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  1. #1
    ARC Driver
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    Roof Rack mounting forward vs. backward

    I'm about to install a new roof rack and I'm wondering; what are the advantages to mounting your bike facing forward vs. mounting it facing backwards. What do you guys think?

  2. #2
    I heart the drops
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    It just depends on which end you want to run into your garage with.
    "its not how slack your head angle is, its how you ride the bike"

  3. #3
    Your bike is incorrigible
    Reputation: Guyechka's Avatar
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    Forward is what you see most often, so it must be the best for the front range.

  4. #4
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    I have one facing each direction...because of space issues, they have to be close together bc my ski rack is also up there, that way the handlebars don't interfere w. each other.

    really all depends on as someone said, which end you want to hit the garage/carport with, I find the front is better bc my rear wheel is behind the rear crossbar, so the tray bends before my bike does. Also depends on which side of the bike you want to clean dead bugs off of more.

  5. #5
    On MTBR hiatus :(
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    Quote Originally Posted by giantsaam

    It just depends on which end you want to run into your garage with.

    Ha ha!

    I run backward because it clears my Subaru's lift gate, but on a sedan that wouldn't matter.

    What did matter is that I previously owned Yakima Cobras, which hold the bike by the front wheel. The Cobra has a problem with the tightening knob becoming loose on longer drives, but this was less worrisome to me with the racks / bikes facing backward.
    speedub.nate
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  6. #6
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    2 door Blazer requires that they go on backward. Forward didn't work and I'm not too concerned about it.

  7. #7
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    I'm wondering which way would create less drag too.

  8. #8
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    Forward!

    If you have a choice, run it facing forward. Here is why.

    I had a 2002 WRX wagon, and because of clearance with the tailgate, I had to run the rack backward. One day I went for a ride on my road bike, and when I got done I was a little wasted and spacey, and I clamped the fork in, but forgot to strap the rear wheel into the tray. I got on the highway, and when I hit about 65mph, the wind lifted the rear wheel out of the tray, and the bike pivoted back around the front axle clamp so hard that it came out of the rack altogether. Imagine my surprise when I heard a big bang, and looked in my rearview to see my $3000 road bike flipping down US36. Ouch.

    The bike ended up right in between lanes. Traffic somehow avoided it for the 2-3 minutes it took for there to be a gap big enough for me to retrieve it. I just tossed it in the back of the car, thinking it was toast. Believe it or not, after replacing the rear wheel, one pedal, and one crankarm, I am still riding the bike....Ti is tough stuff!

    Bottom line, if you make the mistake I did, and you are facing forward, the bike might pop out of the tray and dance on your roof a bit, but it will probably stay upright and safe. Put it backward, and you may get a different story. Of course, you hope you always remember to strap the wheel in, but given the number of people who tear bikes off their roofs driving into garages, you are better off minimizing the possibilities.

    YMMV.

  9. #9
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    Reputation: sgltrak's Avatar
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    With one bike on top, I usually run it backward, especially on longer road trips. This way I have to clean fewer bugs off the fork, brake lever, and bars/grips. In order to maximize the number of bikes I can fit up there, I alternate forward and backward.

  10. #10
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    I'll tell you what certain guys will think!
    I agree look out for running it backwards due to physics but there is always a hidden meaning.Like earring in the right ear kind of meaning if one chooses the posterior mounting method, you might find unwanted company following you to the trailhead. That is of course unless you like that kind of thing.

  11. #11
    Your retarded
    Reputation: Nickle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pbbullpup
    I'm wondering which way would create less drag too.
    Seriously? Any difference in drag is going to be so insignificant that you and your fuel economy will never be able to detect it. If you are concerned about fuel economy, look into mounting the bikes behind the car, not on the roof.
    A trail that’s too difficult wouldn’t exist because it’d never be used. But, trails can exist that’re too difficult for you.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit
    If you have a choice, run it facing forward. Here is why.

    I had a 2002 WRX wagon, and because of clearance with the tailgate, I had to run the rack backward. One day I went for a ride on my road bike, and when I got done I was a little wasted and spacey, and I clamped the fork in, but forgot to strap the rear wheel into the tray. I got on the highway, and when I hit about 65mph, the wind lifted the rear wheel out of the tray, and the bike pivoted back around the front axle clamp so hard that it came out of the rack altogether. Imagine my surprise when I heard a big bang, and looked in my rearview to see my $3000 road bike flipping down US36. Ouch.

    The bike ended up right in between lanes. Traffic somehow avoided it for the 2-3 minutes it took for there to be a gap big enough for me to retrieve it. I just tossed it in the back of the car, thinking it was toast. Believe it or not, after replacing the rear wheel, one pedal, and one crankarm, I am still riding the bike....Ti is tough stuff!

    Bottom line, if you make the mistake I did, and you are facing forward, the bike might pop out of the tray and dance on your roof a bit, but it will probably stay upright and safe. Put it backward, and you may get a different story. Of course, you hope you always remember to strap the wheel in, but given the number of people who tear bikes off their roofs driving into garages, you are better off minimizing the possibilities.

    YMMV.
    I run two way on the outside of my WRX wagon (outside of the 'feet') when my ski rack isn't on, they are far enough to the side that the liftgate can clear them.

  13. #13
    Getting Fit
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harry P. Nice
    I'll tell you what certain guys will think!
    I agree look out for running it backwards due to physics but there is always a hidden meaning.Like earring in the right ear kind of meaning if one chooses the posterior mounting method, you might find unwanted company following you to the trailhead. That is of course unless you like that kind of thing.

    Wow,

  14. #14
    MK_
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickle
    Seriously? Any difference in drag is going to be so insignificant that you and your fuel economy will never be able to detect it. If you are concerned about fuel economy, look into mounting the bikes behind the car, not on the roof.
    Not so. My car went from ~22mpg to close to 24mpg on the Moab outings with the bikes facing backwards vs forwards on the Sportworks Bob Rachet rack (T2 prececessor). The added benefit of not having insects cake up the stanchions was an added bonus.

    I then went with a hitch and I get right around 30mpg; my bikes started getting really dirty, though, on rainy/snowy drives; that is a bit of a PITA as I have to cover up the critical components on those occasions; however, I now typically take the wheels off and put the bikes inside for the drives out and back.

    _MK
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  15. #15
    Your retarded
    Reputation: Nickle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK_
    Not so. My car went from ~22mpg to close to 24mpg on the Moab outings with the bikes facing backwards vs forwards on the Sportworks Bob Rachet rack (T2 prececessor).
    There are a lot of factors that contribute to fuel economy and I doubt any were equal during each of your Moab trips where you observed 22 and 24 mpg. To say that bike orientation is what caused the difference is inaccurate.
    A trail that’s too difficult wouldn’t exist because it’d never be used. But, trails can exist that’re too difficult for you.

  16. #16
    MK_
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickle
    There are a lot of factors that contribute to fuel economy and I doubt any were equal during each of your Moab trips where you observed 22 and 24 mpg. To say that bike orientation is what caused the difference is inaccurate.
    Sure, that's the best singe serving measurement to present, though. I also observed an increase in average fuel economy (the computer holds an average over 1000 miles or so; on top of that when I lived in Boulder and worked in Boulder the only time I touched my car was to drive to the trailhead). The trips above were numerous in each configuration. In each case there were 2 bikes involved.

    _MK
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  17. #17
    post-ride specialist
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    I prefer to face them forward. That way the downward pointing saddle provides aerodynamic down force which enhances my traction, though at the expense of fuel economy.

    Besides, the bike are less likely to get motion sickness. They're delicate, you know.
    Since when did Need have anything to do with this?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coloradoxj13
    I run two way on the outside of my WRX wagon (outside of the 'feet') when my ski rack isn't on, they are far enough to the side that the liftgate can clear them.
    How many stitches do you have in your scalp from banging your head on the chainrings?

  19. #19
    MK_
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    Quote Originally Posted by icegeek
    Besides, the bike are less likely to get motion sickness. They're delicate, you know.
    I bet the bikes get helluva motion sickness on your T2. I almost got motion sickness just looking at them, driving behind you.

    _MK
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  20. #20
    Living the High Life
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    So you have a smaller boundary layer created over the roof of your car near the front. With less stuff (bars, fork, dead bugs) sticking out and above that layer (i.e. the bikes are backwards so its only the rear wheel) I can see where it is more efficient to put these items further back along the roof. There they will be encompassed by the larger BL and be exposed to air that is moving slower relative to the car making their presence less of an impact on the fuel economy of the car.

    For that matter, lower your seat and drop that travel adjust fork. Might as well take the bars off for the duration of the trip. Crap gas costs money, why even go? Sell your bike on craigslist, take the money and roll around on it in your living room.
    You have just been mentally Rick Roll'd. Yup you're thinking about it right now aren't you? Don't fight it.

  21. #21
    MK_
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ithnu
    Crap gas costs money, why even go? Sell your bike on craigslist, take the money and roll around on it in your living room.
    Cost is not always the driving factor, though.

    _MK
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  22. #22
    Living the High Life
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK_
    Cost is not always the driving factor, though.

    _MK
    Yeah, you can roll around on 1s just as easy as 20s. But it loses that bling factor a bit doesn't it?
    You have just been mentally Rick Roll'd. Yup you're thinking about it right now aren't you? Don't fight it.

  23. #23
    MK_
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ithnu
    Yeah, you can roll around on 1s just as easy as 20s. But it loses that bling factor a bit doesn't it?
    You lost me there.

    _MK
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  24. #24
    Your retarded
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ithnu
    Yeah, you can roll around on 1s just as easy as 20s. But it loses that bling factor a bit doesn't it?
    A trail that’s too difficult wouldn’t exist because it’d never be used. But, trails can exist that’re too difficult for you.

  25. #25
    Living the High Life
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    Thank you 50% of a dime, you get me; (tear) you really do.
    You have just been mentally Rick Roll'd. Yup you're thinking about it right now aren't you? Don't fight it.

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