Subaru Forrester owners.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Subaru Forrester owners.

    Just picked up a very nice clean low miles turbo Forrester and was wondering what is best bike rack, on top or hitch rack in the back. I would need to install a receiver hitch. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I have a '06 Forester and mostly carry my bike in the back. I have the seat forward enough that I don't have to take the front wheel off. I do have a couple of roof racks as well, sorry can't remember the brand but they were inexpensive and bought off of Amazon. I've had them probably six years and they have held up well. However, I can't put my plus bike up there, trays are too narrow, 2.35s are ok but probably not much wider. They also don't open very wide where they clamp to the downtube. All but one of my bikes are steel so they are fine on the skinnier tubes but a bit difficult on the fatter aluminum of my full suspension.

    I'm probably going to be buying a Crosstrek soon. It looks like they are about 7" shorter in the space behind the front seats so I'll probably have to remove the front wheel. But I think I will add a hitch and buy a 1up rack (interestingly, there is an ad for one appearing in the sidebar at the moment). I like the way the arms come up around the wheels, seems very secure and a couple of guys I've ridden with have them and love them. I'll also buy crossbars and transfer my roof racks as I also kayak and thus will need to be able to put my kayak racks on. The hitch rack should be a lot easier than getting a bike on the roof.

    What year is your Forester? My wife has a 2015 and it is a lot taller than my '06. Makes it harder to get stuff up on the roof (though I haven't used hers to carry anything) unless you're pretty tall.
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  3. #3
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    It's a 2005. And I ride 29er plus (Trek Stache 7) Like I said it doesn't have a receiver hitch and it's $220 to have one installed plus the price of a rack. I thought it might be cheaper to just get a roof rack although I'd prefer the bike be behind the car.. Also building wheels next month so wanted to do this as cheap and as simple as possible. New wheels bike inside the back works for me!! 😂 Thank you..

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    I'm probably going to be buying a Crosstrek soon.
    I have a 2018 Crosstrek. I like it but they are very limited in terms of cargo space. You can fit one bike inside with some fussing though. The lack of room for things like, oh say jumper cables, misc. tools, sunblock, etc. is striking for a car marketed to the "outdoors crowd". By comparison, my wife's VW Alltrack can fit a two riders' worth of Camelbacks, bike shoes, and helmets under the floor in the cargo area, along with roadside emergency stuff, 1st aid...

    Also, if you were to put bike racks on the roof of the Crosstrek, be careful what you buy because a lot of newer bike trays will interfere with the rear hatch. The roof is really short.

    Fred, search for discussions on roof racks vs hitch racks as the deciding factors on those are independent of what kind of car you have - with the exception that the height of a specific car may push you away from a roof rack.

  5. #5
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    Did you look for the receiver at etrailer.com?

    I don't drive a sub but i paid under $200 and that includes installed at Pep Boys.($45 I think).
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcd46 View Post
    Did you look for the receiver at etrailer.com?

    I don't drive a sub but i paid under $200 and that includes installed at Pep Boys.($45 I think).
    I got a Draw-Tite 1 1/4" hitch from etrailer for not much more than $100. Installed it on my wife's '17 Forester in the driveway in under an hour. Be aware that the amount of weight the undercarriage will support is pretty limited, so there's not much point in putting a beefy 2" hitch on the Forester. For a hitch rack and a couple of bikes you'll be fine though.

  7. #7
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    I have "eTrailer'd" my last 2 vehicles with US made DrawTite hitches. For most vehicles, they make it way too easy. My '14 Focus took about 30 minutes and that was inclusive of dropping heat shields, etc. My new Escape that replaced the POS Focus took about the same but there was an additional time factor because I set up trailer light connections. The have very good videos showing complete installs and the kits are bitchen as they come with the special wire feeders for the blind bolts in the frame and what not. Everything is figured out for you.

    IMO, get the 2" receiver IF it's available for your model. For my Focus, it wasn't. Just the Class I 1-1/4" receiver was available for that car because in the US, Ford didn't rate it for any towing but in the UK and Europe, it is. 2" not so much for towing capacity though I do tow a 17' bass boat and a 14' sail boat, all within my new vehicles tow capacity, but the 2" hitch allows for the 4 bike version of many if not most hitch haulers. I run a Thule T2 as a 2 bike rack but have the optional add-on to go with 4 should I need to. You generally can't do that with a Class I receiver.

  8. #8
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    I wouldn't use a top rack unless I had absolutely no other choice. Even on my Outback at 5'9" tall, a roof rack would be a nuisance.
    I've used hitch racks on all of my cars.

  9. #9
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    Like chaz i too put my bike inside. I wanted to use a hitch rack but when i test fitted a H2 i didnt like that the rack was wider than the car...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-T View Post
    I have a 2018 Crosstrek. I like it but they are very limited in terms of cargo space. You can fit one bike inside with some fussing though. The lack of room for things like, oh say jumper cables, misc. tools, sunblock, etc. is striking for a car marketed to the "outdoors crowd". By comparison, my wife's VW Alltrack can fit a two riders' worth of Camelbacks, bike shoes, and helmets under the floor in the cargo area, along with roadside emergency stuff, 1st aid...

    Also, if you were to put bike racks on the roof of the Crosstrek, be careful what you buy because a lot of newer bike trays will interfere with the rear hatch. The roof is really short.

    Fred, search for discussions on roof racks vs hitch racks as the deciding factors on those are independent of what kind of car you have - with the exception that the height of a specific car may push you away from a roof rack.
    I, too, have an Ď18 Crosstrek. Been on many solo camping/biking trips. No complaints. Things were a little tight when I had a full-size cooler, but I got rid of it and now use one that fits on the front passenger seat. Only inconvenience is removing MTB front wheel when loading. Great mpg though!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CRAZY FRED View Post
    Just picked up a very nice clean low miles turbo Forrester and was wondering what is best bike rack, on top or hitch rack in the back. I would need to install a receiver hitch. Thanks.
    Iíve had 2 Foresters, now an Outback. Iíve been using Thule and Yakima roof racks for 27 years as I also use a roof box on camping trips. The Ď05 is a tad lower then the current crop but itís still a reach to pop a mt. onto the roof, I carry a small folding step stool for this.

    Itís kind of a wash to buy a trailer hitch plus bike holder, vs. a roof system, thus Iíd recommend a hitch system. Roof racks have other uses though.

    Biggest question is does the Forester have factory cross bars ?. If it does then itís cheaper to get a bike tray or 2. Iíd recommend the models that have leave the front wheel on the bike and clamps the wheels. Easier than removing the front wheel and storing inside.

    As well and on my Ď01 Forester, the bikes fit inside with the front wheel on the bike. My new 29Ē HT barely fits into the back of the Ď17 OB though, 29Ē mt. bikes are a LONG

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-T View Post
    I have a 2018 Crosstrek. I like it but they are very limited in terms of cargo space. You can fit one bike inside with some fussing though. The lack of room for things like, oh say jumper cables, misc. tools, sunblock, etc. is striking for a car marketed to the "outdoors crowd". By comparison, my wife's VW Alltrack can fit a two riders' worth of Camelbacks, bike shoes, and helmets under the floor in the cargo area, along with roadside emergency stuff, 1st aid...

    Also, if you were to put bike racks on the roof of the Crosstrek, be careful what you buy because a lot of newer bike trays will interfere with the rear hatch. The roof is really short.

    Fred, search for discussions on roof racks vs hitch racks as the deciding factors on those are independent of what kind of car you have - with the exception that the height of a specific car may push you away from a roof rack.
    Great advice thank you. I agree about the Crosstrek being very limited on cargo space as I was gonna buy something brand new from Subaru but didn't want a payment.( We just bought a 2019 Jeep Rubicon).

  13. #13
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    All very good suggestions guys I really appreciate it. I'd rather the bike behind the car but U-haul just quoted me $280 installed than a rack? My car does already have the stock rack rails so who knows. Simple problems over all..Thanks gentleman ride on!!

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    Running a roof setup is going to be loud and inconvenient, in my experience (with the Forester and other cars)

    You should poke around for a used receiver and hitch rack. I've got a 1.25" curt receiver off my 15 Forester for sale now for cheap (used to run a 2 bike Raxter rack with it) and I'm sure you could find similar for your Forester on your local craigslist or recycled parts yard. You should be able to find one for $75 or less.

    I took the curt receiver off to add a 2" ecohitch so I could run a 1up rack with 3-4 trays. Pricey but the best setup you can buy, and worth every penny

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    Quote Originally Posted by jcd46 View Post
    Well done sir, thank you.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcd46 View Post
    This. And put another 2" receiver on the Jeep so you can load bikes onto either one using the same hitch rack. This is what I did to my Suby since I already had a receiver and rack for my van.

    Seriously consider installing the hitch yourself - it's often not hard at all.

  18. #18
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    If DIY is possible, then highly recommend going hitch and DIY install. There is an awesome Subaru forum with detailed pictures on DIY installs. Went this route on my Outback.

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  19. #19
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    Top of car rack = noisy, lot's of drag, harder to reach on most cars, decreased gas mileage, risk of forgetting bike is on top driving into garage or drive-thru, but it's out of harms way from fender benders.
    Hitch rack = easy access for bikes (also look for one that tilts down, away from the hatch/trunk), no adverse affect on gas mileage that I have ever noticed, hitch can be used for other accessories if needed, need to be careful backing up but at least the bike can be seen in mirror or camera to remind you instantly you are carrying your bike). Plus the rack can be moved to any vehicle which is a huge advantage imo. It's exposed to rear end collisions but I've been driving for 34 years and have never been rear-ended....knock on wood

    If you have some WD40, a socket set, tin snips or Dremel and maybe a pry bar (to aid in pushing the exhaust hanger out of it's home) the Curt or DT hitch install is pretty darn easy, at least it sure was on my Accord. $100 or so and some of your time is all it takes.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-T View Post
    I have a 2018 Crosstrek. I like it but they are very limited in terms of cargo space. You can fit one bike inside with some fussing though. The lack of room for things like, oh say jumper cables, misc. tools, sunblock, etc. is striking for a car marketed to the "outdoors crowd". By comparison, my wife's VW Alltrack can fit a two riders' worth of Camelbacks, bike shoes, and helmets under the floor in the cargo area, along with roadside emergency stuff, 1st aid...

    Also, if you were to put bike racks on the roof of the Crosstrek, be careful what you buy because a lot of newer bike trays will interfere with the rear hatch. The roof is really short.

    Fred, search for discussions on roof racks vs hitch racks as the deciding factors on those are independent of what kind of car you have - with the exception that the height of a specific car may push you away from a roof rack.
    The less space has made me hesitate. Pulling my '06 Forester up next to a Crosstrek, they appear to be about the same size overall but I guess the sportier styling of the Crosstrek wastes a lot of space that the utilitarian design of the older Foresters had. Shoot, can't even fit 8' 2xs in without going up onto the dashboard it appears. The newer Foresters just seem a bit too big and drive bigger as well (having driven my wife's), though I guess I'd get used to it. And the added height would make it more difficult to get stuff on the roof, especially kayaks. Interestingly, they both get pretty much the same gas mileage despite the Forester being bigger and with a bigger engine.
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  21. #21
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    General Subaru complaints from me. I donít understand why Subaruís only new turbo options are the WRX/STI and the new Ascent. Living at 6k+ ft and only going up from here, a non-turbo new car is simply not an option to me. We bought a VW Alltrack and have been very happy.

    And, as mentioned by others, they seem to be doing less with more now. The Crosstrek has a god awful engine, and the bigger models seem less spacious than our current Subaru, a 2001 Outback.

    That said, Subaru makes incredibly durable cars. Our Outback has 315,000 miles on it. About to put new shocks and struts on it, and give it a 1.5Ē lift. New rubber will add another 0.5-0.75Ē. Will sit at 11Ē off the deck when done, and be a better dirt road machine than most.

    When we buy our next car, it will be either a used Forester XT or a non-Subaru.





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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    General Subaru complaints from me. I donít understand why Subaruís only new turbo options are the WRX/STI and the new Ascent. Living at 6k+ ft and only going up from here, a non-turbo new car is simply not an option to me. We bought a VW Alltrack and have been very happy.

    And, as mentioned by others, they seem to be doing less with more now. The Crosstrek has a god awful engine, and the bigger models seem less spacious than our current Subaru, a 2001 Outback.

    That said, Subaru makes incredibly durable cars. Our Outback has 315,000 miles on it. About to put new shocks and struts on it, and give it a 1.5Ē lift. New rubber will add another 0.5-0.75Ē. Will sit at 11Ē off the deck when done, and be a better dirt road machine than most.

    When we buy our next car, it will be either a used Forester XT or a non-Subaru.
    I saw an article the other day that addressed why they don't have turbo versions: they are selling plenty of them without turbos. Maybe when demand drops they'll try to kick up sales with some turbos.

    As I mentioned, I think they have moved to focus more on styling where the older models were more based on function and not as appealing to the masses, and the utilitarian aspect has suffered. That's one thing I've always liked about my '06 Forester, it just seems real honest, not trying to be something that it's not. Let's face it, for most people, an SUV is really just a high riding station wagon without the stigma of station wagons and mini vans.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    I saw an article the other day that addressed why they don't have turbo versions: they are selling plenty of them without turbos. Maybe when demand drops they'll try to kick up sales with some turbos.

    As I mentioned, I think they have moved to focus more on styling where the older models were more based on function and not as appealing to the masses, and the utilitarian aspect has suffered. That's one thing I've always liked about my '06 Forester, it just seems real honest, not trying to be something that it's not. Let's face it, for most people, an SUV is really just a high riding station wagon without the stigma of station wagons and mini vans.
    Yeah.

    I suppose that makes sense for most people. I just remember stomping on the accelerator at the top of one mountain pass or another here in CO, trying to pass someone quickly, and nothing happened. ~160hp becomes quite a few less at 10,000ft+.

    My Alltrack gets 32mpg+ with a Yakima roof box on top, between Colorado Springs and Aspen, which is a significant net gain in elevation and a good bit of climbing overall.




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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    I just remember stomping on the accelerator at the top of one mountain pass or another here in CO, trying to pass someone quickly, and nothing happened. ~160hp becomes quite a few less at 10,000ft+.
    Sorry to thread drift but...

    The lack luster performance of the Crosstrek turned me off when it was time to replace my wife's Jetta. So we got an Alltrack even though she wanted the Suby and now she's spoiled because the VW is sweet and a blast to drive for a non-sports car (assuming we don't fall victim to the roof leak that seems to plague that model).

    A year later someone crashed into the 1994 Nissan Pathfinder that I had driven for 20 years. After some serious thought about what I should replace it with, it turns out a Crosstrek actually made the most sense.

    I'll tell you what, after coming from a 25 year old SUV and a 1991 VW Westfalia, the Crosstrek is completely adequate in the power department, just not exciting (I live at 5,000 feet and drive to the mountains often).

    And having heard what it costs to replace a blown turbo, I'm hoping the Suby's lack of one means its cost of ownership will be comparable to that old Nissan.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by CRAZY FRED View Post
    Just picked up a very nice clean low miles turbo Forrester and was wondering what is best bike rack, on top or hitch rack in the back. I would need to install a receiver hitch. Thanks.
    First thing I would do is swap the upipe on it to one w/o a cat, unless you bought one of the newer ones where that came standard. I've had a 06 LGT that had a cat fail which ate the turbo, fyi.

    Around 2min...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7QscCfDyb4

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