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Fini les ecrase-"manets"!
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I have a hitch rack and I like it a lot--but it's one of the ones that grips the top tube, and if I had it to do over again I'd probably go with one of the ones that supports mostly by the wheels (they're pretty spendy, though). I just wrap the top tubes with a section of innertube to protect them and things are fine, but if I didn't have to do that I'd be really happy.

No effect on gas mileage whatsoever with the hitch rack, as only a little portion of the wheels stick out from behind my Pathfinder.
 

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Banned forever.....or not
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If you already have a hitch on your car, it might be worth it to give up some "coolness" points and go with the hitch rack. If you don't have a hitch, the cost of the hitch and the hitch rack won't save you much money over the roof rack (and you will loose 10 coolness points).
Roof racks can be taken off and put back on in just a few minutes.
 

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I love my Hollywood hitch rack. It's the kind that holds the front fork in an axle thingy and the rear wheel in a trough. Goes on and off the hitch in 1 minute, stores easily in the trunk when I'm not using it, securely holds two bikes (but I think you can get them for 4), allows me to drive anywhere without worrying about roof clearance, and keeps the bike visible in the rear view mirror without obstructing the rear view. I had a roof rack before and the hitch rack is clearly superior IME. And as another current thread indicates, saves on gas because it's more aerodynamic. Since you already have a roof rack, a hitch rack would not be an inexpensive option for you, but if I were starting from scratch, I'd definitely pay--and when I got this one I did pay--the cost of adding the hitch just so I could use a hitch rack.
 

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As you can see by my car, I don't have a lot of options. Too short on top for roof rack and the little spolier thing prohibits any kind of trunk rack. I bought a hitch and installed it myself (very affordable in my opinion). After a lot of shopping I finally settled on the Thule T2 hitch rack. This is my first and only rack but I can't be happier so far. I need to give it a little more use before I can recommend it though.
 

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Hitch

I have the Thule Hollywood (about $350). It's not cheap but will last years and I can move in to any new car.

The hitch was about $150 to install and is virtually invisible when not in use.

Yes, I would need to spend another $150 when I buy a new car. However: 1. I don't do that often and 2. it costs about $75 anyway for an adapter for any roof rack system when you buy a new car anyway.

I can put the rack on the hitch in about 3 minutes. It holds up to 4 bikes by the top tubes. Takes 4 minutes to load the bikes.
I have a carbon fibre road bike and I don't worry about it...it's just fine.

Best way to go.
 

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hitch rack for me

I have a hitch rack (Saris Bat rack) that has rubber supports/holders for the top tube (2) and seat tube (1). I've never had a problem (knock on wood) or observed any reduction in gas mileage. The rack holds my bikes firmly in place without doing any damage to the frame. Best cycling related $150 I've ever spent.
 

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Having driven under a structure not sufficiently tall enough with three expensive bikes on a roof rack and taking out the rear window of a Saab, I would go with the hitch rack. My frame builder, Hans Schneider, usually has several frames around he is repairing due to "mishaps". Apparently it is common to drive into one's garage with bikes on the roof rack-not a pretty sight!
 

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Go with the hitch rack. I have had both types. Hitch racks are much easier to remove when you don't need to use them. Roof racks create a lot of wind noise, decrease your gas mileage more, and are always an accident waiting to happen. Judging from posts on this site, a large number of cyclists have driven into garage doors and other structures with bikes on their roof racks. The only drawback to hitch racks is if they impede access to your trunk, but there are plenty of models that will fold down so you can open the trunk easily.
 

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Clark said:
I have a pretty nice bike and want to get a rack for my car but I have having a hard time decideing which rack would be better.

I would go with a fork mount hitch rack. Less chance of damaging your bike, doesn't hurt your gas mileage as much, quieter, easier to take the bike on and off.
 

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Colorado Springs, CO
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631 Posts
Bugs!

One thing about a roof rack versus a trunk or receiver hitch rack is the bug factor. If the bike is mounted on the roof rack, whatever is sticking into the wind is going to be bug-splatted. This would sell me on a rear mount rack. Also with a rear mount you don't have to worry about customizing your bike with the top of the garage door opening. They do make bras for roof mounted bikes to keep the elements (bug splat) of the bike parts, or I guess you could use a sheet of plastic. Or, buy a Honda Element and build a custom rack inside the enclosure of the vehicle.
 

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Hitch rack

I do not like my roof rack at all and after 15 years with roof rack I am finally switching to a hitch rack. One thing I hate is the whistling, so there is no way I can use the sunroof. Just like a previous poster mentioned I too have run my bikes into numerous overhangs ie. garages, drive thoughs... I now put my garage door opener in a cycling glove to remind me that I have bikes on the roof.
 
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