Roof rack on SUV- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Roof rack on SUV

    I've got a Ford Explorer and have a hitch for it. I've been thinking about a roof rack for the explorer (because my other car's got a roof rack and I'm selling it, so now I've got a roof rack). However, my concern will be getting the bikes on top of the car. I'm 5'6" and know I'm obviously on the smaller side of things. Would I be laughed at for using a step stool?? How tall are YOU when using your roof rack on YOUR suv. I wanna know if anyone else is out there in my situation. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I'm 5'10 and I have a roof rack on my Honda Pilot. Without the running boards it would be next to impossible to get the bikes up there without a stool. I had the Anklebiter mounts at first but it was to hard to hold the bike and secure the clamp on the crank arm so I went with the King Cobra which holds the front wheel instead. I've never used Thule so I can't comment on their mounts.
    If your vehicle has running boards you should be fine. A friend of mine has a Suburban and he uses a fork mount rack with no problems and he's like 5'10 as well.

    Good Luck and watch the parking garages!

  3. #3
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    The car has running boards, but they're practically useless. They don't come out far enough to be useful for even stepping into the car, so I'd imagine it to be even more difficult to try to hold a bike in between yourself and the car, and then step on the running boards.

    I know to watch for parking garages, and atms, and drive throughs
    I've had my fair share of problems. But thanks for the friendly warning.

  4. #4
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    With my sedan, it's not a super simple task to put the bikes up top already. I know for a fact that I'd need a step stool if I put it on the SUV. I might end up selling the rack and just using the hitch. I've been checking out one of those flat tray style racks for the hitch.

  5. #5
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    I have a roof mount on my Toyota RAV4, not a very tall vehicle comparatively. After spending 4 to 6 hours riding, depending on how much of a pounding my shoulders and arms have taken, or after I've bonked, it can be a painfull to hoist 30 pounds of bike up onto the roof like that, and I'm 6'2". Keep in mind that you've gotta lift it with one hand on the fork and one hand one the seat tube, and do it with you're arms pretty much extended straight out and up. That seat tube can feel pretty high.

    My recommendation is stay with the hitch rack. And yes, sooner or later, whether it's at the drivethrough at the bank or taco bell or pulling into a garage, the odds are that you will hear that sickening crunch that reminds you you used to have bikes up there. I switched to a hitch rack for that reason. Then again, I switched back to a roof rack in my pic, because my son backed the hitch rack into a wall and bent it all to hell. watcha gonna do
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by notenoughtime
    I've got a Ford Explorer and have a hitch for it. I've been thinking about a roof rack for the explorer (because my other car's got a roof rack and I'm selling it, so now I've got a roof rack). However, my concern will be getting the bikes on top of the car. I'm 5'6" and know I'm obviously on the smaller side of things. Would I be laughed at for using a step stool?? How tall are YOU when using your roof rack on YOUR suv. I wanna know if anyone else is out there in my situation. Thanks.
    I also have a roof rack on my Ford Explorer although at 6'1" I don't have any reach problems to the roof. I don't need to use the running boards to get my bikes on top but it does help a bit. I have seen plenty of people use a step stool to get the job done and see no problem with it.
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  7. #7
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    I think it's a pain in the ass to get bikes up on/off a roof rack on an SUV, especially if you have to remove the front wheel and all that crap. I like my hitch rack. No wheel removal, no worrying about low roofs.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim311
    I think it's a pain in the ass to get bikes up on/off a roof rack on an SUV, especially if you have to remove the front wheel and all that crap. I like my hitch rack. No wheel removal, no worrying about low roofs.

    I"m 5-3 and I had to get out a stepladder for the roof rack on our exploder. Hitch racks are the way to go on big vehicles.

  9. #9
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    I have a low slung sports car, and its about as far as I want to reach to get the bikes up on the roof rack after a long ride (and I'm 6'2"). It seems like it would be a serious PITA to get a bike on top of an SUV.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbuchanan
    I also have a roof rack on my Ford Explorer although at 6'1" I don't have any reach problems to the roof. I don't need to use the running boards to get my bikes on top but it does help a bit. I have seen plenty of people use a step stool to get the job done and see no problem with it.
    I use a step tool. Why is it that it is an issue using a step tool? I don't understand that. Is it like a guy wearing a pink shirt and being called a ***?
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  11. #11
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    hitch rack on my Tahoe

    I have an old Chevy Tahoe with a receiver hitch and a older model Yakima somethingorother. It holds 4 bikes and swings away while on the hitch so you can lower the tailgate.

    I find that when I'm only carrying one or two bikes, I want them inside the car anyway - safe and out of the weather. If I need to carry more, then I probably have more than two passengers, so I need to have the bikes outside on the rack anyway.

    Good luck with your choice.

    Quote Originally Posted by notenoughtime
    I've got a Ford Explorer and have a hitch for it. I've been thinking about a roof rack for the explorer (because my other car's got a roof rack and I'm selling it, so now I've got a roof rack). However, my concern will be getting the bikes on top of the car. I'm 5'6" and know I'm obviously on the smaller side of things. Would I be laughed at for using a step stool?? How tall are YOU when using your roof rack on YOUR suv. I wanna know if anyone else is out there in my situation. Thanks.
    keep moving

  12. #12
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    I have a Mountaineer (which is basically an Explorer), I'm 5'7" and I use a roof rack. The trick there is to mount the trays on the OUTSIDE of the bars (on the outside of the where the rack mounts to the vehicle), then it is way easier to hoist your bike up there. I was afraid if I pulled out a step stool all the boys would laugh at me
    On the b/f's Cherokee, he has his trays mounted on the inside, and I have to stand on a milkcrate to hoist the bikes on and off (or wait for him).
    PS-When I ordered my rack, I ordered slightly longer cross bars in order to be able to do this, and then cut them to the size I wanted.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neen
    I have a Mountaineer (which is basically an Explorer), I'm 5'7" and I use a roof rack. The trick there is to mount the trays on the OUTSIDE of the bars (on the outside of the where the rack mounts to the vehicle), then it is way easier to hoist your bike up there. I was afraid if I pulled out a step stool all the boys would laugh at me
    On the b/f's Cherokee, he has his trays mounted on the inside, and I have to stand on a milkcrate to hoist the bikes on and off (or wait for him).
    PS-When I ordered my rack, I ordered slightly longer cross bars in order to be able to do this, and then cut them to the size I wanted.
    Your point about mounting the rack on the outside of the supports is an excellent one. I never understood why people, particularly with taller vehicles, put the bike mount/tray towards the middle of the cross bar. It's retarded.

    I have an Xterra with a Sportsworks (now Thule T2) rack on the roof, outside the support tower. I hoist my 40lbs Bullit up there all the time. Needless to say, it is not the easiest operation. Have to grab the fork with one hand and the crank with the other. I practiced it a bit in private to get the drill down. Last thing I want to do is drop my bike on my car or someone else's car. I'm 6'1" and it is still quite a reach.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by 'fiend
    Last thing I want to do is drop my bike on my car or someone else's car. I'm 6'1" and it is still quite a reach.
    I did that once, and dented the roof which is still dented to this day. That's why I use a step tool. I don't simply give a flying **** about what others think.
    "Prison sports are really fun. I get used as a frisbee, a dartboard, and a second base!" - Kneemoi

  15. #15
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    I use a step stool for my SUV roof rack, but always wish I had a trailer hitch so I could use a hitch-mounted rack
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  16. #16
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    It's do-able.

    I bought my receiver hitch aftermarket from the local u-haul place, and bolted it on myself.

    It may be a piece of cake, depending on the year and model of your SUV.
    Many trucks have pre-drilled holes in the frame so that dealerships can bolt on hitches as an accessory.

    http://store.uhaul.com/hitches.aspx?id=16

    Quote Originally Posted by Trigger
    I use a step stool for my SUV roof rack, but always wish I had a trailer hitch so I could use a hitch-mounted rack
    keep moving

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daffunda
    I did that once, and dented the roof which is still dented to this day. That's why I use a step tool. I don't simply give a flying **** about what others think.
    I used to do a lot of windsurfing in a past life. It was always entertaining to see boards get whipped out of people's hands as they were being loaded onto roof racks. Invariably, the board would sail down the parking lot a ways and land on someone's expensive car.

    The smarter people used step stools, without shame.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 'fiend
    . Last thing I want to do is drop my bike on my car or someone else's car. I'm 6'1" and it is still quite a reach.
    I've dropped my bike on my head. That is really good for a few laughs in the trail head parking lot. At least I had my helmet on.

    ~formica

  19. #19
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    I was very dissappointed at the height of my yakima rack on my trailblazer. I'm six foot even. I can get my lighter weight ss up there w/o issues, but my heaver geared bike is pretty tough. I use a footstool if needed.

    The biggest problem, for me, is getting the inside fork leg to fit down onto the rack's skewer - you can't see it from the ground.

  20. #20
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    i would never have room for a step-stool in my cherokee, with all the biking crap and stereo that fills the back end. being 5'6", i could barely reach the roof before the lift, now i can just touch the edge on my tip-toes, and certainly won't be hauling a 40lb DH bike up there.

    a hitch rack is made for SUV's and short guys, imho.
    what would rainbow unicorn do?

  21. #21
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    Unless you lack a hitch for the carrier, I don't even see why you'd bother with a roof rack on an SUV. I've got one that folds down away from my Jeep to allow me to open the tailgate. Works great on my lifted Jeep.

  22. #22
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    keep it on top

    if you can't keep the bikes inside your vehicle, the top of your vehicle is the best decision. anything put on the back of your vehicle collects dirt first. your drivetrain will be shot before you even ride. i've tried them all (hitch, roof rack, trunk rack, etc..) when i can't keep them inside my truck, the top is my next option. unfortunatley i've spent a lot of money having to find out for myself.

  23. #23
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    Until you forget they are up there

    When you drive through McDs for your 1/4 pounder /w cheese.
    They you got a nice clean bike all munched up.

    Quote Originally Posted by ganginwood
    if you can't keep the bikes inside your vehicle, the top of your vehicle is the best decision. anything put on the back of your vehicle collects dirt first. your drivetrain will be shot before you even ride. i've tried them all (hitch, roof rack, trunk rack, etc..) when i can't keep them inside my truck, the top is my next option. unfortunatley i've spent a lot of money having to find out for myself.
    keep moving

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burpee
    When you drive through McDs for your 1/4 pounder /w cheese.
    They you got a nice clean bike all munched up.
    All racks have their pros and cons.

    Roof rack means that a bike could get crushed by the garage.

    Rear rack means that bikes could get smashed if you get rear ended.
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  25. #25
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    True Dat!

    NMNMNM

    Quote Originally Posted by cbuchanan
    All racks have their pros and cons.

    Roof rack means that a bike could get crushed by the garage.

    Rear rack means that bikes could get smashed if you get rear ended.
    keep moving

  26. #26
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    Yes I do realize that this is not an SUV but it still makes for a pretty good stretch for the 5'8" driver to get his Liquid 25 up there.


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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by notenoughtime
    I've got a Ford Explorer and have a hitch for it. I've been thinking about a roof rack for the explorer (because my other car's got a roof rack and I'm selling it, so now I've got a roof rack). However, my concern will be getting the bikes on top of the car. I'm 5'6" and know I'm obviously on the smaller side of things. Would I be laughed at for using a step stool?? How tall are YOU when using your roof rack on YOUR suv. I wanna know if anyone else is out there in my situation. Thanks.
    What year? I had a 92 Explorer and have the Yakima towers and bars if you need them for real short money. I also have the Steelhead and a regular fork mount bike rack all yours for the low price of $100 or Best Offer. By the way I'm just under 6 feeet and had no problems loading my bike.

    PM if interested.
    M.

  28. #28
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    I'm 5'6" and have a Honda Ridgeline, which is pretty tall. I looked at the Hitch mount, but was concerned about being rearended (doesn't have to be a major accident to hurt your bike) . I've got the Thule Roof Rack with Big Mouth Bike Mount (allows me to mount the bike without removing the front wheel) and running boards and have no problems putting my bikes on the roof.

    I had some problems at first, but once I found a workaround, I have no problems. The trick is to open the front door when you put the bike on the rack, so you can lean into the car. Otherwise, balance is tricky.

    Also consider the weight of your bike. I have an older Trek 7000 which weighs about 22 lbs and a Titus Racer-X which weighs about 25 lbs. Both are relatively lightweight - if you have a 40lb DH bike, you may want to look at the Hitch mount, or the rack mounts for inside the SUV.

  29. #29
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    6'0" + 1998 Explorer w/ factory cross bars + H23 Yakima adaptors + 2 King Cobras (no wheel removal/no fork mount) + 2 SC's. I've mounted a 45+ lb Foes DHS + Monster T on there by myself. That was tough. I've also had a Demo 9 + Blur 4x on there. I often stabalize the rear wheels with a rope. I stand on my rear bumper to load and push the bikes forward.
    : )

  30. #30
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    Hitch racks are the best.
    The yakima one's can be found for not much more then $100 when on sale.

    We found a 2" four bike yakima rack for $125 on sale at a local store.
    It folds down so the back can open.

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