Upright vs No front wheel rack- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Upright vs No front wheel rack

    I recently traded in my Towncar for a Subaru Outback and I'm pretty excited to get rid of the trunk rack i had and move on to a roof rack.

    I'm wondering if there is advantage to racks where you remove the front wheel vs a rack where you leave the whole bike intact. We go on a few camping trips where i bring my bike, but between all our gear and our 2 dogs, storage room is at a premium so it would be nice if i didn't have to store the wheel in the car (The 29er wheel with disc brake is a large thing to store). This seems like an obvious perk, but i notice most people still use the kind where you remove the wheel. I've read that they aren't quite as steady (but still get the job done) and that your gas mileage can be worse. Does anyone have an experience with this? I'm going to get a roof cargo box at some point, but even so, with an extra person or 2 in the car, storage is again tight.

    Also, i'm 6'6" and the Subaru isn't a very tall car. My bike also weighs under 30 lbs, so i'm not too concerned about loading and unloading, if that is a factor.

    I would love to hear everyone's opinion before i make a choice!
    Last edited by mclaren880; 11-30-2011 at 10:02 AM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by mclaren880 View Post
    I recently traded in my Towncar for a Subaru Outback and I'm pretty excited to get rid of the trunk rack i had and move on to a roof rack.

    I'm wondering if there is advantage to racks where you remove the front wheel vs a rack where you leave the whole bike intact. We go on a few camping trips where i bring my bike, but between all our gear and our 2 dogs, storage room is at a premium so it would be nice if i didn't have to store the wheel in the car (The 29er wheel with disc brake is a large thing to store). This seems like an obvious perk, but i notice most people still use the kind where you remove the wheel. I've read that they aren't quite as steady (but still get the job done) and that your gas mileage can be worse. Does anyone have an experience with this? I'm going to get a roof cargo box at some point, but even so, with an extra person or 2 in the car, storage is again tight.

    Also, i'm 6'6" and the Subaru isn't a very tall car. My bike also weighs under 30 lbs, so i'm not too concerned about loading and unloading, if that is a factor.

    I would love to hear everyone's opinion before i make a choice!
    Fork mount:

    Advantage:
    1.) Bike is extremely stable
    2.) Clean look when tray is not in use
    3.) Generally less expensive

    Disadvantage:
    1.) Only compatible with 9mm QR forks. (Larger axles and lefty forks require adapters that are not cheap.)
    2.) Front wheel has to go in the car
    3.) If you are buying an older, used model, it may not be compatible with disc brakes. (May still be an issue with some newer models, not sure.)
    4.) PITA to always take the front wheel off.

    Wheel / Frame holder:
    Advantages:
    1.) Generally no issues with bike compatibility
    2.) Extremely easy on/off

    Disadvantages
    1.) Slightly less stable
    2.) Clunky looking when you're not carrying bikes.
    3.) Cost

    In terms of MPG loss, in most cases either rack style will lower your mileage. I doubt there's a significant difference between the two. I'm not going to suggest that one is more theft resistant than the other because any bike left outside of your car can be stolen.

    My $0.02

  3. #3
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    ^^ All great points

  4. #4
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    So upright it is! Thanks a lot!!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by wbmason55 View Post
    Fork mount:

    Advantage:
    1.) Bike is extremely stable
    2.) Clean look when tray is not in use
    3.) Generally less expensive

    Disadvantage:
    1.) Only compatible with 9mm QR forks. (Larger axles and lefty forks require adapters that are not cheap.)
    2.) Front wheel has to go in the car
    3.) If you are buying an older, used model, it may not be compatible with disc brakes. (May still be an issue with some newer models, not sure.)
    4.) PITA to always take the front wheel off.

    Wheel / Frame holder:
    Advantages:
    1.) Generally no issues with bike compatibility
    2.) Extremely easy on/off

    Disadvantages
    1.) Slightly less stable
    2.) Clunky looking when you're not carrying bikes.
    3.) Cost

    In terms of MPG loss, in most cases either rack style will lower your mileage. I doubt there's a significant difference between the two. I'm not going to suggest that one is more theft resistant than the other because any bike left outside of your car can be stolen.

    My $0.02
    Yakima and Thule both make front wheel holders that mount to the cross bars to hold the front tire.

    The Upright racks fold down to a sleek low profile when not in use. Not really clunky looking at all.

    Take the time to search Yakima's and Thule's Websites for info.
    TREK EX9 27.5

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by sxr-racer View Post
    Yakima and Thule both make front wheel holders that mount to the cross bars to hold the front tire.

    The Upright racks fold down to a sleek low profile when not in use. Not really clunky looking at all.

    Take the time to search Yakima's and Thule's Websites for info.
    Fork mount: Uhh, yeah, I'll rephrase "Front wheel has to go in the car" with "Front wheel either goes in the car or you must buy another ~$40 accessory."

    I maintain that upright mounts are clunkier, but it's subjective. Decide for yourself.

    FWIW, I'm not advocating one vs the other, was objectively weighing the pros and cons. And I hope that last statement was directed at the OP and not me
    Last edited by wbmason55; 12-03-2011 at 01:15 PM.

  7. #7
    gran jefe
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    Quote Originally Posted by wbmason55 View Post
    And I hope that last statement was directed at the OP and not me
    Definitely OP.

    There's gotta be a slick way to strap the front wheel to the seat tube and chainstay, or some such.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill in Houston View Post
    Definitely OP.

    There's gotta be a slick way to strap the front wheel to the seat tube and chainstay, or some such.
    Absolutely

  9. #9
    gran jefe
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    Ooo, that bright green one is EXACTLY what I had in mind!

  10. #10
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    So you seem pretty well set with a roof rack?
    I looked into a roof rack myself when I wanted to ditch the hanging bike racks.

    Even for my Prius.. I dismissed the roof idea because...
    • limited to which bikes I could load up there... my recumbent would not have been pleasant to load, or even possible to secure.
    • People I know who originally went roof rack... got tired of lifting their bikes and went back to stashing them inside their cars
    • If I injured myself on the trail... yeah.. like THAT would ever happen! It'd be easier to load my bike on a hitch rack than a roof
    • knowing that there would come a time when I would totally forget about the bikes up on top and scrape them off the car with some low-hanging obstacle
    • If I ever wanted to add roof storage... where would I put the bikes then?


    The three top choices of hitch racks after an arduous search...
    1UpUSA
    NorthShore
    KŁat

    1Up won

    Good luck on your search!

  11. #11
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    I upgraded from a normal rack that straps on the back to a Yakima setup with highroller racks and it has been great. Easy to adjust between wheel sizes, fits my 24" up to dh and 29" wheels. It's also been stable when I shuttle on fire roads.

    I have a little Corolla wagon, so it isn't hard to load them on and it also keeps the bikes a bit more spaced out than cramming them onto many other racks.

  12. #12
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    Fork mounts are undoubtedly more stable. I concur that the external wheel holder is a good option to get the front wheel out of the car. Take a look at SmartCrossbars as an option; they let you configure and reconfigure your roof in seconds. There is an added benefit that you get all your attachments off your roof and stored on your wall when you're not using them.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mad-Duck View Post
    I upgraded from a normal rack that straps on the back to a Yakima setup with highroller racks and it has been great. Easy to adjust between wheel sizes, fits my 24" up to dh and 29" wheels. It's also been stable when I shuttle on fire roads.

    I have a little Corolla wagon, so it isn't hard to load them on and it also keeps the bikes a bit more spaced out than cramming them onto many other racks.
    i plan to go with an upright rack to mount bikes over top the bed so i will not lose any Room
    and my buddy has the highroller racks and they work great i plan to use those on my setup.

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