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  1. #1
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    Roof racks: Fork mount vs. tire hold?

    Looking to get a roof rack mount for the top of my Volvo wagon.

    Are there any pros/cons to the fork mount racks vs. the ones where you can leave both wheels on?

    Personally, I'm tired of removing the front wheel, I'd rather leave it on. As it is now, it will fit in the wagon with both wheels on, but getting it in and out w/out marking up the interior, especially when dirty, is a chore. I'd rather have it out of the car.

    How would something like this be as a roof mount? (I have a HT 26'er)
    Volvo/Thule Criterium Upright Bike Rack - Boston Volvo Village

    i won't be going on super long trips with it, mostly under an hour, and I have a light foot, so I usually stay around 65mph, if that makes any difference.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Technically I think the fork mount is more secure in its grip of the bike, but I have both and vastly prefer the wheel-holding kind. I've never had any issues with my Thule Sidearm.

    I prefer the Sidearm over the Criterium,sometimes with the Criterium you need to retighten the clamp after a minute of driving after it settles, depends on the shape of the bicycle frame. But that is a super cheap price that you linked to.

    I do however recommend the Sidearm- I also recommend CracksAndRacks.com!
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  3. #3
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    The Sidearm is an excellent rack and arguably the safest way to hold your bike, but I found them to be pretty damn ugly(sorry no offense) sitting on the car. The Yakima Highroller, although still an eye sore, doesn't look too bad sitting on top of the car without a bike on it. The Yakima is likely a tad more aerodynamic without a bike on it(judging by just looking at the two). Can't go wrong with either choice.

  4. #4
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    Fork mount for sure. Much more secure, no rattling noises in transit, better aerodynamics= better fuel economy. Taking the front wheel off takes like, what, 10 seconds? I have Yakima fork mounted roof rack base with Yakima Cooperhead. Have had zero problems and have transported both (road and mtb) across state (200miles). Be sure to get the wind breaker (fairing) as it immensely cuts down on wind noise over 40mph.

  5. #5
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    I prefer this style with the additional front wheel holders on my XC70

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    ^ word. Nice. I like the front wheel holder aswell especially if you're doing some dirty riding.

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    But if he has a thru-axle then he has to get an adapter, which is another $70 or whatever on top of the actual rack.

    They both have their strong points, obviously, but for me, in the future, I will be using wheel-on racks. Except I need to keep a fork mount for my fatbike
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  8. #8
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    Thanks for the imput.

    I like the idea of a wheels-on mount because I'm lazy. All summer and fall before I got the wagon I was going through the removing the front wheel ritual to carry it in the back of my Firebird.

    Get to the trail, set it upside down, put in the wheel. But oh crap, I must have hit the front brake lever. Now I have to pry open the caliper so I can slip the rotor in. Ok, that's done, now I have to twist the end of the skewer eleventy billion times to get it to where I can actually tighten it.

    After the ride is over, I'm sweaty, wet, and tired. Yay! Now time to flip it over and pull the front wheel!

    Now when I get home, do I put the front wheel one, or just carry the bike into the house in 2 pieces? Yup, not messing with the wheel yet again, so two pieces it is, which makes it more of a PITA to get out to the car on the next ride.

    Yeah, I'm all set with that.

    While the actual act of pulling the front wheel is easy, it's the rest of it that's gotten very tedious. I just want to get there, ride, and get home, not muck about with the front wheel.

    Anywho, I'll look at the ones that were suggested, although if the Volvo one is that good a price I'll prob go that route.

    However, what about this one? I've never heard of the name before, but I like the looks of the carrier, it looks similar to the HighRoller. INNO Tire Hold Roof Bike Rack - Best Price on Inno Roof Mounted Car Bike Racks For Wheels Measuring 20

    It'a bout 50 bucks less on Amazon, but this site has better pics.

    Now to figure out what cross bars to get, as I only have side rails right now.

  9. #9
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    I don't care how fancy the mounts get, the fork mounts are more stable and allow a more secure fit and that is all I will ever use.
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  10. #10
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    The tire clamp ones are ok but you do need to be careful. Personally had a bad experience with one. Though i was running a large front tire but the rack basically squeezed the front tire out and catapulted the bike back and through the rear window of my buddies subaru while going down the road. Luckily the rear wheel ratchet held so didnt lose the bike all together but it was crappy start to a ride.

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  11. #11
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    My buddy lost his Kona off of a Thule mount..the newer kind the clamps the tire, not the downtube. Didn't grip it well enough and it fell over and chewed up his roof pillar.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by StuntmanMike View Post
    Get to the trail, set it upside down, put in the wheel. But oh crap, I must have hit the front brake lever. Now I have to pry open the caliper so I can slip the rotor in. Ok, that's done, now I have to twist the end of the skewer eleventy billion times to get it to where I can actually tighten it.

    After the ride is over, I'm sweaty, wet, and tired. Yay! Now time to flip it over and pull the front wheel!
    .
    Why do you need to flip the bike over to take the front wheel off? I just undo my front skewer holding the stem, pop the bike up with one hand, the other holding the wheel and done.... Rest the wheel somewhere and throw the bike on the rack....

    As far as the rack goes, the best rack/ latching system I have used is without a doubt from rocky mounts. I dont have one yet but a couple of my friends do and it has a super long throw on the latch so there is no annoying unscrewing to get the fork out. Plus its super high quality and they look a million times better than everyone elses.

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    Erm, the Sidearms are made so you hook it over the tire but it also braces itself on the fork.... you don't just clamp it down on the tire... at least, that's how it works with my bike.

    Plus, I like that the wheel-on racks absorb more energy. On a bumpy road with a fork mount and the bike is all rigid, that energy needs to disperse somewhere and its usually the clamps that hold the bike rack to the crossbars, loosening them over time.
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  14. #14
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    I have a roof rack and a hitch rack. The fork mount is more stable than the upright but a bit more of a pain to deal with. As previously noted, the fork mount also requires an adapter if your current or future bike has a through axle in front. These are becoming much more popular, so it is something to consider. The fork mount also requires doing something with the front wheel. I have a Yakima rack with the round crossbars and the wheel holder can rotate sometimes. I don't like having a muddy tire in the car, but a garbage bag can help solve that problem.

    I moved to a Thule Sidearm when I got a bike with a through axle. It worked pretty well, but it wasn't as stable as the fork mount.It was fast and easy to put the bike on or take it off the rack. I don't think I knew about the adapter at the time, but it seems like it might be a bit of a pain to insert the axle through the adapter while holding the fork at the right height. Maybe I am just a wuss.

    Either way, it is a bit of a pain to deal with a roof rack on a tall vehicle or with more than two bikes where you have to deal with one or more bikes in the center.I found it to be a pain taking the rack on and off so I left it on in spite of the noise and gas mileage hit. The rack did end up leaving some marks on the roof under the bases and the front spoiler "feet" (but it was getting to be a beater car).

    I know it is not responsive to your question, but I moved on to a 1-Up hitch rack when I got a new car. I like it better in every way. Fast and easy to put on the car and even faster to put bikes on or off the rack. It is easy to "nest" bikes to avoid handlebar-saddle collisions (this is not possible with the roof mounts as far as I know). Storage space is small (smaller than disassembled roof rack with one or more Sidearms). There is no noise while driving and it is stable. I have had no desire to use a roof rack again except when a friend drives his Mini that doesn't have a hitch rack due to the center exhaust, and then I appreciate the hitch rack that much more.

    Food for thought...
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  15. #15
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    Any thoughts on this type?
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by XJaredX View Post
    Erm, the Sidearms are made so you hook it over the tire but it also braces itself on the fork.... you don't just clamp it down on the tire... at least, that's how it works with my bike.

    Plus, I like that the wheel-on racks absorb more energy. On a bumpy road with a fork mount and the bike is all rigid, that energy needs to disperse somewhere and its usually the clamps that hold the bike rack to the crossbars, loosening them over time.
    Agree - he didn't have it braced against the fork. I still don't care for them, they just move too much to me.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by StuntmanMike View Post
    Thanks for the imput.

    I like the idea of a wheels-on mount because I'm lazy. All summer and fall before I got the wagon I was going through the removing the front wheel ritual to carry it in the back of my Firebird.

    Get to the trail, set it upside down, put in the wheel. But oh crap, I must have hit the front brake lever. Now I have to pry open the caliper so I can slip the rotor in. Ok, that's done, now I have to twist the end of the skewer eleventy billion times to get it to where I can actually tighten it.

    After the ride is over, I'm sweaty, wet, and tired. Yay! Now time to flip it over and pull the front wheel!

    Now when I get home, do I put the front wheel one, or just carry the bike into the house in 2 pieces? Yup, not messing with the wheel yet again, so two pieces it is, which makes it more of a PITA to get out to the car on the next ride.

    Yeah, I'm all set with that.

    While the actual act of pulling the front wheel is easy, it's the rest of it that's gotten very tedious. I just want to get there, ride, and get home, not muck about with the front wheel.

    Anywho, I'll look at the ones that were suggested, although if the Volvo one is that good a price I'll prob go that route.

    However, what about this one? I've never heard of the name before, but I like the looks of the carrier, it looks similar to the HighRoller. INNO Tire Hold Roof Bike Rack - Best Price on Inno Roof Mounted Car Bike Racks For Wheels Measuring 20

    It'a bout 50 bucks less on Amazon, but this site has better pics.

    Now to figure out what cross bars to get, as I only have side rails right now.
    No need, I do this without ever flipping my bike over. Been doing it that way for nearly 20 years with my racks. The downside is the tire - if you don't have a big vehicle, you have to store the tire, possibly muddy, in your trunk. I still prefer these type of racks because of how secure they are.
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  18. #18
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    FORK MOUNT!

    There is no more secure way to mount a bike to a car roof. A small amount of inconvenience is worth the piece of mind knowing your $5000 bike isn't going anywhere.

    When I used to mount my bike on the roof of my Jeep Cherokee sport, I could grab the downtube and rock the entire car by pushing and pulling on the bike. That bike wasn't going anywhere -- even on rough dirt roads or 80mph freeways.

  19. #19
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    I use a yakima front loader that holds the bike by the front wheel. I had my bike ripped off the roof of my car by a downed cable line. In order for the front loader to let go of my front wheel first my thule towers were ripped off my car, the front loader was bent 90 degrees, my rear tire was tacoed, and the thule bar was twisted and bent. I'm not sure how much better a fork mount could have done. I replaced it with another front loader. I'm not concerned about my bike coming out of it under normal circumstances.

  20. #20
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    These stories are right on - they are v. secure. I always lock mine for extra security. My Thule 529XTs are from 1992...still going strong! I had to mod them a bit to handle disc brakes and the skewer won't work with thru-axles..even some of the newer forks give it a fit sometimes but my bike goes on fine and that is all the matters
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    how good is thule 591?

  22. #22
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    Ok, so I honestly never thought of removing the wheel w/out flipping the bike over. I've just always done it like that - I guess it goes back to my days as a kid fixing flats before I had bikes with QR's.

    I tried it the other way tonight, yes it was pretty easy.

    I actually was originally thinking hitch mount, excpet I don't have a hitch. Since a hitch is 160 or so for my car, plus the rack, I thought it might be cheaper to go roof mount since I need to buy crossbars for my kayak either way.

    Reading theabove posts make me reconsider the fork mount, I really don't want to lose my bike off the rack and/or eff my car up.

    For now I'll just keep throwing it in the back till I decide.

    Thanks for all the advice.

  23. #23
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    The upgright carriers work fine, obviously Thule/Yakima wouldn't sell them if they failed. They are easier to deal with b/c you don't have to remove the front wheel. However, I have seen enough of these over the years that I just don't care of the movement that you get with them and the fact that you have to be right-on with how you put your bike on or it could fall off (case in point was my story above..my buddy clearly didn't have it on right but still...the fork mounts are more full proof in terms of putting the bike on correctly). Maybe I am still pissed b/c my buddies Yakima Lock-Jaw tore off my Schwinn sticker on my downtube of my old Homegrown
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  24. #24
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    One more advantage to the fork mount is that the bike is a bit lighter when lifting it up to the roof. Maybe not a big deal for most but if you're short and have a heavy bike, every bit helps!

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    Again, I really need to stress the fact that wobble is to a certain extent a good thing- on hitch racks, or roof racks where you leave the wheel on, having the bike wobble dissapates a ton of energy that would otherwise be stressing out the weaker points on the rack, or where the rack mounts to the car. Physics, and such
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  26. #26
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    Tire hold all the way. Too many variables these days with bike forks (Leftys, QR, thru-axle, etc). I've had great luck with Thule and Sportworks tire hold variants. Very solid mounting system.

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    Fork mounts aren't fool proof either. Last weekend my friend put his bike in my spare fork mount tray and forgot to strap the rear tire down . Luckily nothing happened. He always *****es about having to take off his front tire when he uses too while I'm already done throwing my bike in the front loader.

  28. #28
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    Yep, but even if you forget the rear strap, it ain't goin' anywhere if you have the front locked down.
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    I have a fork mount for my road bike because I like the fact that there is no frame contact to scratch the bike and an upright mount for my mtbs, which I like because the disc brakes stay in alignment due to not removing the wheel. Every time I remove the front wheel on any of my disc equipped bikes, there is always a slight bit of brake rub (not caused by squeezing the lever either).

  30. #30
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    Didn't need
    Last edited by SQUIRRELSHOOTR; 03-08-2013 at 09:20 AM. Reason: Added pic

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    Roof racks: Fork mount vs. tire hold?

    I got some old yakima gutter mounts for cheap off CL, and drilled/thrubolted them to the sides of my utility trailer briefly. That worked ok. Maybe you could do the same, then weld them permanently? Alternately, you might look at some motorcycle trailers for inspiration. My dad moves his Harley in a similar fashion to what you already have going on, with the addition of a tall front wheel holder that he compresses the suspension into with a ratchet strap. That seems very secure for his Heritage softail.

  32. #32
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    I've used the standard Yakima fork-mount racks for years and they've always been rock solid. Moved to the "Cobra" attachment a few years ago which holds the front wheel and the only reason I did this is I got a new mountain bike with a Lefty.

    As there are lots of folks upgrading to hitch mount racks, usually you can find a good deal on a roof rack on Craigslist if you've time to catch the right deal. Only thing is if you need the right "clips" to fit your specific vehicle if you need the Q-Towers, but you can buy a set of 4 pretty cheap used on fleabay or directly from Yakima or your LBS.

    DO NOT ever use the wheel mounts that hold your front wheel to the rack. Just put the front wheel in your backseat or trunk. These things sing in the wind like a tuning fork and will loosen up the quick release on the wheel and send it rolling down the interstate into the ditch where you'll never see it again.

  33. #33
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    Thanks for all thereplies. So I FINALLY got a rack 3 weeks ago.

    I went with the Thule Criterion that I liked in my first post.

    I used it for the first time last weekend, it's super easy to use and seems to hold the bike very securely by the downtube. Ther are also straps for both wheels.

    Lifting the bike was not an issue, I put my new Ridley 'cross bike up there which weighs 19.xx lbs, so it was easy peasy lifting it up and attaching.

    One thing I noticed though was at speed the front wheel starts to wobble from side to side. I don't like that, it made me a bit nervous. I haven't tried my MTB up there, so I don't know if it's just an aerodynamic thing with the skinny cross tires.

    Other than that, I really like the rack. It was easy to install, looks cool, and even says "Volvo" on it, lol.

  34. #34
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    That wobble is specifically why I only use the fork mount racks.
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    You can get rid of the wobble by turning the bike around and going rear shell forward. Also make sure your frame is clean before you lock the bike down or you'll start to wear the paint.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Metalhack View Post
    You can get rid of the wobble by turning the bike around and going rear shell forward. Also make sure your frame is clean before you lock the bike down or you'll start to wear the paint.
    Thanks for the suggestion I'll give it a shot.

    I don't know if I'm going to keep it though. I put my MTB up there last night for a trial, I wasn't impressed with the way it held the bike Between the 2.35" tires not fitting in the tray very well and the down tube being relatively big, it seems much less secure than my 'cross bike did.

  37. #37
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    Fork mount......
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    Fork mounts on my Tacoma and my Civic. Solid and secured. Some of you guys need to man up about taking the front wheel off. Takes all of 30 seconds to remove and less than a minute to reinstall. But hey, whatever works for you.

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    Thats 30 seconds more I could be riding . I'm just really happy with my yak frontloader. If I could go back I'd probably go for the 1up roof rack. Looks even easier and quicker to deal with.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    Fork mount......
    or 1UpUSA roof mounts. I have both.

    J.

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    I guess, I'm the only one that has seen a fork pop off of a Thule Echelon.....

    before I went hitch mount... I had a Yakima High Roller.

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    I agree, a fork mounted rack is by far more secure than any other type of rack. As far as the inconvenience of removing the front wheel, really?, it's also inconvenient pedalling a bike around ( used to race DH, used to hear racers complain about having to pedal...), even if you have a 15mm, 20mm or a Lefty fork, how long does it really take to remove your front wheel?, isn't that minute or less worth the piece of mind knowing that your bike is mounted in the most secure way? You can call me biased for fork mounted racks, I designed and manufactured the Fork Up products( sold the company back in 2003, but still lead the engineering, design and sales for them, although don't have the final say, so some products don't get done or takes time to come to market) I still use and believe in the Fork Up and fork mounted racks though. As far as the remarks about a muddy bike/ wheel, I carry a Hudson sprayer( garden sprayer) with me if I k n ow it's going to be muddy and spray my bike off before transport.

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    I actually had my bike ripped off the top of my car when I first got my yak frontloader by a downed cable line. In order for the bike to come out of the rack it ripped the front bars off my car, twisted my thule bar, dented the roof above my front doors, and bent the front loader 90 degrees before it let go of the front wheel. Luckily I was going fairly slow and the only damage to my bike was the rear wheel was bent from the rear ratchet strap holding it down, destroyed that too. Anyway I trust my current frontloader to hold my bike pretty well under normal circumstances.

    doh I see I already posted this in this thread. ahh the bumping old threads.
    Last edited by canker; 05-10-2013 at 10:34 PM.

  44. #44
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    I just don't get the comments about the hassle with removing the front wheel...really? And for the issue of a muddy wheel going inside your vehicle....put a towel down or get a cargo liner for your trunk/cargo area.
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  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by canker View Post
    Thats 30 seconds more I could be riding . I'm just really happy with my yak frontloader. If I could go back I'd probably go for the 1up roof rack. Looks even easier and quicker to deal with.
    I'm thinking maybe I'll sell my Criterion and go with one of these, even though they're more money. I see them around and they look very secure. It looks like my neighbor has one that he uses for his DH bike, I'll ask him next time I see him.

    Or, I'm thinking mayyybe the hassle of pulling the front wheel isn't bad, but I'm wondering if those are safe for carbon forks?

    My Ridley has a full carbon fork, as it okay to clamp one of those in a fork mount? Although I really don't want to be pulling the front wheel on that bike. It has canti's and those are a pain. I just got the bike, but it almost looks like I have to deflate the tire to remove it, the canti's are set up so tight. That can't be right though, when I take the bike in for the first tune up I'll have to ask them about that. I remember the canti's on my old MTB's weren't like that, you could just pop off the cable from one of the arms to open them up to remove the wheel.

    Incidentally, I went for a ride on the MTB yesterday, and just threw it in the back (mud and all) on a large moving blanket I got from HF for 5 bucks.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by tednugent View Post
    I guess, I'm the only one that has seen a fork pop off of a Thule Echelon.....

    before I went hitch mount... I had a Yakima High Roller.
    I have an Echelon mount (actually two of them) - great rack. IMO, it's the very top end of the fork mount roof trays. The only way a fork pops off is if it was not properly seated in it to begin with. It's easy enough to do if you don't pay attention but if it's properly in there, there is no way it's coming out without destroying the fork, roof rack and/or bike.

    And I've talked about the High Roller problems I had although it works pretty well - you just can't tell if the mechanism is going to fail or not.

    I agree - I also have two 1UpUSA trays on the roof. They are the easiest no wheel remover roof racks.

    J.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by StuntmanMike View Post
    I'm thinking maybe I'll sell my Criterion and go with one of these, even though they're more money. I see them around and they look very secure. It looks like my neighbor has one that he uses for his DH bike, I'll ask him next time I see him.

    Or, I'm thinking mayyybe the hassle of pulling the front wheel isn't bad, but I'm wondering if those are safe for carbon forks?

    My Ridley has a full carbon fork, as it okay to clamp one of those in a fork mount? Although I really don't want to be pulling the front wheel on that bike. It has canti's and those are a pain. I just got the bike, but it almost looks like I have to deflate the tire to remove it, the canti's are set up so tight. That can't be right though, when I take the bike in for the first tune up I'll have to ask them about that. I remember the canti's on my old MTB's weren't like that, you could just pop off the cable from one of the arms to open them up to remove the wheel.

    Incidentally, I went for a ride on the MTB yesterday, and just threw it in the back (mud and all) on a large moving blanket I got from HF for 5 bucks.
    Fork material shouldn't matter; its just pinching it like the QR on the front wheel....same thing.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  48. #48
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    I really,really like my Thule sidearm. It takes seconds to mount the bike and it holds it super secure. I've used fork mounts in the past but not since I've used a thru axle.. I know it only takes 30 seconds to mount but it really is a pain. I was bored and did the math and figured with the riding I did last I lost 97.5 minutes of time. That's time I could have been drinking beer. Clearly this justifies my reasoning!

  49. #49
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    The sidearm is a nice one..buddy has one and seems sturdy..but still...fork mount for ultimate security for me.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by BXCc View Post
    Any thoughts on this type?
    Thule*-*599XTR Big Mouth
    I used an older version of that rack for many years and never had a problem with it, it held my bikes securely and I never had one come loose or fall off.
    Those who know can not explain, Those who don't can not understand

    Smith & Wesson, The original point and click user interface

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