Fork mount rack or tube mount rack- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Fork mount rack or tube mount rack

    Looking for peoples input on their experiences between the two types of bike roof racks.

    In the past I have used a bike rack which grips to the downtube of the bike. Worked well but the front wheel always had a lot of wobble on the highway. Not sure how good that is for the wheel or if the strap could eventually break suddenly, in turn reducing the stability of the bike on the roof.

    The alternative, of course, is a fork mount rack. Wondering if there is any reason for concern in damaging (crack/bend) the fork dropouts if/when the bike sways side to side?

    I have a minivan (pontiac montana SV6) and I'm going to need to carry 4, sometimes 5 bikes. My 2 kids are getting into racing so I'll have their bikes, plus my wife's, and either 1 or 2 of my own (if it is a 24 hour). I'm thinking of putting 4 bikes on the roof and one in the back of the car if needed.

    The other alternative is a hitch mount carrier. I don't have a hitch on the car so I would need to add one. But not sure this is the route I want to go. It might be slightly less cost but I think my preference is the roof. Unless someone convinces me otherwise.

    Thanks in advance for everyone's help. Never bought a full on system like this so want to make sure I go the right route.

  2. #2
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    If your forks are quick release instead of thru axle, then just go with the fork mounts for the roof. As far as your hitch rack, I'd get the the kind with the trays for the wheels, instead of the bike frame resting on arms, so you don't ruin your bike frame finish, plus you don't have to worry about the rear shock (if you have full suspension bikes).

  3. #3
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    I really prefer fork mounts on the roof for a bunch of reasons. Even with a thru-axle - I just use the "fly-trap" adapter from Rocky Mounts on my Thule Velo Vise trays/mounts.

    Roof/fork mount plusses:
    access to your cargo area during trips
    Less likely to damage bikes backing into something or them getting clipped in a parking lot (or backed into by someone else)
    Fits more bikes - I have seen several bikes on a 3-xbar system on minivans. 4 is a piece of cake, with front wheels in wheel-mounts (you will want the muddy/dirty front wheels on the roof)

    Drawbacks to roof mounts:
    Clearance - just mind parking structures, pulling into garages, etc. I have never had a problem in 20 years, but I have heard stories
    Reach - a little tougher to get to the bikes in the middle-top of your van without long arms
    Noise and gas mileage, although this is minimized by installing a fairing (I can drive on the fwy with sun-roof open since putting on a fairing)

    I don't see any stress in drop-outs after 20 years using fork mounts and all types of driving. I also put my thru-axle fork on the roof using Rocky Mounts "fly-trap" adapter which is easy to use.

    The one time I took a trip with some buddies in a car using tube-mounts on the roof one of the bikes came loose (strap broke) and fell alongside the car at 80mph. It was a little exciting reaching out the window to hold the bike while we got onto the shoulder and could secure in a makeshift fashion and get back under way. Probably this is why I have always stayed away from tube mounts, but of course most folks using those probably never have any problems.

  4. #4
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    After the damage done to the finish of my hardtail, I'll never use a rack that touches my frame again.

    I switched from Yak Lockjaws to Yak Vipers, but fell in love when I got a Sportworks Bob Ratchett (now Thule Sidearm). All the convenience of an upright mount with none of the frame damage. More stable as well.

  5. #5
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    I have used fork mounts and never had issue with them. I currently have an 9 year old Yak steelhead (I need to finally replace the front hardware) and recently purchased the Thule Pheloton (spelling?) and really like it. I have virtually no movement when the bike is locked down in the rack. Very solid set up, and Yak/Thule are pretty much all compatable with each other now.

  6. #6
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    I've used a fork mount rack since '02. No complaints here! It's a very solid set-up. Never had to worry about the bike coming off. And no damage to the fork.

    Since we're on this subject, I might buy a Cannondale with a Lefty fork this year. And now I'm wondering how solid that fork mount adapter is for Yakima racks. I've thought about getting a rack that attaches to the downtube, but I don't really like the idea of it touching my frame. Especially if it's a high dollar carbon frame...

  7. #7
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    I use the the Thule version of the Sportsworks Bob Ratchet not sure what Thule version name is after they bought Sportsworks. I love them don't have to remove the wheel at all and it is very stable. Have never had a problem with them. These are the ones you see on front of the buses and they are fantastic

  8. #8
    since 4/10/2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by chinkerjuarez
    I use the the Thule version of the Sportsworks Bob Ratchet not sure what Thule version name is after they bought Sportsworks. I love them don't have to remove the wheel at all and it is very stable. Have never had a problem with them. These are the ones you see on front of the buses and they are fantastic
    It could be the Thule T2 (hitch-mount). The roof-mounted version is called the sidearm. I've used fork clamps for years, and while I never had any problem with them, they are a little bit of a hassle with removing and replacing the front wheel all the time. I have a pair of Thule sidearms and I LOVE them. They don't touch the frame at all, and you get to keep the front wheel on. Yeah, the total height of the vehicle is higher as a result, but I haven't had any problems. I drive a Honda Fit which has a relatively low roof as it is. I do not use these on the Jeep Liberty, though. THAT is a royal pain to deal with. Way too far in the air. A fork mount on the jeep would be no better.

  9. #9
    PCC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spin153
    I might buy a Cannondale with a Lefty fork this year. And now I'm wondering how solid that fork mount adapter is for Yakima racks
    One of the things I have heard is that taking the wheel off and putting it back on the bike over and over again when using a fork mount rack will eventually wear out the threads in the front brake calipers because you have to remove the caliper to remove the front wheel on a Lefty equipped bike.

    I currently have both fork mount and frame mount bike trays for my roof rack and I much prefer the frame mount rack. It's much quicker to get a bike on and off the car than using a fork mount and I've never had any problems with mine at all.

    Hitch mount racks are great if you have a hitch on your car and, since the bikes are hanging out behind the car they don't contribute much to the wind drag so they don't make all that much noise that you can hear and they don't affect your mileage much. You do need a trailer hitch on your car, though. For a van this is the way I would go because the roof of the van is much higher than a car to begin with and it's already a PITA to mount the bike on top of my lowered car. I don't even want to think about trying to lift a heavy, muddy mountain bike above my head, balancing on the sill of my minivan's side door while trying to line up the tires in bike trays. Even if I was doing this with my clean, lightweight road bikes this would not be something I would want to do.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    It could be the Thule T2 (hitch-mount). The roof-mounted version is called the sidearm. I've used fork clamps for years, and while I never had any problem with them, they are a little bit of a hassle with removing and replacing the front wheel all the time. I have a pair of Thule sidearms and I LOVE them. They don't touch the frame at all, and you get to keep the front wheel on. Yeah, the total height of the vehicle is higher as a result, but I haven't had any problems. I drive a Honda Fit which has a relatively low roof as it is. I do not use these on the Jeep Liberty, though. THAT is a royal pain to deal with. Way too far in the air. A fork mount on the jeep would be no better.
    Yep those are the ones I have them on the roof rack of my Nissan Altima. They work great

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