Which small car for a mountain biker?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Which small car for a mountain biker?

    Hi,
    Looking for a small hatchback car to replace my sedan.
    Requirements in order of importance:

    • Can fit two people (driver + passenger) and two large / extra large, all mountain bikes inside without too much hassle (front wheel off and seat off are fine). No racks.
    • Good safety rating
    • Good gas millage
    • Fun to drive
    • Does not fall apart


    I was originally looking into Subaru Impreza, which seems like an ideal car, but the gas millage is a turn off, and they are not easy to come by especially second hand. I don't want a WRX.

    Then I saw the Honda Fit, which also seems great. I am little concerned about safety. The car gets top safety ratings compared to "cars in its class", but this is not really helpful, I mean all cars in its class can be average or less. Need to know absolute rating comparing to sedans, etc.

    Prius is little too expensive, and not really my style.

    Mazda 3 looks good.

    Any other good ideas?

    Honda fit photos:

    Bike in the back seat:

  2. #2
    cbw
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    I have a mazda 3 hatch and love it. Easily fits my two 29ers in with no problem with the back seat down and front wheels off. I did recently get a roof rack but that was mainly because I like the looks.

  3. #3
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    Sounds like your shopping used, but if not check out the 2012 Impreza best millage for a AWD car and has more room in the hatchback than previous model. Would also recommend Ford Focus hatch or possibly Mazda 2 or Ford Fiesta
    Also I agree with cbw Mazda 3 is a great car to consider as well.

  4. #4
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    I have a Nissan 370Z which is why I kept my truck- can only fit one wheel at a time in the Z on way to LBS - so two trips needed if both rims need straightening- but it is very fun to drive and I get there quick

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    Why no racks? Seems like that really limits you in terms of space, comfort, and keeping the inside in decent shape.

    With that said, I've had a Honda Fit since August of '09 and put about 77k on it since then. Done a few long road trips and a ton of medium road trips in it and I love it. May be a little smaller than you anticipate, though, if you a cross-shopping the Impreza. The Mazda2 (not 3) is a closer competitor. What I like most about it are the Honda "Magic Seats." They are really a snap to use and make the inside of the car really useful.

    Good luck in your search. FWIW, I use a hitch rack (previously had a roof rack on the Fit-sucks) and it allows me to have the best of most worlds. You should reconsider your criteria.

  6. #6
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    As the owner of a Mazda3, my vote goes for the Mazda3. It really is a fun car to drive, a drivers kind of car. I have the sedan model and can fit two bikes in the back seat area. To fit them, I have to remove both wheels, flip the bikes upside down, and insert them from opposite sides of the car, but it works out great. I also have a roof rack, but only use it when it's actually on the car. The rest of the time, I'll just shove the bike in the back seat. I don't have any photos of the bikes stuffed in the car though... maybe I'll snap some when I get the time. As for gas mileage... w/o the rack I get anywhere between 30-34mpg. Have you also considered the turbocharged Mazdaspeed3?

  7. #7
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    Again with the 3. I bought my wife a 2010 3 5 door and I really enjoy driving it. A bike (or two) will easily fit inside and the car is prime for either a hitch rack (I like the Kuat Sherpa) or a roof rack (Thule makes a kit that actually bolts to mounts on the roof that are put there by Mazda). Hard to argue with the 3.

    I liked the Fit before driving the 3. For not much money we went from the Fit Sport to the 3 5 door and got tons more room, power and a more enjoyable car to drive on road trips. I like Honda, but I am now a fan of Mazda too.
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  8. #8
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    Honda Fit or Mazda 3 are both very good choices.

  9. #9
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    Thanks everyone.
    I definitely go for a hatchback this time, that's one of the reasons I want to replace my sedan. It's good for many other sports and errands.

    Does anyone have experience with the Focus, Fiesta or Mazda 2 and bikes? They seem pretty small but the Fit is also small and doing OK

    Can you guys fit the bikes in the Mazda 3 standing up like the photos? I like it that you don't have to pile the bike on each other.

    I currently have a rack and I am not a fan, I can't leave it on the car overnight so it's much quicker to take the wheel off and slide the bike to the trunk.

    Thanks again everyone, looks like the Mazda 3 is a popular choice.

  10. #10
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    I test drove several small cars last year, the Mazda 3, Toyota Prius, Toyota Matrix, Honda Element, and a few others. I thought the Mazda was a nice car but seemed very under powered. We bought the Prius for the power and 50 mpg. My second pic was the Element... AWD, and tons of space! Maybe an old Mercedes diesel wagon that can run on veggie oil???
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  11. #11
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    VW Jetta TDI wagon. Or a 5-door Golf TDI. I work on Euro cars for a living including lots of TDI's, and there aren't many modern cars I still like after getting familiar with them, but I advocate these to anyone who will listen, and I don't know any owners who don't love theirs, from Mk4's up. I'd put my wife in one in a heartbeat, she drives an '04 GTI now and it swallows my bike. If they're not your thing the Fit is a good option, though personally I can't deal with the dashboard. The Mazda 3 has proven to be a pretty good car, it's just too bad it looks so heinous.

    Quote Originally Posted by Highspeed541 View Post
    Maybe an old Mercedes diesel wagon that can run on veggie oil???
    I see a LOT of these, and they're almost all clapped out, with Waste Veggie Oil systems designed by a blind 3rd grader (think Coleman coolers or a keg shell, bungee cords, garden hose, and zip ties), so be careful. Great cars, but easily ruined by people who think a smoldering, out of tune old diesel's smoke is magical and green when it smells like french fries. If they're running properly, they're quiet and don't smoke.
    They tend not to be maintained too well any more because though they're cheap to buy, the maintenance costs to bring a worn out one back to roadworthiness can quickly exceed the car's value.
    Last edited by M5Tucker; 10-27-2011 at 04:56 PM.

  12. #12
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    ^^ Yeah I was thinking the samething about the VWs

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by M5Tucker View Post
    VW Jetta TDI wagon.
    One of my riding buddies swears by his Jetta TDI. The thing is that I have an Audi now and it's a maintenance nightmare, so I treat every VW/Audi with caution. My friends' Jetta (not TDI) and Beatle also had many problems just like my car.

  14. #14
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    Mazda 5

    Mazda 5...

    Mazda Bike inside.jpg

    Mazda 5.jpg

    This has been the best car for absolutely everything... bikes, kayak, windsurfing, skiing, etc. Seats 6 and I can still fit 3 even with the bike in the back (one rear seat can still be up).
    I read that on the internet.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrozCountry View Post
    Does anyone have experience with the Focus, Fiesta or Mazda 2 and bikes? They seem pretty small but the Fit is also small and doing OK
    Not directly, but I think they have a more round rear end which could be a problem. The 3 and Fit are pretty squared off out back. You may have a chance with the Focus, but I just can't see the 2/Fiesta being very bike friendly.

    As posted... the Mazda5 is a little more expensive (right at 20K) but it would be damn near impossible to beat for a bike/people mover.... I would be 100% sold on getting on for me if they offered it with the 2.3L DISI as a Mazdaspeed5.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrozCountry View Post
    One of my riding buddies swears by his Jetta TDI. The thing is that I have an Audi now and it's a maintenance nightmare, so I treat every VW/Audi with caution. My friends' Jetta (not TDI) and Beatle also had many problems just like my car.
    Beetles are garbage, period. Some Audis can be difficult, depending on the engine & transmission (manual is always better), plus they have a much more complicated and wear-prone suspension, and a higher level of electrical failures. VW's get a bad rap I think. My wife's VR6 (also a great engine) GTI has been bombproof for 140k miles. A 2.0 gas or 1.9 or 2.0TDI with a manual or DSG gearbox is a pretty reliable combo. Even the new 2.0T gas has proven to be pretty good, excess plastic components notwithstanding. The new 5 cylinders are a poor engine choice, noisy, slow & inefficient. The diesels really seem to be the best sorted of the bunch, with the best longevity, though the 2.0T gas engine has proven to be pretty good.




    Quote Originally Posted by 40hills View Post
    Mazda 5...
    I always forget about these, not a bad suggestion! They don't quite have the minivan stigma.

  17. #17
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    I know it's older, but my old Honda/Acura Integra did awesome hauling my bike, was good on gas, was the most reliable car I've ever owned, and one of the most fun to drive.
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  18. #18
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    G37s coupe with a rack. That's how I roll.

  19. #19
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    The new Ford Focus is really nice, but not sure about the bike fit. I have been a long time VW/Audi owner and highly recommend the GTI. Will swallow two bikes, get good mileage and is actually fun to drive. Mazda 3 is not a bad choice, but the base engine sucks.

  20. #20
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    I had a Mazda5 rental for about a week, I agree that it would be a great bike/people mover. I don't remember the gas mileage for sure but I think we managed about 26 combined city/highway. It's like a mini-mini-van, didn't realize how small it was until we parked next to a Caravan that just dwarfed it!

  21. #21
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    I miss my VW Golf. It was great for hauling bikes (also washers, dryers, water heaters, bathtubs...)

    One thing I'll point out about backseat bike stowage, and I by no means have done any kind of exhaustive research to see how common this is: My VW Golf had a 1/3, 2/3 spit backseat when it folded down, so you could still travel with a third person, car seat, whatever. My experience is that this is the norm with most small cars.

    However, the Honda Civic that I now have has a backseat that folds down as a single unit. Definitely not as nice, definitely not as flexible.

  22. #22
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    Or be like me and get a volvo estate and you can fit like 5 bikes in it with no issues haha, I love it
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Highspeed541 View Post
    I test drove several small cars last year, the Mazda 3, Toyota Prius, Toyota Matrix, Honda Element, and a few others. I thought the Mazda was a nice car but seemed very under powered. We bought the Prius for the power and 50 mpg.
    I'm assuming you're talking about 2011 models for the Mazda and Prius. The 2011 Mazda 3 GT beats the 2011 Prius in both horsepower and 0-60 times.

    Horsepower
    Mazda 3 GT: 167
    Prius: 134 Net

    0-60
    Mazda 3 GT: 8.1
    Prius: 9.8s

    That doesn't even account for the cost difference. You're better off comparing the Mazdaspeed3 to the Prius, in which case there's truly no comparison in performance.

    The Prius has far better fuel economy, but for the top of the line model, you're going to pay $6k+ more for it than the top of the line Mazda 3 GT. This means that you will literally have to drive 32,000 more miles in the Prius to make up the difference in cost (assuming a gas price of $3.80 and a difference of 20 mpg.)

    There are two points that hurt the argument for the Prius even more:

    1. The 2012 Mazda 3s offer 40 MPG and an even faster 0-60 time.
    2. Long-term maintenance for a Prius is much more expensive than a Mazda 3.


    What does this all mean? I'd choose the Mazda 3 over the Prius. Then I'd put that extra $6k towards buying a new hitch, hitch rack, a new bike and a vacation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom93R1 View Post
    It's like a mini-mini-van, didn't realize how small it was until we parked next to a Caravan that just dwarfed it!
    You know the funny thing about the 5, it is actually LARGER than the original minivans. The "minivans" now--days aren't so mini... probably about as big as the Suburban back when mini-vans were coming out....
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    What does this all mean? I'd choose the Mazda 3 over the Prius. Then I'd put that extra $6k towards buying a new hitch, hitch rack, a new bike and a vacation.
    I wasn't going to touch the Prius option for this reason.... over priced ego booster. Rep for you for sure!
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  26. #26
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    Ford Focus MkII (2006-ish) 3-door hatchback owner there. A couple of bikes fits in the back with the folded back seats and removed front wheels. I prefer to carry bikes on the roof though. 1.6L / 74kw engine isn't much, but it can do 140 kmh (~80mph) with bikes on the roof comfortably. Fuel usage is < 9 liters/10km in that situation. I can easily do 6L/100km if going at 90 km/h and no stuff on the roof.

    In addition to that, it's fun enough to drive. No sports car, but it's stable and responsive.

  27. #27
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    If you ask me the fit is way over-priced... the mazda 3 you'll end up buying a rack, fuel economy takes a hit. They're all in the same crash category though which means if you're hit by a mack truck or paris hilton want to be in an escalade it's gonna hurt. Don't care about 0-60 times that much so long as i can get up to 60 for the freeway and gearing power is good from 50-70mph for passing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mantasm View Post
    Ford Focus MkII (2006-ish) 3-door hatchback owner there. A couple of bikes fits in the back with the folded back seats and removed front wheels. I prefer to carry bikes on the roof though. 1.6L / 74kw engine isn't much, but it can do 140 kmh (~80mph) with bikes on the roof comfortably. Fuel usage is < 9 liters/10km in that situation. I can easily do 6L/100km if going at 90 km/h and no stuff on the roof.

    In addition to that, it's fun enough to drive. No sports car, but it's stable and responsive.
    Wait, I have this cool little conversion calculator on my phone...

    6L/100km = 39.2024 mpg

    I've been wondering when that conversion feature would come in handy...

  29. #29
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    one more vote for Honda Fit. Although i've got a 4 door Civic SI with a hitch rack...it's perfect.

  30. #30
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    Seems that VW/Audi still have quality issues.
    They rank past Japanese, Korean and most American brands

    Consumer Reports Study - Businessweek

  31. #31
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    I was recently shopping for a new car in the same size and ended up with a 2012 Mazda 5. For the price it was the best deal, most room and least cheap feeling with decent mpg. I was also looking at the Hyundai Elantra Touring, Ford Escape and Jetta Sportwagon but none came close to the complete package offered by the 5. That and it has a 6spd manual which makes it even less like a minivan IMO.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seanbike View Post
    I was recently shopping for a new car in the same size and ended up with a 2012 Mazda 5. For the price it was the best deal, most room and least cheap feeling with decent mpg. I was also looking at the Hyundai Elantra Touring, Ford Escape and Jetta Sportwagon but none came close to the complete package offered by the 5. That and it has a 6spd manual which makes it even less like a minivan IMO.
    My Mazda 5 is a 5 speed and it's awesome. True, they don't drive like a van at all... they're all Mazda 3 but with a different body. I've driven manual transmission in all my cars but 1, and I'm about tired of it now. My next is going to be an automatic, but likely with the "manual mode" like the Mazdas have. I'll be looking at the 5 again and the CX7 in about a year.
    I read that on the internet.

  33. #33
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    I took one of my bikes (XL) to the dealers. Some findings.

    Honda fit: Can fit one bike laying down, two (or more) standing like the pictures above.
    Mazda 3: Can fit one bike laying down.
    Audi 3: Cannot fit a bike
    Ford focus: Can barely squeeze a bike inside. Not really practical.
    Ford fiesta: No bikes inside.
    Subaru Impreza: One bike laying down.
    Golf: Didn't try, but the dealer said it would not work after trying a couple of other cars in the lot.

    The Honda fit has huge amount of trunk space relative to the size of the car, unmatched by any other car in its size or even bigger. The trunk looks like a small SUV. It's a different design from the other cars. It has the tallest trunk by a big margin and long as well.

    My mistake was to assume that because bikes fit in the Fit they will fit in other cars in that size, but its not the case. I just used the word fit 3 times in a sentence

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrozCountry View Post
    Mazda 3: Can fit one bike laying down.
    )
    FYI, 3 bikes will fit in the back of a Mazda 3 with the seats down and the front wheels off. Towels or a moving blanket work well to keep the bikes separated.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrozCountry View Post
    Golf: Didn't try, but the dealer said it would not work after trying a couple of other cars in the lot.
    The dealer's full of sh it. The Golf will easily accommodate two bikes with seats down. I've done it many, many times. Probably would fit three, though I can't remember if I ever tried. The trunk cover needs to be taken out to make this work, which takes about 5 seconds.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    FYI, 3 bikes will fit in the back of a Mazda 3 with the seats down and the front wheels off. Towels or a moving blanket work well to keep the bikes separated.
    That I can do in almost any car that fits one bike laying down, but it starts getting little complicated.
    Quote Originally Posted by jonz View Post
    The dealer's full of sh it. The Golf will easily accommodate two bikes with seats down. I've done it many, many times. Probably would fit three, though I can't remember if I ever tried. The trunk cover needs to be taken out to make this work, which takes about 5 seconds.
    Can you fit the standing up like the photos or laying down piled on each other?

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrozCountry View Post
    That I can do in almost any car that fits one bike laying down, but it starts getting little complicated.
    Can you fit the standing up like the photos or laying down piled on each other?
    It would be laying down. The Fit and Mazda 5 are different in that their vertical space in the trunk is larger. The Mazda 3, Golf/GTI, WRX, Toyota Matrix, etc. are all cars that require bikes to be laid on their side.

    2 bikes in the back, laying on each other, is easy for any of the cars listed above. I got tired of continuously having to drop the seats in the back of my car (and losing all cargo space inside) so I just got a hitch rack.

  38. #38
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    Your list is messed cruz.... dunno what sort of checking but from people i know here goes:

    You can fit two on top of each other with front wheel and seat removed a mat inbetween - audi a3 and mazda 3.

    The Toyota matrix can fit 3 bikes(standing as picture in the fit) and 3 people. IT can easily fit two bikes standing up. with front wheel and seat removed.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    The Toyota matrix can fit 3 bikes(standing as picture in the fit) and 3 people. IT can easily fit two bikes standing up. with front wheel and seat removed.
    Maybe if you ride XS or take the saddles off. I know someone with a Matrix and they can't fit bikes in the back standing up without removing the saddles and seatposts.

  40. #40
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    So you thought the Mazda 3 was under powered and bought a prius instead? Hmmm ok.
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  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    Maybe if you ride XS or take the saddles off. I know someone with a Matrix and they can't fit bikes in the back standing up without removing the saddles and seatposts.
    Excuse me but no, all three are medium 26" xc rides. This is the previous matrix(04-08 i think) if it makes a difference to your friend.

    About the saddles? what did i say - of course they come off, argh. And i repeat the bicycle front wheel comes off also and the bicycle sits upside down on the handlebars.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Excuse me but no, all three are medium 26" xc rides. This is the previous matrix(04-08 i think) if it makes a difference to your friend.

    About the saddles? what did i say - of course they come off, argh. And i repeat the bicycle front wheel comes off also and the bicycle sits upside down on the handlebars.
    My bad, didn't see that you already mentioned you remove the saddles. What a PITA. I could stand bikes in my Mazda 3 vertically if I did the same thing. But instead I went out and bought a hitch rack.

    And I don't mean to complicate things, but there is no comparison between the Mazda 3 and the Matrix. The matrix is a hatchback Corolla. It feels and drives like a cheap car compared to the Mazda.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    My bad, didn't see that you already mentioned you remove the saddles. What a PITA.
    Ah, i dunno... not my car. If you ask me, i'd pay the extra $2,000 to get the matrix over the fit... the fit at least the older one is really loud/buzzy on the highway. True it is a PITA to reassemble bikes, but it feels less annoying when you can go further on a tank of gas since you're not ruining the aerodynamic profile with a rack. Plus you're out the cost of the rack and hitch... how many tanks of gas would that money have bought.

    I agree the mazda 3 drives better than the matrix, but in terms of creature comfort at the base model level there isn't much difference.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Ah, i dunno... not my car. If you ask me, i'd pay the extra $2,000 to get the matrix over the fit... the fit at least the older one is really loud/buzzy on the highway. True it is a PITA to reassemble bikes, but it feels less annoying when you can go further on a tank of gas since you're not ruining the aerodynamic profile with a rack. Plus you're out the cost of the rack and hitch... how many tanks of gas would that money have bought.
    The good thing about the hitch is that it doesn't really affect fuel economy. At least not on my car. It also cost me about $250 inclusive. That's only 6 tanks of gas around here. I can now carry 3+ people, bikes, and gear to rides instead of only 2. If it's just two of us, I don't have to lay the seats down anymore, which is convenient. Loading/unloading is faster too.

    I don't really like the Fit, or the Matrix. I'd really only be interested in the WRX (performance) or the Mazda 3 (features.)

    Since this is not my thread, I'm just giving my $0.02.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    The good thing about the hitch is that it doesn't really affect fuel economy. At least not on my car. It also cost me about $250 inclusive. That's only 6 tanks of gas around here. I can now carry 3+ people, bikes, and gear to rides instead of only 2. If it's just two of us, I don't have to lay the seats down anymore, which is convenient. Loading/unloading is faster too.

    I don't really like the Fit, or the Matrix. I'd really only be interested in the WRX (performance) or the Mazda 3 (features.)

    Since this is not my thread, I'm just giving my $0.02.
    It's definitely more convenient to have that rack. $250 inclusive is pretty cheap, around here it is like $150 for the hitch alone.

    Saying that i would recommend the hitch over the roof for aerodynamics, with a small car you can probably almost double the frontal area using a roof-rack which will be bad for mileage. Saying that, if you're going to carry 3-people often i'd count on getting the rack, when i traveled in the matrix with 3 people and 3 bikes it took some creative packing.

    Another thing to consider with these smaller car is the ease with which a hitch and rack can be attached to the back.

    Edit: There is always a geo metro!!

    Last edited by electrik; 11-03-2011 at 03:57 PM.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    It's definitely more convenient to have that rack. $250 inclusive is pretty cheap, around here it is like $150 for the hitch alone.

    Saying that i would recommend the hitch over the roof for aerodynamics, with a small car you can probably almost double the frontal area using a roof-rack which will be bad for mileage. Saying that, if you're going to carry 3-people often i'd count on getting the rack, when i traveled in the matrix with 3 people and 3 bikes it took some creative packing.

    Another thing to consider with these smaller car is the ease with which a hitch and rack can be attached to the back.

    Edit: There is always a geo metro!!

    My gf drives a 96 geo, but its got the 1.6L a tire burner for sure!

    bomber little car though, we are waiting for it to die and replace it, but it keeps on trucking!

  47. #47
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    I had an '87 Chev sprint turbo (geo metro predecessor) for a couple years. My worst tank of gas ever was 37mpg but it was because the alignment was waaay off after replacing some major suspension parts. Usually I got about 45mpg combined. Best ever was 49mpg on a highway drive, just couldn't quite hit 50.

    I could fit my XL mountain bike in back but the passenger seat had to be folded down.

    That car is sorely missed

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrozCountry View Post
    Seems that VW/Audi still have quality issues.
    They rank past Japanese, Korean and most American brands

    Consumer Reports Study - Businessweek
    Consumer reports are for people who don't know anything about cars.

    I have an '04 Mazda 3 s Hatchback. It's got plenty of power. The guy who said it was 'under powered' must have been driving the 2.0L sedan with an automatic. They're a bit of a turd. But the 2.3 with a real transmission (manual) is really good on power, especially in the midrange where it counts. 3rd gear will zip you around any slow-moving traffic in the 30-40mph range all day long.

    Anyway, I have put a 21" trek 6000 in the back along with a 16.5" 4300 stacked on top of one-another laying on their sides, but it's not something I like to do all the time. In fact, I find it a little cumbersome getting my XL Spesh Camber in there to go to the local trails. I have been contemplating a roof rack or maybe just a truck for bike toting capabilities. I don't really like what I'm doing to the interior too much either. It's going to take its toll eventually.

    -Eric

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by rccardude04 View Post
    Anyway, I have put a 21" trek 6000 in the back along with a 16.5" 4300 stacked on top of one-another laying on their sides, but it's not something I like to do all the time. In fact, I find it a little cumbersome getting my XL Spesh Camber in there to go to the local trails. I have been contemplating a roof rack or maybe just a truck for bike toting capabilities. I don't really like what I'm doing to the interior too much either. It's going to take its toll eventually.

    -Eric
    I feel ya there - I also got tired of scuffing up the interior with my bikes. A curt hitch isn't too difficult to install (I did it by myself) and racks are pretty cheap on craigslist. As I said a few posts up, I got my Curt hitch and a rack for 2 bikes for $250 total. YMMV. Super convenient, faster and easier on the car than putting the bikes in the back. Easier to load bikes than a roof rack, and it doesn't affect fuel economy. Definitely recommended.

  50. #50
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    I don;t know how you guys can put a bike standing up in a Mazda 3 (without seat). It didn't get in. Only laying down. The mazda3 is on the nicer end of the small Japanese cars for sure, it also looks good.

    Piling bikes on each other is my least favorite option, but looks like the fit is the only car where its not necessary. Racks, if you live in a place where you can leave them on its OK. We have to put them on and off every time we ride.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrozCountry View Post
    I don;t know how you guys can put a bike standing up in a Mazda 3 (without seat). It didn't get in. Only laying down. The mazda3 is on the nicer end of the small Japanese cars for sure, it also looks good.

    Piling bikes on each other is my least favorite option, but looks like the fit is the only car where its not necessary. Racks, if you live in a place where you can leave them on its OK. We have to put them on and off every time we ride.
    The matrix should easily take a 26 resting on it's handlebars with the seats folded down, seatpost and front wheel removed.



    The mazda 3 will not, the seats do not fold flat like in the toyota or fit.

  52. #52
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    Consumer reports is full of **** on every level. I wouldn't listen to that rag of bull **** to suggest the type of paper to wipe my ass!

    I drive a 2010 Golf GTI two door and there's enough room for my Clyde ass, a friend and both our 29er bikes in the back with just taking the front wheel and dropping the seat down. I get low 30's on the highway when I can manage to drive like a human, not very often, and high 20's when I drive it like I stole it, which is 89% of the time.

    The Golf TDI with the 2.0 clean diesel is unbeatable along with the Jetta Sportwagen, which by the way is a GOLF not a Jetta. In Europe they call it a Golf Varient or Golf Estate. On the TDIs I have customers that routinely get mid 40's and 50's in MPG during daily driving. And Diesel engines will last forever if you keep them clean and change the bloody oil properly. I have a 1988 F250 with a Diesel engine in it with 897,000 miles on it and it still starts on one turn of the key every time.
    Some days I want to kick my own A$$ twice.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    The matrix should easily take a 26 resting on it's handlebars with the seats folded down, seatpost and front wheel removed.

    The mazda 3 will not, the seats do not fold flat like in the toyota or fit.
    Nice, that's what I am talking about. Have to check out the matrix now. Thanks for the evidence

    By the way, did you try a 29er? I don't have one now, but that may change at some point.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrozCountry View Post
    Nice, that's what I am talking about. Have to check out the matrix now. Thanks for the evidence

    By the way, did you try a 29er? I don't have one now, but that may change at some point.
    It's not my car... I haven't tried a 29 but those road bikes fit in there so i imagine a 29r would.

  55. #55
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    Have you considered a Subaru Outback Sport? It's got an impreza body but smaller engine...cheaper than the impreza's, I think. Still not great gas mileage as the others though.
    I like to ride bikes.

  56. #56
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    I drive a Chevy Aveo, after years of maneuvering bikes into the hatch or through back doors i finally bought an inexpensive hatch mounted bike rack and wish I had done it sooner. Especially looking at the scuffs and scrapes all over the interior of my car from shoving bikes back there. But I have managed at times to fit 3 BMX bikes and 3 people into my car on a number of occasions. Or 2 Mountain or road bikes and 2 people into the car. But now with he rack i can get 3 bikes and 5 people. around comfortably.

  57. #57
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    No offense, but 5 people being "comfortable" in an Aveo is a relative term.
    2010 Giant Yukon FX
    Pure XCR Wheelset/Geax Saguaro Tires/Tubeless
    Bike Weight Lost: 2.48lbs (1124g)

  58. #58
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    True, kinda like Chevy says my Camaro is a four seater. It'll only really fit two adults comfortably, and maybe a couple of 6 year olds.
    2010 Giant Yukon FX
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperSlow35th View Post
    No offense, but 5 people being "comfortable" in an Aveo is a relative term.
    Well yeah, but its just about true for any vehicle that isn't a limo, especially in the small car class.

  60. #60
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    True, I cant remember the last time I sat in the back seat of a car with 3 people and been what many would consider comfortable. Most 5 seater cars on the road should just be considered 4 seaters in my opinion.

  61. #61
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    can't believe no one has mentioned the scion xb yet.

    find one in a manual and they are a blast to drive

  62. #62
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    A buddy of mine just got a Kia Soul. Looks like there's enough room in there for a couple bikes with the wheel off.

    My '04 (same through 2008) Forester can easily fit 2 adults, 2 mtb's and stuff for 2 adults on a week long vacation. That said, I have a rack now and usually only put the BMX bike in the car.
    --NC
    2008 Kona Cowan // 2005 Kona Cowan // 2009 Giant Modem // 2009 department store IronHorse // 1970s Schwinn roadie

  63. #63
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    I had a GTI for a few years. it was tight with 2 bikes inside, but I could haul 2 bikes, gear and 2 adults (my father and myself both over 6'2) and it was comfortable. I was planning on a roof rack, but never got around to it when it was sold.
    You may be quick, but I'll knock you over

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    Long time Lurker first time poster. Thought I'd weigh in on this discussion being an avid fan of Hatchbacks.

    I currently own a 2007 Mazda 3 Hatchback with the 5 speed and I can fit 3 bikes on top of each other in the back with the seats down, and front wheels off. I personally cannot fit my bike standing up but I ride XL frame sizes my buddies 15.5" frame will stand up with the front wheel off and seat post dropped. However you have to put it in the car on its side than stand it up. The reason being the roof slopes down towards the rear on the 3, so the opening is smaller than the actually "Luggage area"

    FWIW I had a 1998 New Beetle before My Mazda 3 and I could fit two bikes in the back with the front wheels off. Just had to have them at a slight angle so I threw towels over the head rests to protect the fabric.

    Also FWIW in 2007 I test drove a lot of the cars mentioned, and at the time the 3 was up on power over all of them, handled better, looked nicer (in my humble opinion), and the interior just seemed laid out nicer. All these things factored into my personal buying decision because I only have the bikes in the back a few times a week for short periods the rest of the time I need my car to excel at day to day driving.

  65. #65
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    Thanks guys for all the suggestions so far. Keep the good info coming.

  66. #66
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    I think the Fit's uncomfortable for 4 hour+ drives. I carpooled in my Fit to Mammoth mtn from Corona, CA with a rest stop at Bishop. I've no problem driving long distances in trucks, as I went from Florida to NY and NY to CA only using rest stops to nap in the winter time. The Fit was killing me after 3-4 hours and I had to switch off drivers.

    Its cargo capacity is great though. It carried my Superfly 100 29er with one seat folded down, a large cooler, and a few bags in the back and 2 XL specialized Enduros on a hitch rack and two other large adults on that trip to Mammoth. Its a tight fit for my Yeti ASR7 inside the back though. For that, I need to drop the TALAS fork all the way down for it to fit with the 20mm fork adapter. I have dropper posts installed on my bikes and they fit alright inside with it lowered that way. Fits 2, but anything with a wheelbase longer than about 42" needs to be at a slant or needs to have a wheel sticking out between the driver and passenger seat.

    It still managed about 30 mpg (I get 35-42 mpg normally without such a load) and it did fine on the mtn climbs, though I did tune it up specifically to better handle mtn roads (I love driving it rally style, without the drifting). No signs of it falling apart, though when I first got it, I noticed it was a bit on the noisy side as far as the sound of tires rolling across pavement and little bumps on the chassis. I bought it used with 108k miles on it, shortly after the original owner changed the water pump and timing belt on it. Had an issue with the battery last winter when I let the car sit for almost a whole week, with it draining dead, but I think that'd happen with any car. I just jumped it and drove it another year without issue.

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    The matrix should easily take a 26 resting on it's handlebars with the seats folded down, seatpost and front wheel removed.

    The mazda 3 will not, the seats do not fold flat like in the toyota or fit.
    Yes it will. Speaking from experience.

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jdowning View Post
    Also FWIW in 2007 I test drove a lot of the cars mentioned, and at the time the 3 was up on power over all of them, handled better, looked nicer (in my humble opinion), and the interior just seemed laid out nicer. All these things factored into my personal buying decision because I only have the bikes in the back a few times a week for short periods the rest of the time I need my car to excel at day to day driving.
    I agree for all the same reasons. Nothing in the price range could touch the M3 back then. I like the older body style better than the modern versions, too. The only other thing in the same class was the Toyota Matrix, which seemed cheap by comparison.

    Nowadays, the WRX is looking pretty darn good.

  69. #69
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    Oh wow. I googled "crashed Honda Fit" and what I found was not good. Hmm, I drive like how I mtn bike and I'm a really good mtn biker (noticed the same when my buddy drove and relate it to his mtn bike skills), but still that worries me. I'm gonna keep on my protective gear when I drive back home from a ride.

    Report Says Small-Car Buyers Sacrifice Safety for Fuel Economy - NYTimes.com

    The Smart ForTwo--OMG, hahaha. The Fit does a lot better, but still, small cars are definitely disadvantaged, as displayed by these tests of colliding into average sized cars.

    Mercedes vs Smart ForTwo:
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/2j9RqljSJAQ?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Fit vs Accord:
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/NLfK35O91gE?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

  70. #70
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    I love my Nissan Juke, but i doubt it will fit his criteria.

    Watching the two vids i think i would rather be in the Smart car, the A piller on the Fit looked like it was about to come apart. Most small cars are actually really safe, but the car is a total loss if you get in a wreck. I would also rather have a small car, but then agian i'm not the typical american who think they need the biggest thing they can afford.
    Last edited by terrasmak; 11-17-2011 at 10:29 AM.

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    Yes it will. Speaking from experience.
    Care to say how? I have tried on the 2008 mazda 3 and the forks sit on the roof at the rear(since it slopes down) and the rear wheel has to fit over the front arm-rest. It is the same problem Jdowning mentions.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    Yes it will. Speaking from experience.
    Well it will not fit my bike standing up or upside down. Only laying on the side. The roof is too low.

  73. #73
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    Toyota MR2 or Spyder 2000 - 2005

    I had one of the Spyders and it was fun to drive.
    With a Saris Bones bike rack I could have 2 bikes (one Ibis Mojo and one Focus FIRST) and I never had problems taking the bikes out to trails.
    I never did drive fast and funny with the bikes on the car though.
    My wife and I even took the car across Europe on a 7000 km vacation (without bikes).


  74. #74
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    My .02 worth;
    Honda Element
    Scion xb
    Toyota Matrix....eventually put on a hitch mount due to PITA...much easier.

    Doc

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    hrm....Ive got my eye on the new kia Rio5.

    I assumed that a bike would fit in the back with the seats down and the front wheel off.

    But if a bike barely squeezes in a focus and cant fit in a fiesta, Im not so sure.




    Quote Originally Posted by CrozCountry View Post
    I took one of my bikes (XL) to the dealers. Some findings.

    Honda fit: Can fit one bike laying down, two (or more) standing like the pictures above.
    Mazda 3: Can fit one bike laying down.
    Audi 3: Cannot fit a bike
    Ford focus: Can barely squeeze a bike inside. Not really practical.
    Ford fiesta: No bikes inside.
    Subaru Impreza: One bike laying down.
    Golf: Didn't try, but the dealer said it would not work after trying a couple of other cars in the lot.

    so is that with the front wheel on or off?
    The mountains are calling and I must go

  76. #76
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    Im about 3 inches away from buying a Ford Transit Connect for a daily driver/bike carrier.
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  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan55 View Post
    hrm....Ive got my eye on the new kia Rio5.

    I assumed that a bike would fit in the back with the seats down and the front wheel off.

    But if a bike barely squeezes in a focus and cant fit in a fiesta, Im not so sure.

    so is that with the front wheel on or off?
    Yes, all my experiments with the front wheel off and the seat / seat post off.

  78. #78
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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by CrozCountry View Post
    Thanks everyone.
    I definitely go for a hatchback this time, that's one of the reasons I want to replace my sedan. It's good for many other sports and errands.

    Does anyone have experience with the Focus, Fiesta or Mazda 2 and bikes? They seem pretty small but the Fit is also small and doing OK

    Can you guys fit the bikes in the Mazda 3 standing up like the photos? I like it that you don't have to pile the bike on each other.

    I currently have a rack and I am not a fan, I can't leave it on the car overnight so it's much quicker to take the wheel off and slide the bike to the trunk.

    Thanks again everyone, looks like the Mazda 3 is a popular choice.
    I have a 01 Ford Focus ZX3, love it over 30MPG. Room for all the mtb stuff including chain saw, blower, and trail building stuff, I removed the back seat, I can fit 2 large 29ers in there, putting the first one in then putting a drop cloth over so the other bikes parts don't tangle up! Both front wheels removed!

  79. #79
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    Which small SUV's or Crossovers have folding rear seats that make loading a large 29er easy?

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    Volkswagen golf / rabbit

    here is my imput , roomy sporty & fun2011-10-30 16_26_08.jpg

  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dictatorsaurus View Post
    Which small SUV's or Crossovers have folding rear seats that make loading a large 29er easy?
    Honda Element and Toyota Rav4
    Those who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither. - Ben Franklin

  82. #82
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    As above said, I saw many recommanded Element. Also Rav4 which is my wife's, I can fit mine in just fine without adjusting any of bike part. Check signature for model of bike which is medium size.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/8521145-post267.html

    Quote Originally Posted by Dictatorsaurus View Post
    Which small SUV's or Crossovers have folding rear seats that make loading a large 29er easy?
    2012 S pecialized Hardrock Sport Disc 29er

    2017 SANTA CRUZ Hightower CC X01

  83. #83
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    It's not small but my 2007 Crew Cab Silverado with the DMax
    Gets 22+ mpg, fits up to 6 extremely comfortably, has held 4 mnt bikes(with plenty of space) and pulled my boat at same time
    or
    my gfs dodge charger works great with a roof top carrier

  84. #84
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    By the way the Honda Fit is one of Car and Driver's 10 best cars for the year, they say more trunk space than Ford Escape.

  85. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperSlow35th View Post
    Im about 3 inches away from buying a Ford Transit Connect for a daily driver/bike carrier.
    Those are really interesting to me. If you do it, keep us posted.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrozCountry View Post
    By the way the Honda Fit is one of Car and Driver's 10 best cars for the year, they say more trunk space than Ford Escape.
    If you really want a small vehicle, the Fit is the way to go, IMO. Otherwise, I love my Element.

  86. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperSlow35th View Post
    Im about 3 inches away from buying a Ford Transit Connect for a daily driver/bike carrier.
    That would be an awesome hauler!!!

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    Honestly when looking for something to haul bikes inside in the small car segment I think the FIT is the best choice, it has more cargo room than any of it's competitors and the magic seats offer more versatility and better use of said cargo space. My wife and I were very close to buying a FIT, but we decided on the new 2012 Mazda 3 5-door with the Skyactiv motor that gets up to 39mpg. I think the 3 is a better match for us personally than the FIT, although being a long-time Honda guy it was hard to let the FIT go. Anyone who looks at the FIT and says "it's too small" should test drive one and go online and see what people can fit in the back of a FIT, it's an amazing car. We're getting a hitch put on the Mazda 3 and will be getting a quality platform style bike rack, either Kuat NV or 1UP USA.

    For what it's worth I can fit 2 bikes standing with the front tires off in the back of my 93 Civic Si hatchback, but it's not easy or fun to do.

    Anyone have pictures of bikes in the back of a Mazda 3 hatch?

  88. #88
    gran jefe
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    Quote Originally Posted by ES Designs View Post
    snip.. we decided on the new 2012 Mazda 3 5-door with the Skyactiv motor that gets up to 39mpg. snip..
    Anyone have pictures of bikes in the back of a Mazda 3 hatch?
    the mazda 3 5-door is a great looking small wagon, way cooler than the Fit. do bikes stand up in the back? the roofline looks low for that.

  89. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill in Houston View Post
    the mazda 3 5-door is a great looking small wagon, way cooler than the Fit. do bikes stand up in the back? the roofline looks low for that.
    I'm wondering too if the new Mazda 3 will fit a large 29er inside with just the front wheel off.

  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill in Houston View Post
    the mazda 3 5-door is a great looking small wagon, way cooler than the Fit. do bikes stand up in the back? the roofline looks low for that.
    If you've got a small 26" i think... just barely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dictatorsaurus View Post
    I'm wondering too if the new Mazda 3 will fit a large 29er inside with just the front wheel off.
    Maybe.... it would be very tight fit within an inch. You'd better x2 check.

  91. #91
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    i have a Volvo C30 and my 26 kona kahuna DL fits in there just fine with the front tire removed. i lay it on its side.

  92. #92
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    I hated pulling my front wheel off cause brake rub annoyed me and I spent at least 5 minutes trying to get the wheel back in "just right" so the brake rub was minimized. Putting a 1upUSA platform rack on my Fit's hitch solved all that.

  93. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    I hated pulling my front wheel off cause brake rub annoyed me and I spent at least 5 minutes trying to get the wheel back in "just right" so the brake rub was minimized. Putting a 1upUSA platform rack on my Fit's hitch solved all that.
    I know what you mean. 1upUSA racks are the best - you got a pic of it on the car?

  94. #94
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    I had an 06 Mazda 3 and I bought a Saris rack off craigslist for $50, I could haul 4 guys and 4 bikes when necessary. I got tired of the harsh riding Mazda so sold that for a 2000 Subaru Legacy wagon. Now I can haul 4 guys and 4 bikes without a rack, but I rarely take more than 2 so I bought a $50 upright roof rack and couldn't be happier. Yes my Subaru only gets 20 mpg around town, BUT I only paid $3,000 for it! It's 90% as fun to drive as the Mazda3 and 100% smoother riding.

    If I had to spend MORE money on a newer/nicer/lower mileage car it would be an 05/06 Legacy GT wagon. If it had to be a small car it would be a Mazda2 with a roof rack or hitch rack.

  95. #95
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    I just got neg repped by someone who said "Mazda 3s suck bawlz."

    LOL!

  96. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    I know what you mean. 1upUSA racks are the best - you got a pic of it on the car?
    Don't have any good straight up pics of it, but how about one of my adventures with it?



















    Fit 3 bikes and 3 grown men and all this equipment into the Fit and drove hundreds of miles. It wasn't all that comfortable, but it worked. Made possible by the crazy cargo space on the Fit and the 1upUSA rack. These 2 guys are true beginners to mtn biking and they followed me down double black diamond trails.

    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    I just got neg repped by someone who said "Mazda 3s suck bawlz."

    LOL!
    The neg repper doesn't seem to be picking on you specifically jmartino, since my post with the crash videos got one too: Which small car for a... 12-15-2011 08:05 PM "You're a tard."
    Last edited by Varaxis; 12-16-2011 at 01:11 PM.

  97. #97
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    That's awesome. Great pics - I went fishing/camping up there a couple times but I have yet to ride Mammoth. Looks amazing!

  98. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill in Houston View Post
    the mazda 3 5-door is a great looking small wagon, way cooler than the Fit. do bikes stand up in the back? the roofline looks low for that.
    My large 100mm dual suspension XC bike fits standing up in the Fit, but not in the Mazda 3. In the Mazda it has to lay down.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dictatorsaurus View Post
    I'm wondering too if the new Mazda 3 will fit a large 29er inside with just the front wheel off.
    Didn't try it, but if any small car is going to fit it, that will be the Honda. I would guess that if its a hard tail, then yes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    I hated pulling my front wheel off cause brake rub annoyed me and I spent at least 5 minutes trying to get the wheel back in "just right" so the brake rub was minimized.
    I hate that too, but since I switched to front axle instead of QR its not much of a problem anymore.

  99. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    I just got neg repped by someone who said "Mazda 3s suck bawlz."

    LOL!
    I got neg rep'd because I punched someone in the balls by calling their precious Prius an ego booster.
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  100. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    Fit 3 bikes and 3 grown men and all this equipment into the Fit and drove hundreds of miles.
    That is you fit those bikes ON the car. That is sort of like cheating. j/k

    The neg repper doesn't seem to be picking on you specifically jmartino, since my post with the crash videos got one too: Which small car for a... 12-15-2011 08:05 PM "You're a tard."
    I love how negative folks don't leave their name....
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  101. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    The neg repper doesn't seem to be picking on you specifically jmartino, since my post with the crash videos got one too: Which small car for a... 12-15-2011 08:05 PM "You're a tard."
    Yup, I got one also, 12-15-2011 11:01 PM "You said "sh it" in your post." Awesome
    I'll recharge you guys with my meager 3 power pellets

  102. #102
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    Yo tengo un Citroen 3CV y cargo mis bicicletas en el lugar que ocuparia el asiento trasero, me queda algo similar a un furgon, pero siempre tengo que sacar el asiento y las dos ruedas

  103. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_punk_guarda View Post
    Yo tengo un Citroen 3CV y cargo mis bicicletas en el lugar que ocuparia el asiento trasero, me queda algo similar a un furgon, pero siempre tengo que sacar el asiento y las dos ruedas
    You have a Citroen 3CV and haul your bikes in the back seat area; it's similar to a wagon, but you have to take off the seat and 2 wheels?



    Like that?

    I was honestly expecting a rally car when I heard Citroen, after playing RalliSport Challenge back in the day. Off-topic: I loved that game. One of my few fav games that I played over and over on the Xbox, besides Halo.

  104. #104
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    I always like Rally games as well. I went with the Subaru STI Hatch and I love it. It's kind of ugly looking, but add sway bars and springs and they handle really well.

    I installed a hitch, so I can tow a small trailer. It's a super fun practical hatch. You can adjust how much torque goes to the front vs. the rear wheels, which make it possible to slide around corners like a RWD car. Bikes fit in the back, but I use a hitch mount rack for the bikes.

  105. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight511 View Post
    That is you fit those bikes ON the car. That is sort of like cheating. j/k



    I love how negative folks don't leave their name....
    I gave ya some positive back,LOL,and put my name Prius drivers.....irk me,when clogging up the hwy in front of my (modded) 5.0L ragtop .

    THAT said,I tire greatly of borrowing the wife's sedan to haul my bikes (saw that one coming,didn't ya? ),and though I have given thought to adding a "hidden hitch" under the Stang's rear bumper,it seems sack-religeous to do it (I have the hitch rack from when I had the truck and Blazer),and I'm thinking of either buying a cheap-as-heck mini-truck at auction (with all that that entails-it would have to be another S10 for me to slam ),or...gasp....selling the Mustang and buying something more bike friendly. HAs anyone thought of the Hyundai Accent hatch? Not that it's on my short list,but my Pop has owned 2 new ones in the last 4 years (he commutes 93 miles one way 6 days per week...really,so he leases em),gets upper 30's MPG and seems happy with em,everywhere but in power. I'll try and get out to his house soon (or have him come here,so I don't have to borrow the wife's sedan again ) and see how a 29er or CX bike fits-if he's game for me to try that,I'll try and get some pics too


    (note:what I may do,being addicted to Bristol Dragway's "Street Fight nights" is get another 2wd Blazer,slam it and drop an LS2 in it ...I hauled 2 29ers and my CX upright in there with the seats folded...)
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  106. #106
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    A close fitting hitch isn't bad at all. You just have to do some shopping and looking for one that doesn't stand out. I had to pay extra for a Curt on my car because every other brand had a bar that went UNDER the exhaust tips instead of up and over.... it may be just an Accord, but I do care what she looks like!
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  107. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight511 View Post
    it may be just an Accord, but I do care what she looks like!
    Accords ain't bad looking cars Good thoughts on the hitch,BTW
    '11 Origin 8 700CX
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  108. #108
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    I have a hidden hitch on a camaro SS W/ factory gfx (supposedly it doesn't work, but it does with some very minor modification). You don't even know it's there unless you specifically know what you are looking for, and with the better sway-bars I put in, the hitch is probably only helping to tie together the rear chassi and improve weight distribution. I guess a lot of people think that if you get one of these, you'll have a hitch-ball sticking out like 2 feet or something, but with the wide selection of recievers these days, it's just not true. Took 30 min to install (on some cars or with certain ones, there can be significantly longer or complex installs) and it's a small price to pay relatively to be able to carry my bikes and not screw up my interior, exterior or have a huge penalty in mileage.
    "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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  109. #109
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    I'm sure this was mentioned but I didn't have time to read through all the posts. I have a 2011 Honda Fit and I lay my medium 26" XC bike down in the hatch, front wheel removed, but do not touch the seat or seat post. I can also fit my 52cm road bike on its side without removing or adjusting anything.

  110. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I have a hidden hitch on a camaro SS W/ factory gfx (supposedly it doesn't work, but it does with some very minor modification). You don't even know it's there unless you specifically know what you are looking for, and with the better sway-bars I put in, the hitch is probably only helping to tie together the rear chassi and improve weight distribution. I guess a lot of people think that if you get one of these, you'll have a hitch-ball sticking out like 2 feet or something, but with the wide selection of recievers these days, it's just not true. Took 30 min to install (on some cars or with certain ones, there can be significantly longer or complex installs) and it's a small price to pay relatively to be able to carry my bikes and not screw up my interior, exterior or have a huge penalty in mileage.
    REALLY good food for thought,I'll drfinately look into it before doing something drastic (like selling\trading),thanks
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  111. #111
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    I can fit my bike in the back of my Mazda3 wagon with the back seats down, without taking off any wheels. Plus it is a super fun car to drive even though it is really cheap.

    Also, if you go biking yourself a lot, the Saris Solo is an awesome rack. It takes like 2 secs to put on and off and is very solid. It does not work well on a hatchback or SUV but it is great on my Camry sedan.

  112. #112
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    I haven't had chance to get out to Dad's with bike and see if it would fit his '10 Hyundai Accent hatch yet,but over the phone he did some measuring...doesn't sound near what a 29"er would need,with or without wheels and SP...they do look pretty-well tiny going down the road...
    '11 Origin 8 700CX
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  113. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I have a hidden hitch on a camaro SS W/ factory gfx (supposedly it doesn't work, but it does with some very minor modification). You don't even know it's there unless you specifically know what you are looking for, and with the better sway-bars I put in, the hitch is probably only helping to tie together the rear chassi and improve weight distribution. I guess a lot of people think that if you get one of these, you'll have a hitch-ball sticking out like 2 feet or something, but with the wide selection of recievers these days, it's just not true. Took 30 min to install (on some cars or with certain ones, there can be significantly longer or complex installs) and it's a small price to pay relatively to be able to carry my bikes and not screw up my interior, exterior or have a huge penalty in mileage.
    This is the realization Ive been slowly coming to.
    Although Id still like a hatch/wagon for dogs, opening up the car search to sedans really increases the options.

    do you take off your hitch rack when you arent carrying bikes? how easy/fast is it to take on and off?
    The mountains are calling and I must go

  114. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan55 View Post
    This is the realization Ive been slowly coming to.
    Although Id still like a hatch/wagon for dogs, opening up the car search to sedans really increases the options.

    do you take off your hitch rack when you arent carrying bikes? how easy/fast is it to take on and off?
    Yep, even when i used it on my wrx i would take it off when i wasnt using it, it only takes about a minute to install or take off the T2. The key is to keep it close to your car because it is a bit heavy/obtuse. But so far so good, ive always used a gear-bag and it seems you can put a hitch on almost anything. I was just at the dealership the other day for an oil change and they didnt even notice the towbar, and they are the kind that notice that kind of stuff /always try to sell me so-so aftermarket stuff. And while i loved the wrx wagon, the camaro 2ss2SS/RS easily has as much usable interior volume, with a huge trunk and decent backseat area.
    "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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  115. #115
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    I've got a KIA forte five and I can fit two large bikes in it with just the front wheel off. It fits even easier with the seat off but its not required. I get 36 mph highway low 30 or high 20s city. It does great on road trips. already over 25k in 13 months. No problems for me. Also you can get a 6 speed manual if you want. I've got the automatic with the sport shift. It's right about 16k starting even less if used.

  116. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by schmitty8225 View Post
    I've got a KIA forte five and I can fit two large bikes in it with just the front wheel off. It fits even easier with the seat off but its not required. I get 36 mph highway low 30 or high 20s city. It does great on road trips. already over 25k in 13 months. No problems for me. Also you can get a 6 speed manual if you want. I've got the automatic with the sport shift. It's right about 16k starting even less if used.
    Pics with bikes loaded?

  117. #117
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    I can get some in a week or so. It basically looks like the first picture in the thread. It may be a bit harder to load because the roofline in the KIA is shorter but it looks just like the first picture when loaded.

  118. #118
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    Cars cost a lot and why limit yourself because of restrictive requirements. My suggestion would be a hitch and a bike rack. Just having enough internal space for your bikes limits you on doing others things. Like bringing more then one friend along or what about those cycling camping trips? With those bikes inside you wont have room for much gear…if any.

    Purchase any car you want and let a hitch rack hold your bikes. It’s just easer. Easer to load, easer to remove and you keeps you’re new cars interior clean and free for other stuff.

    I received my hitch a week ago from etrailer.com. Cost was only $108 with free shipping. I still need to order a bike rack tho.
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  119. #119
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    That's the case for some people, but not for all. Cars are expensive but gas is too. I have to drive at least half an hour each way to ride, sometimes twice. Putting a bike in the trunk is super quick in my sedan, should be even quicker with a 5 door car. For the occasional trip with a few people I have a trunk rack. Since that happens rarely it's the exception to the rule.
    For people that live in big cities and have to get the racks on and off every ride, as well as carry them down and up the stairs, racks are the least desirable option.

    So each situation has different requirements.

  120. #120
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    SeaSucker on '11 G37S Coupe

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  121. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrozCountry View Post
    That's the case for some people, but not for all. Cars are expensive but gas is too. I have to drive at least half an hour each way to ride, sometimes twice. Putting a bike in the trunk is super quick in my sedan, should be even quicker with a 5 door car. For the occasional trip with a few people I have a trunk rack. Since that happens rarely it's the exception to the rule.
    For people that live in big cities and have to get the racks on and off every ride, as well as carry them down and up the stairs, racks are the least desirable option.

    So each situation has different requirements.
    Well, I live in a big city and having a hitch rack is a good car protector when parallel parked. That’s if your rack is made of steel. On the other hand with the advent of the aluminum bikes racks that have those knobs for adjusting hitch wobble. Installing and removing this type is too easy. Yet, they are light enough so it’s not a hassle. Some even fold flat so they can be stored in your trunk.

    Gas is expensive and a fact of life. If you want to ride, you’ll need to drive no matter what one does with their bike.
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  122. #122
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    if you want to argue, start a new thread. over on bike forums.

  123. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by Genevieve41 View Post
    I have a mazda 3 hatch and love it. Easily fits my two 29ers in with no problem with the back seat down and front wheels off. I did recently get a roof rack but that was mainly because I like the looks.
    Can you post pics with the bikes loaded?

  124. #124
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    honda fit is a good car, just underpowered to me!

  125. #125
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    (Note: I am NOT bashing Hondas,and know full well there are some wicked fast ones out there,even in my neck of the woods. That said...)

    I get a kick out of Honda guys at the dragstrip when I beat em (and yes,there was one that ran a low 11 and beat me ),they always say "Well...I make more horsepower per liter than you do!"......I always say something like "Well whooptie-do,you ain't never gunna have FIVE liters!"
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  126. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperSlow35th View Post
    Im about 3 inches away from buying a Ford Transit Connect for a daily driver/bike carrier.
    Have you gotten the ford? Would like to hear how you like it if you have..

  127. #127
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    OP I would take it back to the Mazda 3. Honda Fit would be nice, but not as much of a driver as the 3.

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    FWIW I have a BMW M Coupe that hauls two bikes a gear great. The MPG's and not being able to keep the bikes inside are the only things that don't meet your criteria, but hauling ass makes up for it! An S52 powered example can be had for the price of a new Honda Fit.



    Last edited by Cloudbase; 01-27-2012 at 08:17 AM.

  129. #129
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    Opinions on the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport?

  130. #130
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    I had an 05 Mazda 3 hatch with a 5 speed and it was a great car. It hauled bikes, skis, furniture and gear. It's great having a fun to drive wagon. I traded it in last year for a '11 VW Jettta wagon. Its big for a "small car." I've got a Thule rack on mine, but your could fit 2 bikes in the back. Its much bigger than the Mazda 3. Know she VWs have reliability issues, but mine's be problem free so far.
    Vermonter - bikes, beers and skis.

  131. #131
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    Glad to see I'm not the only one who got negative repped from this thread, for being "Pretentious and condescending like a Euro mechanic should be." Two months after I posted. Nice.


    To the guys talking about Transit Connects: a couple of our parts delivery services use those things, and I keep looking at them at potentially sweet mountain bike rigs. Please keep us posted!
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  132. #132
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    Scion XB

    BLT 19" in Scion XB. The rear wheel is stuck between the front passenger seat and the door. I guess you can do it on the other side as well (driver seat).
    The fork is at 130, should be good at 150 as well and possibly longer fork. The seat however, is all the way down and stuck good to the roof.

    The car not only looks like a box it also feels like a box when you are inside.

    Lame night photo with cell phone below. You can see the rear wheel behind the passenger seat.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Which small car for a mountain biker?-2012-01-31_23-23-28_896.jpg  


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