtually silent! Thanks so much that was super helpful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gear Grinder View Post
    I have Subaru factory aero crossbars bars on my Forester. Silent!!! My forester also has the massive moon roof, and there is no additional noise or hit to mileage with the bars. With square bars, of course there would be noise and wind buffing, but the aero bars are low profile and silent with the roof open.

    With fork mount racks on, I also see no noise or hit to mileage. However, I think that has more to do with my rack choice...I use a Rocky Mounts fork mount system - also very aero/sleek, more so than any Yak or Thule system because of the aero leading edge. With the moon roof open, even with the Rocky Mounts on, there is still no noticeable noise.

    With the bars loaded with bikes, of course there is noise and a hit to mileage. I regularly carry 2 MTB's on the factory crossbars. No buckling or worry about load limits, but of course you can feel the wind effect.
    The effect is far more pronounced on cars like the new Impreza that are designed around more fuel efficient engines and aerodynamics. At that point any change to the exterior can render some change in fuel economy, and the roof rail/bike combo pretty much lower my fuel economy by 3mpg, and that's with me trying to be efficient.

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    The factory rails on a new impreza sport with aero cross bars drops the fuel economy by 3 mpg's?

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by petruccelli View Post
    The factory rails on a new impreza sport with aero cross bars drops the fuel economy by 3 mpg's?
    A 3 mpg drop with a bike on top is realistic, depending on conditions.

    My Forester is a '14, and gets very good mileage - it's rated at 32mpg highway, and I track it on Fuelly.com so I look for the effect that my bike has on top. It's a lot more fuel efficient than older Foresters, so it's a decent measure.

    Drove 40 miles each way today with the bike on top, at country highway speed (~50mph) and pretty calm winds. On the way to the trails I averaged 32mpg, and on the way back 34mpg - all of that is with the bike on top!!!

    The mileage completely shocked me - it's pretty much the same as I would expect without a bike on top, but it's probably mostly due to the moderate speeds. At higher speeds, into headwinds, and on an exposed road the effect on mileage (with a bike on top) would definitely be more pronounced. With just the crossbars? No measurable effect.

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    I have a 2013 Impreza Sport Premium. Have the OEM cossbars and they seem quiet.
    Only put ski's on the roof. I don't want to lift bikes onto to the roof so I plan put a hitch on for my hitch bike rack. Hauling bikes around in my pickup for now.
    The OEM tires on these cars are very noisy.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvray View Post
    I just picked up my 2013 Impreza Sport Premium a couple weeks ago.
    Fun car to drive and happy with the gas mileage.

    The factory side rails / roof load limit is 150 pounds.
    I'm also trying to decide which cross bars to get.
    The Subaru aero bars are only rated at 75 pounds, which a couple bikes nearly puts you there.
    .
    Thats probably the rating for a single bar. The manual for the cross bars quotes a load capacity of 150 lbs.

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    Re: 2013 Subaru impreza - Should I get factory rails?

    I have a 1 1/4 curt hitch installed by uhaul and a 1up USA hitch tray bike carrier with an add on, couldn't be happier or easier way to haul two bikes!

    The hitch is very minimal, does not affect length and very minimal clearance issues. Actually might protect the bumper a little.

    Thinking about getting the OEM aero cross bars to add a third bike option (considering a rocky mounts with wheel holder?), a cargo box (Thule MOAB?), and or a half size enclosed cargo box, haven't researched these yet, suggestions? So I have options.



    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
    2011 Scott scale team 29er
    Easton Haven Carbon bars
    Odi lock on rogue grips

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobboNJ View Post
    I have a 1 1/4 curt hitch installed by uhaul and a 1up USA hitch tray bike carrier with an add on, couldn't be happier or easier way to haul two bikes!

    The hitch is very minimal, does not affect length and very minimal clearance issues. Actually might protect the bumper a little.

    Thinking about getting the OEM aero cross bars to add a third bike option (considering a rocky mounts with wheel holder?), a cargo box (Thule MOAB?), and or a half size enclosed cargo box, haven't researched these yet, suggestions? So I have options.



    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
    i have a '12 outback and installed the factory subaru 1.25" hitch and have a 1up - single.

    i am thinking about buying a second tray so i can bring another bike.

    how does the 1up with two trays feel with the 1.25" bar???

    feel solid???

    thanks.

    joel

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAvendan View Post
    i have a '12 outback and installed the factory subaru 1.25" hitch and have a 1up - single.

    i am thinking about buying a second tray so i can bring another bike.

    how does the 1up with two trays feel with the 1.25" bar???

    feel solid???

    thanks.

    joel
    With two bikes it feels great! I wouldn't add a third (I think that puts the whole load over the recommended weight for both the car and 1.25" receiver), but absolutely no problems or worries with the 1up usa single and an add on with two <30# bikes. Like someone else said, the extra forces going over a bump or something are most likely far greater than the 60-80 pounds of extra weight on the car (hitch, bike racks, 2 bikes).
    2011 Scott scale team 29er
    Easton Haven Carbon bars
    Odi lock on rogue grips

  50. #50
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    thank you for the quick reply!

    i would only attach the second tray when needed.

    i would be mostly driving paved streets and highway.

    i would hate to hit a pot hole at 60+mph with the two bikes and look in my rear view mirror to see them dangling back there!!!

    lol.

    thanks again.

    i think i will just on the second tray... hopefully, i can get one that is anodized to match what i already have and not a powder coated one!

    joel

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