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Looking for help in choosing roof rack.(14 posts)

Looking for help in choosing roof rack.purplepaul
May 1, 2003 6:02 PM
I'm leaning towards a Yakima with either a Viper fork mount or a Sportworks Bob Ratchet (don't have to take the front wheel off, but the bike rides higher). However, this is the bike that would make my wife jealous if, indeed, I had one. So I'm wondering how to protect the bike while zooming down the highway. Anyone have recommendations for a better way to carry a bike when it's not possible to put it inside?

Get the Sportworks. It's the best. PERIOD.Matno
May 1, 2003 6:30 PM
The difference in height isn't much if there even is one. It's only the difference in how high above the roof the wheel mounts, and I'm not sure there really is a difference there. Other than that, fork mounts aren't really any lower than uprights mounts unless you lower your seat. The difference can't be more than an inch or two.

The Bob Ratchet is solid, 10 times faster, and completely reliable. If it weren't, you wouldn't see so many of them on public buses. The ONLY reason I can think of not to get the Sportworks is if you're worried about the rack itself getting stolen. As far as I know, there is no way to lock the individual racks to your crossbars (at least that's what Sportworks told me last year). That's the only reason (besides getting a good deal) that I went with Yakima Anklebiters instead. All in all, I've been happy. They work well, are reasonably easy to use, and pretty quick. (Not as fast as the Sportworks, but only a little slower to mount). Far as I can tell, they're solid. I've driven over a lot of potholes and sharp curves with them without problems.
OK. What about protecting the bike in transit. Thanks. nmpurplepaul
May 1, 2003 8:39 PM
Protecting the bike from what?Matno
May 2, 2003 2:20 AM
Theft? Scratches? Bugs? I'm not sure what you're asking here. I'm not sure about security options on the Sportworks. I do know that it won't damage your bike at all.
Don't knowpurplepaul
May 2, 2003 7:45 AM
but it seems a little scary to be traveling at high speeds subjecting the bike to rain, pebbles, stuff like that. Not too worried about it being stolen as a standard lock is pretty easy to come by.

Thanks for the responses.
rain, pebbles.Steve_0
May 2, 2003 7:50 AM
Rain wont hurt a bike. Just keep bearings and posts well greased.

Pebbles have the potential, but how many pebbles are really floating around 5 feet in the air? And those that are simply increase the character of the bike.
These work well on a fork mount rack...TFerguson
May 2, 2003 3:09 AM

I have never seen anything for a wheel-on type mount.

I tried one of those...biknben
May 2, 2003 5:09 AM
I used one of the bike bras a couple years ago. I do a lot of extended trips (couple hours) with the bike on the roof. The bra was OK initially. After a couple months it started to come apart at the seams and feel apart.

It caused some extra wind noise and created more drag.

In my opinion they are not worth the money.
May 2, 2003 3:49 AM
you dont need protection from highway wind. They do have little bikini-covers which protect the handlebars/seat from bug splatters....but bug splatters are cool.

For worry-free theft protection and a little additinonal security in the event of rack-failure (i.e, airborne bike), U-lock the chainstay, through the rear wheel, onto the rear bar. Be sure to select a size just long enough to make the connection, but not so long to damage the vehicle roof.
Disadvantages of upright mountBergMann
May 2, 2003 4:50 AM
I don't like upright (i.e. both-wheels-on) bike mounts for three reasons:

1) more bike in the wind = noisier at speed, more vibration in high winds

2) Uprights clamp on frame

3) You can drive a loaded fork mount into the garage without "decapitating" your prized steed.

I've been using Yakima's with steelhead mounts for years now. Love the lockable fork mount, if that's what you mean by protection. If you're worried about paint, you can get one of those "aprons" that fit over the bars and fork.
"The best," yet you bought Yakima???BergMann
May 2, 2003 5:13 AM
In response to Matno's first post, I don't want to diss the functionality of the Bob Ratchet racks because I've never used them. Still, lack of ability to lock a very expensive mount to your bars would definitely disqualify a product from my "best option" list, as it evidently did for Matno when it came time to buy.

Also on the height difference, I just measured the height of my bike over rack while on the fork mount, vs. upright, with two wheels in the tray:
Difference = 4 inches.
Mounted on my sedan, my fork mounted bikes just clear my garage door by 2".

I've seen enough folks drive their bikes into low-hanging tree branches, garage doors, etc. to value the extra clearance.
You be the judge.
May 2, 2003 6:05 AM
there cerainly exists the ability to lock 'a very expensive mount' to your bars. Spend 18 bucks on a kryptonite, which has tons of other uses in life.

Personally, I dont know what constitutes 'best', but I've had the same set of Yakama racks for 19 years. Never had a failure carrying boards, bikes, skis, luggage, lumber (even drywall once). On road, off road, cross-country, multi-country, highway speed, above highway speed. Salt water dripping over for weeks at a time. Roadsalt for weeks at a time.

Best? Subjective perhaps; but certainly qualifes for my 'best option' list.
Excellent quality? Absolutly.

Lastly, folks that drive their bikes into low-hanging trees or gargage doors are helpess; 4 extra inches will only delay the inevitable in their case.
Depends on where you live.Matno
May 2, 2003 8:52 AM
If I were still in the Rocky Mountains, I wouldn't worry one bit about the rack getting stolen. As it is, I live in the Bronx and park my car on public streets 100% of the time (except when I'm driving it). Hence the concern about security. I don't worry about the bike itself getting stolen because I never leave it unattended.

However, I should qualify my decision by saying that the Sportworks wouldn't have worked with my factory roof rack the way the Yakima did. I didn't want to add extra bars to the existing rack because it would have added several inches in height and 2 extra bars, all of which would have just been too much (as far as looks go) on my minivan.

Are you sure you measured the same bike on your different racks? I don't have a fork mount rack, but if I take off the front wheel and just set the fork on the ground the difference in height of the seat is about 1" on my road bike. Less on my MTB.

I agree with Steve that a good Kryptonite is all you need unless you live in a place like I do. It's not practical to leave a big loose cable sitting on top of your car all the time.

Another practical option which I believe is lockable, is the Yakima King Cobra. Haven't seen one in person, but it looks similar in design to the Sportworks. No frame contact, which is a good thing, IMO. That's partly why I went with the Anklebiters - they only touch the cranks.

As for clearance - that's a valid point if your circumstances warrant it. I don't drive under anything even remotely resembling "low".
Protection from bugs.johnmyster
May 4, 2003 7:35 PM
Bugs are permanently implanted into the paint of my fork and headtube decals. Rocks, no problem. If I were a bug, I'd rather become bike art than car smudge though. The best ones are the ones that leave a smear around the headtube. Sweet.