I am in the market for a bike rack. I will only have hardtails to transport and want to to have the ability to do some minor off roading in my jeep patriot.

It appears that the front wheel carriers will not have the clearance necessary for minor off roading, however, they look more sturdy over top tube carriers.

I have some other thule products (roof rack and storage box) and they have held up great. From what I can gather, people are disappointed in thule products because of durability (rust and weak components).

What are your thoughts when considering the following carriers:

Thule APEX
Thule VERTEX
Thule T2 918XTR or 1UPUSA

I am currently leaning toward top tube carriers because they offer much greater clearance over front wheel carriers. I have heard that they can be a PIA because your bikes end up sliding around during transit.

Should I strongly consider front wheel carriers regardless of my want of minor off roading ability?