Calling all Subaru Forester Owners- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Calling all Subaru Forester Owners

    I'm considering pulling the trigger on a 2003 Forester and am wondering how well bikes fit inside. I'd like to be able to stow three bikes inside with three people. Can this be done in the Forester and, if so, how and how well does it work? I can probably take my bike and try it out when I check the car out but I'm not going to take three with me. Any experience would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    The Mud Stud
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    Well, I have a 2003 outback, and I always transport 2bikes with two to three people, so I expect it will fit. Get a subaru, there's just something about them, once you have one you can never go back, if you get one youll understand. Go to the dealer, take 3bikes, 3 friends, and tell them that if you can fit them all in youll buy the car, I expect they will let you try it.

  3. #3
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    Git the Grease

    Ma! come quick and bring the grease! This har feller is gonna stick bikes in his kar!

    Actually, I own a 99' Forester and discovered that standing two bikes upright, without the seatpost, and without the front wheel, a person could fit two with both of the back seats down. The other method is to take the wheels off, stand bikes upright with one rear seat down, and then pile wheels wherever they fit, but then there is not much room for other gear.

    So I bought a roof rack, and can now sleep in the back.

    B
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  4. #4
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    I have an "04 Outback wagon. I can fit one bike inside, with the wheels on. You can also cram the entire contents (one student's worth) of a dorm room inside.


  5. #5
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    3 Bikes?

    I have a 2003 Forester. I suppse you could get three bikes and ppl in there but you woulndt be able to move...at all. I find it easier to just throw the rac on the back. It could be done though. Plus the overall ride of the car is fantastic. However the rear seats are not comfortable for long rides.
    If it doesn't have Two wheels, a big engine, or tits, I'm not interested!

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the answers. I took the car home and tried it out. No way. This means a rack, probably a hitch rack. I'm also looking at a Honda Element. Three bikes inside is doable if you take one of the rear seats out. Any thoughts on the Honda Element vs. the Subaru Forester?

  7. #7
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    I ended up buying a LegacyGT wagon for this very reason. I went to a Subaru dealer looking to buy a Forester XT, but found it to be too small. The LGT cost only a little more than the FXT, but fits three bikes inside plus three people (myself included) with the split folding seats. Having said this, I'm really looking into buying a hitch rack because I'm lazy and hate dealing with removing my wheels, and I'm finding a lot of scuff marks inside my car.

  8. #8
    wg
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    As you found, 3 will be impossible. I've done two in the outback and that's cozy unless you take both wheels off.
    Get creative with the rack and all sorts of crap can be loaded....
    Family of 4 vacation....

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  9. #9
    bg.
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    Yeah, unfortunatly the Forester is just not that big inside.

    The only time I've ever put much more than one bike in the back was when I had a rack failure on the highway and had to jam a bike in there above the luggage with the wheels off.

    When we bought it we put on a "custom" 2" hitch on the back, it still has the same weight limit as the standard 1 1/4" would have been, but your choice in racks increases.

  10. #10
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    It would probably be possible to get three bikes and three people in a forester, but you'd have to take all the wheels off and probably the seatposts. Fold one seat down and stack the frames up and then put the wheels in the back. I wouldn't really recommend it.

    I have managed to get 5 bikes and 5 people in my forester by putting two bikes on the roof rack, two on the hitch rack and one in the back on the car. You can get a XL hardtail frame in the back area of a forester if you take both wheel off.

  11. #11
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    3 people and 4 bikes and gear fit

    I found out the hard way that you really can fit 4 bikes, three people and gear into a 2004 Forester. Took us about an hour to get everything in. Without anything in the front passenger or driver footwells

    Oh yeah... I recommend against Thule tracker-feet on the Forester. I was travelling approximately 5mph when the rack foot broke. We were really lucky that the rack hadn't broken earlier at 75mph+ on I-70. Go Figure.

    I have nothing but good things to say about Rocky Mounts and Sportworks bike mounts. They didn't allow any damage to the bikes in this fall.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Tony; 05-14-2006 at 09:17 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by meloh1
    Any thoughts on the Honda Element vs. the Subaru Forester?
    Yes, that the chassis and suspension of the Suby will be much more durable and functional if you plan on spending much time off the pavement.

    I owned a '99 until it was totaled a year ago, and it was a fantastic car. I drove it hard, up and down lots of "4x4" only roads, and though I did manage to dent the tranny filter (another great feature) and scrape the everliving crap out of the brushguard, it did just fine. If anything, the cars handling made the most sense on gravel and dirt. Did I hear rally....

    So yes I would recommend the Forester. And no, unless they are 20"ers you aint fitting three people and three bikes in thar.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by aveski2000
    I have an "04 Outback wagon. I can fit one bike inside, with the wheels on. You can also cram the entire contents (one student's worth) of a dorm room inside.

    Nice bucket/stool/toilet you've got there, who says college students have no common sense?

    Truly a wealth of useless information.


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  14. #14
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    Hadn't heard of that one before......

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by meloh1
    Thanks for the answers. I took the car home and tried it out. No way. This means a rack, probably a hitch rack. I'm also looking at a Honda Element. Three bikes inside is doable if you take one of the rear seats out. Any thoughts on the Honda Element vs. the Subaru Forester?
    I have a 2003 Forester and my girlfriend has a 2003 Element 2wd. Fitting 3 bikes and 3 people inside either of those vehicles is something you wouldnít want to do twice. Sorry but you need a minivan. My Forester has been very good to me. The all-wheel drive is reassuring in bad weather. It isnít big but it carries a lot for what it is. I comfortably carry 3 and sometimes 4 people, gear and bikes(outside) to races. The Element has more wind noise than the Forester. I like the ride of the Forester more than the Element. Driving in very windy weather is kind of eerie in the Element. The Forester gets slightly better gas mileage and that is with all-wheel drive. The Element is just cool. My girlfriend loves it. The cool features are numerous. There are some oddities though like the Elementís 675 lb max carrying capacity. I think most Element owners ignore that limitation. There is a Honda Element Forum that has a wealth of info from owners - Google it. Iím not sure which of the two vehicles I would purchase if I had to do it again. The Element is nifty because you have the option of hauling your bike inside without mucking up the interior but the Forester is just a solid performer all the way around. I think the Forester is a safer vehicle and that scores big with me.

  16. #16
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    Get an SUV for that much stuff. We put 4 people and 4 bikes with the wheels in a Exploder plus food and gear. We just stacked the bikes sideways.

  17. #17
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    Beyond bike fitment...

    Several years ago I had both a '99 Forester and a '93 1/2 ton 4x4 truck (extended cab FWIW). That Forester was an amazing vehicle, and I felt better driving it in relatively deep snow than I did in the truck (only a Jeep ever felt better to me than that Subi, but that's another story). All around it was a solid, confidence inspiring "wagon".

    I'm only guessing at this point, but it may be a little easier to load/unload bikes off the top of the Forester than the Element, if that's an option you're considering. If you're really set on hauling them inside, the Element seems to offer more flexibility for that. Both companies seem to pay attention to their product. Though I have an '06 Odyssey now, I'd have bought another Subaru if they made a true minivan...

    Ultimately it boils down to what you want in a car - in addition to hauling the bikes. Don't forget you still have to drive this thing on a regular basis. If you're right foot tends to be on the heavy side, the Foresters sure are fun to drive...

    Good luck!

  18. #18
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    Why dont you get an outback? It is bigger than forester and same features. Put the seats down and take the front wheel off, and it fits in the back perfect

  19. #19
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    Thanks for all the advice and comments. In the end the awd Element just spoke to me. I can get two bikes with both wheels on inside with one rear seat removed or three with front wheels removed. I've got two dogs and I hunt and fish. The waterproof seats and mop out interior will be really nice. I've had it with dog hair stuck in the carpet and upholstery so deep you spend hours with a vacuum and still don't get it out. It's reliable, fuel efficient (21/24, Forester is 21/25) and I got a really good deal on a used 2004 with 22,500 miles. It just fits my needs and demands the best.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by meloh1
    Thanks for all the advice and comments. In the end the awd Element just spoke to me. I can get two bikes with both wheels on inside with one rear seat removed or three with front wheels removed. I've got two dogs and I hunt and fish. The waterproof seats and mop out interior will be really nice. I've had it with dog hair stuck in the carpet and upholstery so deep you spend hours with a vacuum and still don't get it out. It's reliable, fuel efficient (21/24, Forester is 21/25) and I got a really good deal on a used 2004 with 22,500 miles. It just fits my needs and demands the best.
    Congrats, and enjoy it!

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