BMW (E46) fork mount racks?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    BMW (E46) fork mount racks?

    Just picked up a 2004 E46 330i and I need a bike rack. My old 4-door Accord had a hitch rack, but it scraped the ground on any kind of incline whatsoever, no matter how shallow. I'm pretty sure the BMW is at least as low as the Accord and I would like to switch to a roof rack system. I'd like to get a used BMW rack because they fit directly into the roof slots, but it seems they only come with downtube-mount style racks, which i am not crazy about. I prefer the fork-mount style. Does anyone know if BMW made fork-mount bike racks? Or does anyone have a bike rack they'd like to sell that would fit in the roof slots or know where i could find a used one?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    My car also has the slots to accept a roof-rack, but the OEM Saab racks are tube-clamp and not fork-mount like you have found with the BMW OEM racks.

    What I did was purchase the Saab cross-bars that mount on my car, then went to the local rack store and bought Thule fork-mount bike trays for the cross bars.

    My guess is you could do something similar for your bimmer.

  3. #3
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    http://www.rockymounts.com/eurolariat

    Thule also make a roof rack which bolts straight into the roof with regular Thule bars so you can use any RockyMountsm, Thule or Yakima stuff. The BMW roof rack and bike mounts are made by Thule too but the bike mounts are way overpriced and suck.

  4. #4
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    here's a link...

    http://www.thuleracks.com/fg_vehicle.asp

    or if link doesn't work...

    http://www.thuleracks.com/product.asp?dept_id=3&sku=753

    the actual rack tower looks slightly different to the picture but it's really easy to install.

  5. #5
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    thanks! that rocky mounts tray should do the trick. i can use the BMW OEM rack and still have a fork mount tray. sweet.

    I agree that the BMW bike trays suck. I don't like bike trays that attach to the downtube - it just looks wobbly and unstable and it probably doesn't help the gas mileage with a whole bike on your roof (not that sticking a bike w/o a front wheel on your roof will help, but hey, every bit counts). i have no idea why BMW refuses to make (or license) a fork-mount tray.

  6. #6
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    Honestly, I would go with Thule's rack system and not the BMW rack. The Thule rack is of a better design and has full compatibility with Thule stuff, whereas the BMW rack will require funky adapters. If your 330 came with an OEM rack, sell it on craigslist and buy the Thule 753 (BMW specific) rack.
    '94 RSBikes Stampede (commuter), '05 Prophet, '09 Scattante XRL Team, '10 Slice 4
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwayne
    ...the BMW rack will require funky adapters. If your 330 came with an OEM rack, sell it on craigslist and buy the Thule 753 (BMW specific) rack.
    Are you sure it will require adapters? The rack i'm looking at appears to be direct fit into the BMW roof. This is the rack:

    http://bmw.dealerfit.com/store/bmw-3...1389_13609.php

    It looks like it's designed to attach directly into the roof slots. Then again, you might have more experience than me with these racks.

    The car didn't come with a rack. As for buying Thule vs. BMW, i figured a rack that was designed by the people who designed the roof insert would be a sure fit and i wouldn't have to worry about compatibility. Being able to buy other Thule attachments would be nice, but i only ride bikes (no skis, snowboards, surfboards, etc) so i won't be buying any other rack attachments in the foreseeable future.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ilan
    Are you sure it will require adapters? The rack i'm looking at appears to be direct fit into the BMW roof. This is the rack:

    http://bmw.dealerfit.com/store/bmw-3...1389_13609.php

    It looks like it's designed to attach directly into the roof slots. Then again, you might have more experience than me with these racks.

    The car didn't come with a rack. As for buying Thule vs. BMW, i figured a rack that was designed by the people who designed the roof insert would be a sure fit and i wouldn't have to worry about compatibility. Being able to buy other Thule attachments would be nice, but i only ride bikes (no skis, snowboards, surfboards, etc) so i won't be buying any other rack attachments in the foreseeable future.
    Sorry, I was a bit unclear. Both the Thule 753 kit and the BMW rack (made by Profile) will attach directly to the car via the built-in roof mounting points.

    However, the shape of the crossbars on each is different. The Thule uses regular Thule square, steel crossbars, whereas the BMW rack's crossbars are somewhat rounded. In order to attach a non-BMW bike carrier to the BMW rack, you'll need some sort of adapter, or compromise somehow. The Thule rack on the other hand will take any Thule accessory, fork mount carriers (along with a front wheel carrier), carriers that don't require wheel removal , etc. If you're heart is set on a fork mount carrier, go for it, but I would also consider Thule's 594 Sidearm carrier, it's very easy to use. Another accessory you can get from Thule is a wind fairing to cut down on drag (no offered for the BMW rack). Plus, the Thule rack will be quite a bit cheaper than the BMW rack (since you don't have to buy adapters to mount a non-BMW bike carrier). Last but not least, if you change cars, all you have to do is buy a new mounting kit for the Thule setup, and you can mount it on the next car without buying new crossbars, accessories, etc. Can't do that with the BMW rack. I've got a 528 by the way, that's why I've looked into this so much.
    '94 RSBikes Stampede (commuter), '05 Prophet, '09 Scattante XRL Team, '10 Slice 4
    Retired: 97 C-DaleSuper-V, 05 C-Dale R5000

  9. #9
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    Good point. If i get new car down the line, the Thule bars would be transferable, but not the BMW's. Oh well. I already placed a bid on a BMW rack on ebay If i get outbid, i'll look at Thule.

    The tray i'm looking at getting is the Rocky Mounts tray mentioned by Longman above. It's a somewhat unorthodox attachment for the rear clip, but the front clip slides into the slots on the bars for a clean connection.

    Thanks for all the advice - i'll let you all know what i end up with (with pictures of course).

  10. #10
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    I agree with most of what has been said so far. If you're buying the whole rack system, you'll probably be better of going with thule or yakima. I had the same problem with my E46 also before I got rid of it; I had an 01 330i. Although I have an OEM rack on my X5 right now, I probably go a different route if given the chance. I went the OEM route because I got a great deal on the crossbars on line. The bike does look a little bit flimsy when on the roof but it's definitely not going anywhere and it has the added advantage of not taking the tires off.

    The only complaint I have is that due to the design, you have to be well over 6 ft tall to mount the bike comfortably. Iím 6ft tall and I had to buy a two-step ladder that I throw in the trunk anytime I go riding. But you probably won't have that problem since your car is not that tall.

    Check out e46fanatics.com if you're not already a member for mods, upgrades, classifieds e.t.c.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by tahj33
    Check out e46fanatics.com if you're not already a member for mods, upgrades, classifieds e.t.c.
    As well as http://bimmer.roadfly.com/bmw/forums/e46/ and http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...splay.php?f=15

    '94 RSBikes Stampede (commuter), '05 Prophet, '09 Scattante XRL Team, '10 Slice 4
    Retired: 97 C-DaleSuper-V, 05 C-Dale R5000

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the info and links. I am a member of bimmerforums.com as of Tuesday of this week

  13. #13
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    No No No...

    The 753 comes with a 42" crossbar with a slot underneath each end...while in theory you can use it with other towers to fit other cars, the bar is too short for the majority of cars so you may need to sell the rack and buy a whole new base roof rack system although you can still use your accessories. The shortest crossbar Thule sell seperately is 50" because any shorter and it doesn't fit many cars

  14. #14
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    Get the Thule and the fork mount bike trays. This setup was rock solid on my M3


    but the side arm trays are super easy to use and so much faster to load and unload. they have also been really solid holding my heavier 40lb+ rig.

  15. #15
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    How easy to put on/take off?

    I also have an E46 and I'm considering a bike rack. When its just me I usually just throw my bike in the trunk with the seats folded down. But then I can never go biking with a friend unless we both drive.

    However I really don't want to commit to having a roof rack on my car full time. I don't care for the look. So how easy is it to throw one of these Thule roof racks on just for the weekend?

    I guess my alternative is a trunk rack but I'm afraid it will do a number on the paint and I try to keep my car looking good.

    Thanks
    -dale

  16. #16
    Bloody Bastard
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    I purchased my E46 new back in '01. It has well over 100K on the clock, but is still running like a true champ. I probably need to replace the clutch soon though.

    I know I'm not helping here, but my bike folds and I really don't need a rack. http://www.militarybikes.com/techfeatures.html I transform that sucker, throw it in the back seat or the trunk and roll out.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by dalepickle
    However I really don't want to commit to having a roof rack on my car full time. I don't care for the look. So how easy is it to throw one of these Thule roof racks on just for the weekend?
    I have the OEM bars and RockyMounts bike carriers. The Thule version is basically the same as the OEM. All told, it takes about 10-15 minutes to install everything, which will probably decrease once you get the hang of it.

    Personally, i think it looks cool, but that's just me. Be prepared for some wind noise though, especially with the sunroof open.

  18. #18
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    I just installed a OEM roof rack with the fork mount and the installation tooked me less than 15 minutes. The loading it's easy and it look very sporty on my 02 325i sedan. I'm planning to take it off on winters tho. The only problem that I just discovered is the noise when driving on the beltway.

  19. #19
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    I agree with getting the BMW specific Thule setup. It really looks nice on an E46. Here's the rack I had on my 330Ci.





    Draft College Republicans

  20. #20
    MC Hammer
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    you have way too many cool toys man, lol

  21. #21
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    I just joined the forum tonight and stumbled across this thread so sorry if it's been too long to respond to this. BMW does make a fork mount rack for the roof rack system. It works quite well and being a BMW parts tech, I've never received a complaint about them yet. The BMW part number is 82-72-0-393-083.

    Hope this helps!
    Mark

  22. #22
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    If anyone else is looking for a rack for an E46, I've got a used Thule 753 available. It will also fit on a 5-series.

  23. #23
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    speed_bump, do you still have the Thule 753 available?

  24. #24
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    Sorry for the late reply, but no it is sold.

  25. #25
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    I guess I may as well jump in and offer mine up. I have one with a fairing that I likely won't be using again. Feel free to send me a PM if you're interested.

  26. #26
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    what's so hard about using T-slot bolts? In fact, thule offers adapters, the xdapt kits to utilize the T-slots on the OE Euro crossbars as well as on thule's own rapid aero bars.

  27. #27
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    Sent a PM on the roof rack....

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