Roof Rack vs. Hitch Rack

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by kvl1027, Apr 24, 2005.

  1. kvl1027

    kvl1027 New Member

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    I am going to be getting some sort of racking system for mine and my wife's bike. I have heard pro's and cons regarding roof mount vs. hitch mount, and just wanted to get a more broad opinion from the many people on this forum. I have heard that roof racks hurt your as mileage, I drive a Toyota Matrix and I think having a hitch mount will ba a pain because of the hatchback. Any info. would be greatly appreciated.
     
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  2. jmurray89

    jmurray89 New Member

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    Id go with the roof rack. With the hitch racks (near Atlanta anyways) people like to see how close they can get to your $5000 bike until stopping. From a wondering if their going to hit your bike stand point, Id go with the roof. also some of the hitch racks with the rubber seem to make marks on a light colored frame, and just easier to put on top of the roof.
     
  3. kvl1027

    kvl1027 New Member

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    I guess that makes sense, probably worth the worse gas mileage, to not have your car reaer-ended with your bike on the back.
     
  4. chrispopovic

    chrispopovic New Member

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    If you own a garage, DO NOT buy the roof rack. It seems ridiculously obvious, but it's happened to most everyone at some point. You come home, tired from a long ride or trip, and WHAM, Crunch, Ouch. Your $5,000 dream machine is sheared on the soffet of your two-car.

    Now if you don't have a garage, then this will probably never happen to you. However, don't sweat the hatchback thing. My Yakima has a simple pin that disengages and the rear rack folds down to let me in the trunk. Just make sure you buy one with a locking bolt and locking cable. I love the fact that I can see my titanium baby in my rear view mirror at all times. It stays remarkably clean back there as well. I've had my rig on my buddy's van on a couple of trips and even without rain or weather, the bike just looks a little worse for wear.

    Make sure the hitch and rack are installed professionally. Also make sure you document the installation (with pictures) for the insurance company. In the unlikely event you mash your steed, the insurance company will play hardball and will probably try to discount your claim by saying that the rack wasn't professionally installed. A good riding buddy of mine happens to be my insurance agent and he tells me that he has to turn down claims all the time due to shoddy rack installations and lack of documentation of a "professional" install. Have the LBS, U-Haul or car dealer put the thing on so that you know it's done right. Best of luck.
     
  5. oznicki

    oznicki New Member

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    For what it's worth, I would recommend a roof rack, for a few reasons. I drive a Toyota Corolla liftback and got roof racks installed after my first child was born, so that we could still take one or both bikes out.

    Having the bike on top means that we can still get into the hatch when we need to and that we can take bikes plus all the other paraphernalia we need if we go to open races in other areas (and have to stay over). Also, the bikes won't bump and scratch each other on the roof and they aren't likely to be quite so badly damaged if you have a rear-ender. Around here, most top-end bikes tend to get around on roof racks.

    Now we have two kids (and the Corolla is still the family car, although not for much longer), we can take one or two adult bikes on the roof AND fit a bike/trike or two in the hatch (with the hatch cover off).

    The point above about the garage is a good one (I've heard of one guy swiping his love and joy off the roof outside a motel office, when he'd gone away for a race), but it's just something you have to remember.

    Just one tip if you are going for roof racks - keep the skewers in the glove box or something because they rust if you leave them in the racks and can be a nuisance to get out when you have to replace them.
     
  6. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    I don't like the increased drag and wasted fuel from a roof rack either. Expensive bikes are better off inside a vehicle, IMO. The Matrix ought to hold a couple bikes.
     
  7. kvl1027

    kvl1027 New Member

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    My Matrix does hold both mine and my wifes bikes, but it is such a pain in the ass to get them in and out. Also i get worried that every time i pull them in and out, i'm knocking my derailers around and getting them all out of line. I just dont feel right about about stacking my wife's bike on top of mine. Also i ride a 61cm Lemond which is quite a large bike, so it barely fits in the back of my car even with the front wheel off.

    Any more suggestions, or expereinces would be of great help.
     
  8. MooBob42

    MooBob42 New Member

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    I have a Subaru wagon with roof rails, but I went with a Sportworks hitch rack. I'm a pretty short guy, so I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to lift my bike up on the roof or take it off easily. Of course, this was back when I had a 15-year old 30-lb mountain bike. Now I have a hybrid that I'm not really using and a lightweight road bike. I still like my Sportworks, though, and if I don't have any bikes on the back, I can open the hatch without a problem.
     
  9. martin_j001

    martin_j001 New Member

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    I'd recommend the roof rack or inside the car. I have a small mirror I mount on my dashboard so I can see the bikes on the roof, so thats a good reminder that they're there. I don't like trunk mounted or hitch mounted racks for the same reasons mentioned above. The majority of the time though, I end up throwing a towel over the seat and just putting the bike in the car--thats the absolute safest way to do it.
     
  10. kvl1027

    kvl1027 New Member

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    Thanks a lot for all of the suggestions, I guess I'll most likely be getting a roof rack. I guess now the question is which Brand? I suppose you probably cant go wrong with Thule or yakima.
     
  11. oznicki

    oznicki New Member

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    Rola is good - hasn't let us down anyway.
     
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