Bicycle Travel > Gear Talk

Bike Rack Advice

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I second the advise of a hitch mounted rack if you have a hitch.

I use a roof rack because I also am a sea kayaker...


John Nelson:

--- Quote from: DaveB on November 18, 2012, 09:23:05 am ---If you drive under a low overhang or into your garage with bikes still on the roof rack the damage is strictly your responsibility.

--- End quote ---
Not according to my policy. And one of the Allstate commercial shows this type of accident specifically as a reason to have insurance. If insurance companies didn't cover the policy-holder's own stupidity, then they wouldn't cover much.


 If you drive under a low overhang or into your garage with bikes still on the roof rack the damage is strictly your responsibility and this type of forgetful accident is probably as common as rear end collision damage.

Probably way more common!  I have two friends with roof racks and both have done the garage thing in the past 6 months.  In both cases they were riding shotgun in the car and the wives were driving and neither thought about it as they drove into the garage.  One destroyed a $4000 bike and the other was cheaper.  I know the one with the $4k bike did get something from the insurance.

Old Guy New Hobby:
There are two sizes of receivers on hitches -- 2" and 1 1/4". Make sure your bike rack matches your hitch.

Some hitches are designed to hang the bike from a hook. The wheels are free. I prefer racks where the bike is supported by the wheels. There are lots of brands to choose from. Like most of these types of racks, mine has a curved clamping bar that ratchets down to hold the bike in. The bike I had at the time routed the cables along the top of the top tube. I contacted the manufacturer. They had grooved rubber bumpers to keep the clamping bar from rubbing the cables against the top tube and rubbing the paint off.

I've had two types of hitch racks. One had a "fold down" feature, which allows you to access the rear of the vehicle. This works OK when there aren't any bikes on the rack, but is very difficult when bikes are loaded as the weight makes it challenging to fold up and down. I replaced it with a Thule swing-away rack, which kind of cantilevers out to the side very easily, even when bikes are on it.

If you generally will only be accessing your rear door/hatch when there aren't any bikes on the hitch, then the fold-down type would be fine for you, and will save you some $$ to boot. If you think you be accessing the rear door when you have bikes on the rack, seriously consider spending the extra money for the swing-away type.

If you are able to get a 2" receiver hitch for your vehicle, I suggest going that route over the 1.25" hitches, as the larger box cross-section makes for a more sturdy interface between the hitch and your vehicle.


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