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  1. #1
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    1999 Jeep Cherokee - Roof Rack for bike

    I just purchased an 2008 Trek 820, my first bike in about 7 years! I know, nothing too special, but I am a proud Trek owner!

    Anywhoo, I am looking to go hit some trails the next few weeks and want to know if anyone can suggest some roof bike racks for my Cherokee. The local bike shops charge outrageous prices....and I am not sure if I trust craigslist yet.

    I am here to ask for some help on this. Also, I know, I could get a hitch bike mount, but I have no trailer hitch setup yet. That is something else that has been rather pricey. Any suggestions on what I can do there as well?

    This is my first post and look forward to all of your help and suggestions! Please provide links, stores, information as needed. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    I have a 98 XJ
    I love my yakima rack. i use the 1a gutter mounts.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlatFender
    I have a 98 XJ
    I love my yakima rack. i use the 1a gutter mounts.
    Ok......so where do I find these at?

  4. #4
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    any place that sells Yakima I suppose.
    I got mine on E-bay

  5. #5
    Basura Blanca
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    If you're gonna buy new, AgeeBike.com usually has very competetive prices on Yakima stuff, but since the Cherokee takes the old style of Yak tower, I'd look for them used. But really, getting a receiver hitch would make the Cherokee even more useful (pretty darn utilitarian already), and carrying the bikes on a hitch mount (see the XPORT Flatbed at Performance) is alot quieter than on the roof (trust me - I've got both). If you install the hitch yourself, you could have the whole setup for <$300.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneHD
    Ok......so where do I find these at?

  6. #6
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    If you have factory racks you could try rocky mounts, i got mine off ebay, $175cad for a pair delivered.
    One problem with a trailer hitch on the 4L Cherokee is they have a habit of blowing rear main seals, nothing is worse than having a nice coat of used oil on your bike. This may not be an issue now, but it could be in the future. Great engine, it will go forever (I got mine to 500K before the axles fell off), just not the cleanest.
    Avoid all the problems and bolt a fork mount($10-20) to the top of the backside of the rear seat, fold the seat down, remove front tire and saddle, put bike in with plenty of room for two bikes, two people and gear enough for a week or riding.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocks'r'friends
    Avoid all the problems and bolt a fork mount($10-20) to the top of the backside of the rear seat, fold the seat down, remove front tire and saddle, put bike in with plenty of room for two bikes, two people and gear enough for a week or riding.
    Yup. I usually travel alone or with the wife when I ride so I dropped the rear seat in my 00' Cherokee Sport and added two fork mounts to the back of the rear seat. I only have to remove the front wheel and drop/remove the seatpost/saddle and it fits right in. Locks in the forkmount (which I found for about $10 each online) and doesn't move around. Good thing about this setup is I can stop off for some eats, brews, etc after riding and don't have to worry about the bike being exposed to thieves, weather, etc.


  8. #8
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    I happen to also have a 99 cherokee as well. I used to have Thule racks, but I have morved on.

    I use Rockymounts, as they are cheaper and still very nice. For crossbars, I have Thule gutter mount feet and Thule crossbars.

    I got mine on ebay, but to get them new and cheap, check out these rack bars

    Good luck

  9. #9
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    I have a 98 Grand Cherokee and I modified a rack that I got off E-bay for the roof. It required me drilling into my existing roof luggage rack so I could mount the fork mount rails to it but that was basically it. I could take pix if you are interested in seeing it. I think I have maybe $30 in the whole thing. Including paint to clean up the old rails that I bought.

  10. #10
    ballbuster
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    Do you one better

    Why not a hitch rack? Easier to deal with and doesn't suck more gas on the freeway.

  11. #11
    dh1
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    ditto on the hitch mount

    A jeep cherokee is a pretty tall SUV. Even just for loading and unloading, I would get a hitch installed then get a decent hitch rack.

    I have been using a Yakima BigHorn for the last 6 years with no complaints. No gas mileage issue, zero additional wind noise, easy on and off bike mounting, no fear of Effing up your new bike pulling into a carport, garage, or going thru a drive thru on the way home after your ride.

    Mine can haul 4 bikes easily, but the model I have is really only good for hardtails.

    Another nice thing about the hitch mounted rack is that your next car (as long as it has a hitch) can use it. Roof racks aren't always so interchangeable.
    Last edited by dh1; 09-14-2007 at 11:03 AM.

  12. #12
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    The only thing I don't like about hitch racks is that it interferes with getting into the rear hatch, and you don't always have it with you. Kind of a pain to install/uninstall all the time for me. I like the aspect of having the mount on the roof becuase it's "set it and forget it"

  13. #13
    ballbuster
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    Eh, not that big a deal IMO

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim311
    The only thing I don't like about hitch racks is that it interferes with getting into the rear hatch, and you don't always have it with you. Kind of a pain to install/uninstall all the time for me. I like the aspect of having the mount on the roof becuase it's "set it and forget it"
    I have one on my GTi with a threaded pin Performace X-Port Flatbed rack and I just carry a 19mm wrench in the door pocket. The rack comes off in two seconds and folds up and fits behind the back seat of my hatchback style car.

    I would imagine if you did without the threaded pin, and did a regular hitch pin it would be even easier with no tools.

    It also folds down in place when the bikes are not on it to allow clearence for the hatch, but my hatch actually clears it as long as the inside hook is down a bit. I can almost open my hatchback with my bike on the outer position. I have to swing the bike down a couple inches, but that's it.

    Some hitch racks have a hinge off to the side and let the whole works swing to the side out away from the car.

    Heh, I installed my old roof rails to haul a few 2x4s from the lumber yard for a house project. OMG, I just remebered why I took them off. I can't open my sunroof without going deaf. Even with the sunroof closed, it makes a whole lot more noise... and that was just the load bars.
    Last edited by pimpbot; 09-11-2007 at 12:05 PM.

  14. #14
    dh1
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim311
    The only thing I don't like about hitch racks is that it interferes with getting into the rear hatch, and you don't always have it with you. Kind of a pain to install/uninstall all the time for me. I like the aspect of having the mount on the roof becuase it's "set it and forget it"
    I have a hitch mount on my minivan and leave it there all summer long. While true it does interfere with the use of the liftgate, I rarely go into the hatch area. While running daily errands or going to the gym, I toss stuff in the back seat.

    I am with the poster just above. I actually took the factory roof rack off both of my minivans simply due to noise. I put them back on when I use them, but unless I slide them all the way to the rear they whistle like a mother trucker going any faster that 40mph. FWIW< the OP has a Jeep Cherokee.....these aren't known for their NVH charictaristics so the roof rack likely would make little more noise than is already there. Minivans are much less sexy, but they are a very clean vehicle and very quiet. The extra noise is very noticable.

    Yakima doesn't advocate pivoting the hitch rack down with bikes loaded, but when I am on vacation I do it all the time and have never damaged anything. I do carry one spanner wrench in the car to remove the threaded pin and take the whole rack down if needed.

    This is certainly the case where each person has their own ideal, but for my money the hitch rack is less likely to damage the bike or the vehicle, creates less drag/ wind noise, protects the bike from road debris/bugs while driving, won't make your top heavy SUV more top heavy than it already is, and is super easy to load and unload bikes without any assistance
    Last edited by dh1; 09-14-2007 at 11:03 AM.

  15. #15
    txn
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    Have you checked Ebay?

    Here's a Saris setup for vehicles with existing side rails that is actually two cars worth of stuff. You can turn around and sell what you don't use.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim311
    The only thing I don't like about hitch racks is that it interferes with getting into the rear hatch, and you don't always have it with you. Kind of a pain to install/uninstall all the time for me. I like the aspect of having the mount on the roof becuase it's "set it and forget it"
    I always leave my hitch rack in the trunk, and it doesnt interfere with getting into the trunk when the bike is on either. 1997 Saturn SL sedan.

    I also found a Reese stage 1 hitch on Kijiji.ca (classifieds) for $40 and installed it myself. Had to get a new pin for $15, and had the 3 bike hidden hitch rack left over from 2 previous cars ago. Presto.
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  17. #17
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    A couple things on these comments above, again, from a 99 cherokee owner.

    1. The cherokee isnt a tall SUV. I have mine lifted 2 inches, with 30" tires. That is a total of about 2.75 inches higher than stock. I am 5'10.5" and I can easily put a bike up there while standing on the ground.

    2. Noise isnt an issue with me, and I leave 2 tray mounts up there all the time. I have the "short" factory rack, comes halfway up the driver door, not all the way to the front. I simply put the Thule bars right above my factory cross bars, about 6 inches behind the driver door. 0 additional noise. And yes, there was a lot of extra noise till I moved them back.

    3. A hitch rack on a car or mini van are different than on the cherokee. The hitches for the jeep is just under the bumper, much closer to the hatch than on teh Caravan and GTI that I have been arround. So clearance would be an issue more than on those vehicles

    4. Weight. Not an issue. Racks, bars, feet, under 25 lbs. On an SUV. and mine is lifted, though wheels with less backspacing means wider track overall.


    All that said, I will probably buy a hitch mount soon, not to replace, but to augment my roof rack. And if my ride has 20mm front, it will probably use teh hitch more than the roof. I will also be doing internal mounts for the bikes. This will soon by my camping/weekend vehicle, and I will be carrying more bikes/gear.

    Good luck

  18. #18
    dh1
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    Quote Originally Posted by el_chupo_

    4. Weight. Not an issue. Racks, bars, feet, under 25 lbs. On an SUV. and mine is lifted, though wheels with less backspacing means wider track overall.



    Good luck
    Weight of the hitch and roof racks are similar, but the issue isn't the weight of a rack...but it is the weight of a fully loaded rack and where the wieght is in relation to the car's center of gravity. A rack with 3 bikes on the roof will add about 110 to 130lbs of weight, and substantial drag about 30 inches above the center of gravity. Compare it to putting 130 lbs of effort on a 3 foot long lever.....if you do this while cornering at high speed, the centripetal force acting on the loaded bike rack will amplify that weight on an already top heavy SUV.

    That being said, next summer my minivan will have both roof and hitch racks mounted at vacation time. With my MTB, my roadie, my wife's bike and bikes for 3 of my kids....I almost need a second car or a trailer.

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