Roof rack vs hitch rack vs trunk rack..?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Roof rack vs hitch rack vs trunk rack..?

    Tired of putting my bike in my trunk. I tried a Thule trunk rack and had to use one of the frame bars cuz my bike is full suspension.. but my bike was swaying all over the place. So looking into a hitch rack or roof rack. But a hitch for my car is $220 at u-haul and a rack is another $300. Im sure a roof rack is $500ish. Any one had luck with a different brand of trunk rack or recommend a good rack system for my Mitsubishi Lancer?
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  2. #2
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    There are over 200 bike racks of various sorts on my local CL, you can get a used one much lower than $300

    I would stay away from a trunk rack - it's the least secure way to attach a bike to your vehicle.

    The roof rack is the next least secure way to attach the bike. If the vehicle didn't come with a roof rack installed by the manufacturer - there is little to nothing to properly support the weight or keep it from ripping giant holes out of the top of your car when it blows away on the highway or gets ripped off by a local thief. Also with some cars, you'll have to hope to god that the installer doesn't accidentally drill into electrical wires, airbags, etc while installing.

    Put the money into a hitch install, get a locking pin, and get a used rack on your local CL - you'll have a great, secure setup for $350 or less!

  3. #3
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    The extra $ for the hitch rack is worth it for the convenience, security, & stability. Also more fuel efficient than a roof rack. 1Up has the best design.
    Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.... (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

  4. #4
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    I have and use a hitch rack and like it very much. I know a couple of
    guys who forgot they had bikes on their roof and it didn't end well.

  5. #5
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    invest in a hitch rack and get one of those platform racks. They don't scratch your bike frame.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by burtronix View Post
    The extra $ for the hitch rack is worth it for the convenience, security, & stability. Also more fuel efficient than a roof rack. 1Up has the best design.
    1Up is amazing. I don't know anybody with a roof rack who hasn't driven it into something too low.

  7. #7
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    Remember there are two kinds of hitch rack. You can get "platform" racks that the wheels sit in or "hanger" racks that look more like a traditional trunk rack, except they're attached to the hitch. The only reason not to go with the platform style rack is if you have a driveway or some other road transition that's steep enough that a platform rack would drag on the ground when you go over it. Otherwise, those are the only way to roll. Second best bet is a hitch hanger. But you'll have the same problem with that you did with with the trunk rack in terms of fitting a bike on it.

  8. #8
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    I use a 20 y.o.Rhode Gear trunk rack. And I also use a frame bar due to FS. I have no sway problem because it comes with a strap to tie the bike up to it. So just get yourself a strap to hole the bike from swaying.

    Here's my old bike on my car, you can see how the strap secures the bike from swaying.

  9. #9
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    You coul buy the hitch online between 140 and 160 and install it yourself - most bolt right on. And since you won't be towing anything no need to wire it up for lights.

  10. #10
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    I could have gone with a roof rack for less money, but after putting on a hitch, I haven't regretted it once. And the ability to tow small stuff is worth it. Only problem with the lancer's hitch rack is it's a class 1 hitch. You're stuck with 1 1/4" hitch racks. the good ones are still good, but there's not as many to choose from.

    Kuat and one-up make great platform racks, but they cost. If this is a long time/permanent install, some of the cheaper platform racks bolt onto the hitch and a pretty secure. They take more time to install and remove though. I can put on my Kuat rack in about 10 seconds. cost vs. conveniece.

  11. #11
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    Thule T2 FTW! I bought a Curt hitch for my Fit and installed it myself. got a killer deal on a T2 and never worried about it again.

    I don't want a roof rack because I know I will end up doing this to it some day:


  12. #12
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    I've used roof and trunk racks extensively but never a hitch rack. Obviously, each has advantages and disadvantages:

    Roof rack advantages:
    - Bike is less likely to be damaged in a rear-end collision
    - Inexpensive if your car has a factory rack
    - Allows unlimited access to trunk/hatch of vehicle with bike mounted
    - No impact on ground clearance
    - No permanent changes to vehicle
    - Relatively easy to remove when not in use.
    - Frame design doesn't matter
    - Integrated systems allow for other uses (kayaks, SUPs, skis, etc.)
    Roof Rack disadvantages:
    - Hardest to mount bike, especially if you're short like me.
    - Probably the worst gas mileage
    - May need an axle adapter if it requires front wheel removal.
    - Bike exposed to high-speed elements and debris...and garage doors.

    Trunk Rack Advantages:
    - Easiest to completely remove
    - Good gas mileage
    - Easy to transfer from vehicle to vehicle
    - Inexpensive
    Trunk Rack disadvantages:
    - Almost always cosmetically damages the vehicle.
    - Least secure
    - Can be slowest to install
    - May require top-tube adapter for FS frames
    - Easily stolen
    - Trunk/hatchback virtually unuseable when mounted.
    - Bike is exposed to even the slightest rear end collision

    Hitch Rack Advantages
    - Most secure
    - Easiest bike mounting
    - Simplest option if you already have a hitch
    - Frame design is irrelevant
    - Wheel size/axle is irrelevant
    - Good gas mileage
    - Easy to remove when not in use
    - Expandable to allow additional bikes
    Hitch rack disadvantages:
    - Can be most expensive
    - Bike exposed to rear-end collisions
    - Most difficult to install if you don't have a hitch.
    - Adding a hitch can affect ground clearance.
    - May require permanent modifications to vehicle
    - May limit access to hatch/trunk

    My personal opinions:
    - If you already have a hitch, it's a no-brainer. Get a hitch rack.
    - If you can easily add a hitch and/or the vehicle will function well with one (SUV, pickup, etc.), it's a no-brainer. Get a hitch rack.
    - If the two above don't apply and you already have a roof rack OR have a factory rack, use a roof rack.
    - If you frequently transport other items (kayaks, SUPs, skis, etc.) use a roof rack.
    - If the four above don't apply and you transport your bike fewer than once a week, get a trunk rack.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zomby Woof (MCM700) View Post
    I use a 20 y.o.Rhode Gear trunk rack. And I also use a frame bar due to FS. I have no sway problem because it comes with a strap to tie the bike up to it. So just get yourself a strap to hole the bike from swaying.

    Here's my old bike on my car, you can see how the strap secures the bike from swaying.
    I have a truck now, but I've put trunk racks on an Eagle Talon, a Dodge SRT-4, and a TransAm. If you don't have 6-point straps, it's probably gonna sway. That makes sure the rack stays on the car. Then to be sure the bike stays on the rack, you need non-stretchy straps, and maybe an extra block of foam or something. I could put a tandem on any of those cars. I wouldn't take more than 2 bikes, though, even on a 3-bike rack.

    -F
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  14. #14
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    I use a Saris "Two-Bone" trunk rack. I think they are like $100.

    I have used it on my car and my SUV. We use it for transporting 2 road bikes, or 1 mountain bike. I think if I tried to put two mountain bikes on it, it would probably rip my trunk off.

    As for security issues, I take it off every time I leave my car. I transport my bikes to the trail, take off the rack and put it in my trunk. Get back to my car, put it back on, put the bikes on, drive away.

    I would rather have a hitch rack because its more stable, but the trunk rack gets it done.

  15. #15
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    Hitch racks are obviously the most secure, and easiest way to hold your bike, but a well placed bungee cord would solve your problem.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    I have a truck now, but I've put trunk racks on an Eagle Talon, a Dodge SRT-4, and a TransAm. If you don't have 6-point straps, it's probably gonna sway. That makes sure the rack stays on the car. Then to be sure the bike stays on the rack, you need non-stretchy straps, and maybe an extra block of foam or something. I could put a tandem on any of those cars. I wouldn't take more than 2 bikes, though, even on a 3-bike rack.

    -F
    Here's the same bike when it was new mounted on the Mitsubishi Eclipse I had at the time. (The Eagle Talon was an Eclipse clone).

  17. #17
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    Advantages and disadvantages were covered pretty well above. Thought about the roof rack seriously for a little while for my new car, as I've always had a hitch rack and $250 towers aren't all that bad price wise and I would have come out about the same financially, except for gas mileage, but luckily I gave in to reason. Even when the towers are fairly easily removable, like mine would have been, it's a mountain bike, so crap is going to fall off your bike and scratch the roof over time, not to mention the one time you slip up and scrape a pedal or fork, although rare, it'll last forever. What really amazes me is how universal receivers are, even for cars that supposedly can't fit receivers, usually the same car is sold in Europe (no matter what the brand) with a receiver option for limited towing.
    "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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    thanks for the feedback guys. looks like hitch and hitch rack is the way to go. time to work some OT! haha
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  19. #19
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    I use a hitch rack with the saris bars clamped in permanently to a hidden hitch 4 bike carrier I got for maybe $40 bucks off craigslist. The bars were around $20 each.
    My bikes hang AND swang mang.

    I never worry about sway either. Some folks get all anal about their bikes can't move and stuff. As long as it's pinned I say "shake it up baby....." Less road shock gets to the steeds.
    Keep trying to do the awesomest thing you've ever done.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by TSpice View Post
    I use a Saris "Two-Bone" trunk rack. I think they are like $100.

    I have used it on my car and my SUV. We use it for transporting 2 road bikes, or 1 mountain bike. I think if I tried to put two mountain bikes on it, it would probably rip my trunk off.

    I would rather have a hitch rack because its more stable, but the trunk rack gets it done.
    I've used a rack similar to the bones with three mtb's on the back of my Escape, door is fine. Trunk lid on my SHO is well built, handled two mtb's without issue, but I can see some mfg's might use a flimsy mount for their trunk lid.

    Now, when in the hell has ANYONE had pieces of sheet metal ripped out of their roof due to a rack? That sounds... dumb. Crash into something and you might end uop with a bent roof, but ripped? OEM rails aren't that strong. I've probably got the only bike rack that could do that, its a full width rack that replaced the oem bars and sits in the OEM rails. Is made of 1/8" 6061-T6.

    Those that are declaring hitch racks to be more stable, what exactly do you mean? Receivers are designed with enough tolerace to permit accessories to easily slide in, and many have lots of tolerance. enough to warrant a hitch vise to shut the damn accessory up and keep it from elongating the pin hole.

    I've had two trunk racks and a flexible rack. The first was for a hatchback, the second for a sedan, the third does both and SUV's. All hold bikes firmly, no wobbling or rotating or anything unusual.

    I know there are some frame mount rails that can be a bit flimsy, but that's not the rule. Some of the OEM roof bars can be flimsy as well, but again, not the rule.
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  21. #21
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    We have a hitch rack on our Fiat Abarth and use a Saris FREEDOM SUPERCLAMP 2-BIKE. We use it to carry 2 dh bikes or 2 am bikes. For the dh bikes we attach 2 additional straps for stability.

    It's a good rack for smaller vehicles and not nearly as heavy as our North Shore Bike Rack

    Roof rack vs hitch rack vs trunk rack..?-mksuv0d.jpg


    Roof rack vs hitch rack vs trunk rack..?-11017677_689155451213466_4127389167670467079_n.jpg



    Roof rack vs hitch rack vs trunk rack..?-11800327_721072251355119_1232980142694594296_n.jpg
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigflamingtaco View Post
    I've used a rack similar to the bones with three mtb's on the back of my Escape, door is fine. Trunk lid on my SHO is well built, handled two mtb's without issue, but I can see some mfg's might use a flimsy mount for their trunk lid.
    Although they'll work in a pinch, the trunk racks will eventually damage your trunk. There is dust just in the air and no amount of OCD cleaning of the car or rack will eliminate it, so the contact points will scratch/scuff over time. The sheet metal you refer to will also warp over time, but obviously it's not going to dent or warp the first time you use it most likely. The way those things work is they are happening until one day the change is significant enough to notice. A light enough bike like a road bike or high end XC bike would do this to a much lesser extent compared to three bikes obviously.


    Those that are declaring hitch racks to be more stable, what exactly do you mean? Receivers are designed with enough tolerace to permit accessories to easily slide in, and many have lots of tolerance. enough to warrant a hitch vise to shut the damn accessory up and keep it from elongating the pin hole.
    Well for one, the bikes aren't on top of the vehicle raising the CG significantly and making the entire vehicle more unstable. Most decent tray-hitch racks tighten in a way that eliminates the crazy movement that the cheap J-style hanging racks were known for, made worse by the hanging "lever arm" of the bikes. I too am a little unsure of what they mean by "more stable", although some of the mounting mechanisms on those roof racks have to put up with the sway associated with a tall object attached to fairly narrow mounting points, so the fork mounts aren't seeing those side loads constantly.

    The auto manufacturers haven't really caught up with the improvements and evolution of hitch racks over the last 10 years or so. For the auto manufacturers that offer OEM/branded racks of both styles, a quick look at their hitch rack usually makes it obvious, as it's usually just a crude hanging style rack, if they even offer a hitch 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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  23. #23
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    I picked up a roof carrier once I bought a chiner carbon frame, that way I didnt have to worry about anything scratching it when piled together on the trunk carrier. I picked up some super cheap bike carriers for 50 bucks each on amazon, and so far they work well. I may eventually upgrade to something nicer, but Ill probably get a few years out of these cheapies first. I already had crossbars for my WRX since I snowboard in the winter.

    Roof carrier in question:
    http://www.amazon.com/Bike-Roof-Carr...dp/B008D6YGE4/

  24. #24
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    I used roof racks for years. Trunk racks occasionally, and have been using a hitch rack for awhile now.

    Roof racks are nice and secure, but the taller your vehicle, the more drawbacks there are. I never ran my bikes into anything with them, but that was because I was consciously over-careful about it.

    Trunk racks work, but have too many compromises, IMO. Especially if you have nice bikes.

    Platform hitch racks are where it's at. I currently have a Kuat NV that gets used on the wife's car in the 2" version. Unfortunately, with there being no 2" hitches for my 07 Fit, I can't use it on my car. I use fork mounts on a board, and put the bikes inside my car. I can carry 2 bikes in there, though depending on what those two bikes are, placement might need to be a little creative. The platform hitch rack is just so easy to load/unload.

  25. #25
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    Neither. I use Sea Sucker mounts which I found to be more secure than the roof and trunk racks I've tried. I haven't used a hitch rack since my car doesn't easily accept one.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by tualmbr View Post
    There are over 200 bike racks of various sorts on my local CL, you can get a used one much lower than $300

    I would stay away from a trunk rack - it's the least secure way to attach a bike to your vehicle.

    Put the money into a hitch install, get a locking pin, and get a used rack on your local CL - you'll have a great, secure setup for $350 or less!
    Agreed. Best way to go on a budget IMHO.

    Just throwing it out there because I've never used one, but I saw one of these Thule 9003XT racks on CL the other day... I wonder how they fare with the pros/cons?

    Roof rack vs hitch rack vs trunk rack..?-onecol.jpg
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Platform hitch racks are where it's at. I currently have a Kuat NV that gets used on the wife's car in the 2" version. Unfortunately, with there being no 2" hitches for my 07 Fit, I can't use it on my car. I use fork mounts on a board, and put the bikes inside my car. I can carry 2 bikes in there, though depending on what those two bikes are, placement might need to be a little creative. The platform hitch rack is just so easy to load/unload.
    MaxxTow Trailer Hitch Receiver Adapter - 1-1/4" (Class II) to 2" Hitch - 4-1/2" Rise MaxxTow Hitch Accessories MT70355

    There are also ones available without the offset if your bumper is in the way.
    I like bikes

  28. #28
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    Never used roof racks, ruins fuel mileage. Truck racks are a bit of a hassle as the normal ya to secure bikes isn't enough to keep them from swaying and scratching the frame. Takes extra planning. But they work, used one for 2.5 yrs.

    Hitch is where its at. I think $3-4-500 or more for a hitch rack to carry a bike is "stupid". But i use a small car(Chevy colbalt) so a massive hitch rack is too much. I use a highland sportwing and it works great. Holds by the rims but bike hangs.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Westy View Post
    I saw one of these Thule 9003XT racks on CL the other day... I wonder how they fare with the pros/cons?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    That is pretty cool. Great idea, and progression. Glad to see they haven't totally forgotten about the lowly trunk rack.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by yzedf View Post
    MaxxTow Trailer Hitch Receiver Adapter - 1-1/4" (Class II) to 2" Hitch - 4-1/2" Rise MaxxTow Hitch Accessories MT70355

    There are also ones available without the offset if your bumper is in the way.
    Won't work. Only hitches available for the Fit are Class I and cannot accept adapters like this. Plus, extensions essentially reduce the weight capacity of the hitch, and in a Class I hitch that is a problem....and that ignores the fact that my hitch rack specifically says not to use with extensions.

    So multiple reasons that will not work. I even looked into a custom fab option and could not find a shop willing to do the job.

    I know one place that would, but it is 2,000 miles away.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by d365 View Post
    That is pretty cool. Great idea, and progression. Glad to see they haven't totally forgotten about the lowly trunk rack.
    I don't agree, it's even more leverage and weight on the trunk, which is bad, plus it isn't exactly cheap either. If you are going to use a trunk rack, best to keep it simple IMO.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Won't work. Only hitches available for the Fit are Class I and cannot accept adapters like this. Plus, extensions essentially reduce the weight capacity of the hitch, and in a Class I hitch that is a problem....and that ignores the fact that my hitch rack specifically says not to use with extensions.

    So multiple reasons that will not work. I even looked into a custom fab option and could not find a shop willing to do the job.

    I know one place that would, but it is 2,000 miles away.
    Its very easy to do. Any shop could do it. All it is is grinding the finish off and 5 minutes of welding the adaptor if you wanted it permanently fixed to the car, bolting it on if you want to go back and forth. Tongue load of class 1 vs 2 is 200 vs 300 pounds. Assuming you don't want a 100lbs of bikes on 100lbs of rack it will be just fine. Adding additional support to the hitch is also quite easy, adding to the car if its a bolt through the trunk floor type is also not that difficult, just weld in some plates.

    You will have better luck having a welding shop do the work as they do custom fab stuff all day long, most car shops (not race shops) don't hardly ever do it and don't have the people that have any experience doing this kind of work. For a welding shop to do it you should do the removal of the trunk liner, bumper and whatnot so they can do their work without damaging a car they know nothing about.

    (Yes I used to be a lead tech at a auto restoration shop as well as doing side work at a friends welding shop)
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    I've used roof and trunk racks extensively but never a hitch rack. Obviously, each has advantages and disadvantages:

    ...
    Ironically, since posting this, I've been rear-ended not once, but TWICE in my Outback. Fortunately, there was no visible damage either time. They were basically bumper taps in heavy traffic.

    But for one of them, my bike was inside my car at the time. I was rear ended by a woman in a c-class Mercedes who was looking at her phone in stop-and-go traffic. She stopped maybe 1" too late. The impact was so subtle that I didn't even get any of the white paint from her car on my black facia.

    BUT, I think the damage would have been MUCH worse had I had a foot of hitch rack sticking out of the back of my car and my multi-thousand dollar bike on it.

    Now, not everyone is an idiot like me and drives 140 miles a day with a bike in/on a car but I'm happy I decided against a hitch rack today.

    I use a roof rack when I need to carry more than just my bike. Yes, there is a risk of a garage incident but at least that's under my control not some idiot driver on her cell phone.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    Ironically, since posting this, I've been rear-ended not once, but TWICE in my Outback. Fortunately, there was no visible damage either time. They were basically bumper taps in heavy traffic.

    But for one of them, my bike was inside my car at the time. I was rear ended by a woman in a c-class Mercedes who was looking at her phone in stop-and-go traffic. She stopped maybe 1" too late. The impact was so subtle that I didn't even get any of the white paint from her car on my black facia.

    BUT, I think the damage would have been MUCH worse had I had a foot of hitch rack sticking out of the back of my car and my multi-thousand dollar bike on it.

    Now, not everyone is an idiot like me and drives 140 miles a day with a bike in/on a car but I'm happy I decided against a hitch rack today.

    I use a roof rack when I need to carry more than just my bike. Yes, there is a risk of a garage incident but at least that's under my control not some idiot driver on her cell phone.
    Wow, I would go out of my way to drive in front of people who are clearly on their phones. Free upgrade!!!!!

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by tualmbr View Post
    Wow, I would go out of my way to drive in front of people who are clearly on their phones. Free upgrade!!!!!
    I was thinking the same thing. Doubt it would work as well as planned, but grab a new carbon fiber bike, swap out wheels and the X0 components for X4, and drive in rush hour.

  36. #36
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    It would be ridiculously easy to intentionally get rear ended in Atlanta. I probably see 20+ opportunities a day.

    Just find someone drifting in and out of lanes. That's going to be someone looking at their phone. 90% of the time it's a female (yes, I keep track informally...what else is there to do on a 70 mile commute?). Pass the person and move into the lane in front of her car. Drive along normally. Now, just watch in your rear view mirror until she looks at her phone and hit your brakes. Guaranteed collision and her fault. With Atlanta traffic being bad almost all the time, there's no defense (other than keeping your eyes on the road instead of your damn phone).

  37. #37
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    For hassle free trailer towing with my Sienna, I chose a roof rack - a two bike Sport Rack. It was on clearance (no returns) for $80 (half price) at Crappy Tire, obviously a return from someone who opened up the box and saw all the bolts and small parts and couldn't imagine it being a good rack or assembled with their level of mechanical skills. So I counted every last part, nut and bolt at customer service and then bought the thing

    I've used it a lot for 14 months now and it's been just fine for me. I lift the bike directly overhead into a balanced and relaxed position, scamper up a two-step stool and place one foot inside the side door of the van and lower the bike down to the rack. It's VERY stable - the swing brackets have a wide base and they are attached to a full width cross brace. The only drawback is the plastic inserts for the jaws mar the paint a bit.

    I can add one big "pro" for a roof rack. By the time I drive a short section of gravel road to fetch my trailer the back of my van (where the bike might be sitting if a different rack was used) is completely covered in dust. I'd hate to get that crap all over and inside my bike on a regular basis, I really would.

    Today I looked over a Yakima roof rack cradling a very nice Rocky mountain BC edition of some sort and the tires seemed to be very securely clamped by the rack's clamps (I wanted to touch, but didn't). I have seen the light now and my next ride will have a better ride.

    Oh yeah, I suppose I should confess. I was returning a day old bicycle I'd bought for my wife and pulling into a parking spot behind Bow Cycle. If it wasn't for my quick reaction to the quick-thinking woman pounding on the side of the van and yelling for me to stop, there would have been another photo like post #11. The second story of the building extends right over the parking stalls! I missed the crunch by an inch or two.

    Glen

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    Moral of the story, trust the crazy lady pounding on your car?

    Everybody will have different needs. If I drove down gravel roads, I definately would not use a hitch rack either. That dust gets in everywhere.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by watts888 View Post
    Moral of the story, trust the crazy lady pounding on your car?
    Words to live by I jumped out and offered the most heartfelt thanks and gratitude...

    Glen

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    Use to roof it until I got a full suspension 29er with disc brakes. I put on a hitch from e-trailer, 20 min install and purchased a Thule T2. Takes about 2 min to load bikes.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Roof rack vs hitch rack vs trunk rack..?-image.jpg  

    2012 Specialized Camber Comp 29er
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    KHS Fleetwood
    Schwinn 20" Fastback 5 speed stick shift

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    Thule T2 FTW! I bought a Curt hitch for my Fit and installed it myself. got a killer deal on a T2 and never worried about it again.

    I don't want a roof rack because I know I will end up doing this to it some day:

    That is so funny, because I worked in a sporting goods store, and one guy in there said "How do all these ****ing morons keep driving into things? They must be total idiots!" Then he came back from a trip, all tired and groggy, hit the up switch, and sped into his garage. Crrrrrunnnnch!! That is how! LOL

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    It would be ridiculously easy to intentionally get rear ended in Atlanta. I probably see 20+ opportunities a day.

    Just find someone drifting in and out of lanes. That's going to be someone looking at their phone. 90% of the time it's a female (yes, I keep track informally...what else is there to do on a 70 mile commute?). Pass the person and move into the lane in front of her car. Drive along normally. Now, just watch in your rear view mirror until she looks at her phone and hit your brakes. Guaranteed collision and her fault. With Atlanta traffic being bad almost all the time, there's no defense (other than keeping your eyes on the road instead of your damn phone).
    God do I hate texters!! And you are right, the majority are women, but men do it too. I get flipped off all the time for sticking my hand out the window and giving them the "Hang up the phone signal". On my dualsport motorcycle, I have pulled up beside them and and knocked on their window. One guy was like "I'm sorry man, I'm sorry!" it helps that with my padded jacket I look like a 250# linebacker. LOL

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Westy View Post
    Agreed. Best way to go on a budget IMHO.

    Just throwing it out there because I've never used one, but I saw one of these Thule 9003XT racks on CL the other day... I wonder how they fare with the pros/cons?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I have no experience with this rack, but I noticed it's back on Thule's website as the 9003Pro:

    Thule Raceway Platform 9003PRO 2 BIKE - Thule
    --------------

    [WTB] 1987 Cannondale SM800, 20", Pink with airbrushed graphics.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Westy View Post
    Agreed. Best way to go on a budget IMHO.

    Just throwing it out there because I've never used one, but I saw one of these Thule 9003XT racks on CL the other day... I wonder how they fare with the pros/cons?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I had this exact rack on my Hyundai Accent hatchback, and recently sold it. I could not mount a receiver on that model. I now have a Forester with a hitch mount.

    The Thule rack works just fine, and it uses sturdy cables to mount, so once it is tightened up, it does not loosen as you drive.

    You can put 2 bikes on easily, without dismounting the wheels, and even if the tire were to go flat, the bike will not come loose.

    The only downside is it is heavy. Probably 30 pounds. It will eventually mar the paint on the bumper where it sits if you don't put a soft cloth at that point where the most weight sits. It only takes a minute to put on, and does a decent job. I hung mine on the garage wall when not in use.

    I prefer receiver racks if you can put one on. The Accent Sedan could, but not the hatchback, so it was either this or a roof rack. Roof racks suck the mileage out of a small car, and a trunk mount is better in this regard, and you won't run into low obstacles. The Thule is a good option for cars that can't do receivers easy.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by twowheelsdown2002 View Post
    I had this exact rack on my Hyundai Accent hatchback, and recently sold it. I could not mount a receiver on that model. I now have a Forester with a hitch mount.

    The Thule rack works just fine, and it uses sturdy cables to mount, so once it is tightened up, it does not loosen as you drive.

    You can put 2 bikes on easily, without dismounting the wheels, and even if the tire were to go flat, the bike will not come loose.

    The only downside is it is heavy. Probably 30 pounds. It will eventually mar the paint on the bumper where it sits if you don't put a soft cloth at that point where the most weight sits. It only takes a minute to put on, and does a decent job. I hung mine on the garage wall when not in use.

    I prefer receiver racks if you can put one on. The Accent Sedan could, but not the hatchback, so it was either this or a roof rack. Roof racks suck the mileage out of a small car, and a trunk mount is better in this regard, and you won't run into low obstacles. The Thule is a good option for cars that can't do receivers easy.
    Hmm, Curt shows a hitch for a 2011 Accent hatchback.

    Anyway, those style racks will mar the paint even with a rag or something soft, as the dust in the air will be pressed into the paint and scratch it due to the pressure from the rack, there's no way to avoid it over time. The other issue is the excessive weight it puts on the part of the car not intended to take it, it will warp things over time too.
    "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.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Hmm, Curt shows a hitch for a 2011 Accent hatchback.

    Anyway, those style racks will mar the paint even with a rag or something soft, as the dust in the air will be pressed into the paint and scratch it due to the pressure from the rack, there's no way to avoid it over time. The other issue is the excessive weight it puts on the part of the car not intended to take it, it will warp things over time too.
    It does not fit the hatchback. Trust me, I know the hard way. I looked all over the net and found one that said it did, and ordered it. It was a Curt, and did not fit. The exhaust is routed different on the hatchback. I have a Curt on my Forester and it was an easy installation.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Hmm, Curt shows a hitch for a 2011 Accent hatchback.
    Actually, I should reword what I said about them not having a hitch for the hatchback model Accent. At the time I bought my Accent 4 years ago, they did not have them. It appears they do now. I searched all over the net, and it only showed having the sedan model. Then I came across a site that had a box where you could check "sedan" or "5 door hatch". And I thought I found one, until I tried to mount it and it did not work! @#$%#$

    Now, going on E-trailer, I see they have models for the 5 door hatch, and it looks like they now fit.

    Given the choice, I prefer a hitch mounted platform rack. The trunk mount was ok, but on a newer car I prefer things not touching the paint or hanging weight on hatch doors and such.

    I had a roof rack on a Civic, and at freeway speeds, it sucked the mileage into a black hole! And on a taller vehicle like the Forester, you have to watch for roofs, and low hanging limbs off road.

    You get a little dust on the bikes on some roads, but it is not mud, and a bucket of water will wash it right off.

  48. #48
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    Roof Racks continued

    I've had only roof racks since I started MTBing over 20 years ago. The mileage impact due to the rack itself is minor if you're smart about it (mounts as low as possible, deflector, etc.). Mileage impact with bikes on can be minimized by going with fork-mounts instead of wheel-on upright mounts. Fork mounts are more secure anyway (theft and stability) and lower as well. Having the bike up high means a thief will also have to work out in the open (provided you don't park between two vans or something). I had a friend have his rear wheel stolen off his hitch mounted bike.

    For long trips with the bikes on the roof, I put stretch-fit bike covers on to keep road debris off. Wrap the saddle in a plastic bag for complete protection if it's raining. I've put a lot of miles on with the bikes on the roof and I've never had a headset failure (a common "negative" claimed by roof rack opponents).

    With a roof rack, you can extend the bars out past the roofline to get more bikes on, but eventually you will run into the weight limit of the rack, which is generally 3-4 MTBs. I'd say that this is the biggest negative (if you're a tall person) since the roof rack weight limit is generally a lot less than a hitch weight limit. No issues with obscuring the rear plate either, wiring up redundant lights, access to the trunk, etc.

    As for total height and low entrances, measure and remember the total height and you'll be fine. I guess it helps that I used to drive a box-truck where vehicle height is even more critical.

    JMJ

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdman View Post
    I've had only roof racks since I started MTBing over 20 years ago. The mileage impact due to the rack itself is minor if you're smart about it (mounts as low as possible, deflector, etc.).
    I think the mileage impact varies with vehicle type. Smaller cars with low power seem to take the biggest mileage hit.

    If you are powering a huge box through the air with a large engine already, then a couple bikes will not do a lot of damage.

    If you have a more aerodynamic vehicle with a low powered engine, then the change in aerodynamics is much more dramatic, and the amount your foot will be in the gas will go up substantially at freeway speeds.

    On the Honda Civic I had, I would get 32mpg back and forth to work, driving with a lead foot. Put 2 bikes on and go down the freeway at 80mph, and the mileage plummeted to 26mpg! A very big drop!

    Small cars carrying loads seem to do that. My 2012 Hyundai Accent loaded with camping gear and bikes on a rear rack, only got 26mpg on a trip climbing up Mt Graham from 2,500 feet up to 10,000 feet and back. The same trip done in my Subaru Forester, with more gear and bikes on the rear, netted me 29mpg. Small engines do well empty, but make them fight wind, or loads, and their mileage tends to drop much more than a more powerful engine does.

  50. #50
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    I chose the 1UP hitch rack due to easier loading/unloading and less impact on mileage, but here is the negative side of a hitch rack (rear-ended yesterday)...

    Destroyed Spearfish by Brad Baker, on Flickr

    Game over for that bike!
    baker

  51. #51
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    Insurance better cover it. Depriciation my A$$. Much damage to the car? Always wondered how much damage to the car is prevented when you have a hitch rack on.
    "a hundred travel books isn't worth one real trip"

  52. #52
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    We'll see what happens with insurance. They claim it'll be covered... The car (a Prius) is pretty messed up, back window is smashed, trunk and bumper are trashed, side panels are bent, there is a big lump in the trunk, etc. I suspect a whole lot of force was transmitted through the hitch to the frame/unibody, rather than the rear part crumpling like it would have without the hitch. Taking the car in today, so hopefully I'll find out shortly how bad it is.
    baker

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by baker View Post
    We'll see what happens with insurance. They claim it'll be covered... The car (a Prius) is pretty messed up, back window is smashed, trunk and bumper are trashed, side panels are bent, there is a big lump in the trunk, etc. I suspect a whole lot of force was transmitted through the hitch to the frame/unibody, rather than the rear part crumpling like it would have without the hitch. Taking the car in today, so hopefully I'll find out shortly how bad it is.
    My fear would be the insurance company claiming that the damage was exacerbated by the hitch rack and, therefore, not fully covered. I have no basis for fearing that -- meaning I've never heard of anything like that -- but insurance companies LOVE to find anything out of the ordinary (like a non-factory hitch and bike rack) to reduce their liability.

    Hope you get a brand new bike and a full car repair out of the whole deal.

    Since the person who hit you is obviously at fault, you've got a lot of leverage.

  54. #54
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    I just got off of the phone with my insurance company (State Farm). They've treated me well in the past and appear to be doing so again here. They claim the bike, rack, and medical expenses will all be covered. Off to the doctor here shortly to have things assessed (wicked headache, sore neck, back, and pinky (haha)).
    baker

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    i just recently got rear ended. my bike was not on the truck, but my brands spanking new Yakima hitch rack was.

    first the rack acted like a can opener on the poor Prius. it opened up the poor hood almost to the windshield. the hit was pretty gentle to my truck. it sheared both pins that hold the rack up and down, so it totaled the rack. it pushed it gently into my bumper,but it sprung back. it took the hit well..better than the Prius, which might be totaled. high school girl said she was messing with the radio.

    now insurance. my claims guy AAA said i was covered on the rack. he fixed my car, and later called me and said the rack shouldnt be covered, but since he mis-spoke they sent me a check anyways. girls insurance is State Farm, but i went thru my insurance and will let AAA go recoup the $$..no deductable on my part, no hit to my premiums. he said: if the part is not permanently attached to the vehicle, it will not be covered. i have a call appointment with my AAA guy to discuss the WHAT IF my bike was on the rack. i might be able to cover it thru my home insurance.

    good luck. a buddy gave me a 50% off pro-discount on anything Thule, so i ordered a new T2. the cheapest Yakima that i bought was pretty Janky..

    i have to use a hitch rack. my truck i too tall, and i am not climbing up there for a roof rack. i'd blow out a shoulder. i have a topper cap on my truck.
    Santa Cruz 5010 C
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  56. #56
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    I'll also add a couple of observations, as I too have been through a ton of racks in my experience. Trunk to Roof to now Hitch.

    Hitch rack is easy to load/unload bikes. I'm lucky. I have several really really nice bikes. With a hitch rack, I KNOW the bikes are secure. Never a question. Hitch rack also allows you to move the rack from vehicle to vehicle moderately easily. We have a Curt hitch on the car, the truck had a hitch and had one installed on our little 19 foot RV trailer. Its so simple and convenient, I'll never do anything else again.

    Additionally, I have a Thule 917, which is pretty heavy so I personally have to move from vehicle to vehicle. On the positive, nearly every part is replaceable, and now they have the fat wheel cups and longer ratchet arms to accommodate fat bikes and 29 plus bikes.

    Sure, there are a handful of cars out there that just shouldn't have a hitch, but chances are if you can afford one of those, you can buy a beater car to haul your bikes, and if you do, get a hitch rack for it!

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by WA-CO View Post
    With a hitch rack, I KNOW the bikes are secure. Never a question.
    Good point that is not oft thought about. I loaded my fatbike kind of screwed up last weekend, right before getting my new fat-bike adaptor on my T2. I didn't realize it at the time, but I had not sinched down the arm properly. Noticed a few miles later that my bike was "leaning" out of the rack all crazy like, looking like it was about to fall. Got out and got it properly secured. This is the only time I've had this problem and it's due partially to making the rack work with my fatbike, which isn't really that big a deal, but still, this one time I loaded it wrong, and I was able to see it because it was a hitch rack. You'll never know until it's too late much of the time with a roof rack. Not that this happens often...but it happened once.
    "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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  58. #58
    Birdman aka JMJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by WA-CO View Post
    With a hitch rack, I KNOW the bikes are secure. Never a question.
    That's funny - I was thinking that with my fork-mount roof rack, I KNOW the bikes are secure. I always give 'em a tug after locking them down. And also safe from texting teens behind me.

    JMJ

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    on my wife's car..roof rack. i just peel back the sunroof shade and keep an eye on things.
    Santa Cruz 5010 C
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