SUV: Roof Rack or Rear Mounted?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    SUV: Roof Rack or Rear Mounted?

    I have a Ford Explorer and was wondering which type of rack would be better for me. I understand that the rear rack would be decent because it's easy to take you bike on and off, however, I'm 6'3" tall and don't know if it would be all that hard to put our bikes on top either. I would also be using whatever rack we decide on in the winter for skiing. Hit me up with the pro's/con's and personal preferences. Thanks in advance!
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  2. #2
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    I prefer a rear rack for my Toyota Highlander. I can pull into the garage or other parking structures with no worry. I also don't have the remove the front tire to transport.
    I also use the rear rack for quick tune ups before and after rides. Makes a great bike stand.
    Just my $.02

  3. #3
    Hi!!!
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    I have a Ford Escape SUV with a Thule hitch mounted rack.

    For work, I park in a parking garage so that was the big key in my decision.

    The hitch rack does have some disadvantages:
    1) Back spray from grime, dirt, water, etc. gets on the lower half of the bike.
    2) Potential blockage of backup/brake lights.
    3) Your bike getting 'effed up in a feder bender.
    4) Swaying.

    It is convenient though.. No need to lift a 30 pound bike up onto the roof or having to undo the front wheel. I also feel my bike is more secure since I cablelock it through the rack itself and also use a Kryptonite lock attached to the downtube and carrier. I also have the hitchrack itself cablelocked to the hitch frame.
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  4. #4
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    I have a hitch-mounted Sportworks T2 (similar to the Thule). I have also owned a Yak roof setup and a hitch-mounted Thule Expressway. The rear rack rules. It is:

    Easy to load/unload bikes
    Impossible to hit a garage or drive-thru (I've done this with the Yak)
    Easy to keep an eye on the bikes through the rear-view mirror
    Nice when tired (I'm 6 ft tall and even with my old Accord, I hated lifting the bikes up there after a ride- especially if my back was bothering me).
    Stable even with wheels attached so no front wheel removal needed
    No frame contact needed on my rack

  5. #5
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    One more thing

    Quote Originally Posted by mtb_g33k
    I have a Ford Explorer and was wondering which type of rack would be better for me. I understand that the rear rack would be decent because it's easy to take you bike on and off, however, I'm 6'3" tall and don't know if it would be all that hard to put our bikes on top either. I would also be using whatever rack we decide on in the winter for skiing. Hit me up with the pro's/con's and personal preferences. Thanks in advance!
    ...about the difference between them: I installed my roof rack and it basically became part of the car, period. however, I find myself taking off/ install the hitch rack quite often because it take out space in garage and sometime hinder the rear door access. Now I only use hitch rack on longer drive which helps on gas milage for the lower wind resistance.

  6. #6
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    Hitch rack

    You can buy 'em with a swing-out feature that allows you to get the rear-end open while the bikes to stay on the rack.. most hitch racks are secure and there is almost no chance of doing something that might scratch your paint. Also, if you end up riding through bad weather, the car tends to block your bike(s) from a lot of the water/dirt flying up off the road.

  7. #7
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    Is there something that keeps the front tire and handlbars from swinging back and fourth? Also is there a ski attatchment for that same sort of rack. I think I've seen them before...but can't quite remember. I like that idea of using it as a bike stand!
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  8. #8
    "Its All Good"
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    I went with roof mount, now living in Spain, these drivers are crazy, to be rare ended with the bikes onthe rack would turn me into a mad mad B Stard , would see RED

    Also in Europe they are far more anal about the lights, in New Zealand they are cool as, here many car racks have an extra light panel that needs to ne hooked on the bikes....

    Actually had both steeds on my roof today, felt safe from the fender benders... But the comments aboutthe garage etc is a true one.
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  9. #9
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    Depending on where you drive overhead clearance could be an issue.

    Gas milage will be adversly affected as well

  10. #10
    Chillin the Most
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    I vote rear...


    Roof racks on an SUV can be dangerous and limit parking resources.

  11. #11
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    I have a Durango & I went with the Rear Mount. I picked up a Drawtite hitch mount. Works perfect & I dont have to remove any wheels or try & remove the bike from my roof. Which to me could be a hassle seeing how high the durango is allready let alone having to reach up to the bike.

  12. #12
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    I use a Softride Pull-Pin hitch mounted rack. It swings out of the way so you can access stuff in the back and it has an optional attachment for skis and snowboards. It even has an optional tailgater attachment with a barbeque and table. It works far better than anything from Thule or Yakima. When other people see it in action they wish they had one.

    They now make even burlier versions of my rack. I have no idea why. Mine is plenty strong for 3 Nomads and a Blur.

    http://www.softride.com/category.asp?cid=2

    It also won't scratch your bike up like most hitch racks. The carry bars are completely enveloped in plastic/rubber so it won't hurt your bike.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whafe
    I went with roof mount, now living in Spain, these drivers are crazy, to be rare ended with the bikes onthe rack would turn me into a mad mad B Stard , would see RED

    Also in Europe they are far more anal about the lights, in New Zealand they are cool as, here many car racks have an extra light panel that needs to ne hooked on the bikes....

    Actually had both steeds on my roof today, felt safe from the fender benders... But the comments aboutthe garage etc is a true one.
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  14. #14
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    The Softride is a very solid rack but does stick out pretty far, even with the arms removed. I liked it but the old (gray) finish rusted very quickly even though my car was always garaged and it's still nowhere near as convenient as these tray-style racks like the T2, Cycle On, and the Yak one. My friend still has one- it's really badly rusted but it is still solid as anything out there. I hear the new finish is very rust-resistant and it would be one of my top picks for a hitch rack from which you hang the bike. I did consider it before I saw the T2 in action and the T2 folds up so close to the car that people with tight carages or parking spaces will really like it. If anyone wants, I cam provide folded up measurements for the T2, Softride, and Thule Expressway.

  15. #15
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    No right or wrong answer to this is there. They both work fine, just different compromises. I'd list them all but it's been done to death many times before. Try a search.

    I happen to use a roof mount (on a car not SUV) because it works out cheaper if you don't need a hitch for anything else, no need for a number/light board, no risk of bike damage from a minor rear prang, easier to park in tight spaces, easy access to tailgate.
    Remember, there is no black magic or witchcraft, it's only a machine

  16. #16
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    PS: what's with the people who comment about the hardship of lifting their bike on the roof? I can fully understand if they can't physically reach up there, but the weight thing is crazy. If you haven't got the strength to lift a 30 lb bike onto your car roof, it isn't the rack that's the issue
    Remember, there is no black magic or witchcraft, it's only a machine

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtb_g33k
    Also is there a ski attatchment for that same sort of rack. I think I've seen them before...but can't quite remember. I like that idea of using it as a bike stand!
    Check out yakima's line up... I believe they have rearmount ski equipment.

  18. #18
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    What's your license plate say? Faqh2 can't see the rest ...

    Berardino

    Quote Originally Posted by red5
    I vote rear...


    Roof racks on an SUV can be dangerous and limit parking resources.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by baratta930
    What's your license plate say? Faqh2 can't see the rest ...

    Berardino
    It's BS, I photochopped that in there. It says, fahq2 = f#ck you 2.

  20. #20
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    Thought so, funny

    thnx

    Quote Originally Posted by red5
    It's BS, I photochopped that in there. It says, fahq2 = f#ck you 2.

  21. #21
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    LOL...like the plate! I'm still in the air. The biggest concern that I've heard is hieght problems with them being on the roof. Honestly I know that if I'm going riding and my bikes are on the roof, I'm not parking in a garage. I also doubt that I'll be parking anywhere that the extra couple of inches on my roof from the rack itself will be an issue. I'm not too crazy about the rear rack because of the opening the door problem. I guess I need to see one of those racks with the abilitly to open the door function in action. I suppose a better question to the roof rack group is do you have a hard time puttin the bike on your roof from the ground on an SUV. The SUV part of the question is the major factor. I have a roof rack on my Jetta and it's fine. I grab the bike by the fork close to the stem and by the frame and chuck it right up there. However the SUV roof is almost as tall as me.
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  22. #22
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    If you're 6'3" I don't think you will have a problem getting the bike up there. I'm 6'4" and I have no problems getting the bikes on top of our Chevy Blazer. Remembering there're up there before driving into a parking garage is a different story though I'm afraid...

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtb_g33k
    I have a Ford Explorer and was wondering which type of rack would be better for me. I understand that the rear rack would be decent because it's easy to take you bike on and off, however, I'm 6'3" tall and don't know if it would be all that hard to put our bikes on top either. I would also be using whatever rack we decide on in the winter for skiing. Hit me up with the pro's/con's and personal preferences. Thanks in advance!
    I would go with the rear rack. There are two types of roof rack users, those that have damaged their bikes and or car by pulling under somethng that is too low and those that will. Just not worth the risk. Also, gas mileage gets much worse with the roof rack, not nearly as much or at all with the rear rack. I am 5'10+ and I find it very annoying to put a bike on a roof rack of a subaru WRX. So you are 5" taller than me, but the Explorer is probably more than 5" taller than the WRX.

  24. #24
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    I have a Yakima FullSwing4, it carries up to 4 bikes by their top tubes, and swings out of the way to access the back. It doesn't work so well for interrupted seat tube type frames. If I were to do it again, I'd probably buy a Yakima HookUp2, or a similar tray type hitch mounted rack, as it is more versatile for more bike styles. I'd also probably just carry two bikes on the back, and throw 2 more on the roof for the rarer occurences of carrying 4 bikes. Unless you're in and out of the back a lot, it doesn't take much time to dismount and remount a couple of bikes. I use bungie cords to keep the front fork/tire from swinging.

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