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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hello

I am looking for recommendations for (saloon/sedan/hatchback) car roof-based road/racing bicycle carriers. It needs to be super reliable (I have a carbon Trek Madone 5.9) and easy and quick to install/remove the bike.

Brands, models, traps for new players, etc all welcome. Or am I better with a tow-bar based carrier instead?

thanks in advance
 

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jaded bitter joy crusher
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I'm no expert, but I look at it this way: if the bike's on the roof, road debris will be hitting it at over 50 mph. If the bike is in back of the car, the car is shielding it from debris impact as well as garage doors and low-hanging branches and wires.
 

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Fredke said:
I'm no expert, but I look at it this way: if the bike's on the roof, road debris will be hitting it at over 50 mph. If the bike is in back of the car, the car is shielding it from debris impact as well as garage doors and low-hanging branches and wires.
ever noticed that the after a long journey, the roof of the car is cleaner than the rear window? and especially for wagons/hatch/liftbacks, the tailgate is just absolutely grotty compared to the roof?
 

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Fredke said:
I'm no expert, but I look at it this way: if the bike's on the roof, road debris will be hitting it at over 50 mph. If the bike is in back of the car, the car is shielding it from debris impact as well as garage doors and low-hanging branches and wires.
I'd rather strap my kids to the roof than my bike. They're much easier to clean off than my drivetrain! :(

I don't have any model recs unfortunately as I always put it in my Subaru Outback, the principle reason for it's purchase being for toting my bike around. When I see bikes on car racks in the rain, I just cringe.
 

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Fredke said:
I'm no expert, but I look at it this way: if the bike's on the roof, road debris will be hitting it at over 50 mph. If the bike is in back of the car, the car is shielding it from debris impact as well as garage doors and low-hanging branches and wires.
I've used a roof rack for over 10 years and traveled thousands of miles with bikes on top and the biggest danger is driving under a low overhang or into a garage. It's never happened to me. The bikes stay clean enough on a roof rack, they get dirtier when you ride them than they do on the trip.

On the other hand bikes will get dirty when mounted on the bumper because of the low pressure area at the rear of vehicles, that's why your car gets a film of black dirt there when the rest of the car remains fairly clean.

Just as roof racks create overhang danger bikes on rear mount systems mean backing into objects and rear end collisions will damage your bikes. Rear mounts can damage the paint and cause scratches on your bike's top tube due to the retention systems used. Multiple bikes sometimes means there's some jostling and banging going on. Fork mounts on roof racks work well and don't do any scratching, the strap on the rear wheel is simple and holds tight as long as the hardware is in good condition.

Keeping the bike inside a van or SUV is best. I prefer roof racks and since I don't park in a garage so my risk of driving into a low overhang is greatly reduced.
 

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I've used a Yakima roof top rack with Viper fork mounts for the last 4 years trouble free. Once you adjust it to your fork you're done, easy on easy off and fairly secure when you lock them. I've done a ton of road trips and never had a problem at highway speeds of 80+ for hours on end. One time a few years back in the middle of nowhere, I ramped it up to well over 100 with two road bikes on it and no problems.
 

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iedereen op de fiets
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I have been using Thule roof racks for ~20 years. I have hauled bikes from Colordo to Georgia and back using them. For the past couple of years I have put my custom IF Crown Jewel with Campy Record on it. I do take the ZIPP 404's of for transport, I transport with Krysrium SSC SL's. The only time I had a problem was when I used one of those protective covers. It worked like a sail in Kansas and blew my fork out of the holder. I had to replace the fork. I had the frame alignment check and everything was ok. I have not used the cover since.
 

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Go with one of the "Big Boys". Either Thule or Yakima. Either one will hold the bike firmly, and will allow you drive into your garage with the bike still on top. (Doing this once will cure you from ever doing it again.)
 

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I'm happy with my Yakima with Steelhead fork mount bike trays. When it's just me I just throw the bike in the back of the hatchback (kia spectra - bike fits without removing wheels), but the roof rack is great for groups. Last summer we did a trip with 4 people, 4 bikes (2 on top, 2 on back). The roof mounted bikes are solid, but the trunk mount were swaying all over the place. The reason I got the Yakima in the first place was that the trunk mount wears the paint off the bike, and the QR's tend to gouge the bumper.
I did once start to pull into a parking garage forgetting that my bike was on top. Thank god for the warning bar! just tapped the seat, and now I'm a lot more careful.
 

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NeoRetroGrouch
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MR_GRUMPY said:
Go with one of the "Big Boys". Either Thule or Yakima. Either one will hold the bike firmly, and will allow you drive into your garage with the bike still on top. (Doing this once will cure you from ever doing it again.)
Didn't cure me. - TF
 

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I've done both roof racks and hitch mounted racks. I prefer the hitch rack for several reasons:

1. gas milage and power... a few bikes on the roof would bring my Honda's mileage at 80 mph down from 30 to 30 mpg. Commensurate reduction in top-end power.

2. garages -- I park in a garage at home and at work. I can put my bike on the car with the door closed, leave home, get to work, and never worry about decapitating my bicycle.

3. ease of access -- it's just way easier to put the bike on a hitch mounted rack. I'm currently using a two-bike fork mounted hitch rack marketed by Rhode Gear, but I've also seen the same model as a "Hitchhiker." Because of the fork mount / trays, the bikes are very secure and they remain low enough that I can still open the rear hatch with them in place.
 

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The fork mount trays on the hitch mount would probably be the ideal. I do see a dramatic reduction in power and fuel economy with the rack on my car, to the point that it's usually in the garage rather than on the car.
 

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Squirrel Hunter
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Yakima

MR_GRUMPY said:
Go with one of the "Big Boys". Either Thule or Yakima.
My ten plus year old Yakima roof rack is still going strong. We will often load up four bikes and head down the highway to races. With race wheels and all the roof load is worth a lot more than the Jeep underneath and well over the price of your Madone. My wife and three other women were able to load four bikes on the roof of her Honda Pilot and I think the tallest girl was 5'2" (they did use a stepstool). The roof racks are secure and easy to load.

Plenty of options if you move on to a new sport. Great for hauling crap home from the hardware/lumberyard.

I would look at both Thule and Yakima and decide which system you like based on how it attaches to your car. Then pick a fork mount system that fits your budget as the more you pay the more bells and whistles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
thanks everyone

It sounds like roof-rack from Thule or Yakima! Thank you everyone.

Should I stay away from roof-rack mounts that allow me to put the bike on the roof and still keep the front wheel on? I see many/most people do take the front wheel off and then they put the bike on the roof. Is this a better way? Would it not be easier if you did not have to take anything off the bike to mount it on the roof of the car?

Also - should I tightly wrap a plastic bag (with rubber bands?) around the saddle to protect it (leather cover) from wind damage?

thanks again!
 

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It depends on how many bikes you plan to carry. If I'm going to a race with two other friends, I use two fork mount kits, on the ends, and an upright kit in the middle. ( Because of the width of my car, I would have to mount the third kit backwards.
An upright kit is OK, but it shows that you are not a "serious" bike rider.
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Only use the plastic bag if there is a chance of rain.
 

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Kant phuckin sphell
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Yep

boon said:
ever noticed that the after a long journey, the roof of the car is cleaner than the rear window? and especially for wagons/hatch/liftbacks, the tailgate is just absolutely grotty compared to the roof?
And when someone rear ends you the roof is still nice and straight too! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
normally only one bike

MR_GRUMPY said:
It depends on how many bikes you plan to carry. If I'm going to a race with two other friends, I use two fork mount kits, on the ends, and an upright kit in the middle. ( Because of the width of my car, I would have to mount the third kit backwards.
An upright kit is OK, but it shows that you are not a "serious" bike rider.
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Only use the plastic bag if there is a chance of rain.
Thanks Mr Grumpy. Normally it will just be one bike, the Madone. Sometimes it will be two mountain bikes (if going somewhere with my kids).

Given one road bike - should I go with upright or fork mount.

re: An upright kit is OK, but it shows that you are not a "serious" bike rider.

I must admit I did not get this one! Perhaps I am not a serious rider! To me "upright" mount looks like less work to on/off. Not true?
 

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jaded bitter joy crusher
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boon said:
ever noticed that the after a long journey, the roof of the car is cleaner than the rear window? and especially for wagons/hatch/liftbacks, the tailgate is just absolutely grotty compared to the roof?
The rear gets dust and dirt that settles on it at low speed, but I don't see it getting dinged by gravel and stones. I'm not worried about superficial dirt getting on the bike; I'm worried about a rock kicked up from someone's tire whacking it hard.
 

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Ooh, but fork mounts look so much more agressive! Not to mention, being more work you must be serious about biking to put in the extra effort :) Seriously though, I think both work equally well. I have fork mounts, cause I thought they were cooler when I got my rack, still think the bikes look better on top that way. Yes the other way would be easier, like so much else in cycling, fashion before function.
 

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Squirrel Hunter
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Secure

imetis said:
Ooh, but fork mounts look so much more agressive! ...like so much else in cycling, fashion before function.
Well having followed caravans of cars down the highway to a few races I would say that those with fork mounts look more secure than the upright. I have never been impressed with the way the upright mounts secure themselves to the frame. The fork mount simply works well and has fashion AND function.
 
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