Roof vs. Hitch racks for a '10 Civic, Thoughts?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Roof vs. Hitch racks for a '10 Civic, Thoughts?

    I'm currently using a trunk rack, but just want something a little more stable. It would be the 1 1/4" hitch rack.

    Looking for pros and cons for a small sedan with these racks and if anyone has any experience with either on their Civic.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    My buddy has an 08 Civic with Thule racks. Its not bad sense the roof line isn't too tall so getting bikes up and down is easy. He has fork mount trays so when you throw 2 bike tires in the truck it takes up all most all of it. He also has a sunroof and without the fairing it sucked riding in his car with all of the noise. With the fairing you can still tell the rack is there but its no where near as bad.

  3. #3
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    A hitch rack protruding out the back would extend low ground clearance further from the rear wheels and could become an issue on driveways and other inclines.

  4. #4
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    I have an '08 Si sedan and use a Yakima roof rack. I agree with the last post and get a fairing as wind noise can be quite loud.

    With 4 bikes on the roof, it still reasonably easy to get to the ones in the middle. You can get wheel holders for the rack too.

    The only issue I've had is that the rack is a bit awkward to put on or remove on your own.

  5. #5
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    I thought it was an unwritten rule that Civics always have a roof rack, never a hitch or trunk rack.

  6. #6
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    I have a Altima, with Yakima roof rack and it was stolen basically the thief just yank the q-clip off and took the whole set up, regardless of how many locks I have on the system.

    Now I'm on the Yakima hitch rack, 1.25" with adapter to accept 2" I order the riser to get better ground clearance, but it constantly scrape the ground. What I like about it is that it's very easy to load, and it's very difficult to steal.

    If I can do it again, I'd get the permanent system roof rack, and upright rack.

  7. #7
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    Hitch all the way. I have a2006 Civic. I started with a trunk rack and hated it...thought my bike would always come off. So i pieced together a yakima roof rack. I did not like the way it sat on the roof. Scratched the roof... bike just sat up way too high. Was really loud while driving and if someone really wanted your bike they could rip it off. The hitch is the best. i have never scraped the rack with two bikes on the back. mine is lightweight and easy to mount. i have a Swagman, not sure which model.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the responses

    kjsayers, that's just what I was looking for. Did you put the hitch on yourself? Do you have a riser adapter for the rack?

  9. #9
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    I have a 2005 4 door civic and I use hitch racks on it, right now i am using a yakima bighorn 4 and love it, i can take it off when i don't want to ride, and it installs within 5 minutes with bikes on and ready to go. With 2 bikes it can squat a little, but i've never really had any problems with it and you can lock the rack to the car and the bikes to the rack. Anyone really wanting it would definitely make a scene trying to get them off. I would love a roof rack but it would be very annoying to have to take the bikes off every time wanted to pull in the garage. plus the noise and decreased gas mileage, all the time. not sure that it would be much without the bikes on there but i'm sure that it would affect it some.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by aflax
    Thanks for the responses

    kjsayers, that's just what I was looking for. Did you put the hitch on yourself? Do you have a riser adapter for the rack?

    I did put the hitch on myself, but it is a lot easier with another person. No riser...haven't needed one yet. I think the combo of the hitch and the rack set me back $250. I know some racks from THule and Yakima can be that much and more. I will say the Swagman is a little cheaper made, but for the money it's the best.

  11. #11
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    I have a small car (Acura RSX) and I use a hitch mounted rack.

  12. #12
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    I have a 2005 Toyota Matrix and I went with a roof rack right away. My mpg's was 28 without bikes around town and hwy. I switched to a hitch rack and now get 34 mpg with and without bike. There's my .02

    Matt
    I should be out riding....

  13. #13
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    I'll never use a roof mounted rack unless the feet attach to a bar of some sort (wagon, suv, etc.) or to actual rain gutters (old-school volvo, 4-runner). Feet that sit on paint have always left marks in my experience. I suggest that if you do go this route, lay down some pieces of lamin-X where the feet rest.

    Then there's always the mpg - my 27mpg/highway BMW 3-series wagon averaged 15mpg on the last road trip. I'm collecting pieces for a hitch rack now.

  14. #14
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    wow i would've never thought that roof racks would affect gas mileage so much. glad i didn't go that route, at least at this point in my life (being a broke college student that drives 300+ miles a week) I get 40ish (42 the best 37 worst with no bikes 35ish with bikes) on the highway now going 65 in my civic cause i barely have to touch the gas to go 65. 70 requires a bit to much throttle in the automatic for my likings, and i couldn't even imagine what 70 with 2 bikes on the roof would be!
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  15. #15
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    I have a 2010 Civic with a 1 1/4" hitch and I use a 1UP 2 bike set up with great results. No issues as far as the lack of ground clearance and no loss of MPG when no bikes are loaded and the rack is on the car. I'm very happy with the decision to go with the hitch and the 1Up. Just my .02cents.

  16. #16
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    On my 2010 civic, I did the hitch rack (easy install for two people). Hang a Swagman XTC2 (platform) on it. Its fantastic. Logged a 700 mile trip with two bikes and no problems at all.

    After many years of roofing it, this is so easy with no ground clearance problems

  17. #17
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    Dude, sounds like you have your answer

  18. #18
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    i have an 08 Civic SI sedan, and i ended up using the tow hitch. i got a hidden hitch, and installed myself in less than a half hour prolly. it made sense to me because i didnt want to hoist the bike onto the roof everytime, but mostly i didnt want all the trail dirt ending up all over my roof! the mounting on the civic is rock solid too, i can hang off the rack.

    its probably also worth noting i have the HFP suspension from honda, which lowered the car about an inch (not for style reasons, wanted better handling ) and on steep driveway ends i have twice rubbed the very end of the rack. but a normal civic should sit a good 2 inchs higher then a lowered SI i would think.
    Last edited by MalcolmTi; 01-19-2011 at 08:39 AM.
    Why Ti?

  19. #19
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    Where did you pick up your hitch and what was the cost?? I am thinking of a "hidden" hitch, but the local clowns here in Omaha apparentley don't understand that terminology!!??

    Thanx

  20. #20
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    I say hitch rack. (I have an Accord with a Thule T2.)

    My primary issue with a roof rack is even at 5'-10", being in good shape and of at least average strength, I have some difficulty getting bikes up on a roof rack of the average car (which really surprised me, LOL, emasculated me, really).

    My secondary issue is I can be absent minded, especially when driving, so it was a virtual guarantee I'd crash my bike into the garage (I checked, it would not clear).

    The cons to a hitch rack (vs. a roof rack) is they will be more expensive (have to buy a hitch), they are not muti-use so if you're into other sports like skiing you'll need roof rack as well (which I had to buy), and they are heavy and cumbersome to remove/install (problematic if you like to take the rack off when not carrying a bike, which I generally do).

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by SAL9000
    I say hitch rack. (I have an Accord with a Thule T2.)

    My primary issue with a roof rack is even at 5'-10", being in good shape and of at least average strength, I have some difficulty getting bikes up on a roof rack of the average car (which really surprised me, LOL, emasculated me, really).

    My secondary issue is I can be absent minded, especially when driving, so it was a virtual guarantee I'd crash my bike into the garage (I checked, it would not clear).

    The cons to a hitch rack (vs. a roof rack) is they will be more expensive (have to buy a hitch), they are not muti-use so if you're into other sports like skiing you'll need roof rack as well (which I had to buy), and they are heavy and cumbersome to remove/install (problematic if you like to take the rack off when not carrying a bike, which I generally do).
    You should try getting bikes on the roof of an Xterra I'm 6'3" and not a weakling by any stretch, but I had difficulties getting my bike on the roof after a long ride... so back to the shop I went, returned the roof rack and got a hitch mount rack. Couldn't be happier.

    But on a shorter sedan like the Honda, I don't see this being a problem.

    As far as scratches go with top racks: I use a Mondial Sportrack roof bar system on both my Audi and my Mercedes, and on both cars this rack tightens down very securely and doesn't scratch the paint at all. I take great pains to ensure the feet are clean, and the paint is clean and waxed. I regularily carry my windsurfer, skis, cargo box, or kayaks on this rack. I've never had a problem with scratching or paint rub, and these racks are extremely secure and quiet without rain gutters to clamp onto. Its kind of unfortunate that Mondial only seems to be sold in Canada, because I think they have a better product than either Yakima or Thule for their top bars and integrated racks (bike, kayak, skis).


  22. #22
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    I have a '98 civic with a roof rack and it's a piece of cake getting bikes on and off. Civics sit really low, and I took a couple mpg hit with a rack, but I still averaged ~33mpg last tank of gas.

    I will warn you, two bikes on the roof + highway + headwind = absolutely no speed or power.

  23. #23
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    Roof racks have a tendency to kill your MPG even with no bikes on the roof and they also have a history of slamming your bike into your garage, parking garage, and low overhangs.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killroy
    have a history of slamming your bike into your garage, parking garage, and low overhangs.
    That's pilot error.

    I've never slammed anything into my garages, parking garages or low overhangs when I'm running a roof rack.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itchy The Clown


    That's pilot error.

    I've never slammed anything into my garages, parking garages or low overhangs when I'm running a roof rack.
    It is, but it happens all the time:

    "Dude, what happened to your bike? Did you get hit by a tractor trailer"
    "Parking garage"

  26. #26
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    Many may find this laughable, but my point is this. After the gas mileage problem, and if you drive to the mountains a lot and don't park in a garage....after considering all of that a good solid roof rack is really sweet. I have mine on a Kia Spectra. Everyone I know is driving trucks and SUV's, so even with bikes on I don't complain much about gas mileage unless its a long trip.

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