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Roof Top Rack(9 posts)

Roof Top Rackmorkm
Dec 26, 2002 4:02 PM
Finally going to break down and get a roof top rack for my car. Anyone have any suggestions and/or racks to avoid. I have a '97 BMW M3 4Door. I'm leaning towards Yakima.

Thanks for any and all suggestions
re: Roof Top Rackroadcyclist
Dec 27, 2002 2:39 AM
A long time ago (about 15 years) I had a yakima and had problems with the bike mounts slipping on the round load bars. It might have just been me or it might have been a problem with the bars that has since been resolved. I have a 94 Saturn & a 03 Chrysler - using a Thule rack for 2 road bikes and a tandem. Very happy with the product.
re: Roof Top Rackmorkm
Dec 27, 2002 3:14 AM
Another question I had was whether or not it was worth getting the 'spoiler' or whatever it is called for the front of the rack to cut down on wind noise...and if I should expect any/much damage to my vehicle if/when I remove the rack (ie. after a year or two, will roof show that it had a rack on it).

again, thanks for any input.
ThuleSpoke Wrench
Dec 27, 2002 6:28 AM
A few years ago, I had the experience of installing a Thule rack on a Mercedes and was plesantly surprised to see that the locations for the feet had been thoughtfully stamped into the doorframe by the factory. I don't know about BMW.

Price and quality wise, I think that Yakima and Thule are a complete wash. I think that Thule is easier to install, but I've had quite a bit more experience with Thule than Yakima. I also greatly prefer the Thule Velo-vise bike mount -it operates with one hand and automatically adjusts for your bike's hated "lawyer lips." Unless you are seriously at a loss for interior cargo space, forget the front wheel mounts - they suck!

Sooner or later, dirt will work its way under the feet of your rack system and will marr your car's paint. You can minimize that risk by removing the rack when you are not hauling bikes and by making sure your rooftop is squeeky clean whenever you install it. Once I got my Thule rack system set up, I found that I could remove and install the whole system, including wind fairing, in one piece by myself. It only takes about 5 minutes.

A roof rack system is a significant investment. By the time you are done, you will have probably spent between $400 and $500. If you want to listen to tunes as you cruise down the highway I'd strongly recommend spending the extra cash for the wind fairing.
re: Roof Top RackDave L
Dec 27, 2002 6:32 AM
I am not sure about Yakima, but with Thule you can order brackets that fit the factory BMW mounting location on your roof. I had to special order these from my Thule dealer. Actually, I had train the dealer that they exsisted before he ordered them, as he wanted to sell the "one size" fits all and did not even know you could get the factory mounts. These work much better than the brackets that sit on top of your roof. There will be no damage to your car from the bike rack.
re: Roof Top RackFez
Dec 27, 2002 6:53 AM
I can't remember for sure, but Thule has a complete mount kit that is custom made for some BMW models. A perfect fit. It is like that for current model 3 and 5 series with roof rack mounts built into the roof. Check your roofline and the thule fit site.
re: Roof Top RackJoshua
Dec 27, 2002 7:10 AM
I have a yakima rack right now that is completely functional. However when I do get another rack system, which will be soon, I will buy thule. I have had problems with a yakima surfboard related product failing. The boards flew off of the car on I-5 north at Del Mar, when their product the strap thang broke. When I contacted yakima to make a claim with them, they said with out pics of exactly how the boards were on the rack and strapped down they wouldnt do any thing about it. Any ways I am not pleased with Yakimas customer service and they dont stand behind their products. And for those of you who think I was just trying to soak them for A few dollars all I wanted from them was 115.00 that was 50.00 to repair each surfboard and 15 for the straps I had to buy to replace their crap. I was even going to supply them with receipts.

To make a long story short, I will buy thule next.
re: Roof Top Rackupandcomer
Dec 27, 2002 10:33 AM
Be prepared to have your gas mileage decrease drastically.
re: Roof Top Rackmapei boy
Dec 27, 2002 11:09 AM
My wife and I bought a Yakima rack in the early 1990's, which has sat atop an '86 BMW 325 and a '96 BMW 328, and which now currently sits atop a 2000 Audi A4. Each vehicle change necessitated buying new towers. In each case, the rack fit like a glove. I know for sure that Yakima sells specific kits to fit any BMW. I'm sure Thule makes a fine rack, but I also can't fault my experience with the Yak.