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another roof rack post(8 posts)

another roof rack postbm
Sep 10, 2002 9:19 AM
where do i start when buying a roof rack. can someone please tell what i need - crossbar? towers? i don't understand what all this means.

i've got a 52 frame and a '90 accord coupe.
re: another roof rack postSuddha
Sep 10, 2002 10:03 AM
The towers are the components that clamp onto your car, usually by pushing down on the roof and pulling up under the window or door frames to provide leveraging. There will be four towers (obviously), two of which sit above your doors and two which will clamp on above the rear windows.

The crossbars are exactly what the name implies - the bars, either round in diameter or square, which extend across the vehicle, one over the front of the car and one over the rear. The bars pass through the tops of the towers, thus anchoring them to the car. The towers plus bars assembly is the basis of your rack, to which you can add any number of components - for carrying skis, kayaks, snowboards, bicycles, cargo boxes, etc.

These carrying components are purchased separately and clamp onto the bars, front and back. For carrying a bicycle, you'll need to get one of two different types of designs - the type on which the fork of your bike is clamped into the front of the rack and the rear wheels strapped into the back of the rack - or the type where the bike stands upright and the rack grips the downtube of your bike frame. I prefer the former type - more stable and aerodynamic.

There are several manufacturers that make and sell these racks. The two big names are Yakima (USA) and Thule (Sweden). Opinions vary greatly on the merits of each company. I prefer Thule, due in large part to the fact that Yakima doesn't make towers that will fit my car! But you should have no trouble fitting either make to your Accord. Check out any bike shop or outdoor shop (like REI or EMS). They should carry what you need. Expect to pay $250 for the whole setup.

Good luck!
I think it's best to talk with a dealer.Spoke Wrench
Sep 10, 2002 10:28 AM
There are three major brands, Yakima, Thule and Saris. Mounting systems for both your bike and your car vary a little among the brands. Terminology is a little different from brand to brand too so it can be a little confusing if you are talking to different dealers. Yakima and Thule systems are equivalent in quality and their prices are virtually identical. Saris costs a little less and has a slicker system to mount onto the car, but I don't think that the Saris bike mounts are quite up to the standard of the other two.

I personally prefer Thule because I like their Velo Vise bike mounts and because I have the most experience installing the Thule load bars. With Thule you need a fit kit to match your car, feet, load bars, bike mounts, locks and a wind fairing. For two bikes expect to pay a bit over $500 for everything. You'll be tempted to skip the wind fairing to save money but don't. The roof rack system without the fairing makes so much noise on the highway that you won't be able to hear your car radio.

Every time you load your bike onto your new roof rack, it's a good idea to hide the garage door opener in the glove box.
Check online.fracisco
Sep 10, 2002 10:51 AM
Both Yakima ( and Thule ( have online 'fit guides' that will tell you what it takes to get your bikes on the roof of your car. Several online sporting goods store such as REI and Sports Rack ( carry Yakima and Thule.

I prefer Yakima, and I have had Yakima racks on various cars for the past 10 years.
Try used (e.g. ebay, local paper, sports consignment store,etc.)js5280
Sep 10, 2002 11:09 AM
If you driving a 90' Accord I bet you could find some used ones that work fine. My guess is you are looking for something economical. I note, sometimes on Coupes you need an extension bars because there isn't enough roof line. I'd start with checking out Thule and Yakima for the part numbers you're looking for then looking for it used. If you have Play-it-again sports or other used sports consignment store, take a look there too.
thanks (nm)bm
Sep 10, 2002 11:21 AM
re: another roof rack postcarmy
Sep 10, 2002 12:25 PM
If you want to save money, look at They sell locking fork mounts that work with both Thule and Yakima load bars for about $50 compared to $100. I just bought another. I did buy Yakima rear wheel straps separately which fit onto the rockymounts as the origingal velcro straps that they come with a bit cheap.
re: another roof rack postAtombomber
Sep 10, 2002 8:49 PM
Go to and get the model numbers for the parts you require to fit you particular vehicle.

You will need towers, which mount to the roof of your car, and may be generic or specifically designed for it. They will hold the cross bars, to which you mount your desired bike carrier.

Bike carriers are either fork down (where you remove the front wheel and mount the fork onto a clamping mechanism, and the rear wheel is strapped into a tray cradle.) or stand up ( where complete the bike stands in the cradle and both wheels are strapped intot he tray. The bike is supported by use of a downtube clamp, or another method to keep the bike upright).

I prefer to use the fork down, since I feel it holds the bike more secuely.