Looking for your opinions on various bike rack styles (trunk, hitch, or roof mount). I have used a trunk mounted bike rack in the past but did not care about its impact on my vehicle. I am worried a trunk mounted rack will scratch/damage the car (I care about keeping my current car in the best possible condition for resale sake). I am not fond of mounting a hitch to my car solely for use of a hitch mounted rack that I would plan to take off anytime I was not transporting a bike. I think I like the idea of roof rack for secure bike transport but am not sold on the permanent nature and aesthetic appearance of a roof rack, given 80% of the time I use the car will not involve transporting a bike.
Opinions on brands of racks are also welcome.
The cost difference of a trunk mount vs hitch vs roof is not the biggest concern.
Any and all input, opinions, and experience are welcomed.
After I almost lost a roof rack in the wind traveling at 75 mph, I ditched it and went for a hitch. I currently use a curt hitch on my new GTI and have a kuat transfer that I carried over from my old corolla. Nice and easy to use. Takes a minute to install or remove from the hitch receiver.
I was in the same boat as you. SeaSucker is the thing you should look into. Like everyone initially, I was skeptical of how well it really worked. I took my wifes Murano on a 10 hour drive from Dallas to ABQ with our two bikes mounted to the roof of her car, going 85 MPH with 40 MPH crosswinds. The SeaSucker never lost suction. That was the ultimate test for me…the thing is great.
However, the thing sucks (no pen indended) if you have a 15MM thru axle front fork rather than the 9mm quick release. It’s just a huge pain in the ass to mount the 15MM fork on there compared to the 9MM QR.
I started with a trunk rack, upgraded to a roof rack, and have finally settled on a tray-style hitch rack. The thing is, every one of these solutions has pros and cons.
If you’re looking at a hitch rack vs. a roof rack, a roof rack will (negatively) impact your gas mileage more than a hitch rack. As @kay_oh mentioned, getting bikes on and off a hitch rack is quicker and easier than a roof rack. Finally, if you’re planning to leave a roof rack on your car all the time, keep in mind that it might get stolen. Happened to me in a Home Depot parking lot in broad daylight! A hitch rack can be stolen pretty easily too (I lost the key to mine once but was able to cut through the bolt in about 4 seconds with a sawzall.) But at least the rack is only on the car when you’re using it, so less opportunity for it to get nicked.
I had a hitch rack on my last car with a tray style rack. I ended up with a roof rack on my new car because installing a hitch was prohibitively expensive. Definitely prefer the hitch rack in every scenario except driving off road. Better gas mileage, easier to load and more secure.
I have the original version of the Thule T2 (it was different name back then) hitch rack and it’s been bullet-proof so far. I’ve had mine for over 10 years and it’s logged 50K miles. At least (4) of my friends have the same rack.
1UP and Kuat are the other major players at the moment in the hitch rack game.
Hello, I used them all. I finally went with a hitch rack with locks. Kuat nv 4 bike. The customer service is the best there is. I’ve had it for years. Very easy to use, very secure, folds up when not in use. I drive allot and the roof rack cut me down a couple miles on a gallon. It’s definitely worth the extra money.
I have a trunk rack for the car and a hitch rack for my truck. I understand the thought with the scratching of the car. I just pay to have it fixed one a year. I cover the trunk with a thick beach towel to minimize scratching.
Saris Superclamp 2 and I love it easy to take off and put on only downfall is can’t open my hatch on my Subaru with bikes on the rack but that’s not a big deal to me, got it for like $400 on amazon has some really nice features like built in cable locks and it doesn’t touch the frame of your bike just tires…
Hi, I am the investment tor of ALTA SIX GPR, altaracks.com. just went in to production this week. Built in Utah. It carries up to six bikes and turns in to ski and snowboard carrier. No touch bike rack and weighs about what a kuat 6 carrier weighs and costs. Not just a bike rack, but a life rack.
Hitch rack from 1UpUSA – ridiculously quick install & on/off of bikes, absolutely no wobble, no bike rubbing, expandable from 1-4 bikes…and they have a bottle opener that mounts on the rack – that alone makes it the indisputable winner!