Hitch mount bike rack... Protection?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Hitch mount bike rack... Protection?

    I'm planning on buying a hidden hitch and Thule T2 rack this spring.. prolly in the next few months. I know I can easilly "protect" my bikes with cable locks and such. The kind of protection I'm interesting in is elemental.

    I'm not the biggest fan of letting the elements beat my bikes to death. Granted.. chilling behind my car is less likely to expose them to the crap they'd be hit with on top of the car.. How does one protect them while they're back there? Sure... most trips to local trails it'll be nice out and I won't worry.. but longer drives where storms and such could hit I would like some protection.

    Anyone do anything like this?

    I was thinking a medium tarp wrapped around the bikes and secured with bungee cords might do the trick.. As long as I got everything decently tight I doubt I'd have much to worry about. (correct me if I'm wrong)

    Anyhow.. Let me know what ya think
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  2. #2
    since 4/10/2009
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    Putting the bikes on a hitch rack is going to expose them to more road grime than putting them on the roof, actually (but putting them on the roof exposes the bikes to more airborne debris like bugs, rocks, etc). In warmer months/locations it's not really a big deal. It IS a big deal during the wintertime in locations that salt the roads. I've seen some neoprene jobs that work with fork mounted roof carriers to deflect that airborne debris, but I've never seen anything for hitch racks.

    Honestly in wintertime, the safest option would be to find a way to carry the bikes inside the vehicle. Barring that, you can try a tarp, but don't use bungees. Use rope. The tarp will probably get thrashed after a few trips, though.

  3. #3
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    Well I doubt I would ever use the rack in the winter. So thats one less worry. I'm sure that there is something out there purpose made to be some sort of protection.

    Now that I think about it I guess the bikes would get pretty dirty with the wheels of the car kicking up all sorts of crap..
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  4. #4
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    I googled bike travel protection and found some coverers.. pretty simple things but something I could eventually look into. But that poses another problem I just realized. If I cover my bikes I block my brake lights. My car is small and my bikes will already be semi covering my tail lights. Time to think this over I guess... Unless I mount trailer lights to my bike rack! haha..
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  5. #5
    since 4/10/2009
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    I think you have less to worry about dry debris than oily/salty spray during wet conditions. I've driven thousands of miles (in one trip) with bikes both on the roof and off the back during summer weather (wet and dry) and haven't had any issues other than bugs stuck to my head tube and h-bars. And, most of the bug issues were because I happened to be driving through Grand Junction, CO at night when the moths were in the middle of their irruption. Those things covered EVERYTHING.

  6. #6
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    hahaha nice.. Good to know. So other than mostly dust and such I don't have much to worry about since I won't be driving around with it on there in the winter?
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZoSoSwiM
    I'm planning on buying a hidden hitch and Thule T2 rack this spring.. prolly in the next few months. I know I can easilly "protect" my bikes with cable locks and such. The kind of protection I'm interesting in is elemental.

    I'm not the biggest fan of letting the elements beat my bikes to death. Granted.. chilling behind my car is less likely to expose them to the crap they'd be hit with on top of the car.. How does one protect them while they're back there? Sure... most trips to local trails it'll be nice out and I won't worry.. but longer drives where storms and such could hit I would like some protection.

    Anyone do anything like this?

    I was thinking a medium tarp wrapped around the bikes and secured with bungee cords might do the trick.. As long as I got everything decently tight I doubt I'd have much to worry about. (correct me if I'm wrong)

    Anyhow.. Let me know what ya think
    Yeah, both the hitch and the roof have their negatives. Both will get road grime. I like it when my bike is on the rack and we get a storm, because it cleans the bike. Our storms (during the summer) are intense thunderstorms usually, so it does a pretty good job.

    As someone who's also put stuff on top of vehicles a lot (skis), I have to say that there's no perfect solution, but the grime isn't that bad if you're not going across the country like an RVer, and if you are then wash your bike every couple days during the trip.
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  8. #8
    since 4/10/2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZoSoSwiM
    hahaha nice.. Good to know. So other than mostly dust and such I don't have much to worry about since I won't be driving around with it on there in the winter?
    Eh, not so much. I'd avoid driving through any sandstorms if possible no matter what rack you've got, but yeah. The most serious issue you have to deal with is limited clearance (with a roof rack) and getting rear-ended (with a hitch rack).

  9. #9
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    yeah I worry about that.. at least insurance would cover my bikes... I hope.. or I'd make the idiot that hit me pay..

    I'm anal about cleaning my bikes.. so I don't think I'll worry about dirt and such.

    My biggest worry about the roof rack was what if I slip sometime putting my bikes on top.. Smashed sunroof.. dented car.. who knows. Plus low hanging shyt might smash my bikes.. I guess the only perfect solution is a Brian Lopes model van! Now that thing is sweet!
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  10. #10
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    I think roof vs hitch rack really comes down to personal choice and the vehicle you have. I went Hitch rack because i am 5'8" and I don't want to be hefting my bikes up onto the roof of a taller vehicle. If i had a car or a lower vehicle like an Outback or something I would have probably went for a roof mounted rack.

    Also there are are covers made for bikes that are on racks. I assume you could use them on the roof racks too but they may make more noise up there.

    http://www.adcoprod.com/rear_bike.htm

  11. #11
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    I saw those covers a few days ago but like you just mentioned. I'm guessing they're loud as hell. They'll also totally block my tail lights... which isn't a very good idea.

    Anyone ever wire brake/turn lights to a hitch rack?
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  12. #12
    since 4/10/2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZoSoSwiM
    yeah I worry about that.. at least insurance would cover my bikes... I hope.. or I'd make the idiot that hit me pay..

    I'm anal about cleaning my bikes.. so I don't think I'll worry about dirt and such.

    My biggest worry about the roof rack was what if I slip sometime putting my bikes on top.. Smashed sunroof.. dented car.. who knows. Plus low hanging shyt might smash my bikes.. I guess the only perfect solution is a Brian Lopes model van! Now that thing is sweet!
    Actually, as far as I understand, most auto insurance policies do NOT cover bicycles, even if they're strapped to your vehicle in a wreck. My bikes are actually covered under my renter's insurance policy. You ought to give your insurance agent a call to see where your bikes are covered (if at all).

    I'm a short guy, too, at 5'8. I had to get a step ladder to get the bikes up on the roof of the Jeep the one time I put my Thule sidearm carriers up there. For now, my Honda Fit is the bike carrier because I can carry bikes on the roof without any trouble and because I can also carry the bikes inside the car on days like today (snowing with wet, salty roads). I can also carry the bikes inside the Jeep if necessary, but I have to pull the seatposts out. I don't yet have a hitch rack for it, but I will eventually.

  13. #13
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    Good point. I'll call them soon! I don't wanna be screwed over...
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  14. #14
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    Well well.. I called my insurance and asked..
    I was basically told that I need to sue the person who hits me for property damage..

    It was a little funny at least... The insurance guy asked how much the bikes were worth and he asked me if I was talking about bicycles just to make sure.. haha..
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    Actually, as far as I understand, most auto insurance policies do NOT cover bicycles, even if they're strapped to your vehicle in a wreck. My bikes are actually covered under my renter's insurance policy. You ought to give your insurance agent a call to see where your bikes are covered (if at all).

    If they are hit by someone else, they are covered as personal property by the other drivers insurance.

    If you back-up into a light pole and crunch your bike, they are not covered by your car insurance. You can however by insurance for your bike based on replacement cost.
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  16. #16
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    Mopartodd... could you explain more? My agent said that if a person ran into me their insurance would likely cover it.
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  17. #17
    since 4/10/2009
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    Did you agent explain to you your recourse if you're the victim of a hit & run (really common, actually) and there's noone else's insurance to get that money from? Your INS company will cover your car (minus deductible), but what about the bikes in that situation?

  18. #18
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    Nope... never got into that...
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  19. #19
    thecentralscrutinizer
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZoSoSwiM
    Mopartodd... could you explain more? My agent said that if a person ran into me their insurance would likely cover it.
    That sounds like what State Farm told me after a women got my truck and bike early last year...and her insurance did cover it. Any personal property would be covered by the person at fault.

    NateHawk, brings up a good point too. I'm not sure how that would be handled, but my insurance does cover uninsured and underinsured motorists. I'd guess it would come out of that, but I'm not sure.

    Too, this is in NC and insurance laws vary from state-to-state.
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  20. #20
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    Well I'm with Progressive and I have the max coverage possible.. I'm no legal expert but it would be nice to figure out exactly what would happen in some of these situations.
    Either way I'm getting the T2 rack and hitch.. but all this info is good to know
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  21. #21
    since 4/10/2009
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    When I was setting up all of my insurance policies, I talked with my agent (Allstate) about bike issues. Regardless of what happens to my bike, whether it's on my car or in the garage or a hotel room or whatever, the bike is covered under my renter's insurance. I did not have to specifically list my bike or take out an additional policy for it, but I have added some significant upgrades to it that would increase the replacement value so maybe I should talk to my agent again. I do have to periodically talk to my agent to have the coverage limit on my renter's insurance changed in the event that my home burns down with all my possessions inside.

  22. #22
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    Well I currently live at home to save money.. so I wonder if my bikes are covered under my parents home owners.. Hmmm..
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