What bike rack do you use?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum What bike rack do you use?

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This topic contains 45 replies, has 37 voices, and was last updated by  tludwig 4 months ago.

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  • #218896

    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.

    –Mahalo

  • #218898

    I installed a hitch, and bought a Thule rack.

    Roof racks just seem like time bombs to me…

    • #219024

      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.

    • #219026

      NorthShore.  Three words:  EZ and SOLID.

  • #218901

    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.

    • #218918

      I’ve got a curt hitch on my MK7 GTI as well.  Went with the Thule T2 pro rack though.

  • #218919

    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 have their “Mini-Bomber” model.

  • #218920

    I use a 1Up USA hitch mount.  Works great and folds up when not in use.  I leave mine on my car, but it easily fits in the trunk

    • #242276

      Agree with the 1Upusa, two bike rack with fatbike modification on both…added some Lexan shields on one so during winter the rotors and spokes don’t become coated in ice and frozen grime.  (BTW-Terrific WI. company and support…have one of their basic trainers too).

  • #218922

    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.

  • #218923

    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.

  • #218932

    Hitch rack. 1Up.

  • #218963

    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.

     

  • #218989

    Currently picked up the RockyMounts Switch hitter and love it so far! Main reason was the ability to be able to use 1 rack for all bikes.

  • #219016

    Thanks everyone for the insight. I had forgotten about “Seasucker” and may look into that as well. Thanks again, see ya on the trail!

  • #219028

    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.

  • #219737

    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…

  • #219764

    I have one of the newer  Thule hitch racks that fits a fat bike and a regular MTB.  I live in a condo so getting into my underground garage would be impossible with a roof rack.

  • #219915

    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.

  • #219916

    Sorry I meant the inventor. Love auto correct.

  • #220705

    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!

  • #220706

    it really varies on what kind of car/vehicle you plan on using your bike rack for.

    I currently use a Thule (hitch mounted), and that is all I have ever used. You pay the price up front, but what you get out of it you really can not put a price on. The first one I had I used for 10+ years on MANY trips and it took a beating, and now the one we have is great. I have the T2 Classic w/ 4 racks on it. It is durable, has locks, and you can easily access any of the 4 bikes.

     

     

  • #220708

    1up, hitch mount double tray w/fatbike hardware. Carry’s any combo of bike, safely and securely. Plus they look bitchin.

  • #220729

    I have a Yakima trunk rack and the Yakima Hold up hitch rack.  The Hold up is awesome and would recommend it.  The trunk rack I use on my car and I’ve scratched the crap out of my car with it.  Mostly because of hasty loading and unloading.  Stuff like “oh, I should have checked what was rubbing before I took off” type stuff… so mostly my own fault.  I got the trunk rack first and the reality is that my frequency of riding went through the roof when I could go places without having to remove a wheel and stuff my bike in the trunk of my car.   I went from a once a week rider to 4-5 times a week.  That was apparently a fairly large mental hurdle for me to clear… lol.

  • #220735

    I use the Kuat hitch rack on my jeep cherokee. It doesnt get in the way of my hatchback. The Kuat rack unlatches far enough for someone to reach in an grab your biking gear. After a long ride i will open hat hback sit in it and rezt my feet on the rack and eat a protein bar. Love my Kuat.

  • #220744

    also a 1 upusa

    With the fatbike tire modification & use for all 4 seasons,  we can easily transfer the rack between both car receiver hitches, on the back of our travel trailer for any of our bikes on the roughest BLM roads (using a modified rigid hitch extension-helps handle the bucking) (without wheel removal or fear of scraping off the seriously spendy equipment at home, at a parking garage or lower hanging branches)….Spendy but provides peace of mind.  Didn’t realize you could add 3 units to the base for 4 bikes (? thought it was a total of 3).

  • #220759

    Tray racks are the best! Tons of options that transport your bike with ZERO frame contact. I personally use the Saris SuperClamp which accommodates up to 4″ tires out of the box and tilts up out of the way when not in use. Good luck picking a rack that fits your needs!

  • #220788

    Hands down 1Up USA Hitch Rack….Can’t go wrong….Dont’ waste your money on cheap quality like a Thule

  • #230274

    We humbly suggest the ALTA SIX GPR by ALTA RACKS. The rack can carry up to six bike of any size, and then coverts to other activities as well. One rack to rule them all. http://www.altaracks.com. Made in the USA.

    • #230345

      I don’t know, Altaracks doesn’t sound like a cost effective option for someone who doesn’t run a shuttle service. I would never have a need to haul more than 2 bikes so I can’t see how spending $1200 on a rack would be a good idea. If you guys had a nice $500 2 bike setup, then you could say it’s on par with a 1Up or Kuat, then I would give it serious consideration. The OP has “A” bike, not 6, that he needs to haul. Kinda hard to justify that kind of expense….Sorry.

       

      edit: oops I missed @BBelfield ‘s post before I replied. didn’t mean to pile on.

  • #230335

    I don’t know that you could “humbly” suggest your own $1200 product but it looks cool if you’re running a shuttle service.

  • #230346

    Look at it this way: If you can convince 5 of your buddies to chip in for gas money, you might actually make money on every trip! That extra income could go toward paying off the rack… Uber bike shuttles anyone?

  • #230390

    Here’s a little theft prevention tip for those using roof racks. Certainly spend the extra dough for the cross bar tower locks for whatever system you purchase. On the trays instead of using the hand tightened fasteners that come with them (Thule) I used nylon lock nuts and a open end ratchet wrench to tighten them. This makes it way more time consuming to remove the racks. However, I never have had a roof rack stolen or messed with and I’ve used Thule’s since ’99 with this method. I cannot say same for a hitch rack where I had one pinched while my SUV (effing hated that POS and hate SUV’s, but I digress) was at a dealership overnight for work. This was with a lock system too. Finally, get a wheel mount system so you don’t have to eff with taking the wheels off. Again, Thule’s are rock solid albeit a bit clunky and you can find used trays via Craigslist all the time.

  • #230393

    you can find used trays via Craigslist all the time.

    I wonder if your stolen hitch rack ended up on Craiglist?  I actually had an entire Yakima system (clips, towers, cross bars, and trays) stolen off my car in a Home Depot parking lot. I figured it was just sold for scrap metal, but now I’m thinking it wound up on Craiglist. 🙂

     

  • #230398

    @jeffbarber: “I wonder if your stolen hitch rack ended up on Craiglist?  I actually had an entire Yakima system (clips, towers, cross bars, and trays) stolen off my car in a Home Depot parking lot. I figured it was just sold for scrap metal, but now I’m thinking it wound up on Craiglist.”

    This occurred back in Norfolk, Virginia and cars getting broken into and then the goods ending up in pawn shops is so common up there that they have a police detail that combs these places weekly for illicit property. It’s a military town and there are many transient unsavory characters associated as such. I have recovered stolen items (bikes, cameras, guitars, gear) from pawn and guitar shops in this manner. Craigslist is an endpoint as well, but most thieves avoid it since it’s not a quick cash turn around and leaves them open to exposure. Still, there are plenty of dickheads on CL without a doubt.

    • #230447

      <p>I use the 1Up-USA bike rack. Specifically the hitch mount 2 tray with 2 more when I need them.  I’ve had roof racks and other hitch racks, including the Kuat NV, and this is the best rack I’ve ever had. 5/5, would rack again :)</p>

  • #230538

    I use a Reese Sportwing hitch rack, only cost $80 and works great IF you either (a) don’t take steep driveways or (b) have a higher vehicle like a pickup truck. On my Forester, the bikes rode scarily low to the ground so I chopped it and welded in a 12″ gusseted vertical section. Now they sit nice and high and I am very happy with it. For the price, would buy and modify again.

    As for configuration, I would vote for the hitch mount over trunk or roof mount. I like being able to look in my rearview mirror and see what my bike is up to at any given moment, and the hitch mount takes seconds to remove or attach (I use a hitch tensioner to keep it nice and solid, no rattling in the receiver). No need to remove the front wheel either.

    Ivan

  • #237146

    North Shore Racks NS-4… I can carry four MTB’s in the same space as I carry two MTB’s on my Kuat.

  • #237157

    I have a recon rack and it is bombproof. Took it and five bikes from Ohio to Colorado last summer for family vacation. It works for wheel sizes 24 in to 29 and works for my fat bike also.

  • #237165
  • #237166

  • #237167

    I have a Yakima roof rack with a set of Frontloader carriers and the SKS system.

  • #237275

    I have a VW GTI and just installed a hitch and got a 2 bike Kuat Transfer. For years when formerly transporting a very light road style bike, I used a rooftop carrier with the VW bike carrier that fit onto the Thule slot style roof rack. However, with a mtb now, its just heavier and more awkward to put it up on the roof.

  • #237326

    I use a Fox tailgate pad on my pickup and can haul up to 5 bikes easily. On my motorhome I use a Swagman platform rack that is very solid. Others platform racks specifically state not for RVs because of too much whip on the bikes and would not warranty it.

  • #240074

    Yakima 2″ hitch rack.  Works great, very secure for highway driving, easy to load and unload, and great customer service.  Holds 4 bikes rock solid, the new version takes Fat Bikes.

  • #242354

    I went from using a Thule rooftop rack for 10 years and just purchased a 1Up rack. This thing is built like a tank and is all machined aluminum so it will never rust. Also with their special hitch mount design there’s absolutely no wobble. Loading bikes is extremely quick and easy. There’s no way of easily locking your bike on it but a cable lock works if you’re going to leave it unattended. Most bike racks have locks that can be broken fairly easy anyway.

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