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Roof Racks - Fork Mount vs. Upright(9 posts)

Roof Racks - Fork Mount vs. UprightJBF
Jul 2, 2002 9:04 AM
I am about to get new mounts for my Yakima roof rack. I need a new tray-type mount as the bars are too close on my new car for my old 2 piece fork mounts. I am concidering switching to an upright mounting system that clamps to the downtube. It sure seems easier than taking off the front wheel every time I load up, especially with those damn lawyer tits on my Time fork.

QUESTION: What is the downside of the upright mounts versus fork mounts?

It seems that all the hardcore cyclists in my area still prefer the fork mounts. Is it just the traditionalist nature of cyclists or is there a real advantage?
I think fork mounts are easier to use.Spoke Wrench
Jul 2, 2002 9:13 AM
My roof rack has Thule velo vise mounts that easily clear the "lawyer lips."

It depends a little on exactly how the upright mount works. The big think with the upright is you have to hold the bike with one hand and both orient the support bracket and tighten it with the other. If you have a tall car, and you have to reach the down tube, you'd better have long arms.

I'm also not crazy about using a bike mount that touches the painted parts of my bike.
Jul 2, 2002 9:16 AM
I was watching a documentary on roof racks a couple of weeks ago (on designs thereof). If you put a bike on your roof, and drive from London to Scotland, the extra drag/fuel consumption incurred makes it cheaper to send the bike on the train for the journey (lot of money in the UK), as opposed to rear racks, which make very little difference to drag, apparently.

Just a thought - if you do a lot of miles, it may be more $ efficient to get a rear rack - easier to use too perhaps.

Then again, In know that fuel prices are a different issue in the US to the UK.


re: Roof Racks - Fork Mount vs. UprightHAL9010
Jul 2, 2002 9:20 AM
You will scratch your frame where the tube clamp contacts. That is unless you are very vigelent with cleaning the clamp pad every time you put it on the frame. Even still fine road grit will work it's way in to the edges of the gripping pad and slowly abrade the finish. putting the wheel on and off forces you to look a bit closer at that which keeps you from smashing into the ground if not cared for. And the fork mount does hold the bike more firmly than the tube clamp to the rack and the car.
I prefer Fork MountPdxMark
Jul 2, 2002 10:23 AM
The Yakima Steelhead (I think) has a wide enough swing on the quick release to make a quick connection to the fork.

With the Yakima upright rack I have I've been concerned about clamping to a thin aluminum (or carbon) tube... probably not an issue, but it worried me.

As for one joy of an upright rack, here's a fun story.

Just did a big ride with friends and several of us were driving back together. My bike got the upright rack. Driving along the freeway I look out the side window and see my handlebars hanging over the dise of the car... Calmly we stop. The clamp on the downtube had slipped and my bike fell over on its side. I carefully reset the clamp and we started off again... and it happened again!!! THEN I bought the bike in the back of the van...

I could just have been a doofus, but I think there might be different downtube clamps, some that accomodate oversized tubes better than others. Anyway. Despite that bit of excitement, I had used upright racks before... I just prefer fork mounts
help, lawyer lips?No_sprint
Jul 2, 2002 12:46 PM
I thought I'd heard everything. This is a new one for me. You guys referring to safety tabs?

Those are filed off my rides soon as they arrive home the first time.

unless you race why worry about 'em?ColnagoFE
Jul 2, 2002 1:23 PM
i always check my QRs, but why bother filing them off unless you absolutely have to have the quickest wheel changes possible? And even then it takes all of 3 seconds to loosen it a bit more and tighten it back up again.
unless you race why worry about 'em?No_sprint
Jul 2, 2002 1:43 PM
I do race and that's why they get gone. In the pit, the mechanic will ALWAYS assume they're gone and will ALWAYS hate to fumble with the QR if they are there. If they're still there, he'll likely give ya a little rookie lecture while you're there gettin' his free service too.

It's really no bother to file them off. Coupla minutes.

How did they get nicknamed lawyer lips?
Jul 2, 2002 1:37 PM
I have a Thule roof rack that has two fork mounts and one upright mount. All in all, the fork mounts are easier to use. You don't have to reach up as far to engage them. The upright requires you to position the bike a little rearward, then simultaneously move it forward while you lift the clamp up and around the downtube, then lock down the clamp. It's not easy or fast. On the highway, the front wheel on the upright mounted bike waves around from the wind, too. No big deal, but a little disconcerting. An advantage of upright, though, is you don't have to have a separate wheel carrier or stow the wheel inside the car.

A rear mount works much better, especially if you have a 2 inch receiver. There are many racks for them that don't touch the frame.

Roof mounts do use extra gas, about 2-3 mpg I've seen. Plus, it can be pain to clean off the bugs from the bikes.