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how many bikes on a roof rack(14 posts)

how many bikes on a roof rackmlbd
Mar 14, 2002 4:56 AM
i'm looking to buy a roof rack this spring. when my fiance and i go on vacation i'd like to be able to carry 3 bikes (2 road, 1 ATB). can any roof rack handle 3 bikes or do i need to buy a wider one or something? would i be better off with a heavy duty trunk rack when carrying 3 bikes?

thanks.
Three won't be a problem.Spoke Wrench
Mar 14, 2002 5:55 AM
By the time you add up everything a Yakima or Thule system for three bikes is going to cost about $500.00. Resist the temptation to save money be skipping the wind fairing, because you won't be able to hear the radio. Unless interior space is very limited, skip the front wheel holders and if you use them, be sure to strap your wheels down.

I (slightly) prefer Thule because I like their Velo-vise fork mounts the best. A Saris system will cost a little less, but I don't think Saris bike mounts have the same "feeling of quality" as Thule or Yakima.
disagree about the fairing.SteveO
Mar 15, 2002 6:32 AM
ive been using yaks raks on my cars for 15 years; no fairing. windnoise is not a problem, assuming you use the full-length bike cradles (if the two raks are independant, you'll get a lot more vibration, therefore noise.

admittingly, though, windnoise is noticable with the sunroof open.
re: how many bikes on a roof rackJS Haiku Shop
Mar 14, 2002 6:04 AM
I haven't used Thule or Yak since the one i bought on ebay was a Saris. it held up pretty well for 3+ years (and i bought it a couple years old, and used from a guy in the Pac NW). three trays, three wheel mounts. if you space road bikes right, three will fit, no problem. if you have MTBs or wider bars on the road bikes, it's sometimes a good idea to turn the middle tray around such that the bike is facing rearward when mounted. this looks strange, but is functional.

in truth, i'd prefer a hitch mount to a roof rack, but i don't have a tow hitch on my little car. i sold the roof rack and am using a trunk rack for in-town portage and throw the bike in the trunk and back seat (one bike) for trips.
re: how many bikes on a roof rackjaybird
Mar 14, 2002 6:41 AM
Go with the roof mount. It is the most stable and secure of all the options. Just make sure you use the bike mounts that require you to take the front wheel off. 3 bikes is no problem at all. You will need to stagger them forwards and backwards. I have put 5 road bikes on the top of a jetta using yakima's 48" bars. it was tight but it is possible... The faring is a good idea but in my experience only reduces noise when there are no bikes on the rack.
Why get the one where you have to take off the front wheel?js5280
Mar 14, 2002 9:01 AM
I don't understand why so many people get the rack where you have to take off the front wheel. What a hassle! I've had no problems w/ my Big Mouths and I drive fast. I could possibly see the fork mount racks would be better if you do a lot of 4x4 driving on bad roads w/ bikes on top. They do appears a little sturdier or at least get the weight down lower than the Big Mouths. Any other reasons why people like the fork mounts?
Why get the one where you have to take off the front wheel?pmf1
Mar 14, 2002 9:08 AM
I would not be crazy about that rack because it clamps onto the down tube. I'd worry about damaging the frame. Especially on the carbon bikes I own. I wouldn't clamp them into a repair stand that way and that jaw looks very similar to a repair stand clamp to me.

Removing the front wheel is not that big of a deal. If your fork has lawyer tabs, they are easy to file off.
Clamp's not that strong. . .js5280
Mar 14, 2002 1:29 PM
The clamp really isn't that strong although it could cause some scratching if dirty. Personally I wish they clamped a little tighter. I had a bike jump out at a Railroad crossing once when I forgot the wheel straps. D'oh! Fortunately I have it cable locked to the rack so it fell to the side of the car, and the bike gods smiled, not a scratch on the car or bike. Whew!
the other side of the coin...SteveO
Mar 15, 2002 6:36 AM
i never understood why people spent the extra money on the bigmouths....it takes all of 2 seconds to take off a wheel. Also grab-and-ride thefts are impossible.
Carry 4 on my Civic, but...cory
Mar 14, 2002 8:21 AM
There are a couple of drawbacks. I don't notice the weight or a serious deterioration in handling, but that is a lot of weight waving around up there on a light car and in an extreme maneuver, it's bound to hurt. Mileage on the highway drops from 35-36 to mid-20s. I bought my bars used, and they're barely long enough. A few extra inches would let me put the front wheel holders outboard of the Q-towers. And as somebody else said, you'll probably have to turn one or two bikes around so the bars don't bump.
re: how many bikes on a roof rackKEN2
Mar 14, 2002 9:02 AM
You don't mention what car you have, but for Yakima at least their website walks you through the exact components you will need. HOWEVER, if you are looking to do something out of the ordinary you can, for example, get the next-widest crossbars for more carrying room at the same price. I have had the same Yakima rack for 15+ years, through 4 different cars. All I had to change each time was the clips that hold the rack on. And the first car was a minivan, which called for 48" crossbars. When I switched to a Camry I kept the bars and was still able to carry 4 bikes all facing forward. Downside is it can look a little dorky and you can bump your head on a crossbar getting in and out of the car. Recently cut the bars down when I bought a Solara....
Save MoneyLO McDuff
Mar 14, 2002 9:30 AM
Get the towers and bars from Thule or Yakima. Get the trays from rockymounts.com. Their products fit both Thule and Yakima and the long trays cost $50 instead of $80-$90.
re: how many bikes on a roof rackraboboy
Mar 14, 2002 9:39 AM
The only thing you need to worry about is the amount of weight your roof can handle. But, 3 bikes shouldn't be a problem. Personally, I still like the hitch-mount rack better. No wind noise (or much, much less), and there is no way a roof rack is more secure than the hitch mount (those things are rated for 1500-2000 lbs). Most any car can have a hitch reciever installed on it and you can still use your roof for other things (kayak, luggage, etc.).
3 is easyMisJG
Mar 14, 2002 10:03 AM
I have my roof rack (Performance copy of Thule design. 3-4 yrs old) set up for three bikes and three wheel carriers all the (summer) time on a 1989 Cavalier! It's much easier and faster than my old trunk rack and more secure. I never liked the way the bikes 'nestled' or 'interlocked' on the trunk rack, and I scratched my car up good (luckily not my bike!) when I had just two bikes on the trunk. I was always worried about someone rear-ending me with all that expensive steel and aluminum hanging off the back. Can the driver behind me really see my bake lights?! No worries with the roof rack!

Oh! One more thing. DON'T file off the lawyer tabs. It could save your bike one day. It may be a little more time consuming to mount your bike on the roof rack, but if for some reason the clamping mechanism on the tray becomes loose, your bike has a better chance of staying on the roof. I don't know why such a big deal is made about these tabs. Yeah, it takes a little longer to get the wheel on and off, but why are you in that much of hurry anyway? Doesn't i void a warranty or something anyway? I don't know. . .

PS. Get the fairing. It's a cool place to put lots of stickers. . .