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Best Roof Rack?

Old 02-21-20, 02:18 PM
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Steel Charlie
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Best Roof Rack?

I know this could go in a dif section but I figure that us old guys are more anal about quality than the kids.

So just wanting to know what you folks feel is the best kinda roof rack - the kind that clamps to the car factory rails or a totally independent assembly. I tend to think that the car factory stuff would be a bit wimpier than the total package kind. Cost is not really my consideration here but not losing the bikes is.
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Old 02-21-20, 02:40 PM
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You might want to look at a hitch mount rack instead. I think they're better which is why I had a hitch put on my honda civic.
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Old 02-21-20, 02:46 PM
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I've seen a number of "I remember when I did that" type stories about frontal impacts due to misjudged overhead clearance. I have one of those strappy racks for the back of my car, and if I were going to the trouble of attaching something more substantial, I would probably go with the hitch mount.
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Old 02-21-20, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Steel Charlie View Post
I know this could go in a dif section but I figure that us old guys are more anal about quality than the kids.

So just wanting to know what you folks feel is the best kinda roof rack - the kind that clamps to the car factory rails or a totally independent assembly. I tend to think that the car factory stuff would be a bit wimpier than the total package kind. Cost is not really my consideration here but not losing the bikes is.
thanks
Charlie
as always it depends. much of the euro car factory is made by thule so it is no different in quality than buying after market.

If you have roof rails you should use them, and you probably have to use them

I you have not used racks in years the new ones are very sophisticated....like using supplied special torque wrenches when mounting.

newer stuff is $$$ like $600 to 700 for cross bars and base for to fit an audi A4 the bike rack is extra

I have always been a Yakima fan, but have switched allegiances to thule as it was a way better fit for my car., but in reality I don't think you can go wrong with either
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Old 02-21-20, 03:45 PM
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It totally depends on the car and whether you have rails already. For myself, we have an older Acura MDX with rails. I bought the attachments that allow you to clamp Yakima bars to the factory rails. This works great for me because there's way more available Yakima stuff than there is factory stuff.
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Old 02-21-20, 03:55 PM
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Pro and con to any rack.

I'm really pleased with my current set-up roof rack as can carry any type or style bike without wheel removal. Goes for all funky recumbent, to fat bike to tandem. Factory OEM likely supplied by one of the bigger and well known rack makers.

But, without the above mentioned, I also have a Sea Sucker Talon. Mine supposadly is USA made but I see identical product on ebay and made in China for half the price. Adapters for thru axles, etc. and accessories interchange as well.

Awesome for any vehicle, multi-vehicle owners, compact rental car and if you don't want a mucked up mountain bike transported in the interior or boot. Quick on/off, not much to fuss with. Security is a big neg but use with good judgement. Freaky at first use and at higher Interstate speeds. Overall, I'm impressed.
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Old 02-21-20, 04:30 PM
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I had a Thule 2-bike roof rack on my Passat. What bugged me more than anything was losing about 10% gas mileage - even empty (bikes didn't affect it much extra). I had the wind deflector - maybe that wasn't a good thing. I've not noticed such losses using a trunk rack - never had a hitch to compare.

The rack itself worked perfectly, no issues.
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Old 02-21-20, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Ex Pres View Post
I had a Thule 2-bike roof rack on my Passat. What bugged me more than anything was losing about 10% gas mileage - even empty (bikes didn't affect it much extra). I had the wind deflector - maybe that wasn't a good thing. I've not noticed such losses using a trunk rack - never had a hitch to compare..
That is a well documented problem with roof racks. Even bare bars left on the roof significantly impact gas mileage, especially on small cars. Don't get me started on rooftop boxes...might as well put a barn door on the roof. I'm amazed how many folks leave these mileage destroyers on the roof 365 days a year.
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Old 02-21-20, 04:57 PM
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Been using my Yakima Forklifts on my oem cross bars since around 2011. Love them. The only problem I had was when one of the wheel straps gave up one day. Cheap to replace.
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Old 02-21-20, 05:18 PM
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I put this roof rack together a few years ago in bits and pieces. Thule 47" Aero Blade load bars ($80 used), Exodus (European Thule brand) 480R feet ($80/all), three Rocky Mounts Jetline trays ($60 ea on sale in weird colors like orange), and the Fit Kit ($80). Rack comes off when not in use.

Pro: Aero design, doesn't cut into mileage too terribly. Trays are solid but the fork QR can be a bit fiddly. No worries about blocking visibility or the rear license plate as with a hitch or rear rack.

Con: Still cuts mileage. Odd whistling / howling noise with crosswinds from certain directions. The old garage problem. I keep my remote in the glovebox (instead of its normal place on the visor) to remind me not to drive in with bikes mounted.
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Old 02-21-20, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Ex Pres View Post
I had a Thule 2-bike roof rack on my Passat. What bugged me more than anything was losing about 10% gas mileage - even empty (bikes didn't affect it much extra). I had the wind deflector - maybe that wasn't a good thing. I've not noticed such losses using a trunk rack - never had a hitch to compare.

The rack itself worked perfectly, no issues.
Been there ... done that. I have a 2001 Passat wagon with VW-branded bolt-on crossbars and Yakima bike racks. I hang the entire assembly from the rafters, directly over the Passat, for each installation and removal/storage. The main use I got out of them was for a family reunion about a 2-hour drive from home. I decided against bringing the bikes on a subsequent reunion 8 hours away because of the fuel consumption issue.
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Old 02-21-20, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Ex Pres View Post
I had a Thule 2-bike roof rack on my Passat. What bugged me more than anything was losing about 10% gas mileage - even empty (bikes didn't affect it much extra). I had the wind deflector - maybe that wasn't a good thing. I've not noticed such losses using a trunk rack - never had a hitch to compare.

The rack itself worked perfectly, no issues.

Wind deflector is likely a good thing. If you have ever driven without one, you hear the difference. I have a Yakima rack that I mount as needed. I have used a rear/trunk rack. With bikes mounted, the impact was about the same AFA mieage.
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Old 02-21-20, 06:01 PM
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I have used Yakama roof racks and like their system. I have 3 bike holders that grab the down tube of the frame, a ski holder and have used it naked to transport a Sunfish sailboat and raw materials including steel tubing. With the old fashioned roof gutters, they were rock solid. The problem for me now is that the two cars that are insured have the newfangled no gutters roofs and the towers for the Yakama rack are car and even front and rear of the car specific. They cost $$$. So, now I bought a hitch and am planning on getting a hitch mount.

I prefer to keep the bikes on the roof. I don't know why, because I am old and that is the way you always do it. The only rational reason that I can come up with for roof mounting the bikes is that if I get rear ended, the bikes will be safe. One other thing is that I can access my trunk or cargo area without having to remove bikes or work around bikes.

My wife likes the hitch mount bike racks. She believes that once it is mounted on the car that she can put her bike on the car and drive to a bike path and ride. That in theory may be true. I will admit that there is no way she would do that with a roof rack. However, I don't think she will actually do it by herself, but at least she has the potential to do it.

I haven't bought a hitch mount rack yet, but I like the ones that have a tire tray rather than hanging the bike from the top tube. One of my wife's bikes is a mixte.
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Old 02-21-20, 06:52 PM
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Another vote for a hitch rack. Much easier to work with, fender friendly, and can double as a work stand if necessary. Mine also hinges, so I can open the rear hatch without having to unload the bikes.


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Old 02-21-20, 09:49 PM
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I’ve been using roof racks on “no-gutter” car roofs for years. All have been Thule towers and the associated feet and hold-down clips that are designed specifically for that particular model/year car. I’m sure Yakima has similar feet and towers.

No, it’s not an inexpensive system, but they’ve also been strong enough to transport a pair of sea kayaks, 16.5-18’ long, at highway speeds without a problem. For those I DO use for and aft hold down cords also. I carried a pair of valuable road bikes on that roof rack on an Audi A3 from Seattle to Monterey for a multi-week vacation a few years ago and we didn’t drive slowly. Of course, roof racks cause a noticeable gas mileage hit.

I prefer the roof racks that grab the the front wheel dropouts, with the front wheel off. I’m always the bike loader, being the tall one.

My preferred solution, however, is to carry the bikes inside if luggage allows. But that wasn’t the question.
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Old 02-22-20, 01:47 PM
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I've mentioned the Sea Sucker (or knockoff Chinese units) and should add bonus points for those concerned of fuel economy vs racks left on a vehicle. It only takes a simple task and minute to install or remove. Plus no clunkiness of not being used racks left on a vehicle or stored off the vehicle.

The entire apparatus is small and lighrweight to store anywhere and yet easy and fast for setup and usage. Pretty cool arrangement.

Good luck-
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Old 02-22-20, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Dfrost View Post
(...) I prefer the roof racks that grab the the front wheel dropouts, with the front wheel off. I’m always the bike loader, being the tall one.

My preferred solution, however, is to carry the bikes inside if luggage allows. But that wasn’t the question.
Racks that grab the front dropouts work best IMO, but not with fenders (unless you remove them). And if you're going to remove stuff you might as well put the bikes inside, if you have the space.

I often carry four bikes when traveling, two "event" bikes without fenders inside (with the wheels removed) and two touring bikes on the rack.

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Old 02-22-20, 03:11 PM
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I put Whispbars (T-slot crossbars) on my RAV4 hybrid factory rails, and 2 rockymount trays like in post number 10 (which I got on sale for a similar price but normal silver/grey color). My mileage doesn't take a hit unless I put bikes on them and am on the highway. I leave the racks in place. The factory rails are rock-solid.

I also put a 2" hitch on the back and got a Kuat rack for that. It bottoms out a lot, and has been hit, twice, so it is a bit bent out of shape now. Fortunately not while bikes were in it. You also take much less of a mileage hit with bikes on the back, and of course loading is much easier. They are however more vulnerable to theft and to morons who are on the phone.
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Old 02-27-20, 02:41 PM
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Thanks for all the info - I do appreciate it

so I was checking out ebay for what's around and came across this. Does it seem to have any particular advantage over other products?
https://www.ebay.com/itm/For-Jeep-Wr...sAAOSwSqZdwZ4h

thanks again
Charlie
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Old 02-27-20, 05:10 PM
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Lol, I'd be wary of buying a product with a picture like that!
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Old 02-27-20, 05:15 PM
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I try to keep my bike inside the car for the most part. better for both the bike and the car
Interesting that the car seems to have suffered worse damage than the bike
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Old 02-27-20, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by 2cam16 View Post
Lol, I'd be wary of buying a product with a picture like that!
Me too, I prefer to be clear about what I am buying
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Old 02-27-20, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
You might want to look at a hitch mount rack instead. I think they're better which is why I had a hitch put on my honda civic.
Agreed, but we don't own a car with a roof, so I'm biased. Hence, rear-mount racks on the Honda S2000 and Porsche Boxster. YMMV!

Easier on the back, too, regardless of how light the bikes are. That said, someone -- somewhere -- has been rear-ended taking out the car AND the bike(s).
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Old 02-27-20, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
That said, someone -- somewhere -- has been rear-ended taking out the car AND the bike(s).
On the way home, after I got out of the Army- I got rear ended on the freeway by some old guy in a Cadillac. There didn't seem to be much damage to my bike, it wasn't til I got home that I realized he'd bent the ever loving' **** out of my crank and chainrings.


I got a hitch mounted rack and a hitch installed on my car. I haven't gotten the opportunity to use them yet.

The hitch bar and install was about half the price of the rack. The rack is a fancy pants Saris (no pix yet).

Hitch 1 by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr
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Old 02-28-20, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
I got a hitch mounted rack and a hitch installed on my car. I haven't gotten the opportunity to use them yet. The hitch bar and install was about half the price of the rack. The rack is a fancy pants Saris (no pix yet).
I do think we've come a long way since the 1970's, for instance, when the only options were racks strapped to the car's deck lid. I'd be somewhat surprised if anyone collected C&V racks!

And, of course, a hitch to mount the rack on means you also have the capability to tow, if needed.
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