What type bike rack for Toyota Highlander?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    What type bike rack for Toyota Highlander?

    Hi,

    I hope it's okay to post this question in this forum. I just bought an 06 Highlander and I am considering a bike rack for either the back or the top. Toyota will give me one for cost for the top, and a friend has offered a Thule for the back. I dont think I want something that will stick out the back though. Are there any foldup ones that a small person can use on their own? Or would a roof rack be better (I have a garage though)? Do these racks seriously cut down on gas mileage? I have read over 20%decrease UNLOADED. I find this hard to believe, but maybe so. I have a Titus Racer X and a Giant TCR advanced team. Or maybe I will just lock them up on the inside? I just dont want to scratch up the interior. I appreciate any help!

    j.

  2. #2
    Just roll it......
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    Sportsworks T2

    Especially with your car having a high roof, it's gonna be a pain putting bikes up. I hightly recommend the Sportsworks T2. I had a Yakima Swingaway (Thule has a comparable rack) and those are nice for vehicle acccess, but they don't fit a lot of frames very well so I got rid of it.

    The T2 allows you to put the bike on in 10 seconds (seriously), you don't need to pull the wheel off (big bonus for 20 mm hubs) and the bikes are on very secure. Plus, you're not straining to lift the bike to the top of your tall SUV. I nearly killed myself a couple of times with my dh bike attempting this feat.

    I won't be going back to a roof rack for bikes after having the Sportsworks rack....nuff said.

    EB
    Last edited by ebxtreme; 11-09-2005 at 03:26 PM.

  3. #3
    Never worng!
    Reputation: Verewolf's Avatar
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    I posted this in the "Where are the Best Deals?" Forum.

    It's a fold-down ball mount on my rear bumper.
    They also have low mounts available.
    Just another option

  4. #4
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    Does it fold up so that I can open the back?

    Thanks!

    j.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by racerXX
    Does it fold up so that I can open the back?

    Thanks!

    j.
    Are you asking about the Sportsworks rack? If so, it folds up to get out of the way for normal driving use and it folds down further (if you need it to) for entrance into the back of a vehicle. Most vehicles usually don't need to fold it down lower than it's normal "bike holding" height to access the back unless there are bikes on there. If that's the case, folding down further would work for most vehicles....

    More info. here.
    http://www.thuleracks.com/thule/prod...d=8&sku=260120

    EB

  6. #6
    Never worng!
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    Quote Originally Posted by racerXX
    Does it fold up so that I can open the back?
    Yeah it folds down so you can get in the back of your vehicle.
    It has a round key to unlock the bottom then you lift it up out of the slot and it folds down.
    The Swagman rack is heavy and well made. Best part it was $69.95.
    No one bids on them and the seller on eBay has a good many listed all the time.

    If you have a receiver hitch on your vehicle he also has those in a fold-down rack for a few bucks more.
    The low-mount racks are a little higher starting at $104.99 for a 2 bike rack.

  7. #7
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    Thanks guys. Does the thule rack need a hitch? The car came with a towing package, but not a hitch.

  8. #8
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    Depends on what the towing package entails. The Sportsworks racks (recently purchased by Thule) need the hitch receiver as most racks do, but not an actual hitch.

    On an SUV with a tow package, it should already have a 2" receiver on there. If not, you'd need to get one and, if that's the case, definitely have a 2" receiver installed. I had one installed on my car for less than $200 at a hitch speciality place near my house.

    The other nice thing about the Sportworks rack....it takes ~30 minutes to put the entire thing together (it comes practically complete) and you can add extra bike racks (but those are $$) onto the main rack. I've got 3 other buddies that now have them and we've all experimented with many different bike racks over ther 15+ years we've been mt. biking.

    Cheers,
    EB

  9. #9
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    Here's your choices....

    Here's your choices on the hitch racks:

    High Price:
    1 UpUSA ultra bike rack: ($449, http://www.1upusa.com/1upusarackhome.htm)
    Pros: Easily removable so no honkin' big bike rack on the car all the time (no need to fold down either), lightweight, aluminum so no rust, nice looking, works with either 1.25" or 2" receivers. Works well with any type or size of bicycle.
    Cons: Not quite as easy to load as the sportworks, $$$$, not quite as stable as the Sportworks

    Mid price ($300 or $250ish on sale - free shipping at REI if there is a local store)
    Sportworks T2 (now Thule), Yakima hookup
    Pros: Super easy loading, very secure, works well with any type or size of bicycle.
    Cons: Bulky & heavy (hence hard to remove), you will pretty much have to leave it on your car during riding season and it gets in the way of the hatch. It does fold down, but it is a bit awkward. The rack looks awkwardly large on the back of a Highlander (I have one on mine). Can be modified to work with 1.25" or 2" hitches with some additional parts (< $75).

    Inexpensive ($150 or less)
    "Prong" type bike carriers (Yakima bighorn, swagman etc.)
    Pros: Cheap, unobtrusive (looks wise) when installed w/o bikes
    Cons: Does not hold bikes well (they will sway), may or may not fold or swing out of the way, works with 1.25" or 2" hitches only. Does not work well with some FS frames or smaller sized frames. Bikes will bang into each other and scratch each other.

    Basically, if you want to leave the rack on (and the looks don't bother you) get the Sportworks. If you want to take the rack on and off and you got the cash get the 1up. If price is important and stability on the rack isn't look at one of the "prong" type carriers.

    With respect to the roof racks, you can get nice racks from Yakima and Thule (the Toyota rack is likely made by one of these 2) that can mount on the factory cross bars (if you have the factory rack). You are limited to a maximum of 2 bikes doing this, but it is your cheapest secure option. Rocky Mounts is a good company to get inexpensive roofracks from. I wouldn't really recommend the roof option unless you're very careful (not to drive into stuff), and very tall. I have a Highlander with roof racks, and I'm tallish (6' 1") and it's a stretch for me to put the bikes up there. You will have to load most all of your riding buddies bikes and this gets old.

    You will notice a signicant increase in wind noise using roof racks (even with a fairing) on this vehicle. Mileage was dropped a bit - maybe 5-10% unloaded, and about 10-20% with the bikes up top.

    To answer your other question, the towing package on the Highlander includes a 2" receiver and a transmission oil cooler. You won't need any additional hitch parts to install any bike rack that mounts in a receiver. If you look at the back of your car there's a 2" steel square opening with a rubber cap on it that says Toyota. That's your receiver.

    Regarding putting the bikes inside: the plastic on the wheel wells scratches easily, and it's easy to nick the bumper paint when loading/unloading bikes. There is not as much room inside as you'd think for large items like bikes, although if you're small it might fit, but would probably require wheel removal.

    Sorry I wrote so much, hope that helped.
    Last edited by Schmoe; 11-09-2005 at 06:33 PM. Reason: remove unintentional smiley

  10. #10
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    Here's the Swagman I got:
    - Fold-Down body
    - Fold-Down Arms
    - Anti-Sway Cradles with Straps
    - Kraton cushioned cradles grooved for cables
    Total cost to mount on bumper (Rack + S /H + Hardware ) $89.75


  11. #11
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    The Sportworks is the way to go. I had mine for 3 years and only takes seconds to load the bike. When not in use, it quickly folds up out of the way. With two bikes, I got 23 mpg on the highway. Buy one and you will not regret it.

    <img src="https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/HighlanderMini022.jpg" alt="Image hosted by Photobucket.com">

  12. #12
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    I put a Softride Access on my 05 Highlander. One kick of a pedal and the whole thing drops down for easy access. Has a hitch lock and a cable to lock the bikes.
    Saddle up, Effendi. We ride.

  13. #13
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    I've got a yakima rack on the top of my 05 Highlander. It can hold 3 bikes and a rocket box but in order to open the back hatch all the way the fairing sits on the moonroof. Never really got the whole moonroof thing but it comes with the Limited Edition. Anyway, there is a very noticable increase in wind noise and gas mileage is anywhere from 13 to 18 mpg. Not very good. I don't think its that big a hassle to load bikes on top but I might switch to the trailer hitch approach. My 2 cents.

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