Honda Fit with roof rack anyone?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Honda Fit with roof rack anyone?

    I got a new Honda Fit and I'm wondering if I should get the Thule roof pieces to fit my rack on the Fit!

    On my previous car (Honda CRV), I was using a Thule roof rack with Sidearm bike adapters. If I want to keep that rack for the Fit I have to get some new foot pieces that will tie down the rack between the door and the door frame. I have to admit I don't like that very much, I'm a bit worried that it will leave marks on the paint and that it will impact the weather strip of the door after use. Also not sure how a small car like that will behave with two bikes on the roof.

    I could also get a hitch rack like I've seen a few in the Honda Fit thread. This will cost me more for sure and I'm a bit worried about weight. If I put a lot of gear for a long camping trip in the car plus the leverage of two bikes on the hitch, the rear suspension will probably be pushed down quite a bit.

    Anyway, Honda Fit owners, let me know what you think or what is your solution.

    Thanks a bunch.

  2. #2
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    With only 109 HP, I'd personally try to limit the amount of aerodynamic drag a roofrack would create....but that's just me.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by mopartodd
    With only 109 HP, I'd personally try to limit the amount of aerodynamic drag a roofrack would create....but that's just me.
    Well you'd be surprised what this little engine delivers but in general I agree with you, I dislike roof racks and the drag the create.

    On this one however I already have the rack and bike adapters so it's quite tempting to just buy the necessary fit kit.

    I'm surprised no one replied. Looks like there isn't as many "Fit bikers" as I thought.

  4. #4
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    I have a Fit with a Thule rack and Sidearm carriers. Honestly, I still get 35mpg + on the interstate at 65-70mph with gear on the roof. I've carried both a 16' canoe as well as two bikes and they both generate about the same drag. To be fair, I have the sport manual tranny, which is noticeably better on gas than the auto base or sport (even with the paddle shifters).

    With the base rack on and the bike carriers off, I have gone over 37mpg on the interstate at 65-70mph. I try not to be a lead foot on the interstate to keep my fuel economy up. I'm no hypermiler, but I do try to save some money on gas. Still, sometimes I put it up to 75+ on the mtn climbs in WV on I-70.

    For such a small car, I'm surprised it doesn't take a bigger hit on fuel economy with the rack. I also have the fairing, btw.

    I don't have any pics with my bikes on the roof, so I can't share that, but I do have a pic with the canoe on the roof. I have a pic with the same carriers on the Jeep, though.

    Nice thing about the sidearms is that they don't interfere with the liftgate or the little spoiler.
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    Hey thanks NateHawk. This is very good info. I also have a manual, but the LX, love this small car.

    Just a few questions if you don't mind. Does the rack "feet" damage the paint or door weather strips where they fasten on the door frame? Was the rack very noisy before you put the fairing? I didn't need a fairing when I had mine on a CRV so I was hoping not to have to buy one for the Fit.

    Thanks again.

  6. #6
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    You have to be careful that you don't get any dirt between the feet and the roof of the car because the dirt can scratch the paint. The feet themselves, though, don't cause any harm. The clips that reach into the door frame make the first weatherstrip mold around them, but the main weatherstrip inside the door is unharmed in any way.

    I can't speak to wind noise without a fairing because I've only ever used a fairing. I can say, though, that the sidearm carriers, even without any bikes in them, generate a fair bit of noise fairing or not. I took mine off over the winter because I'm not really using them right now. If I need to carry a bike, it goes inside to protect it from salty road spray.

  7. #7
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    Strange that the sidearm makes so much noise on your Fit. There was no noise when I had them on my CRV. Must be the aerodynamic of the car somehow.

    Thanks again.

  8. #8
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    I am leaning heavily toward the Fit to replace my hurtin' Subie.. Nice to hear about the rack compatibility. Off topic a bit but how's the room inside without a rack? Can you cram a bike in w/out the front wheel attached?
    Full disclosure; I sell and repair bikes for a living: http://blackstonebicycles.blogspot.com/

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbdee
    I am leaning heavily toward the Fit to replace my hurtin' Subie.. Nice to hear about the rack compatibility. Off topic a bit but how's the room inside without a rack? Can you cram a bike in w/out the front wheel attached?
    How's this?

    This is just my bike (a size medium), but my wife's bike fits, as well. The rear wheel does need to fit between the two front seats, so I'm not sure if you could squeeze 3 bikes in there or not.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    How's this?

    This is just my bike (a size medium), but my wife's bike fits, as well. The rear wheel does need to fit between the two front seats, so I'm not sure if you could squeeze 3 bikes in there or not.
    Nice - I could never pull that off with the Impreza wagon.. Most of my bikes are in the 18" - 20" range but I know from that pic I could always lay it down like I do know. Thx for the pic!
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    How's this?

    This is just my bike (a size medium), but my wife's bike fits, as well. The rear wheel does need to fit between the two front seats, so I'm not sure if you could squeeze 3 bikes in there or not.
    Actually, you can fit 2 bikes in without worrying about wheels sticking forward into the front seats if you put the bikes diagonally. I set up fork mounts on a piece of plywood, but placed the mounts so 2 bikes can stand diagonally, and you still have plenty of room for gear and front wheels. Putting bikes inside will get the interior dirty. No big deal, but it always sux to see a new car get dirty in a few weeks.

    You can also put 2 bikes on the pasenger side, and tilt the front passenger seat forward if you're travelling solo. then you have the entire space behind the driver for gear. I haven't tried 3 bikes, but I bet you could fit them if you only needed enough space for the driver, with no passengers.

    I use a Thule T2 hitch rack that I raised 6 inches at a custom welder so that I have enough clearance for my steep driveway entrance, and dirt roads. It's easier than removing the front wheel, and I stay cleaner, as does the car.
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  12. #12
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    That pic is pre-fork block in the back. I now have two that are offset to the driver's side. That way, I can put two bikes in the car and have three seats available for passengers. No pics of that, though.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasquatch
    I use a Thule T2 hitch rack that I raised 6 inches at a custom welder so that I have enough clearance for my steep driveway entrance, and dirt roads. It's easier than removing the front wheel, and I stay cleaner, as does the car.
    Have you ever loaded your Fit quite a bit for a long camping trip? I was wondering if the combined weight of stuff inside plus the bikes, specially with the leverage of a hitch rack, would not lower the rear suspension too much for serious driving.

  14. #14
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    I didn't notice any problems with the suspension when I did the roadtrip to Moab with a full load of gear, and 2 bikes on the hitch rack, but i did get flashed alot by cars who thought my high beams were on, which was probably caused by my car's heavy rear end. I didn't really do any "serious" driving, but we did cruise at 95 mph along I-80, and ride through twisty Utah canyons at 75mph.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasquatch
    I didn't notice any problems with the suspension when I did the roadtrip to Moab with a full load of gear, and 2 bikes on the hitch rack, but i did get flashed alot by cars who thought my high beams were on, which was probably caused by my car's heavy rear end. I didn't really do any "serious" driving, but we did cruise at 95 mph along I-80, and ride through twisty Utah canyons at 75mph.
    Thanks Sasquatch. Well what you did is what I meant by "serious" driving! haha I basically wanted to make sure that the wheels didn't scrape the car's body when you were hitting bumps at speed on the highway and twisty roads!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mopartodd
    With only 109 HP, I'd personally try to limit the amount of aerodynamic drag a roofrack would create....but that's just me.
    Try carrying 4 bikes on top of a '83 Mercedes 240D, producing a whopping 63 HP (back when the engine was new!)

    Top speed 60mph, sweeeeeeeeeeet.

  17. #17
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    I finally went the cheap way, bought the roof kit. Was easy enough to replace my old foot adapters for the new ones specific to the Fit but I didn't have time to try it on the highway yet. I hope it doesn't make too much noise, it was totally quiet on the CRV.

    Thanks for your suggestions guys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BanzaiRider
    I finally went the cheap way, bought the roof kit. Was easy enough to replace my old foot adapters for the new ones specific to the Fit but I didn't have time to try it on the highway yet. I hope it doesn't make too much noise, it was totally quiet on the CRV.

    Thanks for your suggestions guys.
    I bought my 08 fit just before thanksgiving 07. I already had all of the Yakima stuff, so like you, I just ponied up for the appropriate Yakima towers. I installed the rack and took it for a test drive. The rack howling was terrible! After I put the two bikes up there, the wind noise didn't change at all (didn't expect it to really). Before I re-mounted the rack, I went out and ponied up for a fairing - huge difference. No noise at all. Maybe your Thule system will be different, but this is the first vehicle I've owned that required a fairing.

    I also use a fork mount for my bike in the back (pretty much the same as the photo posted - my bike has a 14" frame). I tried to put two back there, but my old bike has the bar ends and a very long stem - it won't fit. If I change out the stem and remove the bar ends, I'm sure (especially after reading the above posts) that I'll be able to fit two of them back there.

    As for keeping the car clean, I use an old moving blanket to line the back end of the car - this catches all the mud / dirt / stuff that falls off the bike and my gear. I occasionally pull the blanket and shake it out.

    How you guys got such great mileage is beyond me! I went from Greenville SC to Columbia this past weekend, and I averaged about 22mpg. Of course, I'm pushing 75mph on cruise control (with the auto) and the poor car was revving like crazy up some of the rather minor hills to maintain that speed. Maybe I'm just too impatient....

    {edit}
    Because this is my first 'new' car (after 25 years of used cars), I decided to do whatever I could to protect the paint. I went to my local window tint shop. This shop also installs the protective clear films to the front end of the cars. I had them cut four pieces about 10" long to fit in the locations where the rack would mount. This allows me to mount and dismount the rack without fear of the dirt that inevitably gets under the mount pads. It was pretty cheap (had the film put on the front that same day) and gives me a warm fuzzy about not letting my new car get scratched up. {/edit}
    Last edited by Ranger275; 02-04-2008 at 06:04 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger275
    I bought my 08 fit just before thanksgiving 07. I already had all of the Yakima stuff, so like you, I just ponied up for the appropriate Yakima towers. I installed the rack and took it for a test drive. The rack howling was terrible! After I put the two bikes up there, the wind noise didn't change at all (didn't expect it to really). Before I re-mounted the rack, I went out and ponied up for a fairing - huge difference. No noise at all. Maybe your Thule system will be different, but this is the first vehicle I've owned that required a fairing.

    I also use a fork mount for my bike in the back (pretty much the same as the photo posted - my bike has a 14" frame). I tried to put two back there, but my old bike has the bar ends and a very long stem - it won't fit. If I change out the stem and remove the bar ends, I'm sure (especially after reading the above posts) that I'll be able to fit two of them back there.

    As for keeping the car clean, I use an old moving blanket to line the back end of the car - this catches all the mud / dirt / stuff that falls off the bike and my gear. I occasionally pull the blanket and shake it out.

    How you guys got such great mileage is beyond me! I went from Greenville SC to Columbia this past weekend, and I averaged about 22mpg. Of course, I'm pushing 75mph on cruise control (with the auto) and the poor car was revving like crazy up some of the rather minor hills to maintain that speed. Maybe I'm just too impatient....

    {edit}
    Because this is my first 'new' car (after 25 years of used cars), I decided to do whatever I could to protect the paint. I went to my local window tint shop. This shop also installs the protective clear films to the front end of the cars. I had them cut four pieces about 10" long to fit in the locations where the rack would mount. This allows me to mount and dismount the rack without fear of the dirt that inevitably gets under the mount pads. It was pretty cheap (had the film put on the front that same day) and gives me a warm fuzzy about not letting my new car get scratched up. {/edit}
    Go to www.fitfreaks.net and check out the mileage reports. You'll find that the auto gets absolute crap fuel economy compared to the manual. Lots of auto tranny drivers are getting into that range. I've heard reports of some manual tranny drivers hitting 40mpg. I've not made it that high (but I might if I took the rack off). Still, never less than 30 for me and I usually let it rev up to 3500-4000rpms when city driving. I learned awhile ago that especially for small engines, a manual is the only way to roll.

    That's a great tip on the clear film protective stuff, though. There's a couple tint shops close to me and I might just check into it. I've already got some nicks on the hood from road debris and since nobody makes a bugflector for these things stateside, I might have to look into it.

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    Hey Ranger275, that clear protective film idea is great. On top of protecting the paint it gives you the exact location where to position the rack when you put it on and off often. I like that! Seems like I wont be lucky and will need a fairing, bummer!

    I have a manual but unfortunately I haven't really done any highway up to now. My driving is almost exclusively winter, cold snowy short distance city driving and I'm averaging 30mpg. I try to shift around 3000 rpm most of the time but I go up to 3500-4000 many times as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    Go to www.fitfreaks.net and check out the mileage reports. You'll find that the auto gets absolute crap fuel economy compared to the manual. Lots of auto tranny drivers are getting into that range. I've heard reports of some manual tranny drivers hitting 40mpg. I've not made it that high (but I might if I took the rack off). Still, never less than 30 for me and I usually let it rev up to 3500-4000rpms when city driving. I learned awhile ago that especially for small engines, a manual is the only way to roll.

    That's a great tip on the clear film protective stuff, though. There's a couple tint shops close to me and I might just check into it. I've already got some nicks on the hood from road debris and since nobody makes a bugflector for these things stateside, I might have to look into it.
    After re-reading my post, it seems I forget to mention I had both my bike and kayak on the roof for the drive down to columbia. around town I'm getting 30mpg (without the rack), and although I haven't done a full highway tank yet, I have got up to 35 with a mix of highway and city driving. It is only with the gear on the roof that the mileage really drops.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger275
    After re-reading my post, it seems I forget to mention I had both my bike and kayak on the roof for the drive down to columbia. around town I'm getting 30mpg (without the rack), and although I haven't done a full highway tank yet, I have got up to 35 with a mix of highway and city driving. It is only with the gear on the roof that the mileage really drops.
    Hum that quite some weight on the roof. What type of bike and kayak do you have? When I bought the kit for my rack the Thule sales guy told me the max load was 130lbs on the Fit. I know my rack with both Sidearm adapters is close to 40lbs, add two mountain bikes of 30+ and there isn't much left for the Kayak. Is the spec on your Yakima also 130lbs like my Thule?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger275
    After re-reading my post, it seems I forget to mention I had both my bike and kayak on the roof for the drive down to columbia. around town I'm getting 30mpg (without the rack), and although I haven't done a full highway tank yet, I have got up to 35 with a mix of highway and city driving. It is only with the gear on the roof that the mileage really drops.
    I'd be curious about what kayak you've got, too (and how you carry it). I didn't buy bars wide enough to put my canoe AND a bike (or two) up there, but even with a 16ft 65lb canoe, I was getting 35 highway mpg. Maybe things change when you add a bike or the aerodynamics of a kayak are just that different.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BanzaiRider
    Hum that quite some weight on the roof. What type of bike and kayak do you have? When I bought the kit for my rack the Thule sales guy told me the max load was 130lbs on the Fit. I know my rack with both Sidearm adapters is close to 40lbs, add two mountain bikes of 30+ and there isn't much left for the Kayak. Is the spec on your Yakima also 130lbs like my Thule?
    I think the max is 130lbs. I didn't calculate how much each weighs, but assume my bike comes in at 34bs (I think it weighs less, but round number for easy math), the kayak weighs in at 46 lbs (according to the mfg). That's a total of 80lbs for the two. The bike rack I have is an older fork mount - I can't see it weighing more than 10 lbs, and I use the hoop style kayak racks that probably come in around 10 for the pair - assume 20 just for fun and I'm still under 130lbs.

    For my trip to columbia I had just one bike and the kayak. I doubt I could fit two bikes and the kayak.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    I'd be curious about what kayak you've got, too (and how you carry it). I didn't buy bars wide enough to put my canoe AND a bike (or two) up there, but even with a 16ft 65lb canoe, I was getting 35 highway mpg. Maybe things change when you add a bike or the aerodynamics of a kayak are just that different.
    I didn't snap a photo with both the bike and kayak on top, but here is a shot of just the kayak.



    The bike is fork mounted over the driver's side. I used a set of 58" bars that I already had. That said, both the bike and the kayak fit between the towers.

    I think you're right about the aerodynamics of the bike and kayak. Maybe I'll try a different position of the kayak for my next trip.

  26. #26
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    cool pics Ranger275, I have the same Fit color as you

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    I'll bet that carrying the 'yak up on its side like that plus the bike hurts your aerodynamics. Lots more wind buffeting from the side, plus the hull of the boat generating some interesting forces that way. I'd bet that some saddles or a Malone vee cradle would improve your aerodynamics.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by BanzaiRider
    cool pics Ranger275, I have the same Fit color as you

    Me too!

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    I'm jealous, you both have the Sport and I have only the LX!

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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    I'll bet that carrying the 'yak up on its side like that plus the bike hurts your aerodynamics. Lots more wind buffeting from the side, plus the hull of the boat generating some interesting forces that way. I'd bet that some saddles or a Malone vee cradle would improve your aerodynamics.
    Yeah, I'm heading for another off road tri on the 16th. I think I'll try to position the kayak hull down and see if that makes any difference. I'm not sure about the space available, but I think I'll be ok.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasquatch
    Me too!

    Hey, how does that hitch rack work out? Do you have a photo of how the hitch attaches to the car? or at least a photo from the rear of the car without the rack in place?

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    I'm not really sure what you're asking. I have a generic receiver (hitch) mounted to my Fit, and my Thule T2 bike rack was customized by a local fabricator to raise the rack 6 inches higher off the ground. the modification was done to the rack, it's the fat vertical bar that the U lock is hanging on, and the triangular support piece. They painted it and added steel rings that allow you to run a cable or U lock through the rack. That was a huge flaw with this rack, in that there is nothing that you can run a cable through to lock it to your vehicle.







    I don't have any pics of the hitch installed, but no rack on. Here's one with a rack that I borrowed prior to getting mine. It may be clearer.










    Finally, one pic with no rack, days after buying the car, so the hitch had not been installed yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasquatch
    I'm not really sure what you're asking. I have a generic receiver (hitch) mounted to my Fit, and my Thule T2 bike rack was customized by a local fabricator to raise the rack 6 inches higher off the ground. the modification was done to the rack, it's the fat vertical bar that the U lock is hanging on, and the triangular support piece. They painted it and added steel rings that allow you to run a cable or U lock through the rack. That was a huge flaw with this rack, in that there is nothing that you can run a cable through to lock it to your vehicle.

    I don't have any pics of the hitch installed, but no rack on. Here's one with a rack that I borrowed prior to getting mine. It may be clearer.

    Finally, one pic with no rack, days after buying the car, so the hitch had not been installed yet.
    cool pics. That is about what I was looking for. I didn't realize you could actually buy a receiver for the Fit. Thanks!

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger275
    cool pics. That is about what I was looking for. I didn't realize you could actually buy a receiver for the Fit. Thanks!
    You can buy receivers, but Honda REALLY doesn't want you actually towing anything. The car has no tow rating and I've heard horror stories of people being denied warranty service because they towed a small trailer. So far, none of that with regards to bike racks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    You can buy receivers, but Honda REALLY doesn't want you actually towing anything. The car has no tow rating and I've heard horror stories of people being denied warranty service because they towed a small trailer. So far, none of that with regards to bike racks.
    Yeah, I'm not interested in putting a hitch on my Fit, just wanted to see how it was attached (or generally attached). I have a toyota pickup if I need to do anything like that.

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    Have you guys tried raising the back seats and putting one bike in sideways or is it just easier to lower the back seats and put the bike in through the liftgate?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tangyman
    Have you guys tried raising the back seats and putting one bike in sideways or is it just easier to lower the back seats and put the bike in through the liftgate?
    A friend of mine does that with his bike (before he got a rack). I tried it with my road bike once - to me it is easier to get the bike in and out through the back with the seats down. Of course, the front wheel has to come off no matter which way you put the bike in there.

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    I tried putting it in front of the back seats as well as through the lift gate. It works WAY better putting it in through the gate. I probably carry my bikes more often inside than outside, though I do have a pair of Thule sidearms to put on the roof.

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    Thanks. I just would have thought you wouldn't need the fork skewer on the piece of wood if you put it behind the front seats.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tangyman
    Thanks. I just would have thought you wouldn't need the fork skewer on the piece of wood if you put it behind the front seats.
    That's true, but you now have a bike that is not secured, so you have to bungy it or something...then you have to consider whatever the bike is leaning up against and if you want chain lube on your car....
    not a major deal, but def easier going through the back with the fork mount. The fork mounts are pretty cheap - the yakima version is about $20, I think there are no-brand items for less.

  41. #41
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    Depends on how that power is laid down.

    Quote Originally Posted by mopartodd
    With only 109 HP, I'd personally try to limit the amount of aerodynamic drag a roofrack would create....but that's just me.
    My VW GTi is only 115 hp, but pulls pretty well past 80 mph even with two bikes on the roof, and I'll bet it weighs a whole lot more than a Honda Fit.

    I would go hitch rack just to avoid the drag, mileage hit and wind noise, but that's me.

    *edit*

    Holy old thread, Batman!

  42. #42
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    HP is not a factor.

    We only have 118 HP in our Mini Cooper but that does not present a problem when carrying a couple bikes on the roof. HP is really a non-issue unless you are concerned with racing someone. A couple bikes on top will have no noticable effect on the Fix performance. Maybe reduce you MPG somewhat but you already get excellent mileage.

  43. #43
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    FYI my yakima racks loosened up and dented into my roof real bad where the feet sit. I would not recommend them for the FIT.

  44. #44
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    I really really want to purchase a fit but have to be able to haul my kayak up on top.

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