Never Use a Roof Rack- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Never Use a Roof Rack

    A friend of mine spaced and drove his roof mounted new carbon bike into the garage. Bike shops see this all the time. Even if you dont have a garage, parking garages or other low bridges can get you.

    The other thing is that driving even bikeless with a roof rack wastes fuel. Its sad when you see a nice sports car cluttered with a roof rack. A hitch rack stays at home when you are not using it, when you are using it, fuel is saved because the bikes are in the draft, and you wont wreck your bike on a low bridge. OR better yet, if the bike is in a hatch, which I do 1/2 the time, weight is saved and the bike is safe from thieves.

  2. #2
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    Example

  3. #3

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    You and your alleged friend are idiots.

    Good luck coming to terms with that fact

  4. #4
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    I hate roof racks because your bike ends up getting destroyed by bugs. I had a buddy come out this summer, and he had to clean an a$$-load of bugs off of his custom painted Niner before he could even ride.

  5. #5
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    Hitch racks are good except for getting access to the tailgate of the car, blocking the driver's view, obscuring brake and tail lights from tailgating knuckleheads, and subjecting bikes to possible rear ender damage.

    I got an idea! Everybody use what's best for their particular circumstance!

    Problem solved.
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  6. #6
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    your friend should hang that broken bike on the wall, just in case he ever forgets how stupid he is. Idiots like that do sometimes need reminders.

    If you think your bike being inside a hatchback makes it safe from thieves... I can see why you are friends with that guy. How long do you think it would take a thief to get through your back windshield, as compared to a lock on a rack? (about the same, if you can't think that through).

  7. #7
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    No! We have to come up with one common solution that solves everyones needs and circumstances. Just like healthcare!

  8. #8
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    Calling everyone an idiot who makes this mistake is a bit harsh - if you drive with bikes on the roof all the time - then maybe deserving. I run with the occasional bike on the roof - when they won't all fit inside my little SUV (with tinted windows and a lock loop in the floor...) If you run with bikes on your roof long enough - occasional or regularly - you will hit something. yes - I did it once years ago - realized as I was driving into a parking garage that I had a bike on the roof and slammed on the brakes. Saddle and post were damaged on a ti (thank god) frame that was unfazed. Roof rack was cracked at a mounting tower. I could live with that. All you perfect people out there calling people idiots I am sure have never, ever made a mistake in your life - small or huge. Lighten up. Keeping that broken frame hanging somewhere as a reminder to never do that AGAIN would be good advice. Do it once - ooops!!! Do it twice - IDIOT.
    R.I.P. Corky 10/97-4/09
    Disclaimer: I sell and repair bikes for a living


  9. #9
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    My take on hitch racks is this - better gas mileage, easier to get to the bikes - but then you are placing your faith in the OTHER driver out there to not rear-end your bike. Who do you have more faith in - you or the other guy? I have seen more "rear-ender" totaled bikes than I have roof-rack totals (like above). I have seen more roof-rack damaged bikes though... Sometimes being in a shop has it's moments...
    R.I.P. Corky 10/97-4/09
    Disclaimer: I sell and repair bikes for a living


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joules
    your friend should hang that broken bike on the wall, just in case he ever forgets how stupid he is. Idiots like that do sometimes need reminders.

    If you think your bike being inside a hatchback makes it safe from thieves... I can see why you are friends with that guy. How long do you think it would take a thief to get through your back windshield, as compared to a lock on a rack? (about the same, if you can't think that through).
    Tinting + Blanket = Security

  11. #11
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    "Fred", we shall call him, lucked out. Only the forks broke on his Specialized Carbon Fiber road bike. He is a smart cookie, but post- long, cold, ride he was just not thinking.

    The thread title is meant to be provocative, not to really suggest to never use a roof rack. I know some of you are trolling, yet, if you think it will never happen to you, think again.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisgardner73
    No! We have to come up with one common solution that solves everyones needs and circumstances. Just like healthcare!
    'zactly! Because the current system is broken as it only works well for some folks whose employers provide adequate coverage.

    Take it to the recycle bin.
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  13. #13
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    To the OP, that sucks for your friend but it happens to everyone.

    To the other 90% in this thread, what a bunch of internet "tough guys". I don't get how people talk like this in a forum when they know face to face they would never say these kind of things. It's really disappointing.
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  14. #14
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    we have something here at the shop for you poor saps that get stuck in the mcdonalds drive thru:
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  15. #15
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    Lol I was making a lunch run on day working construction. Went though the MickyD's drive through with my dads work van with ladder racks on top. (they didnt have the chain "guide" to how tall your vehicle could be that they have now. Lets just say I got stuck and 2 other people had to back out so i could get out... embarrassing, but luckily no damage to the van.

    I roll with my bike on a hitch rack (more than just me) or inside my truck (just me)

  16. #16
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    Stick it!

    I hate it when people try to protect me from myself.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisgardner73
    I hate roof racks because your bike ends up getting destroyed by bugs. I had a buddy come out this summer, and he had to clean an a$$-load of bugs off of his custom painted Niner before he could even ride.
    Ahh, I hate it when dead bugs won't let me ride because i HAVE to clean them off before I ride! And that's even if they don't DESTROY my bike before I can get to ride!

  18. #18
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    In other breaking news:

    • Never use a hitch rack, you could get rear ended. Also, it's a myth that it stays at home when not in use.
    • Never carry a bike inside a hatchback, wagon or suv. You could get into an accident and the bike could fly around inside the vehicle and kill you.
    • Never use innertubes. You could get a flat.
    • Never have sex. This is the only way to be 100% sure you won't ever get an STD.
    • Never drink alcohol, you could become an alcoholic.
    • Never buy a new car, I read in another thread you loose like $15K the second you buy a $13k car.
    • Never believe anything you read on the internet.
    • Trust me on the sunscreen.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Bart
    In other breaking news:

    • Never use a hitch rack, you could get rear ended. Also, it's a myth that it stays at home when not in use.
    Hey, you want a hitch rack if you get rear ended.

    TheMontashu had his down when he was stopped at red light. A Corvette swerved past an 18-wheeler and slams into his rack.

    His low slung car was trashed, but the bike wasn't even damaged.

    I noticed that I am rarely tailgated when I have rack down. While I don't plan on letting someone hit me, the idea that my rack is pointed straight at their engine or their windshield backs up other drivers.

    My rack does get hit frequently when I forget to fold it up when I park, though.

  20. #20
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    That sucks for your buddy, bet he won't do it again!

    Worst I've done is forget my gloves on the bumper & drive away....no more gloves. Friend of mine did that with his front wheel...oops! He got it back though lol undamaged even.

  21. #21
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    I love my roof rack , I always remember my bikes up there (considering they are worth 5 times the price of the car ) As far as bugs go just get a bra

    As far as theft goes NEVER leave it unattended ...............simple
    Fu(k cancer

    thelonebiker.com

  22. #22

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    Another reason to not want a roof rack. As if the others weren't good enough.

    With my hitch mount, someone rear ends me and their insurance is paying for the bike and the rest of the repair costs. That's a risk I'm willing to take. It's a bike, it can be replaced. It's not the end of the world.

  23. #23
    ballbuster
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    Tell that to my bud...

    Quote Originally Posted by Killroy
    Tinting + Blanket = Security
    ... who had his bike stolen out of the back of his hatchback with tinted windows in broad daylight. He happened to have my spare front wheel with it at the time.

    Dontcha think if a thief sees a blanket in the back of a car with something big and lump under it, he might think somebody is hiding somethign that is worth stealing? Yes, you can see through tinted windows.

    The only real security is with a sedan with a big enough trunk to hide the bike in there wheels off, completely hidden from view. Even then, if you give the thief any other reason to break in the car, he might find the bike.

  24. #24
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    Heh...

    Quote Originally Posted by Shark
    That sucks for your buddy, bet he won't do it again!

    Worst I've done is forget my gloves on the bumper & drive away....no more gloves. Friend of mine did that with his front wheel...oops! He got it back though lol undamaged even.
    I rode up to the Boggs 8 hour race with MorganFletcher in his 4Runner. He set his mug of tea down on his bumper, loaded up the bikes, and we drove off.

    When we got there 90 minutes later, his tea was still on the bumper. He drank it cold. Best tea ever. That is some smooth driving.

  25. #25
    ballbuster
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    Srsly

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedub.Nate
    'zactly! Because the current system is broken as it only works well for some folks whose employers provide adequate coverage.

    Take it to the recycle bin.
    I'm acutely aware of this myself.

  26. #26
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    That sucks! I love my roof racks and for me it's really the only way. To each their own!

  27. #27
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    The Idiots Are Taking Over

    Quote Originally Posted by Joules
    your friend should hang that broken bike on the garage door, just in case he ever forgets how stupid he is. Idiots like that do sometimes need reminders.
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  28. #28
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    Dude, you're really concerned about the drag a roof rack might generate and its impact on fuel consumption? jesus, why don't you smooth out the doorhandles and remove your rearview mirrors too while you're at it.

  29. #29
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    It's pretty substantail

    Quote Originally Posted by Luigiugueto
    Dude, you're really concerned about the drag a roof rack might generate and its impact on fuel consumption? jesus, why don't you smooth out the doorhandles and remove your rearview mirrors too while you're at it.
    My GTi gets 31 mpg all around in mixed driving. With roof racks and no bikes, that drops to 28 mpg. With one bike, that drops to 25 mpg. with two bikes that drops to 22 at freeway speeds.

    With a hitch rack and two bikes, I get no hit, or at least none I can measure. I drive all pretty often with one bike on the hitch rack, and I still get 370 miles to a tank of gas, which is about the same with no bikes and no racks.

    So you do the math. That's 1/3 more fuel.

    I suppose if you drove a car or truck that is an aerodynamic brick to begin with it doesn't make much difference. I have a bud with a lifted GMC Yukon, and he gets like 12 mpg regardless of roof racks or how many bikes are on board. BTW, he can haul 9 bikes outside the truck.

    Funny you mention the rear view mirrors. On the new Audi R8, they shaved the mirrors and put tiny cameras on there with LCD screens inside the car.

  30. #30
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    this thread should just be titled "duh"just felt like hed to add. I left gloves on the roof once, i'd driven about 3 miles when i got out of the car there was one glove still there. So i back tracked, i figured i lost it on the first turn. I saw it in the street about halfway home,it hung in for a couple of turns.Most of the time if you get rear ended with a trunk rack, your car is nosediving on the brakes, and your bumper is high, the car nailing the brakes behind you is in the same position so it's front bumper will be underyou bike,probabely. Either way it's covered by insurance and its the guy in the back who's insurance foots the bill. if you leave the bike on top ,it's all you. I had a roof rack for a few years,never ran bikes into a low clearence situation.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luigiugueto
    Dude, you're really concerned about the drag a roof rack might generate and its impact on fuel consumption? jesus, why don't you smooth out the doorhandles and remove your rearview mirrors too while you're at it.
    I guess you must drive around solo on your commute in an Expedition or Suburban,,,

    Like the Pimp-man said - the drag from a roof rack at freeway speeds is significant. If you just drive local surface streets at <35 mph, it might not be worth removing it... But figure at 60mph about a 10% reduction in mileage and closer to 20% at 70mph. If you cruise at 80+ you might see a 1/3 reduction in mileage without even having a bike on the damn thing! (Depending on how slippery your car is...) My CR-V loses about 2-3 mpg and I drive around 70 most of the time. If I put two bikes on driving 70 it costs me about 5-6 mpg.

    Removing mirrors and door handles is fine if you want to look like a boy-racer, or actually race Solo classes and spend any time trying to go as fast as you absolutely can. For a given car, it takes 8 times the power to go twice as fast (20hp at 60mph = 160hp to go 120mph). So if you add just 10% drag to your car, you will see a significant drop in top speed. My CR-V will do just about 120mph "naked" and only just get to around 105 with the rack on top. 15 mph drop - and that is with no bikes.

    I liked your comment BuickGN!
    R.I.P. Corky 10/97-4/09
    Disclaimer: I sell and repair bikes for a living


  32. #32
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    this thread should just be titled "duh"just felt like hed to add. I left gloves on the roof once, i'd driven about 3 miles when i got out of the car there was one glove still there. So i back tracked, i figured i lost it on the first turn. I saw it in the street about halfway home,it hung in for a couple of turns.Most of the time if you get rear ended with a trunk rack, your car is nosediving on the brakes, and your bumper is high, the car nailing the brakes behind you is in the same position so it's front bumper will be underyou bike,probabely. Either way it's covered by insurance and its the guy in the back who's insurance foots the bill. If you leave the bike on top ,it's all you. I had a roof rack for a few years,never ran bikes into a low clearence situation.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot
    My GTi gets 31 mpg all around in mixed driving. With roof racks and no bikes, that drops to 28 mpg. With one bike, that drops to 25 mpg. with two bikes that drops to 22 at freeway speeds.

    With a hitch rack and two bikes, I get no hit, or at least none I can measure. I drive all pretty often with one bike on the hitch rack, and I still get 370 miles to a tank of gas, which is about the same with no bikes and no racks.
    I understand the hits that roof-racks give a car. I drive a jetta tdi, and while around town milage doesn't change too much, my highway milage goes from 45 or more (without the rack) to around 38 (with the rack, and no bikes).

    But the second part is what always gets me about hitch racks. I don't understand how you can get NO hit with a hitch rack. There's more weight, so the milage HAS to change. Unless you have some sort of gravity-defying, no-weight rack that just levitates while holding your bike, thus not effecting gas milage at all.

    True, it might not be as dramatic of a change as the roof rack, but let's not go as far to say that there is no measurable hit on gas milage difference.

  34. #34
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    It might

    Quote Originally Posted by locobaylor
    I understand the hits that roof-racks give a car. I drive a jetta tdi, and while around town milage doesn't change too much, my highway milage goes from 45 or more (without the rack) to around 38 (with the rack, and no bikes).

    But the second part is what always gets me about hitch racks. I don't understand how you can get NO hit with a hitch rack. There's more weight, so the milage HAS to change. Unless you have some sort of gravity-defying, no-weight rack that just levitates while holding your bike, thus not effecting gas milage at all.

    True, it might not be as dramatic of a change as the roof rack, but let's not go as far to say that there is no measurable hit on gas milage.
    but like I said, I get the same number of miles in a tank on long trips with the bike on back as when I have no bike on the back. There probably is a hit, but its so small I can't quantify it at the pump. When I driver from my house in Oakland down to Monterey for Sea Otter with a bike on the back and camping gear, I still typically get about 370 miles on a tank of gas (typically about 12 gallons to fill the tank) which is the same as commuting to work for me.

    As far as weight goes, once you're up to speed it doesn't make a difference. You're confusing gravity and mass. It takes no energy to maintain mass at speed (objects in motion and such), it only takes energy to accelerate it to speed, and you get that energy back when you decelerate it in the form of heat in the brakes, or a lighter throttle going downhill on the freeway. It takes energy to lift mass against gravity.

    Even so, if you add 40 pounds of bike rack and 30 pounds of bike to a 2500 pound car with a 200 pound driver and 200 pounds in camping gear, cooler full of beerz and food for a weekend, that is not a significant amount. I guess the wheels of my 29er stick out the sides of the slipstream a bit, so there would be a small amount of drag there. Looks like my bars and saddle are a bit in the wind as well.

    On flat ground, gravity would only made a difference on the tire footprint and spring sag. You're talking mass and momentum, not gravity... except for going uphill where you are using energy to pick up the extra weight.

    So yeah... I guess on paper you are right. In reality, I don't see a difference.

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/srwvRkFwOVxq4R9uA9xlkg?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.ggpht.com/_zZ7tZYTZu1o/SXwBCZeOovI/AAAAAAAAGVY/4xPrFpPlLSU/s800/IMG_1060.JPG" /></a>
    Last edited by pimpbot; 12-12-2009 at 01:14 PM.

  35. #35
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    The possible "hit" you get with a hitch rack is in lower-speed driving - they add more weight, but again, like the Pimp said - the percentage of your weight of the total car/driver/passenger aggregate is pretty small. Even if you had a "heavy" hitch rack at 75 lbs or so - not a lot when the car, driver, passenger and gear weigh 3,000+... You'll have basically the same weight penalty with a roof rack.
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  36. #36
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    I did lightly tap the garage door once with my cro-moly commuter. Of course my 4-year-old twins were raising holy he!! in the back seat at the time. Now every time I put my bike on the top of my Outback Sport, I put the garage door opener inside the glovebox. That way when I reach for the opener, and it's not in it's normal place...
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  37. #37
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    increased weight hanging on the bumper,is small compared to the weight of the car but even smaller is the increase in aerodynamic drag(if even measurable) but the aerodynamic drag of a roof rack is constant and progressive, the faster you go the more drag you get. For biking i wish i'd gotten a station wagon,and i could just slide the bikes in the back. I have the second cheapest trunk rack it goes on and off really quick,i've been lazy and just leaving it on ,but i could very easily take it on and off as needed. During the week, the commuting i do,is mostly local driving so a trunk rack isn't a big aero penalty. If you have a nicer car with nice paint you'd be better off with a hitch type rack,trunk racks with the straps and hooks that stand on the trunk with those legs seem to leave marks,though they'd probabely buff out,if i bothered to clean my car

  38. #38
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    Just to get my troll on as per the nature of the topic (bait taken), I drive a massive SUV (Expedition) and:
    1) When I bought my fantastic truck 14 months ago, gas was closing on $5 a gallon and dealers were giving them away (got a lightly {6k miles} used loaded '07 for $17k that is worth well over $24k a year later).
    2) In addition to SAR gear, I've got 2 kid seats and other stuff that stays in truck 24x7 although I can get 1 bike in easy as long as it's not muddy which is basically never (the 2nd row seats have a center seat fold down feature which is great).
    3) Eclipsing aerodynamics and weight distribution is driving habits. When my wife drives in the city, the truck gets 14MPG, I get closer to 19MPG as I accelerate slowly, use cruise control lots and coast as much as possible (see Hypermiling). Works incredibly well on both the Expedition and the wagon and gets you to your destination in same time with much less gas and more importantly increased safety and reduced stress. I call it driving 'flowly.'
    4) New Subie Outback has retractable crossbars on the roof rack. Genius! No noise and better aerodynamics, supposedly is significant. Love that car, want it want want want.
    5) Awaiting Inno racks from Bonktown. They seem to have lower profile which should help (uses stock crossbars, no base structure needed a la Thule or Yakima).

    Hopefully last comment brought this BTT.
    Need to work on using brackets less ()(())(()))).

  39. #39
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    It's ironic that the first guy to respond to this thread has a garage door as his avatar...
    The twenty-nine inch wheel.

  40. #40
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    Lucky for me my roommate has the extra remote garage door opener. When I got out of my car the other day to punch in the key code, I noticed that I had a bike on my roof rack. I guess if I had the remote, I wouldn’t have noticed. And…oh yeah…I guess that makes me a major dumbass, which is something I have always suspected about myself.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by ATBScott
    I guess you must drive around solo on your commute in an Expedition or Suburban,,,

    Like the Pimp-man said - the drag from a roof rack at freeway speeds is significant. If you just drive local surface streets at <35 mph, it might not be worth removing it... But figure at 60mph about a 10% reduction in mileage and closer to 20% at 70mph. If you cruise at 80+ you might see a 1/3 reduction in mileage without even having a bike on the damn thing! (Depending on how slippery your car is...) My CR-V loses about 2-3 mpg and I drive around 70 most of the time. If I put two bikes on driving 70 it costs me about 5-6 mpg.

    Removing mirrors and door handles is fine if you want to look like a boy-racer, or actually race Solo classes and spend any time trying to go as fast as you absolutely can. For a given car, it takes 8 times the power to go twice as fast (20hp at 60mph = 160hp to go 120mph). So if you add just 10% drag to your car, you will see a significant drop in top speed. My CR-V will do just about 120mph "naked" and only just get to around 105 with the rack on top. 15 mph drop - and that is with no bikes.

    I liked your comment BuickGN!
    Ok, the removing mirror parts and handles was a joke lol
    I didn't know you people had this so figured out. I don't really care that much for gas as I fill my gas tank with about 2 bucks.
    There's a little ramp I've seen on VW's roof racks, similar to the things trucks use on their roofs to streamline the square trailers, don't know who'd make them but they'd be pretty much the solution to your problems..

    cheers

  42. #42
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    FWIW my Inno roof rack is super low profile, I doubt it degrades aerodynamic coefficient much.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by sherijumper
    I love my roof rack...

    ...As far as theft goes NEVER leave it unattended
    Theft is another Plus in the roof-rack column.

    I always get nervous leaving bikes on the hitch rack -- even if just running in for a cup of coffee or an after-ride burrito. Any yahoo with a 5mm allen wrench can cost me a lot of money.

    When I began using a roof rack, a zillion new parking spaces opened up for me -- all I have to do was pick a shop or restaurant with a halfway decent viewing location and I can easily keep an eye on my bikes, and any ne'er-do-well is going to be a whole lot more conspicuous trying to jack my sh&#105;t.
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  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plinkomatic
    FWIW my Inno roof rack is super low profile, I doubt it degrades aerodynamic coefficient much.
    The profile is small, but the drag coefficient is of a roof rack is huge

    This Civic owner's fuel economy decreased 6 MPG. If you run the average numbers (15k mi., $3/gal) that equates to buying $92 more gas a year.

    About mass: Mass is the most prevalent variable in the motion resistance formulas, so mass is very important, yet cars are so heavy already, the mass of some gear is usually not noticed.

  45. #45
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    think of what bugs do to my bike on my roof rack?



    also, on the debate. roof racks are more like utility racks. i've had a hitch mount and trunk, and the roof rack is way more functional. 2 bikes and 2 kayaks, let me see a hitch mount do that (or trunk, lol)

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedub.Nate
    Theft is another Plus in the roof-rack column.
    Some guy in Phoenix (arizona board) just got his roof-rack jacked, if he had bikes on it at the time they'd be gone too. With a hitch rack you can loop a cable or chain through the bikes and towbar. As much as you might "think" a roof-rack is more theft-proof, theives do not care about your car and they'll rip the thing right off, whereas you can at least secure bikes on a hitch-rack better (make it harder to defeat).
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    Some guy in Phoenix (arizona board) just got his roof-rack jacked, if he had bikes on it at the time they'd be gone too. With a hitch rack you can loop a cable or chain through the bikes and towbar. As much as you might "think" a roof-rack is more theft-proof, theives do not care about your car and they'll rip the thing right off, whereas you can at least secure bikes on a hitch-rack better (make it harder to defeat).
    I think maybe you neglected to read beyond the line of mine you quoted, but I completely agree with you that roof rack theft is a concern in certain areas. There are reports on all the various bike forums of racks getting ganked, and it sucks that just thinking about it makes me feel overly paranoid. Thankfully, mine have been left alone and I don't stress over it.

    Anyhow... I'd never suggest anybody leave their bikes on the car "unattended" -- i.e. out of sight for any substantial period of time, locked or not, hitch nor roof.

    Nevermind cut cables and forced-open locks. Brakes? Pedals? Saddle & seatpost? Rear shock? All the turn of a wrench away. Hell, some jackass could cheat and just steal the whole damn car.

    My point is that I can comfortably park with the bikes on my roof and more easily keep an eye on them from a distance. I wouldn't go into a mall or a windowless bar or a friend's apartment for any amount of time.
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  48. #48
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    Every time I see these posts, I think back to 1993, when we were rear-ended just outside the Cactus Cup venue, with bikes worth more than the car on the rear-rack. The hassle, which we later called "the nightmare" of having them replaced while none of us could afford to simply buy another in the meantime, was huge. My girlfriend, who owned the car, agreed with all of us: it would have been better to take the hit on the car (damaged anyway) than to have had those bikes back there. We switched to roof racks even before the bike issues were resolved.

    Now, we're still using parts from our first Yak roof rack on our current vehicle, but to carry the whole family's bikes and gear. The impact on mileage is tangible, and one does have to use their brain to avoid low-bridging the loaded rack, but the safety and utility are excellent and we're long past the "cool look" of leaving the basket on the SUV after we unload.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by EBasil
    Every time I see these posts, I think back to 1993, when we were rear-ended ...
    So, insurance took care of your bike replacement, correct?

    No drought rear-endings are common, but as a former bike mechanic, I myself have never witnessed a customer with this problem, but lots of roof rack incidents.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killroy
    So, insurance took care of your bike replacement, correct?

    No drought rear-endings are common, but as a former bike mechanic, I myself have never witnessed a customer with this problem, but lots of roof rack incidents.
    In the same manner that it would were I to have low-bridged my own bikes, yes, other than that it was another's policy and it took months to resolve. As a former bike mechanic that couldn't afford to replace my destroyed bike until insurance paid, I can tell you the moral of the story for us is, "take responsibility for your bike and don't run into things with them in the rack, but keep them out of the range of others who will run into them, for you."

    Admittedly, there might be a roving low-bridge driving around, or those pesky garage doors that "weren't that low yesterday" but I suspect they aren't as common as drivers who claim the bikes obscured your brake lights. I have seen more of those as insurance claims that I have low-bridging (when people tend to suck it up w/o a claim even though they could) and every single one of them has relayed that the other driver claimed the brake lights were obscured. I've taken a look, standing behind vehicles with rear racks. Other than full size trucks, the obscuration issue seems pretty legit.

    We own a hitch rack for days when we need extra capacity, and I have an auxiliary brake light bolted onto it.

  51. #51
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    On two separate occasions I left my Nalgene bottles on the roof of my car as I was leaving LA Fitness. Long story short, I don't drink water anymore except in paper cups, and I canceled my membership to LA Fitness (but the rainbow is that I am suing them for not posting signs in the parking lot or on the entrance/exit doors about remembering things on my car roof).

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjsb
    On two separate occasions I left my Nalgene bottles on the roof of my car as I was leaving LA Fitness. Long story short, I don't drink water anymore except in paper cups, and I canceled my membership to LA Fitness (but the rainbow is that I am suing them for not posting signs in the parking lot or on the entrance/exit doors about remembering things on my car roof).

  53. #53
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    I guess roof racks are ok for sedans but for any tall suv type of car, 33 lbs becomes 44 lbs lifting it up there at an poor leverage angle. I got lazy and left my racks on top, they got jacked over night. Now I transport the bike inside, limo tint windows, ulock and cable lock to the frame, and a blanket, it keeps the shiny stuff from glinting thru the dark tint.
    I know I'm chancing it by leaving it unattended, hoping that out of sight is our of mind. sometimes I take my road bike to work for an after work session.

    Now only if my mt. bike was mud proof! I'll be going wheel support hitch. Does anyone here favor the frame mount over the wheel supported hitch?

  54. #54
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    Meh... depends

    Quote Originally Posted by Killroy
    The profile is small, but the drag coefficient is of a roof rack is huge

    This Civic owner's fuel economy decreased 6 MPG. If you run the average numbers (15k mi., $3/gal) that equates to buying $92 more gas a year.

    About mass: Mass is the most prevalent variable in the motion resistance formulas, so mass is very important, yet cars are so heavy already, the mass of some gear is usually not noticed.
    I just got an Audi A4. EPA is 29 mpg. My GTi was EPA rated at 31 mpg (both pre-2007 EPA ratings). 2 mpg difference. The Audi is 800 pounds heavier with AWD. I think aerodynamics and engine design plays a bigger role in freeway driving. One in motion, stays in motion... that sorta thing.

    Also, the Audi has almost twice the power, and has a turbo. The turbo recycles some of the engine heat, and gives it a boost when I lean into the gas. The 1.8 liter engine draws less vacuum than a V6, but kicks out as much power when needed. As long as I stay off the throttle (which is not easy to do) the mileage stays pretty reasonable.

    Yeah, I was reading up on the older Insight, and how they saved a whole bunch of weight by using an aluminum alloy space frame, and honeycomb collapsible(and replaceable) crumple zones. If that car was bigger, and was still available with a stick I would totally be all over it. I can't do slushbox cars.

  55. #55
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    You should have had your insurance company pay you and then let them go after the other guys carrier (policy). I suggest that to all of my clients once things start getting ugly.

    As for the original topic....I've tried both and personally much prefer hitch mount.

  56. #56
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    I so prefer hitch mount but ... The other day I got pulled over with no bike on the rack and it folded up. The rack is the Saris Thelma. The officer was behind me at a light and said that the rack was blocking the part of the license plate that says the state name. He said he could see the plate numbers/letters just fine but the state was obscured so $50 ticket! He also made me take the rack off and since the back of the car was full of stuff and the family inside I had to prop it in through the sunroof. Wrecked the paint and knocked the wife in the head. She had to hold on to it for the next 45 minutes we were in the car so it didn't just fly out. Kids were freezing in the back seat cuz it was about 30 degrees. He also said that he made a note for DMV that I had received a ticket for this and that I should not be allowed to use a hitch rack with this car because of the obscuration issue. If I use the hitch rack again I (supposedly) can get an even bigger ticket. Rotten afternoon...

    Now what? Buy a new car or pickup so I can ride with my family? I already have a roof rack but can only fit three bikes up there and there are four of us.

  57. #57
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    Oh, even if I could put four bikes up there how many cars have a roof that can handle nearly 200 pounds? Can the rack handle it? I don't trust it.

    Maybe I should just tell the wife she should stay home and I'll go ride with the kids. Ummm, maybe not.......

  58. #58
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    I take my hitch rack off if I'm going to have any extended time where I'm not transporting a bike. I have vet plates that probably also help. It sounds like the cop was being a d*ck, although it is a valid charge. I figure it is my responsibility to try and comply with those laws as much as is reasonable, which means taking the rack off when I'm not using it. I guess that is one benefit of roof-racks (leaving them on), although again they are constantly costing milege. My advice here is to just make some room in your garage right next to your vehicle so you can put it on/take it off in a few seconds. To totally comply you'd need a liscence plate mounted to the rack, and the rack is not supposed to obscure brake lights either. The liscense plate thing would be fairly easy for me, due to the fact that they give us two plates in this state and we only have to run one on the rear, but I'd only do that if I got pulled over for it a few times. Otherwise, running a rack like that is giving a cop an excuse to pull you over. If you peel out, drive significantly over the limit, don't come to a stop at a sign, and so forth, you are increasing your chances of being pulled over. I guess a cop could pull you over JUST for the rack, but usually it's in conjunction with something else. The cops around here use racks that obscure their plates.

    If it's really a problem, get another plate, mount it to the rack so it's "showing" when the rack is folded up. Problem solved.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  59. #59
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    I got popped for that too

    Quote Originally Posted by gravitylover
    I so prefer hitch mount but ... The other day I got pulled over with no bike on the rack and it folded up. The rack is the Saris Thelma. The officer was behind me at a light and said that the rack was blocking the part of the license plate that says the state name. He said he could see the plate numbers/letters just fine but the state was obscured so $50 ticket! He also made me take the rack off and since the back of the car was full of stuff and the family inside I had to prop it in through the sunroof. Wrecked the paint and knocked the wife in the head. She had to hold on to it for the next 45 minutes we were in the car so it didn't just fly out. Kids were freezing in the back seat cuz it was about 30 degrees. He also said that he made a note for DMV that I had received a ticket for this and that I should not be allowed to use a hitch rack with this car because of the obscuration issue. If I use the hitch rack again I (supposedly) can get an even bigger ticket. Rotten afternoon...

    Now what? Buy a new car or pickup so I can ride with my family? I already have a roof rack but can only fit three bikes up there and there are four of us.
    I had to go to the sheriff's office to get my fix-it ticket signed off. Yeah, take it off and put it in the trunk when you're not using it. Good thing it's easy to do. I was just lazy that day.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot
    My GTi gets 31 mpg all around in mixed driving. With roof racks and no bikes, that drops to 28 mpg.
    +1. My Matrix drops from 33 mpg to 29...or about 50 miles per tank. That's with bare racks, not even any bike attachments mounted (whitewater season). I took it off. I can get my bike inside fully assembled, or two bikes with front wheels off. Even two kayaks and a passenger, with some creative packing and seating (but I wouldn't want to make a long trip as the passenger in that arrangement. :-)

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  61. #61
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    Hitch vs Roof = Dumbest argument EV-AR

    People, use whatever you like, and whatever is more convenient for you and your car. Obsessing over whether you are more likely to get rear-ended or run into a garage door is just idiotic!

    FWIW, I know 2 people personally who have had incidents with bike on roofs getting clipped, and none rear-ended with bikes, but honestly, that consideration comes in a far distant second (or maybe 4th) to whatever I find more convenient, and that is going to vary from car to car, and person to person.

    The mileage thing varies from car to car as well. I check my mileage religiously. I drive a 2003 CRV, and I get around 25 mpg seemingly regardless of where I am driving. Having a roof rack with a Thule box has no measurable difference in my case. I'm sure there must be SOME difference, but I am guessing it is 0.5 mpg or less, otherwise I think I would have noticed. Interestingly, using a faring (even without the thule box) reduced my mileage about 2 mpg. Go figure. I have one space up top for a bike, but also have a spare tire rack that I use primarily, so I don't often have a bike up top, so I cannot comment on the mileage.

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta
    Interestingly, using a faring (even without the thule box) reduced my mileage about 2 mpg. Go figure. I have one space up top for a bike, but also have a spare tire rack that I use primarily, so I don't often have a bike up top, so I cannot comment on the mileage.
    The faring only reduces whistling, right? Think about it: The farings increase cross-sectional area and donít do anything for pressure recovery (drag reduction).

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killroy
    The faring only reduces whistling, right? Think about it: The farings increase cross-sectional area and donít do anything for pressure recovery (drag reduction).
    The fairing can help with drag, although it's not going to reduce the drag of the bike. There is something called profile-drag, which is due to the pressure of the air around all the nooks and crannies, as well as the seperation-drag around those same nooks and crannies. A fairing can help with that, but it's still not going to be like having an aerodynamically "clean" surface.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Bart
    In other breaking news:

    • Trust me on the sunscreen.
    +1

    Had more of my outside removed this past week - not malignant this time, but was 4x prior.

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killroy
    The faring only reduces whistling, right? Think about it: The farings increase cross-sectional area and donít do anything for pressure recovery (drag reduction).
    The "go figure" part was about the fairing having a bigger effect on mileage than the Thule Box, which in my case is a larger cross section.

    Yes, the faring was there to eliminate the whistling, but the box eliminates it as well, so in my case, the faring served no purpose in the end. I'm better off just leaving the box on.

  66. #66
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    Get a truck, dummies.

    Gosh!

  67. #67
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    I <3 my racks



    I think the sidearm looks soo much better debadged

  68. #68
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    On my little Honda, I use a roof rack only. I can put two bikes inside (I have a couple fork blocks in there) if I need to. But I also have a 16ft canoe...it's longer than the car. No other way to carry it without a roof rack. I don't like hitch racks for this car because of the rear gate.

    I have a couple of bars for the wife's Jeep, but we only use them for the canoe, not bikes. Right now, we try to avoid using the Jeep for bikes because it needs a hitch rack. I put bikes up there once, and it was such a hassle I didn't do it again. I'll buy a hitch rack for it eventually.

    BTW, for my Honda Fit, the maximum I've been able to get is 37mpg and that was with an empty rack on the roof. The car (07) isn't even EPA rated at that high. I got 35mpg driving from Baltimore to Pittsburgh with the aforementioned canoe on the roof. Yes, mountain driving. Also snagged myself 35mpg on a trip from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis with 2 bikes on the roof. All were at speeds ~65-70.

    Here in TX with the higher speed limits, I notice a slight hit in fuel economy (2-3mpg) with the empty rack or with bikes on the rack, but it's not that big compared to no rack at the same speeds. The car just starts losing fuel economy at 70+mph really fast.

    The way I drive makes a much bigger difference. With the manual tranny, it's easy to overdo it.

    I've been driving it lately without a rack, since I've been having to do the ~3hr trip to Houston and back quite often for the past 9mos, parking for many days in parking garages and stuff. We didn't have any problems when the power windows on my wife's jeep failed and you could just pull the window down and unlock the doors, but I didn't want to take any chances with my rack when we drove the car.

  69. #69
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    You can remove both wheels and put everything in the trunk, or spread it out and put some in the back seat, or the frame in front of the back seat and the tires in the trunk, or fold down the back seat and use the trunk back seat combo, etc.

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blksocks
    Get a truck, dummies.
    That eliminates any gas mileage worries too.

    JZ
    It's not about speed, it's about lack of control.

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Z in VT
    That eliminates any gas mileage worries too.

    JZ
    It also eliminates the kids and I suppose the wife cuz someone will have to stay home with the little tykes, wait............. Hey I like it just me and the dog!........ Nope that doesn't work either........ If it's going to be me and the dog I might as well throw the bike in the hatchback and get good gas mileage.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Z in VT
    That eliminates any gas mileage worries too.

    JZ
    It also eliminates any future accidents that could happen to your bike with a roof rack or tail rack. But I was not talking about a V8 but more of a V6 as they somewhat get good MPG compared to cars!

    /sigh, its always the penny pinchers that worry about gas! But I can understand if you got a family... perhaps a van?

  73. #73
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    My matrix got 30 mpg on the open highway going up hill with the rack and 1 road bike. On the return down hill with a couple of climbs, 42 mpg.with rack on top but bikes inside. I now only cary the bikes inside. I thought that was way above and beyond becaus I am running the 180 hp high performance engine.

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike007
    You can remove both wheels and put everything in the trunk, or spread it out and put some in the back seat, or the frame in front of the back seat and the tires in the trunk, or fold down the back seat and use the trunk back seat combo, etc.

    That's too much work in the eyes of the lazy people.

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blksocks
    It also eliminates any future accidents that could happen to your bike with a roof rack or tail rack. But I was not talking about a V8 but more of a V6 as they somewhat get good MPG compared to cars!

    /sigh, its always the penny pinchers that worry about gas! But I can understand if you got a family... perhaps a van?
    My first car was a Ford Ranger truck. I wanted it to haul bikes, but even though it was a small truck, it only got 16 MPG. Now I get up to 70 MPG in the insight with the bike in the hatch. If I drove the average of 15k miles/yr, which I dont because I am riding, I would save up to $2100 in gas at the burden of shoving a bike in hatch. I would call that a lot better than just penny pinching, ...more like a a frenzy in a money shower.

    Other reasons that I am anal about oil burning is treehugger in me does not like the environmental impact it causes, the cyclist in me does not breathing the exhaust filled air, and the blue blooded American in me does not like the importation of most of our oil and the exportation of the US dollar to all the un-friendly "sand countries".
    Last edited by Killroy; 12-24-2009 at 01:16 PM.

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killroy
    My first car was a Ford Ranger truck. I wanted it to haul bikes, but even though it was a small truck, it only got 16 MPG.
    The new trucks are getting better though. My mom's Tacoma regularly pulls 21-22 mpg. Extended cab, 4wd, and you can throw a snowmobile in the bed and hook up a 6x12 enclosed trailer.

    Now, my 92 3/4 ton on the other hand....we'll at least it doesn't get driven much. But when you need a truck, you need a truck. An insght wouldn't do me much good when I needed to haul a washer/dryer, mower, tools, welder, and bicycles during our move.
    "It was like a German, techno-weird, acid trip." - The Hoff -

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