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  1. #1
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    Roof rack or rear mounted?

    Hi everyone,

    Just wanted to ask everyones thoughts on whether a roof rack mounted bike carrier is better than a rear door one. I'm toying with getting one of the two after Christmas but can't decide which. Couple of my mates say def a roof mounted one as it's safter, yet I read on a mtb forum recently of this guy who mounted his bike for it to fall to the side onto his roof 5 mins later (the wheels were still attached with straps luckily). Can anyone recommend a good make to minimise the horrible thought of your bike freeriding off into the bushes on the motorway?......man that'd be awful......

    cheers

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by zzeNN
    Hi everyone,

    Just wanted to ask everyones thoughts on whether a roof rack mounted bike carrier is better than a rear door one. I'm toying with getting one of the two after Christmas but can't decide which. Couple of my mates say def a roof mounted one as it's safter, yet I read on a mtb forum recently of this guy who mounted his bike for it to fall to the side onto his roof 5 mins later (the wheels were still attached with straps luckily). Can anyone recommend a good make to minimise the horrible thought of your bike freeriding off into the bushes on the motorway?......man that'd be awful......

    cheers
    Yakima.

    On the other hand, who needs a rack? I've got an Element....
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    Last edited by BruceBrown; 12-08-2006 at 05:23 AM.

  3. #3
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    Thule. Both work equally well. I started off with a trunk/rear rack for the first few years of riding (a Thule 2 bike) and it worked great, but the bikes got really dirty. I've been using a roof rack (fork mnt) since about '01. Love it, but make sure you know how high it is to the top of your bike when it's mounted so you won't go under anything shorter (eg: drive through windows, underground garages, your garage, etc.) and whack the bikes. ;-)

  4. #4
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    i have had the same roof rack

    On my last three cars.It is a yakima and you would not believe what it has carried. Twice over the last eleven years I have had mishaps with the Yak. Both times it was user error. Once I tried to bolt a fork mount in the dark, and the second time I was transporting a homemade recumbent. Both time the bikes fell over in their mounts but remained attached to the car. In addition to its regular compliment of two mtbs, it is an endless help transporting strange things home from Home depot and Loews and such. One of my better purchases. Jim

  5. #5
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    Saris Cycle on or similar, best of both worlds.

    Beware of attack trained trees.

  6. #6
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    I have owned just about every style rack...

    and the best by far are the ones on the back that clamp the tires. Nothing to take off or lift up high. Nothing to tear off because forgot before you drove into the garage. Your gas milage is also not affected. It might get a littke dirty, but it is a mtn bike or you could just put a cover over them. Hope you don't live in a part of the country with love bugs or similar, cause I could just imagine what the bikes would look like afterwards if you have aroof rack.

    One thing though....roff racks look cool.

    Later Mon.

  7. #7
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    I HIGHLY recommend the Sportworks (now owned by Thule) hitch mount. I love it. I easily transport 4 bikes. The newer version can easily accomodate 29er wheels and/or fat DH tires. My bikes dont have quick release front wheels so it is that much better to not have to fuss with removing the wheel....takes seconds to load a bike. Thumbs up for sure.
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  8. #8
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    I agree with fo shizzle. That rack is the best I have ever used and I've used just about all the different kinds. I have no worries mounting 2 DH bikes with 3.0" tires both weighing about 50lbs on the thule T2 and bombing ot the trails doing 85 mph on the highway. Thule also claims you can load a bike in 30 seconds or less on this rack and they are right...its that easy.

  9. #9
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    Hitch rack list of Pros:

    - Easy load / unload
    - Minimize impact on gas mileage, especially on wagons & SUVs
    - No smashed bugs

    Hitch rack list of Cons:

    - Rack blocks liftgate when stowed
    - Generally heavy
    - Bikes block tail lights / fear of rear-end collision

    Roof Rack list of Pros:

    - Rack is out of the way when not in use
    - Bikes are up high, easier to watch if you have to park somewhere
    - Bikes are out of harms way from other drivers

    Roof Rack list of Cons:

    - Hit on gas mileage
    - Bugs
    - Noisier drive
    - Have to heft bikes; difficult on tall vehicles or for shorter riders
    - Potential of hitting garage / tree branch / drive thru, $$

    I made this list based on long histories with both types of racks. I'm sure I missed some items from my list.

    I have chosen a roof rack. I grew tired of constant liftgate access problems with my hitch rack. I was scared my brake lights weren't visible when two or more bikes loaded. I didn't like the thought that, if rear ended, the hitch rack rendered my bumper useless and transferred all of the impact directly to my car's frame. I was constantly worried that grandma in the burrito shop parking lot would back into my bikes, and I didn't like that they were out-of-view and easy pickings for somebody with an allen wrench.

    The roof rack makes my bikes highly visibile if I want to run in for a cup of coffee. Grandma and her Olds 88 can't touch them. However, my drive is noisier with the rack on, and there is no getting around that my fuel economy is impacted (to ease this I try to stick to the speed limit). I've also had to accept the responsibility of not crunching these bikes into anything low-hanging; my vertical clearance is 9'0", and I have to be constantly aware of that. My roof rack does not require wheel removal, making it about as quick to load as my hitch rack.

    For me, neither system is perfect, but I like what I ended up with. Your criteria will probably be different than mine so hopefully your choice will be easier.
    speedub.nate
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  10. #10
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    You forgot the fact that a hitch-mount is more secure than a roof-mount any day. Most vehicles can not take much load on top of the roof, and when you go into a turn, you increase that load due to the G-forces, so that is another point for the hitch rack, not to mention that a roof rack will impact handling more severely.

    I went with the Thule (sportworks) T2 as well, and I like the very minimal impact on milege. The fact that I can "tilt" it down with two bikes on the rack to access the rear door of my wagon is also a bonus, so there is no disadvantage there.

    If you are driving a LOT, your bikes will get dirty on any rack, especially if there's any moisture involved.
    "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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  11. #11
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    I think if all you're ever gonna need to carry are bikes, then a rear mounted rack is the best bet. However, if you do all manner of outdoor sports, you'll probably find that a Thule/Yakima style roof rack with crossbars has the most utility. I've had a Thule rack on my Golf for the past 7 years and it's been invaluable. I've got bike, surfboard, and ski attachments, and use them all multiple times per year. The surf attachment is also helpful to clamp my sit-on-top kayak to one place on the rack, and then strap it down.

    Also, get a pair of those load straps with the mini cam buckles. They're cheap, and they've helped me strap down everything from my kayak, to ladders, to a queen size bed, with no problems whatsoever.

  12. #12
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    I would say that depends on your car/truck/suv. What do you have? I just installed a Yakima over my truck bed. So I could still carrything under it. I like this. I also have a htich mount and a trunk mount that I use on my wifes small suv. I would say if you have a larger truck or suv go with the hitch mount. If you have a car or something else the the reach hieght would not be great on then it's up to what you like best. Remember how are you going to remove the bike when thinking of wich one to go with.

  13. #13
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    I'd say you have some soul searching to do young grasshopper. You most likely need to look at the automobile you are driving. Will it fit a hitch? How many bikes are you gonna haul? I'd say if the only thing you are ever going to transport is bikes, look to the hitch rack. If you are going to ever have a need for a basket, or rocket box kinda thing, or skis and snowboards, a roof rack is your only choice. I personally use a roof rack due to the security features it offers over the hitch mount option, and i also use a rocket box on top for gear stowage. It's all about needs. What do you NEED?

  14. #14
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    And if you get rear ended?

    There are negatives to all of them.

  15. #15
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    Don't see an included lock. You have to use a cable bike lock to keep them from being stolen?

    Also the straps that hold the wheels in place deteriorate over time so keep spare ones handy.

    Look out for tailgaters! :-)

    They're all good!

  16. #16
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    I have both that I use on my Jeep Liberty and Toyota Matrix....

    Yakima Bighorn hitch rack (on both Jeep & Toyota)
    Pros:
    ** Easy to load and unload
    ** Holds lots of bikes
    Cons:
    ** Adds more wind resistance = gas hit. Terrible on the Toyota
    ** Usually remove it if we are camping
    ** Heavy

    Roof racks on the Jeep: Mopar load bars + RockyMounts Noose SLX
    Pros:
    ** Mopar bars are aerodynamic and add almost no noise
    ** Bikes are out of the way
    ** Bikes are locked on and can't be stolen easily
    ** Better aerodynamics than a hitch rack
    ** Rocky's work on all bars.

    Cons:
    ** Heavy bikes are a pain in the ass!~!~!
    ** Bugs, and branches
    ** Added wind noise once loaded.

    ALL racks have issues. It's all about what is more important to you. I have lighter bikes so roof racks work much better for me. I also how found that hitch racks on cars are horrible on gas mileage in comparison to roof racks.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by fred3
    And if you get rear ended?

    There are negatives to all of them.
    If you get rear ended, with a rack or without, it's going to suck. I've seen no real evidence that putting a rack on increases the chance of getting rear ended. At night brake lights are pretty damn visable, rack or no rack.
    "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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  18. #18
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    buy a truck and call it a day.....

  19. #19
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    Depending on your vehicle, one thing that can possibly work is a "hybrid" installation of a roof rack. I used this on my old Trooper for a few long road trips and it worked well - but it also has a couple of potential drawbacks: Mount the rear bar of a roof rack all the way to the back on a van or SUV, if it will do it. Put the fork mounts on this bar. Attach the bikes to the rack, hanging down the rear of the vehicle. Tie down the rear wheel to keep it from bouncing. I never had a problem with the mount, did one trip from San Diego to Moab and one to Crested Butte with this set up and 3 bikes. I DID have a second bar up ahead, with a Basket on it, and as a "just in case" ran a tie down from each bike to the bar in front, just in the event that the rear bar failed. Gas mileage was great, and overhead concerns were virtually reduced to nothing. I usually carry the bikes inside my SUV - that's why I drive one. Harder with thru-axles, but a Maxle works so well it's now no issue.

    If you're in an area with a lot of overhead obstacles, or doing long trips, I'd go with the Hitch mount. If your runs are more local, and mileage is not as much a concern, then the roof mounts are safer in stop-and-go traffic.

  20. #20
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    I've owned a Yakima roof rack on my lowered Prelude for about 4 months or so and I've hit my bike on a high pole and an awning already. The bike was undamaged but the vehicle specific clamps that hold the towers to the car slid back on the rears and the fronts slid and actually uprooted from the car. Luckily, that absorbed the impact and my bike was fine both times. The second time tho, the rail that holds the tire made contact with the edge of the roof near the rear glass and it dented the metal and also the rear tower slid back and could go no further so it bent the metal by the corner of the side door window frame. Yes, I'm retarded =P

  21. #21
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    I have a roof mounted rack on my wagon. I have never hit anything with the bike, but I do pay attention to what I'm driving under. I like roof mounted options because you still have full access to the trunk/hatch of the vehicle. When I go camping, I leave the bikes locked on the roof of the car at night, but regularly need to get in to the hatch to get items we need for the site, or to lock them up for the evening. The roof mount is nice in that situation.

    I have the Yakima setup, with the Yakima Viper (awesome) and the steel head (sucks).
    :wq

  22. #22
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    Fred3...The t2 has a lock to lock it to the vehicle and locks for each bike on the "arm" that holds the bike. I also use a cable lock from my hitch around the bikes...If you think about it you could have 10 grand sitting on the back of your car but if someone wants it you could have 100 locks but if t hey are determined enough they are still going to get it. The T2 doesn't come with these locks and you need to buy them extra but if you have $4000 to drop on a bike or $400 on a rack spend the extra 60 dollars or so on locks and have a fighting chance at keeping the bikes and the rack.

  23. #23
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    So any idea if there is a rack that works with a dual tyre carrier on the back? It's an 80 series landcruiser. I'm not allowed to get a roof rack, the bike fits in the back when there are no kids in the rear seats & no luggage. Both wheels on the carrier need to swing out to provide access to the boot area.
    On longer trips we normally tow a camping trailer - but if I wanted to take the bike on those I'd probably put it on a rack (lying down though!) that the camper has on top of it.Or figure out something else.

    Ahhh the hurdels of having a partner whos not into mtbiking!

    energetix



  24. #24
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    Have a fab shop weld a hitch to the back of the tire carrier and mount any hitch mount you want.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonicsuby
    I like roof mounted options because you still have full access to the trunk/hatch of the vehicle. When I go camping, I leave the bikes locked on the roof of the car at night, but regularly need to get in to the hatch to get items we need for the site, or to lock them up for the evening. The roof mount is nice in that situation.

    I have the Yakima setup, with the Yakima Viper (awesome) and the steel head (sucks).
    Well, true you have full access with a roof rack, but I have full access to the hatch on my subie with the thule hitch-rack, because it tilts down. So just because you might want a hitch rack does not mean that it will limit you from getting into the vehicle.
    "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

    You're turning black metallic.

  26. #26
    Going for a ride......
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    I've seen ones that swing out as well - kind of like the tyre carriers on the back of our vehicle. I guess these sort of contraptions tend to have a "pain in the arse" stigma attatched to it more than anything where in reality it's pretty simple and only takes an extra few seconds than it normally would.
    energetix



  27. #27
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    Since I'd have to get all manner of extras to put a roof rack on my CRV, I'm looking at their spare tire mount rack.
    http://www.thuleracks.com/thule/prod..._id=22&sku=963

  28. #28
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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by njhcx4xlife
    I agree with fo shizzle. That rack is the best I have ever used and I've used just about all the different kinds. I have no worries mounting 2 DH bikes with 3.0" tires both weighing about 50lbs on the thule T2 and bombing ot the trails doing 85 mph on the highway. Thule also claims you can load a bike in 30 seconds or less on this rack and they are right...its that easy.
    I'll also give my thumbs up vote for this rack. Ever since I put a T2 on the back of my car, I've wondered how I managed without it. Very stable, even in 50 mph crosswinds (where I live in Montana is reputed to be the windiest (if that's a word) place in the 48 states). Easy to put a bike on and take it off, no frame to frame contact and no vehicle/bike contact. They're not cheap in terms of price, but they are excellent racks.

  29. #29
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    Thanks for all your help guys. I live in England and have a fairly small Rover hatchback car. I can get racks for both the rear and roof, however it's a conundrum deciding which to buy that will benefit me the most. The roof will be the most expensive, as I firstly need to buy the roof rails seperately before buying the bike mount. Hmmmmmmmm............
    I'm slowly persueding my wife to take up mountain biking with me (as we are both avid walkers too so she already enjoys the outdoors/mountain terrain) and so far she's been using her sisters old bike to join me on short local rides. So, I'm hoping I'll be able to by another mount to fit on the roof for her bike eventually. I'm still thinking about a rear mounted one, but realise that it'll almost be the same price as a roof one will the addition of buying a set of lights/number plate to mount to the carrier once the bikes are on board. Maybe I should get a towbar and buy a carrier that'll mount to that? - hmmmmmm....

    Thanks everyone anyway - you've really helped me out.......

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZenZhu
    Since I'd have to get all manner of extras to put a roof rack on my CRV, I'm looking at their spare tire mount rack.
    http://www.thuleracks.com/thule/prod..._id=22&sku=963
    Hey ZenZhu - I have a CRV and was all set to get the Thule T2 when someone pointed out the Thule Spare me that you are looking at.
    It's great for the CRV. I bought it a month ago and am really happy with it.
    Here are the pros....
    - Less than half the price of the Thule T2 (Thereís a few deals around Ė I got mine for $118)
    - stays on the car permanently (the arms just fold down)
    - handles the offset of the rear tire (not quite enough, but it helps)
    - the bike swings with the tail gate and you can easily get in and out of the back of the car with the bike attached to the car.
    - sits up high above the exhaust fumes/other sedan/smaller car impact zone, and does not obscure the number plate - so no need to mount or change the number plate in any way.
    - It's really quick to get the bike on and off
    - I add 2 simple stretch straps, one for the front wheel and one locking the pedal to the rack frame, with just that it is solidly on the car (off road tested and didn't move an inch)

    Here are the cons....
    ... I can't think of any, maybe that it has a 2 bike max and the bikes would be quite close together if you had two on.

    This thing is just simple and it works.
    While my friends are still struggling trying to lift their bikes onto their roof racks, Iím done in an instant.

  31. #31
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    Don't know if this helped....

    Quote Originally Posted by fred3
    And if you get rear ended?

    There are negatives to all of them.
    I have yet to get rear ended, I pulled off the cap from the main frame and installed a large brake light with the cable running inside the frame to the trailer plug.

  32. #32
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    Having run with bikes on the roof of my van and on a hitch rack behind. I'd go hitch rack. The extra wind resistance is what kills it for me. Bikes might get some road grime on them, but wet wipes clean them up pretty quick. If you are worried about people not seeing your brake lights you can make a light bar for fairly cheap that plugs into trailer hitch light hookups and hang it off the last bike on the rack.
    HB - The God Damn Flying Dutchman
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by rural
    Hey ZenZhu - I have a CRV and was all set to get the Thule T2 when someone pointed out the Thule Spare me that you are looking at.
    Thanks for the review. I figure it's the best bet out of the ones I've looked at, but getting an opinion on it really helps.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by FoShizzle
    I HIGHLY recommend the Sportworks (now owned by Thule) hitch mount. I love it. I easily transport 4 bikes. The newer version can easily accomodate 29er wheels and/or fat DH tires. My bikes dont have quick release front wheels so it is that much better to not have to fuss with removing the wheel....takes seconds to load a bike. Thumbs up for sure.

    fastest and easiest in my opinion too
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  35. #35
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    Why choose?

    I've been using roof rack on different vehicles for 21 years with no problems. Using rear rack for almost as long with similar success. I have both available depending on the situation, and have needed both at various times. Using both, I was able to have a capacity of nine bikes and use my old Honda Accord as a shuttle vehicle 15 years ago. With the ski box off, I have a nine bike capacity on the Explorer.
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    You forgot the fact that a hitch-mount is more secure than a roof-mount any day. Most vehicles can not take much load on top of the roof, and when you go into a turn, you increase that load due to the G-forces, so that is another point for the hitch rack, not to mention that a roof rack will impact handling more severely.

    I went with the Thule (sportworks) T2 as well, and I like the very minimal impact on milege. The fact that I can "tilt" it down with two bikes on the rack to access the rear door of my wagon is also a bonus, so there is no disadvantage there.

    If you are driving a LOT, your bikes will get dirty on any rack, especially if there's any moisture involved.
    I like my hitch rack, but driving on winter roads the bike does get dirty from all the spray behind the car. My disk rotors howl like crazy from the snow/dirt/salt etc. On the roof there's not quite as much muck.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by fsrxc
    On the roof there's not quite as much muck.
    Yeah, but I've spent a large part of my life in the high country/ski country and I've transported enough stuff on top (skis, bikes, etc) to know that there's still a lot of crap that gets on them even when they're up there. Less? Sure, but there's still crap getting on em on top.
    "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

    You're turning black metallic.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZenZhu
    Since I'd have to get all manner of extras to put a roof rack on my CRV, I'm looking at their spare tire mount rack.
    http://www.thuleracks.com/thule/prod..._id=22&sku=963

    I've got the Spare Me on my CRV. It is a little flimsy in terms of how it secures itself to the tire mount. It is perfectly secure (it's not going to fall off) but it had a bit of play (leaned over to one side) before I went to the hardware store and did some creative re-enforcement. Now it is fine. In fact, the CR-V with a tire mounted rack is the best bike hauling settup I've ever encountered and for me was one of the big selling points of the vehicle in the first place. I have not seen the new CRV's, but I hope they kept the swinging gate.

    The only other comment I have about the rack is those cradles, while EXTREMELY versitile, break often. With weekly use I replace 1 or 2 a year. The rubber just snaps.

  39. #39
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    I have a 2005 CR-V with the Thule 937xT hitch rack. I am selling it and getting the T2.
    I have seen it in action and see it as super quick and easy.

    My bikes have taken beatings with the 937XT and I have to add foam and bungies to keep them from rubbing. The T2 eliminates that. My bikes weigh 35 to 40lbs and putting them on a tire carrier scares me. It would be nice to easily open the back but I can get to stuff through the side door. Plus the T2 folds down and up.
    Oh and the new 2007 CR-V does not have a exterior spare and the back opens upward.

    Roof racks aren't more secure than hitch racks IMO. You have locking options on both. The locks on roof racks are more of a deterrent. I can rip a bike off a roof rack in seconds with the proper tools. Locked or not.

    I see no statistical probability that getting rear ended is more likely than driving into the garage or drive through with the bikes on. I'd bet that if you polled rack owners more people have slammed their bikes into an overhang than were rear ended.

    My CR-V's brake lights are way up high on the vehicle so they are not blocked by the bikes at all.

    All my bikes have 20MM axles and it makes it harder to mount on a roof rack. You need to buy a $30.00 or more adapter.

    I also think roof rack boxes are stupid. I would love to see the gas mileage decrease that those things cause. I see people all the time with small vehicles and roof boxes. Just buy a bigger vehicle. They are usually safer and the gas mileage is probably the same.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by wormvine
    I also think roof rack boxes are stupid. I would love to see the gas mileage decrease that those things cause. I see people all the time with small vehicles and roof boxes. Just buy a bigger vehicle. They are usually safer and the gas mileage is probably the same.
    As an owner of one of those stupid boxes, I'll tell you they are awesome on a roadtrip. Even if it only adds 20 extra cubic feet, it is more valuable then if it were added to the interior. I can throw loads of smaller things up there and it's like having a big suitcase. All that crap in the car would be rolling all over the place. Great for skiis and snowboards because the moistier does not fog up the windows. Plus, your skiis are not in plain sight.

    Best of all, you can take it off.

    I bought a CRV for the room, but to be honest, having tried a roof box, I wish I had gotten something smaller and just stuck the box on when I need it. The gas mileage is about 1 mpg less with a 21 cubic foot box. As a general rule, larger vehicles get lower mileage, and you can't take off the part you are not using.

  41. #41
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    I hear what you are saying bro but who takes them off on a regular basis.
    I am hard pressed to believe it is only 1 mpg but I will take your word on that.

    The CR-V isn't exacly a big vehicle. I guess you could get a Prius and "Rack it up".
    And I think you can pack a little better than what you have stated.

    I am not really trying to offend anyone but I see little cars everywhere now with racks galore and no one takes them off. It's more like a "my racks more extensive than yours" kind of thing. They are almost as bad as the double rack box hummer I saw the other day or the tacoma with a bike rack, rack box, etc. suspended over the bed. Just seems a little silly to me.

    Now a truck topper with a built in compartment on top would be cool.

  42. #42
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    So anyone had one of these? At the moment it seems like it looks to be the best option for our rig - anyone know wether it's very durable off road? It's a Thule Spare Me

    but I'd still have to take the wheel off the bike!
    energetix



  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by wormvine
    I hear what you are saying bro but who takes them off on a regular basis.
    I am hard pressed to believe it is only 1 mpg but I will take your word on that.

    The CR-V isn't exacly a big vehicle. I guess you could get a Prius and "Rack it up".
    And I think you can pack a little better than what you have stated.

    I am not really trying to offend anyone but I see little cars everywhere now with racks galore and no one takes them off. It's more like a "my racks more extensive than yours" kind of thing. They are almost as bad as the double rack box hummer I saw the other day or the tacoma with a bike rack, rack box, etc. suspended over the bed. Just seems a little silly to me.

    Now a truck topper with a built in compartment on top would be cool.
    Most people I know who have them don't keep them on all of the time. Though some do.

    The point is, they are very useful. When I had my box on in Tahoe and I was doing a lot of outdoors stuff (snowboarding, biking, camping) I found myself sticking stuff in it even when the car was empty. Sure I could pack it in the car, It is just more convienient to put some stuff in the box. That's why people have them. I'm sure I could do a better job packing when I need to, but the box was often easier.

    What is a "big" vehicle? In terms of interior room it's up there with most mid-sized suv. Room-wise there is a whole fleet of vehicles beween a prius and a CR-V. Pretty much anything that is not an SUV or a minivan. It's among the roomiest "crossovers". When I say something smaller I had in mind something like a Forester. The mileage is about 5 mpg better, and drives like a real car, not a crossover or truck.

    I check my mileage at almost every tank (I'm a little obsesive about it) It was generally around 24-25 with the box and now it is about 25-26, but closer to 25. This could be due to this particular vehicle and how the wind rolls over it. Strangely enough, the tiny fairing I used to have (with no box) made a bigger difference in mileage even though the cross section was smaller.

    I agree that boxes are often fashion accessories for people's vehicles (same is true for 95% of the vehicles themselves), but in some cases they make perfect sense. I never had one until three years ago, but now I'm sold.

    I'm with you on the Hummer thing, though they need the racks because despite the fact that they are as big as some places I've lived, there are not very big inside. God, don't get me started on the sheer stupidity of the H2. Who would name a truck after a slang term for oral sex? I think someone needs to sell an armored vehilce with tank treads, plush seats and a DVD player in the back that soccer moms can drive. They would eat it up.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by wormvine
    I am hard pressed to believe it is only 1 mpg but I will take your word on that.
    FWIW, I use a cargo box on my Subaru Legacy wagon for ski trips, and 1 MPG in reduced fuel economy is pretty accurate, but with a catch... only if I drive the speed limit (and this goes for bikes, too).

    Tip the speedo to 80-85 MPH and game over: I'll quickly drop from the 29-30 range down to the 22 MPG range.

    But guess what? Sans box (or rack), lead foot driving will get me down below the 25 MPG range every time.

    It is ironic that so many friends and co-workers obsess about mileage figures, but ignore this basic tenant of conservation. Even my wife, who recently chose a Toyota Corolla as a daily commuter almost entirely based on its 41 MPG EPA estimate, can't resist the urge to pass *somebody* every second she is on the freeway. Meanwhile, her fuel economy has been languishing in the low 30s.

    Shoot, give me a roof rack with two bikes or a cargo box, a handful of good CDs and a cruise control, and I'l entertain myself for hours trying to keep my MPG from dropping below 30.
    speedub.nate
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  45. #45
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    I too am considering getting a hitch put on my Subaru Outback and getting the Thule T2 for my up an coming DH bike. I have had a Thule roof rack with the Big Mouths and its been great. But I dont feel like lifting a 44 pound DH bike up there. The only thing I am worried about is the added weight of a hitch (seeing as my car already doesnt have "loads" of power). Does anyone have a Subaru Outback or Legacy wagon with a hitch? Pictures?
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  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheProphet
    I too am considering getting a hitch put on my Subaru Outback and getting the Thule T2 for my up an coming DH bike. I have had a Thule roof rack with the Big Mouths and its been great. But I dont feel like lifting a 44 pound DH bike up there. The only thing I am worried about is the added weight of a hitch (seeing as my car already doesnt have "loads" of power). Does anyone have a Subaru Outback or Legacy wagon with a hitch? Pictures?
    I've got a 2000 Nissan Altima with a 2.4L 170 (well, it was 170) hp engine. 161,000 miles on it with a T2 hitch and it works. Excellent ground clearance and no problem pulling 2 bikes. I suffer a very slight reduction in mpg. If my Altima can pull a T2, your soob can. I bet my car is way underpowered compared to yours. If you want a pic, I think I can arrange it.

  47. #47
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    Sure that would be great. Well lets see, mine is 165 HP with a 2.5L, in an automatic. Add two bikes to the back and a bunch of gear that adds weight. Haha. I have put three bikes on my roof weighing in at around a 100 pounds so I guess I could do it on the back and that my be more secure. I heard you able to lock the T2 and the bikes to the car so. Did you get a 1.25 or a 2 inch receiver for your car?
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  48. #48
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    I have the 1 1/4 inch model. My car can only accept a Class I hitch. I'll take some pics later on today and get 'em posted. If you were able to haul your bikes on the rooftop, you should have no problem with the hitch mounted rack. Plan on about 50 lbs for the entire rack plus 30 lbs or so for a class I hitch. As for locking the bikes, I run a cable through the opening on the hitch where the safety chains would be hooked up if I was pulling a trailer. Someone on here recommended locks/chains by ABUS. They're expensive, but they seem well worth it if they're the hardest stuff around.

    Thule says that you can't haul more than 2 bikes with the 1 1/4 inch T2. Mine has the holes drilled at the end of the shaft for the additional trays but it seems that it would cause excessive stress/fatigue for the rack itself.

  49. #49
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    Yea, I will have to see what size hitch my car can take. The only reason why I plan on getting a hitch is because I am getting a DH bike, meaning lifting that b***h and putting it on top of the car will be a chore. Also I am afraid that if I put to many heavy bikes on top, it could cause more damage. I am a tall guy though (6'3") so lifting it height wise wouldnt be bad, but the hitch just sounds easy and I can get Thule stuff easy. So the T2 looks good.
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  50. #50
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    Pics of T2

    Here are some pics I took this evening of my T2 installed on the Altima.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  51. #51
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    Not so sure that there is a big difference in MPG between hitch and roof, especially with a sedan.

    I have a hitch rach on my Jetta TDI and with the bikes being perpendicular to the windflow, there is a lot of drag.....I can tell just driving the car, especially behind semi trucks. So much that I dont even take it on the highway anymore. I think with a SUV or wagon a hitch rach would be way better, but there is just too much bike to catch the wind coming over the back of a sedan.......I aim to get a roof rack and see how that works.........

    Heres a pic......with just one bike, no front tire.......

    I also had to lift the car 2 inches to help with ground clearance........and for other reasons
    Attached Images Attached Images

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattsteve
    Not so sure that there is a big difference in MPG between hitch and roof, especially with a sedan.
    Aerodynamics do not lie.

    On the other hand, if you aren't going real fast or hitting the highway much, you're not going fast enough for parasite drag to increase significantly.

    I'm sure the fact that your bike sticks out so much above your car doesn't help though.
    "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

    You're turning black metallic.

  53. #53
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    Thanks for the pics man. That rack looks awesome. I will soon find out what I am going to do. I have to get the hitch installed then I will go about getting the rack. I hope I will still be able to access the tailgate.
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  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheProphet
    Thanks for the pics man. That rack looks awesome. I will soon find out what I am going to do. I have to get the hitch installed then I will go about getting the rack. I hope I will still be able to access the tailgate.
    I'm guessing that you won't have too much of a problem with opening the tailgate as long as you tilt the rack down. The only thing that's awkward is getting to your stuff as the rack will be somewhat in the way.

  55. #55
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    Yea well I could always just fold down a seat and get it that way come to think of it. Haha.
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  56. #56
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    I never realized how much I appreciated fold down seats until I had to use 'em. I think every car should be equipped with that feature as standard equipment.

  57. #57
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    Saris - roof and trunk mounted

    I have a wonderful Saris brand roof rack that locks the bike in place and keeps the wheels on the bike. A rotating arm reaches up to grab the down tube and it has a key lock. You lift the bike into a tray that holds both wheels, then put the arm on the frame. Then you strap each wheel to the tray. I did forget the straps once (you will get the message the first time that you screwed up), and at the first stop sign, the bike pitched forward onto the windshield.

    The roof rack worked very well (I am 6'2" tall, so I can reach it easily) on the first two cars I owned with it. The third car was about two inches taller, and the bike would not fit under places I used to be able to drive.

    So I bought a Saris trunk-mounted rack. It does not lock. And you must follow the mounting instructions carefully, especially when positioning the straps ... it has six of them. Two straps on the top edge of the trunk. Two straps on the bottom edge. Where I have seen people go wrong is when they do the side straps. Two straps go to the left and right sides of the trunk lid.

    I mounted the rack so that I can still open the trunk ... without bikes on the rack, of course.

    Minor problem: I have a 3-bike carrier. The space between each bike is too small. My handlebar pokes through the spokes of her bike.

    I have an old laptop securing cable that I use because I lost the key. I wrap the loop around the center of the carrier and run the other end into the trunk. There I tie a crude knot around the handle of my tool box. I am hoping it slows down a would-be thief long enough for me to ... well, anyway.

  58. #58
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    The photo of the Altima at the end of page 1, demonstrates precisely why people worry about being rear ended. ( Assuming that it is used that way on the highway)

    If i was behind that car i would not be thinking positive thoughts about the drivers bike rack set up.

    The registration of the vehicle is 21-4??????? from the State of ?????? and the tail lights/brake lights are badly obscured.

    Here in the UK it is illegal to have any of the lights/ registration plate obscured. You must fit a trailer board to the rack/bikes.

    As it is pretty much standard to have an electrical take off with any tow ball, it is simplicity itself to use a light board.

    My light board ( originally bought for my boat trailer ) cost £15 ( $25 ). So cost is really not an issue.

    My Peugeot station wagon, has all the lights high up, well above the top of the bikes. But, as my registration plate is obscured, i always use the light board as well.

    You know it makes sense !!

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by stucol
    The photo of the Altima at the end of page 1, demonstrates precisely why people worry about being rear ended. ( Assuming that it is used that way on the highway)

    If i was behind that car i would not be thinking positive thoughts about the drivers bike rack set up.

    The registration of the vehicle is 21-4??????? from the State of ?????? and the tail lights/brake lights are badly obscured.

    Here in the UK it is illegal to have any of the lights/ registration plate obscured. You must fit a trailer board to the rack/bikes.

    As it is pretty much standard to have an electrical take off with any tow ball, it is simplicity itself to use a light board.

    My light board ( originally bought for my boat trailer ) cost £15 ( $25 ). So cost is really not an issue.

    My Peugeot station wagon, has all the lights high up, well above the top of the bikes. But, as my registration plate is obscured, i always use the light board as well.

    You know it makes sense !!
    The plate issue is also a problem with newly purchased SUVs or any other vehicle that has a tinted window with a temp. registration sticker in the rear windshield. No officer would be able to read it from a distance. Where I live, that's not an issue, really.

    For lights and visibility issues, I'm thinking about affixing retroreflective tape onto the hitch itself for added visibility (the same stuff used by semi-trailers on commercial vehicles). I also can mount rear stop lamps into the rearmost tray just as if I was towing a trailer, another vehicle, etc.

    No bike carrier will be perfect. In fact, the perfect scenario for me would be to just bike everywhere and never own a car.

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