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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
HELLO!!

I just bought an '05 Grand Cherokee and need some advice specifiic from those who have used roof and hitch racks on SUV's. Roof or hitch? I've read some discussions on this topic at the sister MTBR site, but tried to seach here and haven't found anything. I have a mountain bike, but I hope to purchase my first road bike this month. FINALLY!!

I don't have a factory hitch, so I'd be adding that too if I chose a hitch rack. Is roof rack noise that bad (I open the sunroof all the time, but the factory rails are just behind it)? Security issues? People backing into hitch-mounts? And what I'm most curious of...how dificult is it to rack a bike on a roof of an SUV without scratching the paint everytime?

Side question: Any advice for first road bike under $1000, for 6' 3" 205 lbs. ?

Any advice, greatly appreciate it!!! :thumbsup:
 

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I'm very surprised your search yielded nothing. This has been discussed here to death, with no consensus. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, including the hazards of low overhangs, the effect on gas mileage, the potential for water damage to the bike, etc. etc. The only thing people seem to agree on is that it's better to put your bike inside the vehicle if you have room.

By the way, I got 28 good hits when I entered the following in the search box: roof hitch racks
 

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I have a hitch mount rack

I have a 2000 Grand Cherokee and have been using a Thule hitch mounted bike rack for years. Until recently, we've had pretty low end bikes, so the rubbing together that occurred didn't really matter to me. However, we've just gotten a couple of nice road bikes (Madones--very exciting!!) Anyway, rubbing was suddenly a big no-no! Thule hitch racks now come with anti-sway cages. Mine didn't come with this, but they fit older models, so I went and got some. These, along with the zipstick, keep the bikes relatively steady. There is still a little motion, but not much. I read on the mountain bike forum some ideas on how to keep the cradles from sliding, because after a while, they will. I haven't tried any of those ideas yet, but probably will soon. I did make a 500+ mile drive with my old bike, the two Madones and a kid's bike on the hitch and all made it through the trip unharmed.

I think if I had unlimited funds (the 2 new bikes put a dent in the finances for a little while), I would opt for a roof mount for the good bikes. I think the whole system with locks, new bars, etc. runs around $600 or so. The hitch mount will cost you a fraction of this. However, I think that they would ultimately be a little safer and more stable up there, that is if I didn't drive into the garage with them attached. I have heard that bugs are a real drag, though. So, if you go that route, you might want to look into covers or as my LBS owner does, simply wrap them in plastic before you go. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
John Nelson said:
I'm very surprised your search yielded nothing. This has been discussed here to death, with no consensus. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, including the hazards of low overhangs, the effect on gas mileage, the potential for water damage to the bike, etc. etc. The only thing people seem to agree on is that it's better to put your bike inside the vehicle if you have room.

By the way, I got 28 good hits when I entered the following in the search box: roof hitch racks
Thanks for the note....you're right, lots of info. I searched "racks" thinking the one-word-search would produce more hits, but guess it backfired.

Got some reading to do....thanks!

....and thanks to RD for your input too!
 

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You're Not the Boss of Me
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On an SUV I don't think it is a particularly close call the way it can be on a wagon. Roof racks are a pain (you usually have to stand on the wheel or inside the door to reach) and hitch racks are da bomb. Not cheap, but neither is a proper quality roof rack. Plus no risk of garage/overhang tragedy.
 

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If you've got a Cherokee, why not put them inside the car? I swore off roof racks after an incident where my fork slipped out of the QR while I was driving on the highway. The rear wheel strap held tight and , miraculously, both my bike and car came away largely unscathed, but it scared the bejeezus out of me.
 

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azmadoc said:
If you've got a Cherokee, why not put them inside the car?
My question exactly. Protected from the elements, won't fall off or blow off. What's wrong with that? :confused:
 
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Hitch racks

A roof rack keeps the bike's out of the way of other cars - but on tall vehicles, they are somewhat difficult to load. And, their increased wind resistance really affects your gas milage.

The hitch rack requires, obviously, a hitch, which will cost you 100-400, depending on the loadrating. But, they are easier to load, are largely out of the wind, and several examples will swing out of the way to allow easy access to inside your vehicle.

Both Yakima and Thule make excellent racks. I have a Yakima that holds 4 bikes and swings completely out of the way. Works well on an Xterra, a Tundra, and an Altima.

Sinclair
 

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Roof on suv is pita, too tall to reach without ladder, tire, chair, bucket, etc. Hitch mount easier to reach but rubs on paint. I have the roof rack on the car and suv. Mileage is not that big of a deal unless you drive with bikes all the time.
 
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