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hitch mount or roof rack(12 posts)

hitch mount or roof rackColnagoFE
Aug 24, 2001 7:37 AM
i need to get a rack for my new ford explorer (no anti-suv jabs please). should i get a hitch mount or a roof rack? it has a factory rack, but the guy at the roof rack place says they aren't really all that suited to carrying bikes and that I'd need to get those upright carriers to make it work without getting a new roof system. i have a yakima roof rack on my subaru wagon already so i suppose it would be nice to be able to use the mounts on both cars, but would a hitch rack make more sense? I'd need to carry 3-4 bikes max and 2-3 pairs of skis if that makes a difference. I'd rather not carry the stuff inside. With my wife, 2 kids, 2 dogs, and gear it's already pretty tight in there.
hitchJack S
Aug 24, 2001 7:48 AM
the performance brand one that has the long wheel tray and holds the fork would be my choice... doesn't dangle the bikes from the top tube, plus it's cheap. thule makes one too, but alot more $
re: hitch mount or roof rackjtolleson
Aug 24, 2001 8:10 AM
We have a hitch mounted Yakima on the Jeep and a roof rack on the Passat. I like the hitch rack much better. Don't have to take the front wheel off and don't have to hoist the bike overhead. The locking Yakima hitch-mounted racks are every bit as stable and secure, and no risk of forgetting and smacking the bike on the garage. Esp. as high as SUV's are, I'd hate the put the bike on top. You'd probably have to stand on the inside of car just to reach the mounts.
re: hitch mount or roof rackCliff Oates
Aug 24, 2001 8:15 AM
Hitch, probably. Keeps the bikes out of the wind and away from low flying garages and tree limbs. I used one on my 4Runner until I was rear ended driving home from a century. Now, my bike rides in back on a fork mount. You might want to look at the types that swing away (Yakima TerraGate is an example, but there are others) and make it easy to access the back of the truck.
re: hitch mount or roof rackbadabill
Aug 24, 2001 8:28 AM
I have the Hollywood hitch mount on my p/u. Works great. The wheels sit in a tray and bike is held in place by a clamp on the seat post, very easy to load and unload plus works with road or MTB bikes
re: hitch mount or roof rackashleyrenfroe
Aug 24, 2001 9:34 AM
I have a roof rack on my Nissan Xterra and it works very well. I am a little stronger in the upper body than most folks, I suspect, as it would be difficult to get the bikes up there and off again if I were shorter.

Only thing that bothers me is bugs at high speeds during the summer. They are everywhere. AS far as knocking the bikes off in a garage or drive-thru, I keep my head out of my ass so it never has happened and never will.
never say neverColnagoFE
Aug 24, 2001 9:52 AM
my head is in my ass more often than i care to admit and i've run (barely) into the garage with bikes 2 times now. usually when i'm not thinking very clearly and in a hurry. when it happens it's a real "DOH!" moment.
Oh oh, you know what's gonna happen now. nmMel Erickson
Aug 24, 2001 1:22 PM
re: explorer/rackHaiku d'état
Aug 24, 2001 9:48 AM
my wife drives a 2000 explorer xlt--one immediate consideration is parking. we were not able to get her SUV into the garage without raising the garage door another 6" (adjustable tension and all that). it's at maximum raise right now. with another few inches of clearance needed to accommodate a roof rack, we'd never fit it in the garage.

I don't drive her car enough for a rack, and have a '97 civic coupe with roof rack myself, but i do have a trunk rack that adjusts to hatchbacks and SUVs, if necessary. the times i've had to put the bike in her car--most recently, when she picked me up on the side of the road to take me to the emergency room >:-( --i removed the front wheel, folded down the 1/3 seat, and stuffed that sucker in there.

just some food for thought. were it me, i'd go hitch, garage or no. i'd probably select the hitch type that has trays and holds the bikes like a fork-mount roof rack. performance has one, hollywood, others...
re: hitch mount or roof rackIan
Aug 24, 2001 10:58 AM
Well, you already have a Yakima roof rack so you know what those are like. I have one and really like it. A very important question is, how tall are you? What can easily be put on top of car can become more of a challenge on a SUV. You are correct about switching the mounts over, especially if they are really easy to install, like Steelheads. And the skis are a consideration, you can't carry those on a hitch rack. As long as you are tall enough, I would say roof rack.
re: hitch mount or roof rackTurtleherder
Aug 24, 2001 12:43 PM
I also have an Explorer and went with a hitch mount rack. I use it when I am carrying more than 2 bikes. If just two then they go inside. The roof rack is reserved for the kayaks and therefore was not an option. I do like the hitch mount for ease of use and it also makes a good work stand when on the back.
I vote hitchMel Erickson
Aug 24, 2001 1:29 PM
I've got a roof rack on my minivan and am 6'2". It's still a struggle to get the bikes up there. An SUV would be worse. Get the hitch mounted, swing away, fork mount type. Just make sure you have a 2" receiver hitch. I've never seen a receiver hitch rack for 1 1/2" receivers that takes more than 3 bikes. Must be a weight limit thing.