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Roof Rack vs Hitch Rack

April 13, 2014, 9:15 p.m.
Posts: 0
Joined: March 10, 2010

damn I was about to make the exact same post. OP have you looked into the cost difference? I'm wondering how much I'm going to have to pay to get a hitch installed. I'm leaning towards a hitch, I want loading after a tiring ride to be dead easy, I don't need to haul more than two bikes. Is 1" receiver enough for AM/DH bikes?

I haven't really priced it out either way, but as far as I can tell it's roughly a grand either way when all said and done. My preference would be to go roof, but I have this monster sunroof and I can see why I wouldn't want muddy bikes dripping on there. I'm tall enough that putting the bikes up there post ride isn't an issue though.

Seems the hitch mount has edge in the poll so far. I think I'll look into the price of getting a hitch installed just for comparisons sake.

April 13, 2014, 9:21 p.m.
Posts: 2658
Joined: July 6, 2003

Not sure what year your car is but it is usually dead easy to install a hitch.

http://www.etrailer.com/hitch-2012_Volkswagen_Golf+Wagon.htm

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April 13, 2014, 9:24 p.m.
Posts: 90
Joined: March 2, 2011

I've got the jackknife 4. It's not bad. My only real gripe is how much it seems to move around on the back of the car, but I'm in the process of trying to fix some of that.

Also, i wish they arranged the bikes to be parallel to the car like the ns rack vs perpendicular.

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April 13, 2014, 9:54 p.m.
Posts: 2035
Joined: Jan. 5, 2010

I have a roof rack and have taken my bike apart and put it in the back of my car on more than one occasion to save the 5 bucks in gas. Without the actual racks up there I bet I'd save a bit more too. Considering the amount of times I drive up there a summer, it adds up.

April 13, 2014, 10:28 p.m.
Posts: 7707
Joined: Sept. 11, 2003

I have both … they have pros and cons

Roof rack -
Parkade/underground parking is a no-no
Reduces your gas mileage
Pay overhheight on ferry
If you have heavy bike and/or a bad back (or need to drive home from the WBP with a broken hand/cracked pelvis/pulled groin, ahem!) you may need help from kind passers getting your bike on roof rack.
More expensive if you don't already have a rack and have to the bike mounts (you can buy and install your own hitch at minimal cost)
Some roof racks require taking the front wheel off

Hitch rack -
More variety of choices
Can get damaged by reversing into things or getting rear-ended by drivers (mine sits at bumper level and is low visibility)
Easier to get bikes on and off
May result in impeded access to hatch, back door, trunk depending on design, esp with bikes mounted
Tends to be harder on bikes and cars re-scratches etc, depending on design.

(Again, my experience - your experience may differ depending on the design and quality of the rack you get).

April 13, 2014, 10:56 p.m.
Posts: 17
Joined: June 17, 2012

I agree with the other replies. I find a hitch rack is cleaner an very secure.I have had 3 hitches done by Burnaby Hitch and have been pleased with the service. I bought a Swagman Semi2.0 last year and I am very happy with it. One of the things I like about Swagman racks is that the come with adapter plates to go from 1.25" to 2.00" receiver. I had a 1.25" on my Mazda but have a 2" on my Subie so I just added the adapters.

http://www.swagman.net/#

April 13, 2014, 11:22 p.m.
Posts: 2035
Joined: Jan. 5, 2010

One more con to hitch rack: Bike and rack may obstruct liscence plate and get you a ticket.

April 13, 2014, 11:30 p.m.
Posts: 90
Joined: March 2, 2011

"Can get damaged by reversing into things or getting rear-ended by drivers (mine sits at bumper level and is low visibility)"

Or other people reversing into the rack, especially with a tray rack. Fold it up before you ride.

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April 14, 2014, 7:50 a.m.
Posts: 5
Joined: July 12, 2009

roof racks with a sun roof open, I could never open my sunroof on my old VW because of the howling sound the racks made.


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April 14, 2014, 8:11 a.m.
Posts: 1141
Joined: Dec. 16, 2008

Hitch all the way, especially if you have a sunroof.

April 14, 2014, 8:44 a.m.
Posts: 0
Joined: Aug. 4, 2003

Remember, a bike rack is a "BIKE ACCESSORY", the roof rack is a "CAR ACCESSORY". If you ever want to carry anything other than bikes, the bike rack will be useless to you, where the roof rack is useful and adaptable.

If you will only ever carry bikes, then……

April 14, 2014, 9:26 a.m.
Posts: 779
Joined: Jan. 31, 2005

I had a Thule 2-bike tray rack on a Mazda 3. Worked great but the car's suspension always sat so low with bikes on. Ultimately killed the suspension way early.

I'd say get a 2" receiver hitch (it can be done - you need to convince the installer that you're only ever going to run a bike rack) and 2-bike tray rack. You could get a 2-bike NSR but those can be tricky for road bikes or commuters.

I now have an XTerra with a 4-bike NSR and it's awesome. But even with the bigger vehicle there's still some sag when there's 4 bikes and 4 180lb+ people and gear inside; this is particularly noticeable when driving up really rough roads. I upgraded my shock absorbers and eventually added an airbag kit (originally for when I needed to pull a trailer) and now everything is awesome.

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April 14, 2014, noon
Posts: 1141
Joined: Dec. 16, 2008

I had a Thule 2-bike tray rack on a Mazda 3. Worked great but the car's suspension always sat so low with bikes on. Ultimately killed the suspension way early.

I'd say get a 2" receiver hitch (it can be done - you need to convince the installer that you're only ever going to run a bike rack) and 2-bike tray rack. You could get a 2-bike NSR but those can be tricky for road bikes or commuters.

I now have an XTerra with a 4-bike NSR and it's awesome. But even with the bigger vehicle there's still some sag when there's 4 bikes and 4 180lb+ people and gear inside; this is particularly noticeable when driving up really rough roads. I upgraded my shock absorbers and eventually added an airbag kit (originally for when I needed to pull a trailer) and now everything is awesome.

BAH! Mazdas can hack it!

April 14, 2014, 1:08 p.m.
Posts: 7707
Joined: Sept. 11, 2003

I had a Thule 2-bike tray rack on a Mazda 3. Worked great but the car's suspension always sat so low with bikes on. Ultimately killed the suspension way early.

Some Mazdas (like the 5) built the late 2000s (possibly before and since) had premature suspension failures, FYI. Wasn't covered by warranty or recall, as far as I know, but my mechanic told me about it when mine had to be replaced.

April 14, 2014, 1:14 p.m.
Posts: 779
Joined: Jan. 31, 2005

BAH! Mazdas can hack it!

Just because it can doesn't mean it should. Look at your rear suspension. Try going over a speed bump with 4 bikes and 4 people in the car.

There's nothing better than an Orangina after cheating death with Digger.

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