Results 1 to 21 of 21
  1. #1
    GASing
    Reputation: funkle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    439

    How fast can you drive with a roof rack?

    Lately, I've been riding in an area about 40 miles south of my home. I usually move with traffic at 80MPH+ on the highway (gotta love CA), and I get a little nervous sometimes watching my bike getting buffeted around up there. The last part of the drive is a really fun, fast twisty road, where I like to pull some Gs - I would normally be sliding all 4 wheels through the sweepers, but I usually hold back a little with the bike on the roof. I'm using the BMW rack system which bolts right onto the roof, both wheels are strapped down to a channel, and the bike is held upright with an aluminum arm. I'm the most worried about this arm.

    Anybody have any thoughts, or experience with their rack system actually failing? I knew a guy in college who actually destroyed a bike wheel by with too much lateral force. I'm not quite sure how this happened, but I saw the wheel, which resembled a Pringle's potato chip.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: MTB1986's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    862
    I try not to go much over 60mph or so when I have my bike on the roof. You deff. have to keep it slow in the corners though, you'll ruin your rack over time by going to fast in corners and pulling too many G's.
    Remember, "We're not here for a long time, we're here for a good time".-D.Ritchie

  3. #3
    banned
    Reputation: Pete's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    2,227
    160 mph+ depending upon the car/rack combo. I stopped at 162ish because it was pretty noisy.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    22
    Max speed I reached with bike on the roof about 95mph an my average speed on highway is about 75-80mph whether with bike on top or not. I have the Saris rack with fork mount bike tray. I didn't like the Thule with upright mount before. The Saris and fork mount is 10x sturdier and better, but it is noisier. There's always a trade off. But I'm more confident with the current Saris set up.

  5. #5
    GASing
    Reputation: funkle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    439
    Quote Originally Posted by bikerlowell
    Max speed I reached with bike on the roof about 95mph an my average speed on highway is about 75-80mph whether with bike on top or not. I have the Saris rack with fork mount bike tray. I didn't like the Thule with upright mount before. The Saris and fork mount is 10x sturdier and better, but it is noisier. There's always a trade off. But I'm more confident with the current Saris set up.
    The upright mount does seem a little bouncy. Maybe I should consider getting the fork mount rack.

    As far as the noise goes, doesn't the wind deflector help?

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    22
    Quote Originally Posted by funkle
    The upright mount does seem a little bouncy. Maybe I should consider getting the fork mount rack.

    As far as the noise goes, doesn't the wind deflector help?
    I have the wind deflector with my rack set up. I think it helps reduce noise a little but not by much.

    In my previous message, I should say that my Saris rack is noisier than the Thule due to the bar design. I didn't mean to say fork mount causes more noise than upright.

    I've seen the newer Thule/Yakima uprights that hold the down tube and the front wheel, they looks more secured and sturdier than the old bouncy type I had that only hold the downtube.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    2,659
    As for destroying a wheel with later wind forces from driving I don't believe it. More likely the wheel came off and tacoed on the ground and since you only saw the result I'd say you either misunderstood or he was bs'g you.

    I use a fork mount with seems to be a more rigid way to secure a bike to a rack than the arm that grabs the frame. I've been using my roof rack since '01 with 2 bikes with 0 problems at speeds up to about 80mph.

    Sliding around turns? Waste of rubber and motivated by Fast & Furious movies etc. Childish.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    127
    audi A6 2.7T with a thule rack and 2 bikes, slides off the roof at 125MPH

  9. #9
    GASing
    Reputation: funkle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    439
    Quote Originally Posted by fred3
    Sliding around turns? Waste of rubber and motivated by Fast & Furious movies etc. Childish.
    How is it any different that mountain biking? I guess I'm a 40 year old child

  10. #10
    banned
    Reputation: 29Colossus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    4,163
    I go as fast as I want, but then my rack doesn't suck. My bike doesn't move. You might just want to slow down for your weak rack...

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    2,659
    Let me see if I can dumb this down a bit...speeding in a 2000lb + car with $100+ X 4 tires compared to riding over hill and dale on a mountain bike...hmmm...you don't see the difference in childish actions? Biking = maintaining that childlike wonderment of riding a 2 wheeled conveyance that one rode when a child. Sliding around turns in an automobile = using a strictly adult form of transportation (one which by all laws is a privlege to have/use) to act in an immature, wasteful manner that accomplishes (other than the initial rush) nothing and may in fact endanger not only those within, but those without.

    I suspect you know this and are just being a smartass. *shrug* I honestly don't care.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    47
    I have a Yakima mounted to my supra and its been through hell. With the bike. lol

  13. #13
    Motion activated
    Reputation: Steve71's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    3,011
    Quote Originally Posted by fred3
    Sliding around turns? Waste of rubber and motivated by Fast & Furious movies etc. Childish.
    The delicate art of manipulating a cars weight distribution in a corner with the brake and throttle to control overseer and under has been around a long, long time. Silly, unrealistic ricer drag racing moves like F&F would make any real performance driver sick.

    One of the most highly paid athletes in the world makes his 80 million a year sliding around corners wasting rubber. How childish.

    [edit] - BTW I'm not condoning reckless behavior on public roads.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  14. #14
    Prez NMBA
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    719
    Quote Originally Posted by scooterman
    audi A6 2.7T with a thule rack and 2 bikes, slides off the roof at 125MPH
    do we want to know how you found this threshold out? sounds expensive

  15. #15
    GASing
    Reputation: funkle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    439
    Quote Originally Posted by fred3
    Let me see if I can dumb this down a bit...speeding in a 2000lb + car with $100+ X 4 tires compared to riding over hill and dale on a mountain bike...hmmm...you don't see the difference in childish actions? Biking = maintaining that childlike wonderment of riding a 2 wheeled conveyance that one rode when a child. Sliding around turns in an automobile = using a strictly adult form of transportation (one which by all laws is a privlege to have/use) to act in an immature, wasteful manner that accomplishes (other than the initial rush) nothing and may in fact endanger not only those within, but those without.

    I suspect you know this and are just being a smartass. *shrug* I honestly don't care.
    People who don't understand responsible performance driving are quick to call it reckless. It has nothing to do with trying to show off or be cool. In fact, it's usually when the road is deserted when I push it the most. It's about skill, reflexes and that zen flow you get when man & machine are working together in harmony, very similar to the feeling I get on a fast singletrack.

    As far as being reckless, I've put in time on the race track and on ice and snow, studying, refining practicing etc. I'm a huge proponent of safe driving. I try to be careful, calculated and considerate of others. I have a wife, a kid and a healthy sense of self preservation. Sure, there is a level of calculated risk, as there is (should be) in everything we do. I make a conscious decision of how far to push the envelope, which honestly is not that far on public roads. That said, I know what my car will do when it's sliding. I've never had an accident in 22 years of driving, in fact I've avoided a few by knowing how to handle a car at it's limits.

    I'm going to go out on a limb here by saying that 90% of the drivers in my area are more reckless than me, because they're not concentrating on what they're doing, they're not courteous, and they have done nothing to improve their driving skills, aside from getting licensed, which is a joke. Honestly, who's a bigger threat? Me, driving quickly and in control on an empty mountain road, concentrating 100%. Or someone with minimal driving skill speeding on a busy highway, not looking, not concentrating, not signaling, talking on the phone, cutting off other drivers. The only close calls I have are avoiding these jokers.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    1,049
    I too have found racks really can slide at 125mph (WRX Wagon). I did an extended 115mph on dirt with full 90 deg drifts with one fork mounted bike up top and things lossened but didn't shift. Five minutes at 125mph w/2 fork mounted bikes going straight moved the rack about 3". I keep it under 100mph at all times now. A bit less with my downhill bike in the Thule/Sportworks rack. BTW - This is the only rigid upright rack I trust. The King Cobra's can't take jeep roads. I've heard of the bikes laying completely over flat on their sides during hard corners on rough roads. The racks break soon after.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    56
    Quote Originally Posted by funkle
    People who don't understand responsible performance driving are quick to call it reckless. It has nothing to do with trying to show off or be cool. In fact, it's usually when the road is deserted when I push it the most. It's about skill, reflexes and that zen flow you get when man & machine are working together in harmony, very similar to the feeling I get on a fast singletrack.

    As far as being reckless, I've put in time on the race track and on ice and snow, studying, refining practicing etc. I'm a huge proponent of safe driving. I try to be careful, calculated and considerate of others. I have a wife, a kid and a healthy sense of self preservation. Sure, there is a level of calculated risk, as there is (should be) in everything we do. I make a conscious decision of how far to push the envelope, which honestly is not that far on public roads. That said, I know what my car will do when it's sliding. I've never had an accident in 22 years of driving, in fact I've avoided a few by knowing how to handle a car at it's limits.

    I'm going to go out on a limb here by saying that 90% of the drivers in my area are more reckless than me, because they're not concentrating on what they're doing, they're not courteous, and they have done nothing to improve their driving skills, aside from getting licensed, which is a joke. Honestly, who's a bigger threat? Me, driving quickly and in control on an empty mountain road, concentrating 100%. Or someone with minimal driving skill speeding on a busy highway, not looking, not concentrating, not signaling, talking on the phone, cutting off other drivers. The only close calls I have are avoiding these jokers.
    +1 for truth.

    I would actually argue that by sliding your car around, you become a better driver. You quickly learn the limits of your car, and how to correct that. There have been times where I know I would have been in an accident had I not known how to control the slide of my car on snow/ice. Every car handles diffrently at the limit, so it is a good idea how yours will react.

    I can see the childish arguement, but really (when performed in an empty area) who does it hurt? Yes, you can wreck your car, and yes, you could get hurt, but it is a calculated risk. But if you are in an empty snow covered parking lot at 11pm with nobody around, what harm is done? Maybe you will have to replace your tires a bit sooner, but what it comes down to is good, clean fun. It may sound immature, but 35mph powerslides around an empty corporate parking lot is an incredible feeling.

    The true immaturity comes when people take it too far, and practice on public roads. I can't deny pushing the upper speed-limits of my car(s) on public roads from time to time, but I do not slide around the corners of the roads around my house. And when I do decide to "push it", it is always on an empty road that I know well. I, like funkle, have put in my fair share of track time, and even taken a few courses. I feel I know the limits of my vehicle, and am willing to take the calculated risk to push them.
    -Jeff

    And in responce to the origional question, on my car I have reached 105 without any problems of the bike (Yakima Viper) coming off, or shifting at all. I have also slid around a fair number of parking lots with the bike on top and have had no problems there either (though I would presume that could pose problems at higher speeds).

  18. #18
    Bicyclochondriac.
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    13,153
    Quote Originally Posted by funkle
    People who don't understand responsible performance driving are quick to call it reckless. .
    Because in most cases is IS reckless, regardless of how good you are. Unless you are 100% sure that there is NOBODY on the road and that NOBODY will put themselves in the road (or even near it in certain turns while you are doing your 4 wheeled slide) while you are driving, you a risking others' lives. That is not the case with mountain biking. We are only risking our own lives.

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    2,284
    Holy Crap you guys. 100+,120+ with a roof rack. The only way my car will hit 100 is if you dropped out of an aircraft. But with a bike, I don't trust 75+. Not to mention it does sound like an aircraft is landing on my roof

  20. #20
    Salty Dog
    Reputation: Salty Dog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    362
    Funny stuff, actually. I think the arguements are really all moot, but funny. I would be more worried about a DPS trooper when doing 100+ than the roof rack, honestly.

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    73
    I took my first voyage today with a roof rack. Just installed a Thule system yesterday. Had a very light old s-works and a pretty heavy new Camber EVO up there. Boy do I miss the hitch rack. This roof rack is noisy as hell!!! Also, it is quite obvious that I have a ton of drag up top. I'm noticably deeper in the throttle than when the bikes are on the hitch. Granted my little Civic SI only has 200hp, but its still a decently quick car. I cant imagine having two bikes on the roof in a Fit or Fiesta etc... Anyway, did a 30 mile trip at 80-85 and had zero problems. Other than a ridiculous amount of noise.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •