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.
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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.
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