Bike Car racks recommendation?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Perry M, May 29, 2003.

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  1. Perry M

    Perry M Guest

    Have a Trek 5500 and a Specialized Mountain Bike. I drive an Explorer and wanted to know the pluses
    and minuses of using a roof rack vs. something I can hang on the rear hitch. Any brands better than
    the other and places to buy them on the net (nashbar, perfomance etc.).

    TIA Perry
     
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  2. Mark

    Mark Guest

    "Perry M" wrote in message...
    > Have a Trek 5500 and a Specialized Mountain Bike. I drive an Explorer and wanted to know the
    > pluses and minuses of using a roof rack vs. something I can hang on the rear hitch. Any brands
    > better than the other and places
    to
    > buy them on the net (nashbar, perfomance etc.).
    >
    > TIA Perry

    Roof racks keep your bike out of harm's way in accidents (think parking lots, gas stations), leave
    your rear door/tailgate/window completely unobstructed, and the fork mount roof racks (remove front
    wheel, insert fork ends into quick release axle- like clamp, put front wheel into separate holder)
    are extremely secure at Interstate highway speeds. Roof racks can also accomodate cargo boxes,
    baggage racks, ski racks, snow board racks, kayak racks.... you get the idea. Lockable bicycle roof
    racks are also available, but don't put too much faith in them. Roof racks are also time consuming
    to install and put bicycles in (especially if your car is tall and you are small), and the added
    wind resistance will have a negative effect on highway gas mileage and acceleration, especially if
    you have a small engine. If you're the absent minded type, forgetting that your bicycle is on the
    roof when entering your garage can cost you a lot of money and make you feel very foolish..

    Rear hitch racks are convenient as hell to use, but they can interfere with rear vision (depending
    on the design), make getting in and out of the back of your car time consuming, and the extra stuff
    on the back of your vehicle will make parking more difficult than usual. I would not expect them to
    be as secure as fork mounts on a roof rack at high speed.

    In short, if you care more about your bikes than your car and don't mind a little inconvenience,
    roof racks are the way to go. Ditto if your MTB frame has a frame design that preclude using a
    trailer hitch rack. If you want convenience above all else and only use the rack to drive 15 minutes
    to a bike path, the trailer hitch racks make more sense.

    I've been very happy with my Yakima roof system for 12 years and 3 cars, other people say good
    things about Thule. REI (www.rei.com) has a great selection of both brands, along with a tool on
    their website to help you pick out the system you want. HTH,
    --
    mark
     
  3. Perry M

    Perry M Guest

    Thanks...I looked at the rei site early today. I'll check it out. Sounds like roof rack is best....

    Perry

    "mark" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Perry M" wrote in message...
    > > Have a Trek 5500 and a Specialized Mountain Bike. I drive an Explorer
    and
    > > wanted to know the pluses and minuses of using a roof rack vs. something
    I
    > > can hang on the rear hitch. Any brands better than the other and places
    > to
    > > buy them on the net (nashbar, perfomance etc.).
    > >
    > > TIA Perry
    >
    > Roof racks keep your bike out of harm's way in accidents (think parking lots, gas stations), leave
    > your rear door/tailgate/window completely unobstructed, and the fork mount roof racks (remove
    > front wheel, insert
    fork
    > ends into quick release axle- like clamp, put front wheel into separate holder) are extremely
    > secure at Interstate highway speeds. Roof racks can also accomodate cargo boxes, baggage racks,
    > ski racks, snow board racks, kayak racks.... you get the idea. Lockable bicycle roof racks are
    > also available, but don't put too much faith in them. Roof racks are also time consuming to
    > install and put bicycles in (especially if your car is tall
    and
    > you are small), and the added wind resistance will have a negative effect
    on
    > highway gas mileage and acceleration, especially if you have a small
    engine.
    > If you're the absent minded type, forgetting that your bicycle is on the roof when entering your
    > garage can cost you a lot of money and make you
    feel
    > very foolish..
    >
    > Rear hitch racks are convenient as hell to use, but they can interfere
    with
    > rear vision (depending on the design), make getting in and out of the back of your car time
    > consuming, and the extra stuff on the back of your
    vehicle
    > will make parking more difficult than usual. I would not expect them to be as secure as fork
    > mounts on a roof rack at high speed.
    >
    > In short, if you care more about your bikes than your car and don't mind a little inconvenience,
    > roof racks are the way to go. Ditto if your MTB
    frame
    > has a frame design that preclude using a trailer hitch rack. If you want convenience above all
    > else and only use the rack to drive 15 minutes to a bike path, the trailer hitch racks make
    > more sense.
    >
    > I've been very happy with my Yakima roof system for 12 years and 3 cars, other people say good
    > things about Thule. REI (www.rei.com) has a great selection of both brands, along with a tool on
    > their website to help you pick out the system you want. HTH,
    > --
    > mark
     
  4. Hunrobe

    Hunrobe Guest

    >"Perry M" [email protected]

    wrote:

    >Have a Trek 5500 and a Specialized Mountain Bike. I drive an Explorer and wanted to know the pluses
    >and minuses of using a roof rack vs. something I can hang on the rear hitch. Any brands better than
    >the other and places to buy them on the net (nashbar, perfomance etc.).

    Personally, I prefer a hitch mount since the only real advantage of a roof rack I can see is that it
    doesn't interfere with access to the vehicle interior. That one advantage isn't enough to offset a
    roof rack's disadvantages. Roof racks are more difficult (hence more expensive if you pay for the
    installation and more time consuming if you do it yourself) to mount on the vehicle. They turn your
    bike(s) into a sail at highway speeds, especially if there's a crosswind. More than one or two bikes
    in roof racks have met their demise when entering a parking garage. Their biggest drawback for me
    though is they make loading and unloading the bike(s) more difficult. YMMV of course. If you do opt
    for a hitch rack, try a local trailer rental shop or truck accessory shop before ordering off the
    Internet. Any discount on the price of a heavy bulky item like a quality hitch rack you might get on
    the 'Net can be eaten up pretty quickly by shipping costs.

    Regards, Bob Hunt
     
  5. Pat

    Pat Guest

    x-no-archive:yes

    >
    > Personally, I prefer a hitch mount since the only real advantage of a roof
    rack
    > I can see is that it doesn't interfere with access to the vehicle
    interior.
    > That one advantage isn't enough to offset a roof rack's disadvantages.
    Roof
    > racks are more difficult (hence more expensive if you pay for the
    installation
    > and more time consuming if you do it yourself) to mount on the vehicle.
    They
    > turn your bike(s) into a sail at highway speeds, especially if there's a crosswind. More than one
    > or two bikes in roof racks have met their demise
    when
    > entering a parking garage. Their biggest drawback for me though is they
    make
    > loading and unloading the bike(s) more difficult. YMMV of course. If you do opt for a hitch rack,
    > try a local trailer rental shop or truck accessory shop before ordering off the Internet. Any
    > discount on the price
    of a
    > heavy bulky item like a quality hitch rack you might get on the 'Net can
    be
    > eaten up pretty quickly by shipping costs.
    >
    > Regards, Bob Hunt

    I agree on the hitch mount. I haven't had any problems parking with it as the previous poster warned
    against. The body of the car protects the bikes, too, from wind-blown objects, weather, etc. If I am
    tired from a long day's ride, the last thing I want to do is heave the bike on the top of a car.

    Pat
     
  6. On Fri, 30 May 2003 03:21:01 +0000, Hunrobe wrote:

    >>"Perry M" [email protected]
    >
    > wrote:
    >
    >>Have a Trek 5500 and a Specialized Mountain Bike. I drive an Explorer and wanted to know the
    >>pluses and minuses of using a roof rack vs. something I can hang on the rear hitch. Any brands
    >>better than the other and places to buy them on the net (nashbar, perfomance etc.).
    >
    > Personally, I prefer a hitch mount since the only real advantage of a roof rack I can see is that
    > it doesn't interfere with access to the vehicle interior. That one advantage isn't enough to
    > offset a roof rack's disadvantages. Roof racks are more difficult (hence more expensive if you
    > pay for the installation and more time consuming if you do it yourself) to mount on the vehicle.
    > They turn your bike(s) into a sail at highway speeds, especially if there's a crosswind. More
    > than one or two bikes in roof racks have met their demise when entering a parking garage. Their
    > biggest drawback for me though is they make loading and unloading the bike(s) more difficult.
    > YMMV of course.

    I disagree. There certainly are disadvantages of hitch mounts as well. They bunch bikes up together,
    which can scratch and otherwise damage the bikes. I saw one poor soul pulling into a parking lot for
    a century with a couple bikes on the back, but getting in the rear tire of one of the bikes was
    scraped along the pavement. Not good. Roof mounts keep the bikes separate. Both set-ups expose the
    bikes to rain, wind, and other nastiness -- better to keep them inside the car for that reason.

    I have yet to lose a bike to a parking garage, but I was rear-ended when I was carrying a couple
    bikes on the roof. Had they been in the back they would have been toast. One bike was inside; it
    survived, too. The car didn't.

    Now, with your Explorer, you do have additional considerations since the roof is quite high. It will
    be seriously difficult to get bikes on and off of a roof rack. Too bad the Explorer is not tall
    enough inside to just roll the bikes in.

    --

    David L. Johnson

    __o | The lottery is a tax on those who fail to understand _`\(,_ | mathematics. (_)/ (_) |
     
  7. Baltobernie

    Baltobernie Guest

    Pat <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > x-no-archive:yes
    >
    > >
    > > Personally, I prefer a hitch mount since the only real advantage of a
    roof
    > rack
    > > I can see is that it doesn't interfere with access to the vehicle
    > interior.
    > > That one advantage isn't enough to offset a roof rack's disadvantages.
    > Roof
    > > racks are more difficult (hence more expensive if you pay for the
    > installation
    > > and more time consuming if you do it yourself) to mount on the vehicle.
    > They
    > > turn your bike(s) into a sail at highway speeds, especially if there's a crosswind. More than
    > > one or two bikes in roof racks have met their
    demise
    > when
    > > entering a parking garage. Their biggest drawback for me though is they
    > make
    > > loading and unloading the bike(s) more difficult. YMMV of course. If you do opt for a hitch
    > > rack, try a local trailer rental shop or truck accessory shop before ordering off the Internet.
    > > Any discount on the
    price
    > of a
    > > heavy bulky item like a quality hitch rack you might get on the 'Net can
    > be
    > > eaten up pretty quickly by shipping costs.
    > >
    > > Regards, Bob Hunt
    >
    > I agree on the hitch mount. I haven't had any problems parking with it as the previous poster
    > warned against. The body of the car protects the
    bikes,
    > too, from wind-blown objects, weather, etc. If I am tired from a long
    day's
    > ride, the last thing I want to do is heave the bike on the top of a car.
    >
    > Pat
    >
    >

    I also like the hitch mount, for all the reasons mentioned previously, plus these:
    . the ability to keep an eye on your bike
    . much less areo forces in the eddy area behind the vehicle
    . automatic car wash hassle of the roof rack

    Both types are rather expensive, particularly if you don't already have an installed receiver hitch.
    But I always get a chuckle watching folks unload a step stool or short ladder from a Suburban, so
    that they can hoist the bike(s) up. A well-designed hitch rack goes on and off in a minute, allows
    access to the trunk (of a sedan), and your bike is on and off in seconds. My homemade version cost
    <$50, and has been field-tested at well above the posted speed
    limit!http://pennstar.home.mindspring.com

    Bernie
     
  8. Psycholist

    Psycholist Guest

    I've read all the posts here. I had an Explorer and I built a little platform out of 2x4s to which I
    mounted a couple of fork mounts. I strapped this to the hooks in the floor in the back of the
    Explorer. Thanks to the split rear seat, if I was just transporting one bike, I could flip down half
    of the rear seat and easily accomodate my bike and other cargo INSIDE the Explorer, completely
    secure and free of any concerns about exposure to the elements, parking, etc. Two bikes don't work
    so well if you have two passengers. If anyone is tall at all, the seats have to be back to far to
    fit the bikes.

    However, at times I've needed the interior space free. I've used roof mounts before. Odds are, you
    WILL forget your bike's up there sooner or later. I truly believe that everyone I know who has a
    roof mount rack has done some damage to their bike at one time or another.

    The concern about hitch mounts holding bikes by the frame or bunching bikes together is addressed by
    a really nice rack made by a company called Draftmaster. Go to www.draftmaster.com. Very nice
    product. It mounts to the trailer hitch, holds the bike in fork mounts just like a roof racks, and
    swings down out of the way so you can access the rear door of the vehicle. Yes, parking is a bit of
    a concern ... but it's nothing like coming home from a ride and deciding to swing through the
    drive-thru for a coke and wondering what that crunch was as you drive up to the window -- after
    which you discover you just bought a $3,000 or so coke.

    Been there, done that, Bob C. "Perry M" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Have a Trek 5500 and a Specialized Mountain Bike. I drive an Explorer and wanted to know the
    > pluses and minuses of using a roof rack vs. something I can hang on the rear hitch. Any brands
    > better than the other and places
    to
    > buy them on the net (nashbar, perfomance etc.).
    >
    > TIA Perry
     
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