Author Topic: Cars and bike racks  (Read 6998 times)

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Offline noshbygosh

Cars and bike racks
« on: March 27, 2012, 02:16:50 pm »
I have about a 20-year old Rhodes trunk rack that is on its last legs.  I need to replace it with something else for my 20 year old Toyota Tercel that I hope to have for another 5 years of so (only has about 95,000 miles).  The technology for racks is making me a bit bonkers -- trunk racks, roof racks, and hitch racks.  All have their own set of variations in design and price. 

My main concern is for weekend rides where I unfortunately use the car to drive about an hour to get up into the quiet rural mountain and hilly roads.  I do have a fairly expensive road bike and tend to be religious about carpooling which corresponds generally to one other person who also owns a fairly expensive road bike.  I do not care if the car gets dinged up, but I do care if this happens to the bikes and would hope that whatever I purchase for a rack can be transferred to my next car.

Thanks in advance for any feedback.

Offline DaveB

Re: Cars and bike racks
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2012, 04:32:59 pm »
My personal preference is for a hitch rack as it doesn't touch the car, can be swung out of the way to get into the trunk and holds the bikes securely.  It doesn't depend on nylon straps or sheet metal hooks to stay put and can be locked to the car with a locking cross pin and the bikes cable locked to the rack.  The down side is the cost of having a hitch installed on your car but it isn't that much. 

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Cars and bike racks
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2012, 06:04:55 pm »
I have a Toyota Corolla and use a Saris Bones 3 bike rack.  I think its a very good rack.  Can fit any car.  Get the Bones 3, not the Bones 2.  The Bones 2 only has one leg to rest on the car trunk top.  The Bones 3 has two legs on the car trunk top as well as two legs on the car bumper.

Problem with a hitch rack in this case is the question asker has a Tercel.  Hitches mounted to small cars like this are the ones with the tongue permanently attached.  Unlike hitches put on trucks and SUVs where the rack frame is attached to the frame of the truck.  And then you have a separate tongue hitch part that fits into the 2" square pipe.  The truck hitches easily accomodate bike hitch racks.  But they do not work with hitches on small cars where the hitch tongue is part of the rack.

Offline Old Guy New Hobby

Re: Cars and bike racks
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2012, 07:36:12 pm »
Quote
Hitches mounted to small cars like this are the ones with the tongue permanently attached.

I don't know about the Tercel specifically, but I have had a hitch rack for several cars. I was always able to find a hitch with a removable tongue. They tend to be 1" square pipe, so make sure the bike rack will fit the hitch pipe. Some hitch racks don't swing out of the way. Instead, they hold the bikes a littler further away from the car so you can open the trunk easily. I like the hitch racks that have a channel for the wheels to sit in.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Cars and bike racks
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2012, 09:31:40 pm »
Problem with a hitch rack in this case is the question asker has a Tercel.  Hitches mounted to small cars like this are the ones with the tongue permanently attached.  Unlike hitches put on trucks and SUVs where the rack frame is attached to the frame of the truck.  And then you have a separate tongue hitch part that fits into the 2" square pipe.

If you want to go for a hitch rack, it's worth going to a decent welding shop.  They can either install or fabricate and install just about anything you want.  Downside is the cost ($150-200 for the hitch).  Upside is you may never have to buy a rack again, if you get a new hitch on your new car.

I've heard the 2" hitch is more stable than the 1-1/4".  No personal experience, as I wanted a 2".  And it pitches on bumpy roads anyhow unless it's really tight.

Offline csykes

Re: Cars and bike racks
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2012, 10:33:08 pm »
Quote
I do have a fairly expensive road bike and tend to be religious about carpooling which corresponds generally to one other person who also owns a fairly expensive road bike.  I do not care if the car gets dinged up
I like that you have your priorities straight!

Offline SFGary

Re: Cars and bike racks
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2012, 03:10:10 am »
I did not want a permanent hitch on my car so I went with the Saris Bones 2 trunk rack: http://www.saris.com/en/bike-racks/vehicle-racks/trunk-racks.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_images.tpl&product_id=28&category_id=7. I have got to a stage where I can take the rack out of my trunk and put in on in less than 5 minutes and take it off in less than 2 minutes. So far it is very solid and the customer support is very responsive, caring and fast. But this is not a rack where you can put on yr. bike and leave it unattended because it cannot be locked. But Saris does make other trunk racks that can be or hitched as well.

Offline wooglin

Re: Cars and bike racks
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2012, 07:21:44 am »
I've found that any rack you hang the bikes from runs the chance of dinging the paint under the top tube.  I run either fork mount racks on the roof (Thule or Yakima) or a tray mount on the back via a hitch receiver.  For tray mounts I like the kind where a lever hooks over the front wheel.  The Thule version is the T2 and for Yakima its the Holdup.  Rackster also makes a tray rack that doesn't hold the bike by the frame. 

Roof racks are good if you worry about getting rear ended.  Tray mounts are good if you worry about driving your car into a garage with the bikes on the roof.   :)

Offline DaveB

Re: Cars and bike racks
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2012, 08:56:35 am »
Quote
Hitches mounted to small cars like this are the ones with the tongue permanently attached.

I don't know about the Tercel specifically, but I have had a hitch rack for several cars. I was always able to find a hitch with a removable tongue. They tend to be 1" square pipe, so make sure the bike rack will fit the hitch pipe...... I like the hitch racks that have a channel for the wheels to sit in.
I've never had a problem finding a hitch with a removable drawbar in the smaller size 1-1/4"-square receiver which is a standard size.  Both of my cars (a Honda CRV and a Honda Accord) have Draw-Tite hitches with 1-1/4" receivers and removable drawbars.   And, yes, this size is plenty strong and stable, particularly if you add a clamping collar to the drawbar/receiver joint.  Any trailer  shop has them and they are a cheap accessory.

The most versatile, and ultimately lower cost  way, is to buy a "ball mount" hitch rack that bolts to the OEM drawbar in place of the tow ball.  You bolt the rack to the drawbar that accompanies every hitch and you can transfer the rack from car to car even if you later buy a car with a different size (say 2") receiver. 
« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 09:00:05 am by DaveB »

Offline pmac

Re: Cars and bike racks
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2012, 12:57:21 pm »
+ one for the saris bones 3.  I've had one for at least 10 years.  Works great.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Cars and bike racks
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2012, 01:25:00 pm »
I have a 20 year history of using Yakima Roof Racks.  I also have gone the route if the fork mount bike carrier.  You can lock everything up pretty secure.  Thule offers similar products. 

The gear is not nearly as indestructable as Yakima would have you believe.  Plastic parts do not weather well, and you will be lucky to get three years out of the vinyl pads that go on the clips and the rubber pad that goes under the tower.  Yakima changes their tower design regularly, so do not be surprised if you can't get clips for your next car.  I still have 20 year old bike carriers that are working condition (get to know your friend naval jelly).  Yakima customer service is pretty good, they will cheerfully replace pads and skewers after the warranty expires.

I am from Michigan, and we have to take our racks off for the winter.  Sunlight is hard enough on them.  I think road salt would be more than they could take.

I would expect Thule to have the same issues as Yakima.  The two keep each other pretty honest. 
Danno

Offline DaveB

Re: Cars and bike racks
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2012, 04:28:13 pm »
I have a 20 year history of using Yakima Roof Racks.  I also have gone the route if the fork mount bike carrier.  You can lock everything up pretty secure.  Thule offers similar products. 

The gear is not nearly as indestructable as Yakima would have you believe.  Plastic parts do not weather well, and you will be lucky to get three years out of the vinyl pads that go on the clips and the rubber pad that goes under the tower.  Yakima changes their tower design regularly, so do not be surprised if you can't get clips for your next car.  I still have 20 year old bike carriers that are working condition (get to know your friend naval jelly).  Yakima customer service is pretty good, they will cheerfully replace pads and skewers after the warranty expires.

I am from Michigan, and we have to take our racks off for the winter.  Sunlight is hard enough on them.  I think road salt would be more than they could take.

I would expect Thule to have the same issues as Yakima.  The two keep each other pretty honest.
I also have (had?) a long history with Yakima roof racks and went thtough three generations of tower redesigns to keep them current as I changed cars. 

After years of having to be aware of the bikes on the roof when going under anything overhead, the annoying noise at highway speeds and the obvious decrease in gas mileage, I finally decided the hitch rack was a better deal.

Offline patrickstoneking

Re: Cars and bike racks
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2012, 10:27:00 am »
I've been using Thule pedestal hitch racks for 20 years.  They may get a little rusty but they never fail (may be the total lack of plastic parts) and they protect your bike well.  I would watch Craigslist as they come up for sale all the time.  My favorite pedestal  rack is the Thule Helium.  It's light, doesn't rust (high quality aluminum), and the soft cradles really protect your bike.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Cars and bike racks
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2012, 01:14:56 pm »
I also have (had?) a long history with Yakima roof racks and went thtough three generations of tower redesigns to keep them current as I changed cars. 

After years of having to be aware of the bikes on the roof when going under anything overhead, the annoying noise at highway speeds and the obvious decrease in gas mileage, I finally decided the hitch rack was a better deal.

I will have to keep on open mind on hitch racks.  A fairing improves the rack noise, but your fuel economy still takes a hit.  I feel too old to be slapping stuff on the roof anymore on a regular basis, but I still get my roof rack out for special events.

Having faced similar issues to yours, I just keep the bike inside the car now.  My Pontiac Vibe allows me to fork mount the bike inside the car.  Had I NOT gotten the sun roof, I might even be able to keep the saddle on the bike.  I do have to crack a window so things don't heat up and drain all the grease out of the bike. :)

I am not sure if putting the bike inside the car is an option for a Corolla.
Danno

Offline John Nelson

Re: Cars and bike racks
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2012, 01:30:29 pm »
I am not sure if putting the bike inside the car is an option for a Corolla.

You can get a bike inside any car if you don't have to worry about carrying other pesky people.  :) Inside is always my preference.