Bike Racks?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by stowell48, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. stowell48

    stowell48 New Member

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    I am new to cycling. Me and my wife just bought bikes. We are now looking for a rack to go on our car.

    I know nothing about racks. Do most racks fit standard cars? We have a Toyota Camery and a Toyota Rav4. I'm guessing we can't find one that would fit both, but that would be awesome if we could.

    What should I look for in a bike rack. Any recommendations?

    Thanks.
     
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  2. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Yes you can. A lot of trunk racks work on a great number of cars. I use a Saris Bones and find it works better than any trunk rack I've used in the past. Roof racks are typically very car model dependent and generally aren't amenable to being switched between cars. Hitch racks (i.e. racks that mount in a trailer hitch receptacle) can easily be switched between cars, like trunk racks.
     
  3. coalcoal

    coalcoal New Member

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    If you already have a roof rack on your car then choosing a bike rack is fairly easy. Yakima, Thule and Saris all have a variety of bike mounts some lock, some require you to take off your front wheel (fork mount) and others work with odd bike frames and downhill bikes with disc brakes. I have a Yakima system with their new Viper mount a really versatile fork mount that will fit most of the mountain bikes out there. I like the lower profile of fork mounts but you have to do something with the front tire. You can buy wheel mounts for the roof but I usually just throw it in the trunk.


    If you don't already have a roof rack (and don't want to make the investment usually around $200) you can get a strap-on or trunk rack. These used to be pretty flimsy but the new ones look good (check out the Saris Bones) and cost around $100. If you want something more substantial you can go with a hitch rack (attaches to your trailer hitch). Depending on the size of your trailer hitch, you can get up to 5 bikes on a hitch rack so it may be the way to go if you have a big family. In any event, I bought my Yakima system online at rackattack.com and they went through all my options in detail. They also shipped everything for free so they're a good place to start looking.
     
  4. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Well-Known Member

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    I have a Mazda 3 and a Thule trunk rack for two bicycles.

    The rack is ok and will fit many other cars. If you get a trunk rack be careful that the pads don't damage the paint as I've heard this can happen. I therefore only use the rack when I need to transport two bikes and I put little rags under the pads for extra protection. So far so good.

    When I'm transporting only a single bike (mine), I take the front wheel off and put the bike into the back seat. I have a blanket on the seat to protect it. Works great and is much faster than putting it onto a rack.

    Good luck.
     
  5. stowell48

    stowell48 New Member

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    Awesome, thanks for all the replies!! I will take a look at your suggestions!

    Thanks
     
  6. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    IMO there are several advantages to having bikes inside the vehicle, particularly on longer trips. Considering two bikes will go in my VW Golf, would think putting two bikes inside the Rav4 would be a piece of cake....it is an SUV after all.
     
  7. nbfman

    nbfman New Member

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    I use Terzo and Inno roof racks. I compared Thule, Inno, and Terzo and found that you can mix systems of different vendors, as the clamps that attach the racks to the roof bars are adjustable and accomodate a wide range of bar sizes. I chose roof racks because the rear racks that I could find required a certain amount of platform area on the rear bumper, which my car did not have.

    Among roof racks, I have both the type where you leave the front wheel on and the type where you remove the front wheel and attach at the fork. I would recommend against the type where you keep the front wheel on, unless it is a kid's bike, as the height gets quite high. Also, this type uses a clamped arm to grab the down tube, and I have had worries about damaging the frame. The clamps can also be damage prone - one of mine has broken and the claw no longer closes.

    As you might guess, vertical clearance with any roof rack is a concern, as it is easy to forget the bikes are there. I have heard many stories of bikes getting smashed. Someone earlier suggested putting the bikes in the car, and +1 for that. You can purchase bike bags that allow you to compactly hold the bike and wheels after removing both wheels. With bags, you do not have to worry about getting the interior dirty. I often have to transport 4 bikes, so I put two on the roof and two go in bags in the back of a mini-van.
     
  8. GT Fanatic

    GT Fanatic New Member

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    First off, I will tell you that you do NOT want to skimp on the bike rack with something like an "XPort." You will have nothing but problems with it. A good bike rack is expensive, but it is certainly worth the money.

    The type of rack is a matter of preference. If you do not have a factory mounting setup on the roof, I wouldn't recommend one. Some of them are prone to slide. The last thing you want are bicycles sliding around if you have to make a panic-stop. Not to mention, you'll be taking a massive dive in gas mileage because of the aerodynamic inefficiencies.

    There are some that are just strapped around the trunk and braced. Personally, I wouldn't subject these pieces of garbage to my car, because they don't do much for the paint on your vehicle.

    IMO, the best option is a hitch-mounted rack. I got a hitch mounted on my 2005 Subaru WRX STi and it works great. They weigh about 15 lbs, so you won't even notice it's back there. There is plenty of clearance for the trunk to still open while the rack is on the car, and you don't have to lift the bicycles up as high as you would need to on the roof or on one of those trunk-mounted piles of garbage. The downside is that a hitch (including install) will run you about $270-$300, and then you'll still have to get the rack. Our rack cost us $420, but we got a very nice Yakima rack.

    The best part about the hitch-mounted rack is that it can be installed or removed in literally 1 minute (or less). Not to mention, because the bicycles are close to the vehicles, you will hardly notice any decrease in gas mileage. I can take some pics of mine if you like.
     
  9. Sid Nitzerglobi

    Sid Nitzerglobi New Member

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    I've been using a Saris Bones 801 (3 bike version) hatch mounted rack on my MINI Cooper S for the past couple of years and have encountered zero issues with my paint. I guess if you manage to get something abrasive trapped between the feet or the strap hooks and the contact patches on the bumper/hatch/trunk you could potentially have an issue, but this seems simple enough to guard against (just wipe off the feet, hooks, and the bumper with your hand before putting the rack on).

    Gas mileage impact seems pretty insignificant for me ( down ~.5 to .75 mpg from what I'd expect on a 380 mile highway trip carrying my MTB and my road bike).

    Takes maybe 3 minutes to mount/unmount the rack and another 30 seconds to strap the bike in.

    The only real negative I've experienced is that you have no way to lock the rack to the car or the bikes to the rack in anything resembling a secure manner.
     
  10. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    I went the alternate route and purchased a hitch receiver and a Thule T2. Not only can a transfer the rack easily between the truck and the Prius, but if I have it mounted on the Prius I can still open the rear hatch with two bikes on the rack.
     
  11. GT Fanatic

    GT Fanatic New Member

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    Good choice. You'll find yourself to be much happier with a hitch-mounted rack than the others. IMO, it's the easiest one to deal with.
     
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