Hitch rack - Tire arm versus frame arm ??- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 25 of 25
  1. #1
    Sedona, Az USA
    Reputation: M1_joel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,036

    Hitch rack - Tire arm versus frame arm ??

    it seems to me that having the hitch mount bike rack that has the vertical arm come down and press down on the frames top tube would be better than clamping the front wheel because all the weight of the bike, bouncing on bad road gets transmitted directly to your front wheel, spokes, axle and fork drop outs. I am about to buy a rack and there are more selections of the front tire method but the mechanical engineer in me says that aint the best but I am open to hearing your thoughts other than "ive never had a problem".

    Thanks!!

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    4,971
    Arm around frame can dull/scratch the frame. I had one, drove from MN to Moab and the raw finish on my buddy's bike was polished to a mirror shine while mine was slightly abraded.
    There's more arm over frame type racks available than arm over tire.

    Most of these are arm over frame racks: https://www.etrailer.com/dept-pg-Hit...form_Rack.aspx

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: piperpilot964's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    148
    Wheel, axel and fork are designed for that up and down stress more so than a top tube. Clamp down on the top tube of my beautiful carbon frame....nah. I use a Kuat Nv which straps rear wheel and clamps front tire. Solid hold and only damage to bike is done by me on trail

  4. #4
    Sedona, Az USA
    Reputation: M1_joel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,036
    piperpilot964
    the-one1

    you both made very valid points. But specific to my situation, i have a raw aluminum frame that I think will skip over the two points you made. Thoughts? Others might still point out things I am not thinking of but I think I like holding the top tube to spread out the vibrations of my 3500 truck on bumpy dirt roads better.

  5. #5
    Yeah!
    Reputation: Flamingtaco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    1,453
    Here we go again...

    Your wheels and frame tolerate a lot more stress when your butt is in the saddle than when mounted in a wheel retention system. Do you think 20-30 Lbs of frame and components can really harm the wheels? Maybe a different sport is in order...

    If you think your 3500 is a rough ride, you can ride in my Escape sometime to allay your fears. No, it's not stock, but it's less the mods and more how I drive that keeps most people out of it. HD tires + HD suspension + light vehicle + no time for rough roads = solitude. My kids hate me, God love 'em.
    I will suffer no butt-hurt fools!

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    579
    Quote Originally Posted by M1_joel View Post
    i have a raw aluminum frame that I think will skip over the two points you made.
    Are you getting a single position rack? Your friends might not all have raw AL frames.

    Also, think of how much the suspension compresses/vibrates on a downhill run. Then think of how much it compresses/vibrates while driving around (you can test this out with the fork O-rings obviously). Which is greater? Red herring, the wheels/hubs handle both just fine.

  7. #7
    Sedona, Az USA
    Reputation: M1_joel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,036
    More very good points. Thanks guys.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Chad_M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    501
    One disadvantage of most frame style hook systems is that the front and rear hook are on the same arm, so if the bikes are identical size, you will have trouble getting both hooks tight. Wheel hook arms are usually completely independent.

    (there are exceptions to both these designs, that is why I said most and usually)

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: piperpilot964's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    148
    If you are worried about bumpy roads I would look at north shore racks.
    North Shore Bike Racks

  10. #10
    Bicyclochondriac.
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    13,833
    I know I am late to this thread, but the one issue that prevents me from buying a design that grabs the tire is that it does not work with a couple of my bikes that have fenders and/or front rack.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  11. #11
    Professional Slacker
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    2,870
    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    I know I am late to this thread, but the one issue that prevents me from buying a design that grabs the tire is that it does not work with a couple of my bikes that have fenders and/or front rack.
    1up racks hold the tires on the "outside" pressing the wheels towards each other instead of the way other racks push the front tire from behind the axle forward into the tire cradle.

    Random internet photo:
    Hitch rack - Tire arm versus frame arm ??-jcrgjun.jpg

  12. #12
    Bicyclochondriac.
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    13,833

    Hitch rack - Tire arm versus frame arm ??

    Good call, I forgot about that one.

    That would solve the issue in the front, but would not work with full coverage rear fenders, such as on mine and my wife's commuter/vacation bikes.

    I am, however, aware that this is a mountain bike forum, and this is a non issue with mountain bikes.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Posts
    1,383
    Quote Originally Posted by M1_joel View Post
    bouncing on bad road gets transmitted directly to your front wheel, spokes, axle and fork drop outs.

    Thanks!!

    you really a mechanical engineer?
    Santa Cruz 5010 C
    Surly Crosscheck.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    2,208
    1. The frame damage along is worth it - bare AL frame or now. Brake/derailleur cables are all vulnerable too. So can be your car if the bike winds up swinging.

    2. Frame hold racks came about when all bikes had the same triangular geometry. That doesn't work anymore. Keep an eye open and you'll see all the bizarre positions of bikes on those racks. They don't make sense anymore with modern frame geometries.

    3. Then, get ready for the jinga style puzzle of putting more than one bike on the rack and trying to keep the handlebars, brake levers and pedals from hitting the other bike on the rack. It isn't just the frame that gets damaged so do seats, grips, levers, carbon bars, etc... all from hitting the other bike.

    There are many choices for racks that are held by the wheels. Pick one of those. The damage you prevent usually pays the cost difference between the racks (if there even is one) many times over.

    Without putting a point on this - it's a no brainer decision to avoid the frame mount racks.

    J.

  15. #15
    Bicyclochondriac.
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    13,833
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    1. The frame damage along is worth it - bare AL frame or now. Brake/derailleur cables are all vulnerable too. So can be your car if the bike winds up swinging.

    2. Frame hold racks came about when all bikes had the same triangular geometry. That doesn't work anymore. Keep an eye open and you'll see all the bizarre positions of bikes on those racks. They don't make sense anymore with modern frame geometries.

    3. Then, get ready for the jinga style puzzle of putting more than one bike on the rack and trying to keep the handlebars, brake levers and pedals from hitting the other bike on the rack. It isn't just the frame that gets damaged so do seats, grips, levers, carbon bars, etc... all from hitting the other bike.

    There are many choices for racks that are held by the wheels. Pick one of those. The damage you prevent usually pays the cost difference between the racks (if there even is one) many times over.

    Without putting a point on this - it's a no brainer decision to avoid the frame mount racks.

    J.
    He is not asking about racks that the bike hangs from, he is asking about tray racks that the stabilizer bar comes over the frame instead of the front wheel. Like this:
    Hitch rack - Tire arm versus frame arm ??-v_0316_swagman-64650-xc-2-bike-platform-hitch-rack.png
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    2,208
    Speed wobble on my part.

    That said, I think the frame damage issues still apply but better.

    J.

  17. #17
    .
    Reputation: jonz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    921
    Quote Originally Posted by Chad_M View Post
    One disadvantage of most frame style hook systems is that the front and rear hook are on the same arm, so if the bikes are identical size, you will have trouble getting both hooks tight. Wheel hook arms are usually completely independent.

    (there are exceptions to both these designs, that is why I said most and usually)
    I know on the 2x Swagman racks, the two frame hooks are two different lengths which solves this problem. It may just require a little trial and error on how to stack the hooks.

  18. #18
    Bicyclochondriac.
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    13,833
    Quote Originally Posted by jonz View Post
    I know on the 2x Swagman racks, the two frame hooks are two different lengths which solves this problem. It may just require a little trial and error on how to stack the hooks.
    For that matter, every design I have looked at (Thule, Swagman, Hollywood, Curts) is the way you describe, with the two clamps sliding independently.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Tystevens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    1,882
    I've owned both types. The frame clamp rack hasn't visibly damaged my frames, and the wheel clamp rack hasn't caused problems to my wheels. The one thing I didn't like about the wheel clamp (Thule sidearm type) is that sometimes it would rub against the stanction on my fork if I wasn't careful about how I put it on.

    But if you have a truck, why go for a rack at all. I use a tailgate pad with my truck, easiest, cheapest and best solution to the problem IMO.
    '19 Ibis Ripmo
    '13 Felt Z4

  20. #20
    Bicyclochondriac.
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    13,833
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    Speed wobble on my part.

    That said, I think the frame damage issues still apply but better.

    J.
    I think your assessment of frame damage even with the hanging-style racks is a bit overstated, at least in my experience.

    I used a Thule Spare Me spare tire rack (hanging style) exclusively for over 12 years. Had a bike on it several times a week, often 2 at a time. Countless road trips including 12 trips across the US (6 round trips) with two bikes on it (that alone is 25K-30K miles with multiple bikes). All I ever had to show for it is some minor scuffing on the bikes I transported most (my mtbs) where they sat in the cradles, and ONE gouge on a stem (cosmetic) where a bar end rubbed it for a few hundred miles. Never damaged a hose or cable, or anything else. The scuffing was really no worse overall than the scraps and scuffs I got just from riding the bikes.

    That said, they are not idiot-proof. You do need to pay attention to how they are hanging, particularly with other bikes (the stem gouge came from me being lazy about it). And yes, it can be a real head-scratcher at times. I always used a bungee to make sure the front wheels did not flop around and made sure the bikes were not swinging all over the place. It was not that hard once I figured out the best way to do it.

    I know a number of people who still use these types of racks, and I am not aware of any of them damaging their bikes using them beyond some scratches when they were not careful. Certainly nothing that ever cost them money.

    In light of this I am having a real hard time seeing how the clamp-over-the-frame designs being considered here are going to cause damage to the bike. I think you probably just need to make sure it is clamped down tight enough to prevent movement. Also, you want to wipe off dirt from where a bike fame contacts anything holding it.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    2,208
    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    I think your assessment of frame damage even with the hanging-style racks is a bit overstated, at least in my experience.
    No, it's not. That's based on actual experience of the rack basically stripping the decal/logos off of my Klein MTB frame and abrading the paint. Road grit during rain while highway transport on a single trip got under the rubber strap and basically destroyed the paint. So, in other words, been there and done that.

    J.

  22. #22
    Bicyclochondriac.
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    13,833
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    No, it's not. That's based on actual experience of the rack basically stripping the decal/logos off of my Klein MTB frame and abrading the paint. Road grit during rain while highway transport on a single trip got under the rubber strap and basically destroyed the paint. So, in other words, been there and done that.

    J.
    Must be different for different racks. What you describe would only happen if the bike was rocking back and forth in the cradles. On my rack (and the others I have used) that was easy to prevent with a bungie or two.

    Not all hanging racks are created equally.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    2,208
    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    Must be different for different racks. What you describe would only happen if the bike was rocking back and forth in the cradles. On my rack (and the others I have used) that was easy to prevent with a bungie or two.

    Not all hanging racks are created equally.
    This was the high end Thule rack that does the swing away thing. The bikes were secured with the strap supplied with the rack to stop swinging. There is a horizontal bar that goes out perpendicular from about bumper height to attach to the straps and bikes.

    If there is any grit around, it only takes tiny movements for the grit to grind on the paint. It doesn't have to be a 'swing' of the bike. Even just vibration will do it. If there is water around, it's essentially a wet sanding of the finish. It's not an "if" but a "when" it will cause damage. And this is why it's just a really bad idea to get any rack that grabs onto the frame.

    J.

  24. #24
    Bicyclochondriac.
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    13,833
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    It's not an "if" but a "when" it will cause damage.

    J.
    This is not true. Unless you consider minor scuffing "damage".

    The rack I used was a Thule (Spare Me rack), probably the same cradles as you had. Between all the uses I mentioned above, I probably have over 40K miles of bike hauling on that rack in the 12-1/2 years I had it. Through every imaginable weather condition on every imaginable surface, in every imaginable terrain in the US. Long rough dusty roads where the bikes were covered in grit and/or mud, you name it. Road trips where the bikes stayed on for weeks at a time, in one case all summer. Steel, CF, and Aluminum bikes.

    What you are describing never happened to any of my bikes. At worst, minor (and I mean minor) scuffing after years of use. Heck I just looked at the mtb that has spent the most time on the rack over the past 4 years and you can't even tell where it sits on the cradles. It has seen plenty of dirt and rain. I get more wear on my crank arms and chain-stays from my feet than on my bike from the cradles.

    And from what I can tell, my experience is typical. These types of racks are still very common (they have been around forever), it is what many of my friends still use, and what you describe has never happened to any of us, and we have been riding since the mid-late 90s. Any scratches come from bike-to-bike contact (which is avoidable), or really cheap racks that don't have padded/rubber cradles.

    I cannot explain what happened to your bike, my money is on them not being secured at the bottom, and they swung in the cradles. Either that or your klien was painted with body paint. But what you describe if the bikes were in fact not swinging around simply does not jive with the long years and many miles of experience I or my friends have.

    The advantage of tray style racks is convenience of loading/unloading. They are fast, easy to use, mostly idiot-proof, and work the same with any style bike (except the wheel grabber ones don't play well with bike fenders). And in this respect they are a HUGE improvement for all the reasons you stated.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    2,208
    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    This is not true. Unless you consider minor scuffing "damage".

    The rack I used was a Thule (Spare Me rack), probably the same cradles as you had. Between all the uses I mentioned above, I probably have over 40K miles of bike hauling on that rack in the 12-1/2 years I had it. Through every imaginable weather condition on every imaginable surface, in every imaginable terrain in the US. Long rough dusty roads where the bikes were covered in grit and/or mud, you name it. Road trips where the bikes stayed on for weeks at a time, in one case all summer. Steel, CF, and Aluminum bikes.

    What you are describing never happened to any of my bikes. At worst, minor (and I mean minor) scuffing after years of use. Heck I just looked at the mtb that has spent the most time on the rack over the past 4 years and you can't even tell where it sits on the cradles. It has seen plenty of dirt and rain. I get more wear on my crank arms and chain-stays from my feet than on my bike from the cradles.
    Unfortunately, anecdotal evidence on either side. But certainly, hanging a bike by the frame in the presence of grit does have the potential to damage the paint. There are, obviously, a set of conditions under which that can occur or mine would not have been damaged. Seems to me, that since there are other better choices available, those are then the better choices and worth it to be taken.

    And from what I can tell, my experience is typical. These types of racks are still very common (they have been around forever), it is what many of my friends still use, and what you describe has never happened to any of us, and we have been riding since the mid-late 90s. Any scratches come from bike-to-bike contact (which is avoidable), or really cheap racks that don't have padded/rubber cradles.
    They are common because old racks never die they just get passed on to someone else. On top of that, many of them are cheap and the majority usage for *any* bike rack is largely dept store bikes taken on vacation. That's not the use case for most anyone reading these forums.

    But, even that is not the main reason to not use these anymore. Most of the time the geometry of most modern bikes make them just not congruent with effective use. Look at the weird positions of bikes on these things due to the wild angles on modern bikes compared to ones from when these racks first came into use.


    I cannot explain what happened to your bike, my money is on them not being secured at the bottom, and they swung in the cradles. Either that or your klien was painted with body paint. But what you describe if the bikes were in fact not swinging around simply does not jive with the long years and many miles of experience I or my friends have.
    You would, of course, be speculating and would have no way of knowing. On the other hand, I was the one who put them on the rack and, obsessively (it's part of who I am, unfortunately) made sure there was no swinging with the intent to avoid just the damage that did occur. The paint job on the Kleins of the day were (and still are) excellent and durable. So because of the care I took and the fact that damage did occur, irrespective of whether it was a fluke or not, it just makes sense to avoid this problem in the future with a better rack design that doesn't grip or touch the frame.


    The advantage of tray style racks is convenience of loading/unloading. They are fast, easy to use, mostly idiot-proof, and work the same with any style bike (except the wheel grabber ones don't play well with bike fenders). And in this respect they are a HUGE improvement for all the reasons you stated.
    Exactly. And why this is the best choice if one is buying a rack today as opposed to 20 or even 10 years ago.

    J.

Similar Threads

  1. 1UP Hitch Rack on a MINI Countryman Yeah! but what Hitch?
    By goingdownhill in forum Cars and Bike Racks
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 06-26-2015, 08:46 PM
  2. Hitch rack wobble. Any risk of damage to hitch/rack?
    By y0bailey in forum Cars and Bike Racks
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-05-2013, 08:11 PM
  3. Single Arm hitch rack vs. Dual Arm hitch rack
    By Burt4x4 in forum Cars and Bike Racks
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-02-2013, 01:30 PM
  4. Older Thule hitch rack barely fits 29" tire
    By rogerfromco in forum Cars and Bike Racks
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 03-27-2013, 11:59 AM
  5. Paid Spam: Saris Cycle On Pro Hitch Mounted Bike Rack (2" Hitch Receiver)
    By Mountain_Smith in forum California - Norcal
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 10-05-2011, 04:20 PM

Members who have read this thread: 6

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.