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roof rack on wagon(2 posts)

roof rack on wagonSuddha
Apr 29, 2003 12:20 PM

I also posted this on MTBReview.

I have put my Thule roof rack on my 02 VW Jetta Wagon using Thule's 415 Railing kit, for carrying bikes in the summer and skis in the winter. I have experimented with several bar placements. Thule recommends putting the crossbars as close to the anchor points of the roof railings as possible for strength but this means the front one will obstruct the sunroof. So I have put the front crossbar further back, just behind the sunroof opening. This seems like an advantage of a wagon, in that there is a longer roofline. But I am concerned that having two bikes up top will be risky, since the front crossbar is anchored to the middle of the roof railings in an unsupported spot.

Also, I have moved the Thule V2 and Velo Vise trays to the outboard side of the towers so they are just above the doors. I wonder if this is any more/less secure.

Sorry for the rambling post, but any ideas or feedback? Worse comes to worst, I will put the front bar further forward again and put the fairing on, but then I lose my nice view. Just looking for ideas.

no worriesBergMann
Apr 29, 2003 5:24 PM
I've always used racks which are tower-mounted and thus can't speak from experience on the anchor point issue (consult your owner's manual - if they've given you a full roof's length of railing to use, I'd say use it.)

Intuitively speaking, since most of the forces on the racks will be coming from the front as wind resistance, it would seem like a position to the aft of the anchor points would be more solid than one to the fore.

That said, I've mounted racks with very little distance between cross bars (just over 2 feet) on compact japanese cars, thrown 4 bikes on the roof on fork-mounts, and driven hours on end at 85 mph without even a hint of a problem.

As for worring about the number of bikes/bike mounts, my general sense is that the more hardware you have connecting the two cross bars, the more stable the whole setup is in general.

Only drawback of the outside position of your bike mounts: tell your taller passengers to watch their heads! I've had more than one close encounter with the protruding end of my cross bars, and for that reason would mount the things just inboard enough that there's no chance of cranial calamity.

Good luck!