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  1. #1
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    Bike roof rack recs

    I'm trying to figure out the pros and cons between a fork mounted bike roof rack or one with the arm that swings up. I've had a fork mounted one in the past - wondering if people prefer the ones that hold the whole bike on the roof?

  2. #2
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    Hitch mount is where it's at now

  3. #3
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    Are they a pain if you have a tailgate? I know the pricier models swing out of the way - what about cheaper models?

  4. #4
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    So easy to take off not a big deal not swinging out. Most importantly , keeps you from scraping bike off the roof when you forget it's there and pull into the garage - which everyone does at least once.

  5. #5
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    I've had the Yakima front loader for 3 years now and couldn't be happier. Really easy to load, and feels very secure. I find leaving the front tire on convient plus I can fit the dog + a weekends worth of gear in the car with the bikes.

  6. #6
    Kied's Avatar
    Kied is offline Inconsiderate Tree Killer
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcski View Post
    Hitch mount is where it's at now
    Yep. Got one of these about four years ago... stupid expensive, but works on every bike I've ever loaded on it (road, DH, whatever). Most cheaper models rattle around and generally suck. Secures the bikes well, don't have to take the front tire off, drops out of the way of my tailgate, and haven't used my roof racks since. It's worth it.

    http://www.thule.com/en-us/us/produc...16xtr-_-916xtr

  7. #7
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    I have 2x Thule Sidearms on the roof of my Mazda 3. Takes 5 seconds to throw a bike on versus fork mount where you are going to need adapters to ensure compatibility with different axle types/forks. Sidearm will take road bike up to downhill.

    Downsides:
    - Wind resistance on gas (even just the rack itself without a bike) and wind noise
    - Bike is exposed to potential damage (some people wrap their fork stancions, I don't bother unless it's a long road trip)
    - Takes a few months to learn to trust the thing driving at high speed

    I park outside so no worries on smashing it through the garage.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcski View Post
    Most importantly , keeps you from scraping bike off the roof when you forget it's there and pull into the garage - which everyone does at least once.
    Already did it once years ago - smashed into the Vail parking garage after riding, sent the bikes down into my rear window.

  9. #9
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    well, I thought I had a hitch but I don't, so on top of the rack, I'd have to install a hitch. Probably going to go for a roof rack therefore - just not worth all the cost. Can't decide whether having the wind resistance and gas mileage issues with an upright is worth it.

  10. #10
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    An additional consideration is whether you need external ski storage.

    I put a hitch on my car and it is great for hauling bikes. But, there aren't any good hitch ski rack options, so I'm back to square 1 if I can't squeeze the skis inside my car.

    Ultimately, I'm probably going to end up installing a roof rack for additional options.

  11. #11
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    Rape van FTW!
    make every day count

  12. #12
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    If I had a hitch I would've done a hitch mount, but I don't. So if you go roof rack get the Thule sidearm or the Rockymounts one that is similar. Not having to dick around with taking your front wheel off, dealing with adapters, and storing the front wheel is worth it. The only thing is they can be a pain for shorter people or larger cars. IMHO there's no difference in gas mileage with upright vs. fork mount. I lose approximately 5 mpg with the bike on top with the Thule sidearm. Whatever you do avoid any of the ones that clamp the downtube or else...
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  13. #13
    Kied's Avatar
    Kied is offline Inconsiderate Tree Killer
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    Quote Originally Posted by The SnowShow View Post
    Already did it once years ago - smashed into the Vail parking garage after riding, sent the bikes down into my rear window.
    Whoa... I wonder if I saw that. Were they road bikes? I was pulling into the Vail garage years ago and some guy in the other lane (to the right of me) had just toasted his bikes. Looked like the rack got pulled off on the front and forced the rear end of the bikes down into the back of the car.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kied View Post
    Whoa... I wonder if I saw that. Were they road bikes? I was pulling into the Vail garage years ago and some guy in the other lane (to the right of me) had just toasted his bikes. Looked like the rack got pulled off on the front and forced the rear end of the bikes down into the back of the car.
    They were mtn bikes and it was like 6 years ago? Fucked sucked - I still kick myself for spacing out and I always look up now, even when I don't have bikes on the roof.

  15. #15
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    I always wondered how often that happened at the Vail garage. My truck almost scrapes by itself. Thule should make a sensor that sets off an alarm when heading into a garage. They'd make millions!

  16. #16
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    Fork mount racks are a pain in the ass. Not really sure what the purpose is. You don't really gain much clearance. I also don't park in a garage, but my old Subaru with my 29er on crossbars with an old Big Mouth is about the same height as a heavy duty pickup with a capper. No messing with the front wheel or different axle "standards" or different wheel sizes. There's a little sway in it, but hey, it worked for 2,500 miles when I moved to Montana. If you're worried about road debris or bugs, just turn the rack around.
    If you have a truck, a hitch mount is probably the way to go. If you have an old car, throwing ~60lbs behind the bumper is probably not.
    No longer stuck.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuckathuntermtn View Post
    Just an uneducated guess.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by shredgnar View Post
    I always wondered how often that happened at the Vail garage. My truck almost scrapes by itself. Thule should make a sensor that sets off an alarm when heading into a garage. They'd make millions!
    There are a ton of scrapes at the entry.
    Boy, was that fun, shoving the bikes into the back seat all piecemeal and trying to avoid getting cut on all the shattered glass.

  18. #18
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    Does anyone have experience with the Yakima upright Frontloader? Is it super bulky when folded up?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by The SnowShow View Post
    Does anyone have experience with the Yakima upright Frontloader? Is it super bulky when folded up?
    Yes. My buddy has one I think, maybe the highroller? It seems to be very similar though. His is slightly more of a PITA than the sidearm because you have to roll the bike forward in the tray to get the front wheel set in the arms. Also the cable lock mechanism sucks on his.

    With the Thule sidearm you just throw the bike on the tray, cinch the arm down over the front tire, and lock the button.

  20. #20
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    I have a hitch mount for the jeep, and am looking at a swing arm style to put on top of the car. I don't love loading bikes on SUV tops... cars not so big an issue to pick it up a few more feet...

    If you can do hitch, there are several advantages, but, like you, I don't think they may outweigh the cost of needing to put on a hitch. I do need to put bars on the car already as I hate putting my skis inside, they are too long and scratch the interior.....

  21. #21
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    One advantage for a fork-mount roof rack: if you beef a parking garage, there's a better chance you'll only waste your seatpost/handlebars, instead of the entire bike. Speaking from experience.

    That said, roof racks suck. They look hideous, destroy your mileage and don't work particularly well with heavier (i.e. downhill) mountain bikes. Save your pennies for a hitch and look for a used Thule T2 on Craigslist.

  22. #22
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    I've seen comments that the Thule Sidearm is unsecure, even with a lock - that you can quickrelease the front wheel, take away the frame, and then roll the front wheel forward and out? Is that right?

    What about the Rocky Mounts Tierod or Pitchfork for road and mtn bikes?

  23. #23
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    Fork mounts suck. If you're getting a roof rack, get something that clamps the front wheel (not the downtube or crank arm). I've had good luck with the Thule Sidearm; not perfect, but no complaints. They're also easy to remove, so switching to a ski rack in the winter isn't much of a chore.

    If you want real security, put the bikes inside. There's no locking bike rack out there (roof or hitch) that will delay a determined thief more than about 30 seconds.

    For our roof rack, we don't use any of the shitty locking mechanisms built into the rack - we just run a cable through the bikes and through the car's rails. Still won't deter a bolt cutter, but it's at least better than the stock lock which can be foiled just by deflating the tire.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by toast2266 View Post
    There's no locking bike rack out there (roof or hitch) that will delay a determined thief more than about 30 seconds.
    This 100%.

    The only reason I lock the rack is for extra security when driving so the button doesn't get jarred loose. Although I don't ever see how that could happen with the sidearm. However, it did happen twice with those stupid "clamp" style ones (see my pic above). I never leave my bike on the car if I know I'm going to be out of sight from it for long, if I have to I do the cable lock thing. If I'm on a trip and staying in a condo/hotel I bring it inside. If I'm grabbing beers after a ride I try to sit where I can see it.

  25. #25
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    I agree re: rack locks. I use em, but more to avoid accidental opening while driving than for any real security. I've always assumed they could probably be opened with a flat head screwdriver and a little muscle.


    I have a fork mounted Thule right now and it's a pain in the ass. Hitch-mount, wheels-on is in my near future.. ju st have to do the research!

    To the OP.. did you seriously not know whether or not your vehicle had a hitch???

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