Roof Mount Questions- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Roof Mount Questions

    I'm about to buy a new vehicle and am trying to make a decision on a sedan or an SUV. The sedan I'm looking at is the Acura TL and the SUV is an Acura MDX. The former is about $8,000 cheaper and gets far better gas mileage, so cost of ownership leans heavily toward the TL. My wife--who is sitting pretty in her own nice MDX now--is pushing for me to get the sedan.

    I'm concerned with a sedan, however, because I like to carry my bike with me often--particularly when I go on out of town on day trips for work and can hit trails in that area and get a ride in that day. That includes going to some cities where I have to park in parking garages. The problem is I just can't picture me wanting to drive a TL around with a hitch mount all the time. It just doesn't seem to fit for the car. I think a roof mount would look fine, but am concerned because I've never used one. (I've had a trunk mount that I used on an old sport coupe and will never go that route again). I have a Yakima hitch mount that I use with our MDX and sometimes with my current vehicle (a truck) and it works great.

    Before posting this new thread I went back and read a bunch of the old ones, which unfortunately left me a little more confused than before I started--obviously there are differences of opinion and this is in part a matter of personal choice. But I've got a few specific questions I hope some of you can answer:

    1. With a roof mount, how much wind noise is there with one or two bikes up top? What about at highway speeds (73 mph for me)?

    2. With a roof mount--and I'm spefically looking at Yakima and Thule systems with wind deflectors--how much wind noise is there when you are not carrying bikes? In other words, how much wind noise is created by the racks themselves?

    3. Does anyone on here have a hitch mount for an Acura TL? What does it look like? Got any pics? Maybe I'm off base in thinking a hitch mount would look bad.

    The cost of ownership of the TL is so much less that I'm willing to spend whatever to purchase a great roof system and even also put a hitch on it to use on those occasions when I have to go into a parking garage. The car is low enough where I wouldn't have any problem lifting my bikes up that high on a routine basis. The real concern for me is wind noise. I don't want to deal with a bunch of bothersome wind noise all the time if that is really a problem.

    I greatly appreciate any answers you can provide to these specific questions. I'm gonna get my butt kicked by my wife if I go with the MDX, but I'd rather deal with that than be stuck with a car which makes it really difficult for me in carrying bikes.

  2. #2
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    with a roof rack, you gotta watch out for low clearance especially if your gonna be pulling into parking garages with your bike on top. many people get hit going through Macdonald's too.

    hitch is by far the best method, doesn't touch the paint, doesn't stress the roof, no loss in gas mileage, easy to remove, no clearance issues with the garage. you can also put on heavy DH bikes without hurting yourself or the car. lets not forget about rock's hitting your bike chipping your paint.

    honestly, do you want to be driving around with a roof rack on your nice TL all the time? i can put and remove my hitch rack on my jeep faster then i can get my bike loaded on there.

  3. #3
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    On that kind of car I would put a hitch rack or swap cars.

  4. #4
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    Be a hero! Buy her a new TL and take her MDX off her hands. To answer the rest of your questions, i have no issues with wind noise with my Yakima setup. No problems up to about 120km/h (75mph), I don't travel any faster than that, not for extended periods of time anyway.

  5. #5
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    I can't speak to either of those cars, but as far as roof tacks in general, I have one with three bike trays, without bikes, I don't think that noise is an issue at all, I drive with my sun roof open without issue. with the bikes up there however it is going to get noisy, definitely gotta keep the sun roof shut with the bikes up there, other then that I think the rack is great, and it never gets in my way.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by af22
    hitch is by far the best method, doesn't touch the paint, doesn't stress the roof, no loss in gas mileage, easy to remove, no clearance issues with the garage. you can also put on heavy DH bikes without hurting yourself or the car. lets not forget about rock's hitting your bike chipping your paint.
    Word.

    Can't believe he would be concerned about the little hitch in the back, but ok with putting a gas-milege sucking roof rack on there that will be visible and obtuse all the time.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocks'r'friends
    Be a hero! Buy her a new TL and take her MDX off her hands. To answer the rest of your questions, i have no issues with wind noise with my Yakima setup. No problems up to about 120km/h (75mph), I don't travel any faster than that, not for extended periods of time anyway.
    I have offered to buy her a new MDX and let me take over the old one. She is too money conscious.

    Right now I'm leaning toward getting the TL and putting roof racks on it. I've talked to two other people who have told me wind noise is not an issue and they don't even notice it. I've also got a buddy who knows someone with a TL with roof racks, says it looks good, and he is going to set up a time for me to get to take a look.

    I'd love the MDX. But unfortunately my wife is right about the economics in this situation. The TL is much cheaper to own and I think one gas guzzler in the family is enough. I'm probably going to get the TL, put a roof rack on it, and put a hitch on it for those occasions where I have to go into a parking garage.

  8. #8
    Rollin' a fatty Moderator
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    If you use the fairing the noise is reduced dramatically but your millage will still be screwed.

    As I said before, get the TL put hitches on both if you can afford it so you can take either one.

  9. #9
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    I would also prefer a small suv, keeping the bike inside. however I own a sedan, bmw 3 series. I have a Thule roof rack. it mounts to hidden mounts built into the roof. I have the fairing, it really cuts the noise factor to nothing even with bikes mounted. I haven't noticed a anychange in mileage with the bike or just the rack. with a 4000 lb. plus suv there will be a drop.

    The quality of both the Thule and Yakima are the same, excellent.

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  11. #11
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    I have an audi a6 with roof rack - fairing helps but the car is definitely nosier with the roof rack - with or without bike on top than the car was when I used a saris bones trunk rack. BUT I prefer the thule roof rack - I have 2 bike holders that take 24" to 29" wheeled bikes and the rack doesn't touch the bike frames - I have 20mm thru axle forks so it is more convenient than the fork mount racks and I like the easy boot (trunk) acces a rof rack offers. If I were to get another car I would consider trying a hitch - sincve you can get after market hitch's for any make of car just about but I am not disappointed with the roof rack.

  12. #12
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    A couple of items that you didn't ask about but are probably worth mentioning when you are looking at a roof rack. Your gas mileage will probably suffer (YMMV literally), my Honda which normally gets 33 now averages 27 mpg.

    Also, there may come a time when your bike and roof meet, by accident, and it might not be pretty. Not that I have any experience with a bike falling over onto my cars roof

  13. #13
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    My buddy has a Yakima roof system on his Audi A6 and he accidentally tore the bike off of his roof when he entered a parkade one day. Bad news... cost a lot to fix everything. Bike was fine, interestingly enough. The system itself is great however and I've got 3 King Cobra attachments on my old Bronco. The height of the truck (7 feet to the roof) as well as the locking mechanism for each fixture offers some security, if that's a concern to you at all. It is for me, in Vancouver, BC. The other nice thing about the roof rack is that it can also support 2 canoes, multiple kayaks, and a myriad of other attachments without getting in the way. I think it's an ideal solution for those with backloaded 4x4s.
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