Choosing a bike rack

Questions about bike hire abroad and everything light bike related. No off-topic chat please

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Need some help here. I have a Lexus IS300, and I was not sure if I wanted to put a roof rack on it, did not know if it would mess up the paint in any way. Looking at Yakima. I also took a look at Saris trunk racks, and the price is a lot cheaper to go with one of those and it would not be a permenant addition to the car.

Do any of you guys or gals have experience with either set up and the pros and cons associated. I would more than likely only be carrying two bikes at one time, one being a TT bike, the other the road bike.

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by rustychain

If your going on a trunk mounted rack the Saris is the best IMO. I have used it for two years without any problems with my car. I did notice however that the clamp that holds the seat tube rubbed off a bit of a decal (no top coat) on one of my bikes. It holds the bikes securely but I recomend you secure the front wheel so it
not spin in the wind. Easy and quick to attach to your car and mount bikes. I have traveled on several vacations over a thousand miles and used it on two cars. I also use it weekly to travel to My favorite mountains. Very easy to adjust. I still prefer a roof mounted rack such as the Yakama however as it is more secure against theft. I use a bicycle lock to secure the bike to the Saris rack but it would be possable if awkward to steel the whole setup by cutting the straps. Well constrcted I think it will last a lifetime.
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by Ari

I have a Volvo S60R and had the same concerns.

I would avoid trunk mounts as they are not as secure and your bikes and car are more prone to being damaged.

I went with a roof rack. More secure and mileage penalty is negligable (2 mpg).

If you don't go roof rack, get a hitch mount. Trust me, avoid trunk mount.
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by nitropowered

A roof or hitch rack. hitch rack will probably be cheaper even considering the hitch. They are pretty easy to put on if you are mechanically inclined (usually just bolt on). probably better you do it yourself otherwise you'll get reamed getting it installed at a hitch place. I like the racks that cradles the bike by the wheels.

Roof racks, if you clean the paint before hand, probably won't scratch the paint. The only thing you really need to worry about, is driving into the garage if you have bikes on top, and missing the rack and dropping your fork onto your roof.

Trunk racks are a no go. no matter what you do, it will scratch your paint.

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by Cleaner

Although no longer manufactured, the Saris roof rack system is the best if you want to remove it from the car when not in use. You can find plenty of load bars and accessories on Ebay etc. I have been using this system on various vehicles since 1996 and I can mount or remove the load bars in 3 min or less by myself. To insure that the risk of damage to the paint is minimized I apply 3M protective tape to the 4 areas where the clips touch the car and make sure to clean the areas where the tower feet touch the paint before I mount it. I always remove the load bars as soon as I return home withe the bikes.

You would need either the 901(50" wide) or 902 (59" wide) load bars and if you contact Saris they can suggest which clips would fit the IS250/300. All trunk racks I have seen rely on more contact points with painted surfaces than any roof rack and are more likely to damage the finish of the car.

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by Powerful Pete

Why would a roof rack damage the paint?

I have the original 'clamps' and bars for roof racks made by Toyota for my car. They came with strips of transparent protective tape and have mounted very easily. No issues at all. I then purchased a cheap set of actual bike mounts (the doodad that the fork fits into and the other doodad that the back wheel 'sits' in) made by Elite (I think they cost me about 30 euro or something).

And off we go. I have had two adult bikes mounted for day long highway drives in Italy driving at speeds of around 120~140 kp/h with no issues whatsoever.

I prefer roof racks. Always terrorised of the fender-bender with the idiot teenager who was texting at the red light...
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by dmp

I've had great luck with my Rocky Mount. It fit on the factory bars of my Forester, too, so I didn't need to buy bars. Solid at highway speeds (well, 10mph over posted highway speeds!).

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by deepsky

I have the saris bones 3 bike trunk rack. Got in bright yellow, was a PITA to get that, but its so unique that anyone who stole it would have to leave the area to liquidate it :)

I have been more than happy with it. It has not damaged my paint, but since I drive a 2008 toyota corolla, I am not too discriminating about it. The clear coat doesn't look messed up when I do have to take the rack off, but I don't really do much other than clean the area with a clean rag for when I have to remount it. As to the stability of this rack, if you tighten down all the straps nice and good, it is rock stable. I have driven 90 miles an hour in my car with my bike strapped up, and it didn't budge. Learned a new fact actually, the wind resistance of the bike mounted to the car will in fact prevent the car from going over 90 miles an hour, not that I'd get all that much more out of my car (or want to, it gets kinda dicey over 85 :) )

To mount it I simply use the two parallel ratcheting straps up top, and I have an extra strap made out of the same material as the ones that bind the rack to the car that I thread through the frame, front wheel, and the left vertical "foot" of the rack to prevent the wheel from spinning and to keep the bike from moving around any. I found that no amount of fidgeting with the seat-tube ratcheting bit would actually bind the bike down with no movement. The free strap I use keeps the bike in place and does not damage any part of the bike, just prevents any sort of lateral movement, rocking, or other undesirable movement while transporting.

You cannot access the trunk while it is mounted, which is a bummer, but I can manage. Another downside is security. I do have a long cable lock that I have to thread through a loop under my bumper and through the bike frame, front wheel, and rack itself, but thats a real pain, so I try not to take my bike into situations where I have to leave it unattended on the rack. If this is an issue for you, get the hitch mount version as it will be easier to secure your bike.

Ok long-winded, but to summarize, love my saris rack, and haven't regretted it at all. I didn't want to trouble getting a hitch installed since my car doesn't come with one, and as I park the car under a covered bay, I KNOW that I would come home tired and drive right in with the bike mounted onto a roof rack, so I went with the easiest option, the trunk mount.

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by hockinsk

I use a lockable aero roof box and put the bike and all my kit in that if it won't all fit in the boot or two of you in car. Bike never gets wet, dirty or hit by stones on motorways then. You also don't have to worry about low entrances to supermarkets service stations and nobody knows there is pricey road bike in there!

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by richy1

The Saris Bones RS is a great trunk bike rack no doubt about it and is extremely stable when fit correctly.

Roof bike racks are stable and secure but it's surprisingly common how often people forget they have bikes on the roof when pulling into their garage! A top rack in this category has to be the Thule 594XT Sidearm. A cool app for the garage door fiasco can be found here:

There are a few great choices of hitch mount bike racks on the market. I've heard great things about the Allen Premium, Hollywood HR1400, and Swagman XC.
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by prendrefeu

Digging a thread up from the grave, having all the links link back to a site which essentially sells racks or gets profits from the selling of racks?
A signature which looks like a marketing team previously fired from a 1980's sitcom wrote it up?

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by Calnago

It's not the racks he's trying to push, it's the app. It's actually not a bad idea but I don't like his using the forum to promote it. It's not a free app either.
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by stella-azzurra

Roof rack lover reference this thread

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by Weenie

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