Roof Bike Rack ~ Good Idea or Potential Disaster

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by JayhawkNavy02, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. JayhawkNavy02

    JayhawkNavy02 New Member

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    I already have a Thule roof rack and I am considering getting a Bike Rack for the roof (no trailer hitch on my car & van).

    *Here are my concerns:

    1) From a couple of posts I've read, there have been comments regarding paint damage from frame mounted bike mounts, such as the Thule Big Mouth to the frame paint. Has anyone had this experience?

    2) I am considering a fork mount, such as the Thule Peloton, but again, I've seen posts that state they may damage carbon forks, which my Felt F75 has. Is this the case?

    3) From posts on other websites, some have stated that debris and wind damaged the paint on their bikes, resulting in a "sandblast" effect. Is this true? I will be driving from CA to RI, so it will be a long trip. If this is true, is purchasing and using a lycra bike cover enough to mitigate/prevent the damage?

    http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?category=600071&subcategory=60001022&brand=&sku=8759&storetype=&estoreid=&pagename=Shop%20by%20Subcat%3A%20Car%20Rack%20Accessories

    4) On various other forums, comments about the Thule frame mounts' lack of stability have been mentioned. Has anyone noticed/experienced this?

    *Here are my Bike Rack Options I'm Considering:

    1) Thule Peloton Fork Mount
    2) Thule Big Mouth Upright Bike mount

    If there are any other suggestion/comments, open to those.

    Thanks in advance for the help.

    D
     
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  2. Powerful Pete

    Powerful Pete New Member

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    For years I have used roof racks and never had problems that you describe.

    Granted, I do not have bikes with carbon dropouts, but as for the issues related to sandblast effect/frame damage, nothing to report here. If you get a 'bike bra' then I really think you will have no problems with this.

    The longest trip I took with the bikes on roof mounts were multi-day trips (all of France+Italy) so not a cross country trip, but not a 20 minute drive either.

    I have not used a Thule roof mount, but from what I hear they are considered very high quality. I use Elite products (very popular here in Europe) and have never had a problem.

    I do use a Thule rack on a hatchback, and have no complaints there either.
     
  3. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    From this forum, it seems that the most common danger in using a roof rack is trying to drive into your garage with the bike still on the roof.
     
  4. JayhawkNavy02

    JayhawkNavy02 New Member

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    Powerful Pete, do you use the frame or fork mount?

    Thanks for the help.

    D
     
  5. JayhawkNavy02

    JayhawkNavy02 New Member

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    I read the posts, some great advice, I like the idea of taking the garage door opener out of the car. I ride my bike to school/work to save on gas, so pretty unlikely to get the bike smacked. Biggest threat will be the Saturday Velo Club ride here locally, I guess if I just ride to the location then I can play it safe.

    Main purpose of the bike mount will be to transport the bike from CA to RI. I guess if I get the rack mount (forum inputs dependent) then I'll have to be especially aware of hotel/restraunt/overpass height limits (measure before ride and post on the dashboard I gues).

    Thanks for then inputs. You guys are awesome!
     
  6. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    I would definitely use a cover because you most likely will be driving through Nevada and/or Arizona and/or New Mexico. These areas have a high potential to cause sandblast damage to your frame. If I were in your position, I would also wrap the drivetrain components in plastic, remove the chain, and wrap the hubs in plastic. If you can, find a way to lock the bike to the carrier and the carrier to the car, or remove the bike and put it in your hotel room every night of your trip.
     
  7. JayhawkNavy02

    JayhawkNavy02 New Member

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    Yep, will definitely be driving through those states and a bra seems to be the way to go. Good advice on the plastic wrap!

    Thanks
    D
     
  8. Powerful Pete

    Powerful Pete New Member

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    Not sure what you mean, but I would take the front wheel off and secure the fork to the special rack attachment, with the back wheel secured with a strap on a 'wheel holder'. I found this to be very stable even at highway speeds (regularly driving at over 110kph for long periods.

    The model I use is precedent to this one (they made this more fancy schmancy aerodynamic, but nothing has changed in terms of the mechanics).... here is the link with the photo in the background showing how the bike is secured to the rack. http://www.elite-it.com/jsp/c-Prodotti.jsp?ID=0910501

    This model is designed to fit just about any roof rack out there, so I just clamped it on to the roof rack that came with my Toyota et voila, happy travels. Not travelling through deserts I do not even use a lycra bra or anything... a few dead bugs on the handlebars and front of the forks make for a better looking bike in my humble opinion! :p
     
  9. JayhawkNavy02

    JayhawkNavy02 New Member

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    That's the fork mount I belive, if you don't have to remove the front wheel then I think they call that a frame mount. Unfortunately I'll be travelling through the desert from CA to get to RI for several days.
     
  10. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    Aside from the issues mentioned already for roof racks, I don't like the high aero drag which can result in significant penalties in fuel economy at highway speeds.

    A buddy here has a roof rack on his Civic (w/auto trans), and when we have our two bikes and wheels on top, he says mileage drops by about 5 mpg on the highway. Plus, when climbing hills with bikes on, the automatic has to downshift more frequently to maintain speed. Perhaps this isn't an issue with more powerful cars, but I hate the idea of sacrificing fuel economy just to haul a 20 lb bicycle or two.
     
  11. gravelmuncher

    gravelmuncher New Member

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    ...Just when you thought you'd heard it all.
     
  12. Powerful Pete

    Powerful Pete New Member

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    Yes, your fuel economy does take a major hit with the roof mounted rack. But I am always a bit terrorised of the rear-mounted units... a fender-bender could equal a set of completely totalled bikes... :eek:
     
  13. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    Suppose no external mount system is perfect. I fit my bike into the back of my VW New Beetle easily, but it's no good for two. Have an old Rhode Gear adjustable rack for it that fits the hatch well, but again it's a pain to hang two bikes and tie them down so nothing rubs or clunks around.

    The new hot setup here seems to be a hitch-mounted rear rack with wire hoops that both tires sit in and a folding arm that swings to lock the downtube. It's quick and easy, but as you mention the bikes have no protection just sitting out back a foot or two from the car bumper. That's probably a bigger issue in Rome traffic than here :)

    Speaking of Roma, I'll be there next month for a couple of days on the way home from biking in Emilia Romagna hills. Some friends and I are staying at one of the Riccione hotels in the "Italy Bike Hotel" program for a week. The rental bikes will be Derosa Avants with Veloce triple set ups. I've never ridden a Campy-equipped bike, so it will be fun trying something new.
     
  14. Powerful Pete

    Powerful Pete New Member

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    Understatement of the day, LOL.

    You will love it. And I think I know where you are staying... excellent and very varied riding in that area. Be careful, it is very easy to eat too much there also! Drop me a line to let me know re: your Rome stay... arrivederci a presto!
     
  15. artemidorus

    artemidorus New Member

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    What, that at least one person in the US drives a sensible car?
     
  16. Powerful Pete

    Powerful Pete New Member

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    :D LOL. We had a thread (buried in the spam) about this in the bike cafe....
     
  17. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    You should come to the US and see just how many sensible cars are on the roads. There are not so many larger SUV's running around anymore, especially since our gas prices have hit all time highs, albeit not as high as Europe. What is the average price of gas in Australia? I haven't been there since 1980 but it seemed pretty comparable to US prices at the time. Seemed that there were a lot of Range Rovers and Land Cruisers running around too.
     
  18. artemidorus

    artemidorus New Member

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    About A$1.30-1.40 a litre, much cheaper than Europe, more expensive than yours. Cars in Australia are much smaller on average than in the US, but paradoxically there seems to be a late influx into this country of big boofy cars designed for the US market.
     
  19. artemidorus

    artemidorus New Member

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    Been there twice in '03, once in '04 and once in '06. Only ever to CA and FL. Big cars, biiiig cars. Even in CA. In FL I seemed to be the only person on foot.
     
  20. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    Pete, thanks, will send you a private email.
     
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