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Roof Rack vs Hitch Rack

April 13, 2014, 11:51 a.m.
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Joined: March 10, 2010

I just picked up a new to me car and need to get it bike transport ready asap. The car is a current generation VW Golf Wagon. It has the parallel rails on top, but no cross bars, and has a giant sunroof too. It doesn't have a hitch either, so I'm starting from scratch.

I'll want to take two bikes, anything from road, commuter, xc to DH.

Not so much concerned about cost as I am with best system, ease of use, most secure, etc.

What would NSMBers do?

April 13, 2014, 12:09 p.m.
Posts: 433
Joined: Feb. 9, 2011

Well, you going to be limited to two bikes on any good hitch rack with a 1-1.4" car hitch, so I would go with roof. We load all kinds of bikes onto the roof of my buddies Jetta, and take three regularly.

Especially for DH bikes, you're going to want this style, http://www.yakima.com/shop/bike/roof/highroller or http://www.yakima.com/shop/bike/roof/frontloader

Roof racks will get in the way of your sunroof (for tilt), and get 58" bars, not the recommended 48". Get Thule or Yakima whatever floats your boat. I go with Yakima for this simple reason, round is stronger than square. I regularly see bent Thule bars, but never see bent Yakima ones.

Edit: we have the same number of posts! It's fate! Whatever, I shouldn't notice things like that, I'm going riding…

April 13, 2014, 12:19 p.m.
Posts: 1612
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

imo the number one consideration should always be where you live and park your car.

live in a condo with underground parking? then roof rack will be a PITA nevermind the issue of possibly forgetting about your bikes on the roof one day as you drive into your underground parkade.

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity ~ Seneca

April 13, 2014, 1:23 p.m.
Posts: 2906
Joined: June 15, 2006

imo the number one consideration should always be where you live and park your car.

live in a condo with underground parking? then roof rack will be a PITA nevermind the issue of possibly forgetting about your bikes on the roof one day as you drive into your underground parkade.

This. Happens about once a year. Cost me $1,500 in damage thus far. Not to mention the humiliation from onlookers.

This trip to Kelowna was definately an undertaking - Liam and I had been planning this project for 24 hours. We worked really hard to pull out all the stops in this video. We had slo-mo goggle shots; time lapses; pedal flips; outrageous product shots; unloading and loading the bike; walking through the field with your hand in wheat. At the end of the day this trip was all about just getting out and riding with all my friends.

www.letsridebikes.ca

April 13, 2014, 1:30 p.m.
Posts: 0
Joined: March 10, 2010

imo the number one consideration should always be where you live and park your car.

live in a condo with underground parking? then roof rack will be a PITA nevermind the issue of possibly forgetting about your bikes on the roof one day as you drive into your underground parkade.

Definitely a good point. I'm not a condo dweller so it's not really an issue, but I blew an old wooden roof rack off my truck once that way. That one was much much painful on the ego than on the wallet, but I can see this being a very expensive mistake with a couple grand worth of bikes up there.

April 13, 2014, 1:43 p.m.
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Joined: March 10, 2010

I'm leaning toward the roof rack, mostly because opening the trunk is a pita with a hitch rack. I like the sounds of the yakima whispbars (pun heavily intended). Do you use the highroller or the frontloader? For the life of me I can't tell the diff, aside from $30.

Are you recommending 58" bars just for more clearance between bikes?

Well, you going to be limited to two bikes on any good hitch rack with a 1-1.4" car hitch, so I would go with roof. We load all kinds of bikes onto the roof of my buddies Jetta, and take three regularly.

Especially for DH bikes, you're going to want this style, http://www.yakima.com/shop/bike/roof/highroller or http://www.yakima.com/shop/bike/roof/frontloader

Roof racks will get in the way of your sunroof (for tilt), and get 58" bars, not the recommended 48". Get Thule or Yakima whatever floats your boat. I go with Yakima for this simple reason, round is stronger than square. I regularly see bent Thule bars, but never see bent Yakima ones.

Edit: we have the same number of posts! It's fate! Whatever, I shouldn't notice things like that, I'm going riding…

April 13, 2014, 4:29 p.m.
Posts: 36
Joined: Nov. 9, 2013

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?

April 13, 2014, 5:07 p.m.
Posts: 2404
Joined: Sept. 5, 2012

i prefer bumper mount over roof rack , not a fan of putting muddy bike on the roof rack , plus i don't feel like lifting the damn thing that high after my rides LOL

#northsidetrailbuilders

April 13, 2014, 5:20 p.m.
Posts: 0
Joined: May 28, 2009

I prefer the hitch mount. Easier to load / unload, no muddy roof afterwards and if you want to go on a trip you can put a roof box on and are still not overheight on the ferry.

April 13, 2014, 7:08 p.m.
Posts: 0
Joined: Oct. 9, 2009

Bumper mounts can scrape depending on how low your car hitch has to be and where you need to drive. While I hate lifting my bike into the rack I still prefer it.

April 13, 2014, 7:20 p.m.
Posts: 0
Joined: June 12, 2004

I find loading bikes onto thule(594xt) rack is easier than those yakima highroller. Much quicker too.

April 13, 2014, 8:26 p.m.
Posts: 287
Joined: May 16, 2010

i prefer hitch mount. Roof racks kills the gas milage big time when you go on road trips. And much easier to mount the bikes, specially if you have a short better half

April 13, 2014, 9 p.m.
Posts: 0
Joined: June 15, 2008

Roof racks also kill your fuel economy, so that's something to consider if you're into road trips.

I had a small hatchback with a roof rack, and I now have a 1/2 ton with a north shore rack. They both burned about the same gas at highway speed with a couple of bikes loaded up.

April 13, 2014, 9:09 p.m.
Posts: 526
Joined: April 16, 2005

I agree with hitch, tray style for two bikes… those other ones ruin your bling forks. It's easy to load, and a pinch to take the rack off if you're not riding for a while. No bugs on yer front end, and save huge on fuel.

April 13, 2014, 9:12 p.m.
Posts: 2658
Joined: July 6, 2003

I run a north shore rack (que others complaining about crowns getting scuffed), but I only carry 26" mtb.

How about this:
http://www.swagman.net/products/vertical-hitch-racks/jackknife-2-63450-new-available-march-2013/

Originally posted by Purecanadianhoney
I don't see how hard it would be to scrape out the head of your cock once in a while.

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