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  1. #1
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    Cross country road trip - roof vs trunk rack

    I'm driving across in the country next week and need a rack set up for two bikes. I'm not interested in a hitch rack since the car doesn't have a trailer hitch, and I won't have time to install one. I can pick up a yakima roof rack setup that will mount to my factory bars, or I can purchase a trunk rack.

    Two questions.

    1. How much should I expect a roof rack with two bikes to hurt the gas mileage on an SUV with already bad gas mileage?

    2. Anyone with experience using a trunk rack on a Nissan Pathfinder or similar SUV. Does it feel secure? I don't mind taking the bikes off when I stop for the night. But I don't want worry about bikes falling off at every bump.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by bkrider; 06-15-2011 at 08:44 PM.

  2. #2
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    you won't need to worry about the bikes falling off at every bump...trunk mount racks have come a long way and are really secure nowadays.
    the only thing about a trunk mount is accessing the rear of the car when it's on. if you're going to load the car up, put the bike rack and bikes on, and...oops...forgot my wallet in that bag inside - you're going to wish you had the roof rack, regardless of the fuel efficiency.

    certainly, a roof rack system is likely going to cost more and eat more gas...i'd definitely recommend fork mounts for interstate speeds.

    is this going to be a 1-time use for the rack, or is it something you'll want to use long term? what year is your pathfinder? i can help you with some more specific fit notes that will help determine if a trunk mount will allow you to raise/lower the back gate with the rack installed.

  3. #3
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    It's a 2002 Pathfinder with factory crossbars. I don't know how much we'll be using the rack in the long term. We're moving, and I need something to transport the bikes along with a full car for the short-term move/drive. If we get something that's secure and easy to use, I'm sure we'll use it again for occasional trips. But the Pathfinder is my wife's car, and she doesn't use it for transporting bikes regularly. So the main need is for this trip.

    Any recommendations are appreciated!

  4. #4
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    You have plenty of time to install a trailer hitch. It's like 6 bolts....

  5. #5
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    You have plenty of time to install a trailer hitch. It's like 6 bolts....
    X eleventy billion.


    I have a 1998 Pathfinder and a 1999 Infiniti QX4. It takes all of 10 minutes to remove/install the receiver hitch on either of my 'pathfinders' I realize the body is different, but the hitch mount is the same. Go get a receiver and bolt it up or have it done then get a bike rack that will be very secure + allow much easier vehicle access without killing gas mileage. Oh, and my 98 has a custom roof rack. It dropped the mileage even more....so no matter what I would keep the bikes behind the vehicle.

  6. #6
    jrm
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    Would you consider

    putting the bikes inside? I drive a 00' 4 runner that gets pretty crummy mileage. When i road trip ill usually keep my bike inside the truck.
    Wreck the malls with cows on Harleys

  7. #7
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    the fits for the trunk mount racks will attach to the top, bottom and sides of the back door on the 02 pathfinder, which tells me that the back door will be able to be opened with the rack on it, without the bikes.
    once you setup a trunk mount rack the first time, it's really easy to take on and off. and it sounds like, based on your usage, a rack for this car that you can use every once in awhile will work best, because i highly doubt your wife is going to want to roof mount her bike without you around (just a hunch).

    depending on your budget, and some of the features you want, the new thule raceway is a really nice rack, as well as the gateway and archway racks too. the latter two racks have bike arms that can be adjusted independently, accomodating a variety of different frames (assuming you're perusing the mtbr forum, you have a mountain bike). the archway has the passive locking system that is similar to the raceway.
    let me know what other questions you have about these and we can help pin it down.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilonpill View Post
    You have plenty of time to install a trailer hitch. It's like 6 bolts....
    OK, so time might not be the limiting factor. But I'm cheap. And I think this will mostly be a one time use to get the bikes x-country. So I don't want to pay $200 for a trailer hitch on top of the hitch-rack. Looks like there are cheaper trailer hitches to be found online. But time is a limiter as well since I leave in a couple days and don't have any time off before leavinig... So trying to keep it simple. But I agree that a hitch rack would be the best long term solution.

    Carsandracks, thanks for the tips on the trunk racks. Looking at those now.

    Thanks!

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