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Best roof rack for mountain bikes

Feb. 13, 2018, 10:35 a.m.
Posts: 1311
Joined: Feb. 17, 2009

Posted by: XXX_er

BTW does everyone take these things off the car at least once a season to put anti sieze on any threaded fasteners OR do you just leave them up there to sell with the car ?

I remove mine when not in use (install before a ride, remove upon return home).  I've gotten sufficiently competent that I can now install the crossbars and the bike carrier in under 5 minutes.  It's a drag on fuel efficiency and I sometimes go 2 or more weeks without using the car to access the trails as I'm only a 20 minute pedal from the Fromme climb trail.

Feb. 13, 2018, 11:04 a.m.
Posts: 14384
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

well yes but my point would be if you never take them off at some point they won't come off  ... which is why you sell them with the car

Feb. 13, 2018, 11:57 a.m.
Posts: 1506
Joined: July 11, 2014

I leave one of my Sidearms mounted year round and swap the other on/off with a ski rack. The one I have left on for two years has some seized bolts, going to need to deal with that this summer. I should also rebuild/grease the arm mechanism. I do use the keyed lock which in theory makes it impossible for the arm to slide up so there's no way the front tire could come out. I'm more worried at some point the plastic could crack from side loading/wind although I have never heard reports of that online.

Feb. 13, 2018, 12:07 p.m.
Posts: 14384
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

plastic degrades I think due to UV and vibration, I had a Thule box that i left on the car for 10 yrs, it would develop new cracks every year so every year I would patch with fibreglass drywall repair tape & epoxy, it became a maintenance thing , finally somebody stole the car/ the rack/ the box

You can probably get the metal fasteners apart with penetrating oil and then use anti sieze once per year

Feb. 14, 2018, 5:55 a.m.
Posts: 278
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

I nearly bought a Thule Sidearm last year, but then I realized there's a new model coming from Thule (Upride).

https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5058-707/Upride-Bike-Carrier

I decided to wait and see how it is. On paper, the main difference I see is the acceptable tire width. Anybody has more info?

Feb. 14, 2018, 8:30 a.m.
Posts: 936
Joined: Feb. 5, 2011

Posted by: rnayel


This is what a 2.6 x 29” tire looks like on mine which is rated for a max size of 29x2.3

Thanks for the pic! Have you ever had any issues with it popping out? Looks like it would be totally fine for normal paved roads but Iooks like it could get a little sketchy on a dirt road.

Feb. 14, 2018, 8:32 a.m.
Posts: 936
Joined: Feb. 5, 2011

Posted by: FlipSide

I nearly bought a Thule Sidearm last year, but then I realized there's a new model coming from Thule (Upride).

https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5058-707/Upride-Bike-Carrier

I decided to wait and see how it is. On paper, the main difference I see is the acceptable tire width. Anybody has more info?

I am curious about that one too - at first glance it basically just looks like the Thule version of the Yakima Frontloader.

Feb. 14, 2018, 11:47 a.m.
Posts: 222
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

"Thanks for the pic! Have you ever had any issues with it popping out? Looks like it would be totally fine for normal paved roads but Iooks like it could get a little sketchy on a dirt road."

Driven my Subaru up the Duffy to Tyax a couple times, with 2 bikes on the roof.  Ripping along having fun sliding the car around corners etc, rough and bumpy thru the switchbacks....  all good

Feb. 15, 2018, 9:36 a.m.
Posts: 2
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

I have the newer Thule Sidearms on my roof. Been deflating my fat bike tire to cram into the front over the last 2 years without issue. HOWEVER, 3 weeks ago on a 4 hour drive the front tire continued to deflate on me to the point where the hook had nothing to grab on to. Bike came off the roof rack at 120km/h. Luckily nobody ran it over nor did it go through anybody's grill. Tough bike though, all it needed was new bars, stem and grips.

I now add a toe strap to the front wheel as well as deflating the rear tire to the point where the stock strap works instead of relying on a toe strap.

That's what I get for using the wrong tool for the job.

I also gave up on continually removing the roof rails/towers from the car. I'll take the 0.5L/100km hit on the wallet vs. scratching up the door frames/roof.


 Last edited by: brad-sedola on Feb. 15, 2018, 9:53 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
Feb. 16, 2018, 8:10 a.m.
Posts: 222
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Posted by: brad-sedola

I have the newer Thule Sidearms on my roof. Been deflating my fat bike tire to cram into the front over the last 2 years without issue. HOWEVER, 3 weeks ago on a 4 hour drive the front tire continued to deflate on me to the point where the hook had nothing to grab on to. Bike came off the roof rack at 120km/h. Luckily nobody ran it over nor did it go through anybody's grill. Tough bike though, all it needed was new bars, stem and grips.

I now add a toe strap to the front wheel as well as deflating the rear tire to the point where the stock strap works instead of relying on a toe strap.

That's what I get for using the wrong tool for the job.

I also gave up on continually removing the roof rails/towers from the car. I'll take the 0.5L/100km hit on the wallet vs. scratching up the door frames/roof.

I don't notice the fuel issue when there are no bikes on the roof. When the bikes are on the roof it's like driving with a parachute off the back of the car. Driving back from Marin County a while back I did the I5 Sacremento to Eugene stretch into a headwind. Got slaughtered in fuel consumption, was so brutal . The rear racks are much so better IMO, although it feels like a big hit in the wallet for the hitch and rack cost. Way cheaper in the long run for sure

Feb. 16, 2018, 9:56 a.m.
Posts: 2
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Completely agree when there are bikes up there it totally kills mileage. This time of year, bikes on hitch racks get blasted with salt, sand, gravel. I saw somewhere that there are bike bags that are specially made to cover up the front wheel, rear wheel/drive train, with clear plastic centers so brake lights can be seen, but they are $300 US for each bike. I got the roof rack on a Ford Focus hatchback and the hitch rack on a Jeep Wrangler. Sadly, 2 bikes on the roof of the Ford reduces mileage to the point where 2 bikes on the back of the Wrangler makes them about equal for fuel consumption.

May 23, 2018, 4:23 p.m.
Posts: 850
Joined: March 18, 2017

Anyone try one of those weird suction cup roof racks?

$500 for the Thule or Yakima cross member kit is a little steep since I paid $500 for the car.

May 23, 2018, 11:12 p.m.
Posts: 1230
Joined: Feb. 26, 2015

Just drove from the city to the Okanagan and back last week with the new hitch system. The extra fuel costs for roof rack bike rack is substantial. Just get a hitch system, will pay off in the long run.

Aug. 20, 2019, 2:06 a.m.
Posts: 4
Joined: Aug. 15, 2019

What I have is Thule Universal (https://www.subarupartspros.com/sku/soa567b010.html). Have this for 2 years and no problem with it. Also heard that Yakima is also good so might try other accessories from them. Will test what is more long-lasting. Also gonna try a hitch mounted that could also accommodate my friend's bike.

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