Best roof racks for a Subaru- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 27 of 27
  1. #1
    Steamroller
    Reputation: Mattman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    1,217

    Best roof racks for a Subaru

    I just got my wife a new Subaru Forester (I've wanted a Subaru for years....he he). With gas prices as they are and since I drive a full size truck, the Forester will be our likely choice for any road trips so, it must have a roof rack for bikes.

    I like the convenience of putting the bikes on the roof with both wheels still on but, I've heard they sway around a lot more. These of racks also seem more bulky and apt to cause noise and wind resistance even when no bike is on there. Am I wrong on this? I won't carry bikes every day or week but when I do it may be for hundred of miles on highways and mountain roads.

    I think I may prefer a rack with the fork mounts, I load 5 bikes that way on my truck. The bikes are pretty stable and ride lower. Then I have front wheels to stow; if put inside, that will take up half the cargo space. I have a factory rack and both Thule and Yakima seem to have racks adaptable to fit if I figure out the proper adaptors. Neither seem to have adaptable front wheel holders. Before I pull out any more hair or make a bad choice, has anyone out there solved this problem. If there is no specific advice I'll welcome general advice on roof racks.
    Two Wheeled and Too Big

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Joules's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,293
    The Thule 532 adapter is basically a thule load bar that mounts above the factory load bars - seems to me an ugly solution, but you have a lot of flexability with what type of carrier you use, and it looks like the wheel carriers would work even if they don't explicitly say so. Big problem with this, IMO is Subaru says no more than 2 bikes on their bars, I assume that applies to this as well.

    I have a Thule bar system that mounts Thule load bars onto the factory lenghtwise bars. It's similar to the 450 system (older, probably has a different number but I don't remember it). It's a bit of hassle to install and remove, but can carry anything you can put on a Thule bar, and weight limits are higher. Make sure you can still open the trunk with carriers mounted. I'm actually considering getting rid of mine (Found somthing I like more, see below), I've been reluctant to ebay it because shipping would cost more than I think it would sell for. If you are in the DC/Baltimore area (or have a good idea on how to ship heavy, oversized stuff) and want this setup PM me - I have the bars, a few carriers (upright and fork-mounted), wheel carriers, a snowboard carrier and maybe a ski carrier that I'd like to get rid of.

    My favorite carrier now is the Rocky Mounts noose. It's a fork mount that actually mounts directly onto the factory cross bars (with no adaptors). The bike and rack sit a lot lower to the roof than Thule or Yakima systems, so it's quieter and seems to affect gas milage less. It's a hassle to put on and take off, but since there is no way to lock the carrier to the rack I actually prefer that (so it take a thief a little longer to remove). Plus you can get it in colors - makes your car easier to spot on a parking lot. Disadvantage to this is the 2-bike max (specified by Subaru - you can probably exceed, I've never done it though), and you have to find some other way to carry your front wheels).

    One other thing about the rockymounts rack that I like (and never would ahve thought of): Last week I tried to use a drive-trhough ATM with my bike on the roof. DOH, the saddle hit the overhang. The rear factory load bar bent -bike was fine, sadde didn't even have any marks on it. I don't think the Thule bar would have bent - those bars are much tougher than the subary factory bars, meaning the frame or wheel might have (and the Thule rack sits up 2-3"higher so it would have been worse). Yeah, so you want to avoid that situation, but I'd rather have the bar bend than my bike - it's cheaper to replace.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    5
    I have a Yakima system on my Forester. I wanted to keep the factory cross bars, so I wasn't able to get a bike rack with a fork mount. According to Yakima, the higher stiffness of their cross bars is required for this type of mounting. So, I am using the Raptor (http://www.yakima.com/Product.aspx?id=17). That said, I would have preferred the fork-style mount as well (the Raptor is pretty bulky since it has a large arm that grips the downtube). Keep in mind that even the fork mount systems are expensive (at least $80); much more than the truck-type where you can bolt the $15 QR mechanism to the bed.

  4. #4
    Shamisen Appreciator
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,950
    I opted to go with Thule towers and bar on my wife's Forester. I can't remember which toweres we got, but it clipped right to an adapter that bolted onto the factory roof rails (not the cross bars). It made for a very clean looking install that could be removed in seconds should we wish to drive a long distance without the drag of the rack.

    If I were to do it again, I'd get a Yakima setup for two reasons. The first is that Yak provided us with the best customer service I've ever experienced from any company. The second is due to the round bars. If you do choose a fork mount rack and want to use the Yak wheel forks, you can quickly rotate them out of the way when you're driving into a parking garage. If you use the Yak wheel forks on a Thule cross bar, you have to remove them altogether.

  5. #5
    govt kontrakt projkt mgr
    Reputation: ArmySlowRdr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    6,167
    Yakima roof rack--get king cobra or its replacement--then u dont have to worry about the front wheels either. People used to complain the red knob loosened on the king cobra-me included--hogwash--the secret is to pull the front tire forward and then cinch down the knob till it wont turn anymore--now the knob has stayed tight for me on 700+ mile trips.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    59
    Hello, I got an outback and while I did consider Rocky mounts factory crossbars option, after understanding that 2 bike on top will not be parallel to each other due to the factory bars curvature. While this does not affect performance (per rocky mounts website) I just did not like the idea of the bikes not being mounted straight rather like a slight "V" I opted for a yakima lowrider option with 48in crossbars. A lot more options and I got the complete system, lowrider, locks, crossbars. and 2 forkbike mounts for $250 shipped on fleebay

  7. #7
    Steamroller
    Reputation: Mattman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    1,217

    Concerned over the clamp

    I can probably live with a two bike rack for a while though Subarus info said the rack could hold 150 pounds so I'm thinking three bikes and the racks should be less than 150.
    My road bike is a new Madone with carbon fiber frame and I'm a bit concerned about clamping the arm to the downtube. Do you think a piece of foam rubber pipe wrap could be put around the frame and then clamped?

    My other concerns with this type of rack are .....Do the bikes sway back and forth much and .......Does the rack whislte howl or rattle when you are driving around? Are you pretty pleased with it overall?

    Quote Originally Posted by agreenfield1
    I have a Yakima system on my Forester. I wanted to keep the factory cross bars, so I wasn't able to get a bike rack with a fork mount. According to Yakima, the higher stiffness of their cross bars is required for this type of mounting. So, I am using the Raptor (http://www.yakima.com/Product.aspx?id=17). That said, I would have preferred the fork-style mount as well (the Raptor is pretty bulky since it has a large arm that grips the downtube). Keep in mind that even the fork mount systems are expensive (at least $80); much more than the truck-type where you can bolt the $15 QR mechanism to the bed.
    Two Wheeled and Too Big

  8. #8
    Steamroller
    Reputation: Mattman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    1,217

    Second set of bars?

    So John, does this set-up require a second set of crossbars in addition to the factory ones and some mounts to mount to factory rails? One of the others mentioned sounds like thats how it works and it seems like that would be cluttered looking with 2 different sets of bars and two sets of risers?

    Quote Originally Posted by johneracer
    Hello, I got an outback and while I did consider Rocky mounts factory crossbars option, after understanding that 2 bike on top will not be parallel to each other due to the factory bars curvature. While this does not affect performance (per rocky mounts website) I just did not like the idea of the bikes not being mounted straight rather like a slight "V" I opted for a yakima lowrider option with 48in crossbars. A lot more options and I got the complete system, lowrider, locks, crossbars. and 2 forkbike mounts for $250 shipped on fleebay
    Two Wheeled and Too Big

  9. #9
    Steamroller
    Reputation: Mattman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    1,217

    Get the Noose!

    Thanks Joules... now I'm deciding betwwen three instead of two!!

    The Noose actually looks real nice and simple. I wonder if QBP carrys it so I can get a deal through my work?
    I'm thinking 3 bikes should be fine the racks would be light and as long as the bikes are all 30# or less I should be well under the weight limit. Several months ago ( when I did not need it ), I saw some cool provision for carring the front wheels that attached to the bikes rather than the rack. I'll have to try to find that if I'm to seriously consider this. Three wheels will put a big dent in the cargo space inside a Forester.

    OTE=Joules]..............My favorite carrier now is the Rocky Mounts noose. It's a fork mount that actually mounts directly onto the factory cross bars (with no adaptors). The bike and rack sit a lot lower to the roof than Thule or Yakima systems, so it's quieter and seems to affect gas milage less. It's a hassle to put on and take off, but since there is no way to lock the carrier to the rack I actually prefer that (so it take a thief a little longer to remove). Plus you can get it in colors - makes your car easier to spot on a parking lot. Disadvantage to this is the 2-bike max (specified by Subaru - you can probably exceed, I've never done it though), and you have to find some other way to carry your front wheels)..............
    Two Wheeled and Too Big

  10. #10
    Steamroller
    Reputation: Mattman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    1,217

    I'm leaning toward the King Cobra

    I don't like the idea of having to store wheels in the limited inside cargo area, so a rack that allows the wheels to stay on the bike sounds good, I like this one as it does not touch the frame or paint of the bikes. My concerns are is it stable going down the road or will the bikes be leaning all over on a mountain road? Also is there noticeable wind noise or rattling when you are driving around 90% of the time with no bikes? I've asked questions back of most of the people who responded, I'll wait and see what answers I get and decide this week. I think Thule is out for me on this one, I'll decide between the Rocky mounts Noose or Yakima Raptor or King Cobra. Thanks everyone for your help with this.......what would we all do without MTBR

    Quote Originally Posted by ArmySlowRdr
    Yakima roof rack--get king cobra or its replacement--then u dont have to worry about the front wheels either. People used to complain the red knob loosened on the king cobra-me included--hogwash--the secret is to pull the front tire forward and then cinch down the knob till it wont turn anymore--now the knob has stayed tight for me on 700+ mile trips.
    Two Wheeled and Too Big

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    3
    I use the Rocky Mounts Noose on my Outback, and it's awesome. The bikes are solid up there. Like other have mentioned, the only problem is where to stash the front wheel? Has anyone had any luck installing something like the Thule 593 (http://www.prolineracks.com/thule-593-wheel-holder.html) to their factory bars?

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    2,738
    Do you have a 2.5X with the crossbars, or do you have a Premium or Limited with the horizontal roof rails and then crossbars on those?

  13. #13
    Kick Start My Heart
    Reputation: davez26's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    519
    Quote Originally Posted by johneracer
    Hello, I got an outback and while I did consider Rocky mounts factory crossbars option, after understanding that 2 bike on top will not be parallel to each other due to the factory bars curvature. While this does not affect performance (per rocky mounts website) I just did not like the idea of the bikes not being mounted straight rather like a slight "V" I opted for a yakima lowrider option with 48in crossbars. A lot more options and I got the complete system, lowrider, locks, crossbars. and 2 forkbike mounts for $250 shipped on fleebay
    I've got a pair of Noose(s) from Rocky Mounts on my Outback (2005) and almost didn't because I kept hearing about the lean. After looking it over I couldn't see it being that bad. Glad I went with Noose. Clean installation, mounted low, strong carrier, no adapters, and as for lean, you are talking about maybe 5* It's one of those things if you knew to look for it, or you stared at it, you would see it. While I know the OP asked about Forester, Rocky Mounts has you covered for that and Outback.
    Last edited by davez26; 06-28-2009 at 07:06 AM.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    2,208
    Quote Originally Posted by Mattman
    I can probably live with a two bike rack for a while though Subarus info said the rack could hold 150 pounds so I'm thinking three bikes and the racks should be less than 150.
    My road bike is a new Madone with carbon fiber frame and I'm a bit concerned about clamping the arm to the downtube. Do you think a piece of foam rubber pipe wrap could be put around the frame and then clamped?

    My other concerns with this type of rack are .....Do the bikes sway back and forth much and .......Does the rack whislte howl or rattle when you are driving around? Are you pretty pleased with it overall?
    Don't even think about clamping a bike like this. For one, CF tubes do not like to be clamped and secondly, you will probably damage the paint at some point. You just don't want to do that with this bike. There are much better options.

    Any of the fork mounts would work fine. Even better are the ones that hold the bike by the wheels - like the Yakima HighRoller. I use the highroller with my Lemond CF frame and it works great. I am changing them out for the newest mount from 1UpUSA that is even better. While it isn't listed on their website yet they are now offering the trays that go on their hitch mount - which I think are the best hitch mount out there - that can be attached to any roof rack OR their hitch mount too. see http://www.1UpUSA.com. The 1UpUSA trays will have about the same windage as a fork mount tray and will be less windage than either the HighROller or the Thule equivalent. I also think they are by far the most secure of the clamp to wheels trays because they have two arms instead of one.

    J.

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    3
    Quote Originally Posted by XJaredX
    Do you have a 2.5X with the crossbars, or do you have a Premium or Limited with the horizontal roof rails and then crossbars on those?
    I have a 2007 Outback 2.5i with only the factory aero cross bars. The Rocky Mounts Noose mounts directly onto them.

  16. #16
    Elitest thrill junkie
    Reputation: Jayem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    31,689
    Quote Originally Posted by Mattman
    I just got my wife a new Subaru Forester (I've wanted a Subaru for years....he he). With gas prices as they are and since I drive a full size truck, the Forester will be our likely choice for any road trips so, it must have a roof rack for bikes.
    Yes, you'll get amazing gas milege with AWD and a roof rack.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    2,208
    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    Yes, you'll get amazing gas milege with AWD and a roof rack.
    Well, with a roof rack, a full size AWD wagon (BMW 30xit), I average 26mpg. I don't think that's so bad, do you?

    J.

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    1,050
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80
    Well, with a roof rack, a full size AWD wagon (BMW 30xit), I average 26mpg. I don't think that's so bad, do you?
    Your mileage may vary. My "full size" Outback averages 17mpg, and that is with no crossbars installed.

    On topic, I do have a set of the Yakima mounts that allows the standard round bars to be attached directly to the roof rails (not to the crossbars). I find them far more useful than the factory crossbars due to their width, and since the bars are flat, they're more accommodating to some types of loads. I'll occasionally mount a bike tray to them when the carrying capacity of the T2 is exceeded in the back, but that's a real drag -- pun intended.

    A Thule Side Arm/T2 (and whatever Yakima's version is called), really is the way to go for convenience. Road bike, recumbent, MTB with 20mm TA, kids trail-a-bike ... I've carried them all with no effort. No removing wheels, no worrying about crushing tubes, or scratches from bikes rubbing together.

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    2,208
    Quote Originally Posted by anotherbrian
    Your mileage may vary. My "full size" Outback averages 17mpg, and that is with no crossbars installed.

    On topic, I do have a set of the Yakima mounts that allows the standard round bars to be attached directly to the roof rails (not to the crossbars). I find them far more useful than the factory crossbars due to their width, and since the bars are flat, they're more accommodating to some types of loads. I'll occasionally mount a bike tray to them when the carrying capacity of the T2 is exceeded in the back, but that's a real drag -- pun intended.

    A Thule Side Arm/T2 (and whatever Yakima's version is called), really is the way to go for convenience. Road bike, recumbent, MTB with 20mm TA, kids trail-a-bike ... I've carried them all with no effort. No removing wheels, no worrying about crushing tubes, or scratches from bikes rubbing together.
    Yikes! What kind of driving do you do? I've had two Sub wagons and both of them got between 23-26mpg average depending on time of the year (warm or cold).
    J.

  20. #20
    Flyin Pig
    Reputation: IvanLasston's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    159
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80
    Yikes! What kind of driving do you do? I've had two Sub wagons and both of them got between 23-26mpg average depending on time of the year (warm or cold).
    J.
    Agreed - what are you doing to get this kind of mileage? With a STI I get 24mpg in general. The only time I get 18mpg is when I am really accelerating all the time - such as at the track. The STI has a roof rack on it and a hood scoop bigger than yours, so it isn't exactly aerodynamic. Even with a big box I get ~24mpg - its only when I put on a dedicated ski rack that it goes to 20-22mpg.

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    1,050
    Quote Originally Posted by IvanLasston
    Agreed - what are you doing to get this kind of mileage? With a STI I get 24mpg in general. The only time I get 18mpg is when I am really accelerating all the time - such as at the track. The STI has a roof rack on it and a hood scoop bigger than yours, so it isn't exactly aerodynamic. Even with a big box I get ~24mpg - its only when I put on a dedicated ski rack that it goes to 20-22mpg.
    We may be talking about opposite extremes; actually mine is my "average" driving (trip B computer between oil changes ... just ran out and checked and it is 17.1mpg over the last 2200 miles).

    My average driving is "suburb" driving. Never sitting in traffic, but lights/stop signs on average every mile, probably average between 25-50mph? The Outback is an automatic (for direct comparison to the STI) and has (ultra-?) high-performance all season tires in stock size.

    The only way I can get 22mpg is with my cruise set at 65mph; and unless I drive the whole tank that way, such high mpg only bouys up my average mpg by a few.

    [going completely off topic, tomorrow morning (and after almost five years of ownership) I'm having an uppipe, downpipe, and the Cobb programming changed from stage 1 to 2 on the car, and maybe the installer/tuner will tell me it has been running rich all this time and give me back a few mpg.]

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    2,208
    That's very similar to the driving that my son does in his with his '08 Impreza Outback Sport. He averages 25-26mpg and can get to 30mpg if it really is uber careful. Most of the Subs get about the same gas mileage so it sounds to me like there is a problem with yours. That is way, way low in my opinion. I know someone else who has a '08 Outback with a similar driving pattern and she averages 22-23mpg.

    17mpg is what my wife gets with her Volv0 XC90 that outweighs your car by a ton (probably literally) and is AWD too with bigger engine to boot.

    J.

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    1,050
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80
    That's very similar to the driving that my son does in his with his '08 Impreza Outback Sport. He averages 25-26mpg and can get to 30mpg if it really is uber careful.
    The Outback XT has a turbocharger, and gets significantly worse gas mileage (all the while requiring premium) than the other Outbacks (especially the Outback Sport, which is based on an Impreza rather than the larger Legacy). It has a similar engine to the STI, however it should lose some fuel economy due to its extra weight, and in my case, its automatic transmission.

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    2,208
    My wife's XC90 has a turbo too and it's a 6 cylinder. My BMW is not exactly a low performance engine, also needs premium, and the car weighs more than a Sub.

    Hey, it's your car but your mileage sounds way low to me. I'd get it checked.

    J.

  25. #25
    Flyin Pig
    Reputation: IvanLasston's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    159
    Quote Originally Posted by anotherbrian
    We may be talking about opposite extremes; actually mine is my "average" driving (trip B computer between oil changes ... just ran out and checked and it is 17.1mpg over the last 2200 miles).

    My average driving is "suburb" driving. Never sitting in traffic, but lights/stop signs on average every mile, probably average between 25-50mph? The Outback is an automatic (for direct comparison to the STI) and has (ultra-?) high-performance all season tires in stock size.

    The only way I can get 22mpg is with my cruise set at 65mph; and unless I drive the whole tank that way, such high mpg only bouys up my average mpg by a few.

    [going completely off topic, tomorrow morning (and after almost five years of ownership) I'm having an uppipe, downpipe, and the Cobb programming changed from stage 1 to 2 on the car, and maybe the installer/tuner will tell me it has been running rich all this time and give me back a few mpg.]
    I generally get 24 - maybe 23 with the STI no matter the driving style. I lived in LA and even with that traffic I was getting 24. I am in Colorado now and its usually wide open highway and I get about the same. Like I said - unless I am redlining - my milage doesn't really vary. I am at a stage 2 Cobb tune with intake and custom tune and I still get 24. So I guess I'm saying - I didn't loose mileage by getting a tune, but they are deep in the guts while tuning so if there is something wrong with your setup they should be able to tell on the dyno.

  26. #26
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    3

    Thule Wheel-on

    I bought the Thule Wheel-on (Thule 593) front wheel holder, and it fits great on my '07 Subaru outback (2.5i). Those of you who are using the Rocky Mounts Noose on factory bars might be interested.

  27. #27
    Elitest thrill junkie
    Reputation: Jayem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    31,689
    Quote Originally Posted by anotherbrian

    [going completely off topic, tomorrow morning (and after almost five years of ownership) I'm having an uppipe, downpipe, and the Cobb programming changed from stage 1 to 2 on the car, and maybe the installer/tuner will tell me it has been running rich all this time and give me back a few mpg.]
    Running leaner is going to increase the temp. The WRX/WRX Sti dumps tons of fuel into the cyliders when you're under boost, and the reason is for cooling. Tuners do have the ability to mess wtih this and deliver you more power, but it can be a fine balance. I have the access port and my mixture runs very efficiently when not under power, but when building up any serious pressure it does what I mentioned above, which keeps the EGT and other values from pegging too high. With an uppipe and downpipe at least you won't melt any of the catalytic converters, but turbo engines in general use quite a bit of fuel for cooling. On the plus side when not using any serious boost pressure they have fuel consumption much more like a 4cyl NA engine, unlike a big displacement engine.

    24 with the Sti? On the highway I suppose that isn't unreasonable. In town? Yeah right. Driving normally (accelerating at the same speed as the other traffic and generally driving the same) it should be lower. I definitely wouldnt say it's impossible to get 24, but given AWD, the injector size, the aerodynamics, the turbo engine, there are a lot of things stacked against it for city driving.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

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

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2019 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.