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Roof or Hitch???

  • Roof

    Votes: 39 37.1%
  • Hitch

    Votes: 66 62.9%
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Discussion Starter #1
What do you prefer and why... do you prefer a roof rack or a hitch mounted rack???

FYI I have a '94 Golf that this will be going on...

I have been leaning towards a hitch mount for the ease of access and low height. but then I have also been looking at the roof style for the fact it's up off the ground and away from impending rocks and ditchs....yes I wheel my Golf as hard as my 4x4 truck:D or at least i think i do... So anyways, give me your thoughts. I'm sure this is posted somewhere but this beats starting a post asking where to find that one post about that one thing. ha ha ha.

Thanks.
:thumbsup:
 

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I have both a full yakima setup and a Saris hitchmount.. They're used on a Chevy Tahoe. The Saris is my fave just due to the height of the truck. Its a PITA to lift most bikes up there. That said on a car I prefer the roof racks. The bikes are definitely safer unless you forget and drive under something. I've seen that happen quite a bit! Both are perfectly secure and transport very nicely. The Saris is a 4-bike model and I've never had any issues even fully loaded. Everybody likes how fast the hitch rack is too. 30 seconds is all it takes on or off.
 

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Master of None
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Hitch mount. You can see your bike, you won't smash your bike into your garage, you won't dent your roof when you slip and drop the bike, easier to put on and off, etc. Dunno about wheeling though. On a Golf the hitch is gonna be pretty low.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
i have some fabricating skills so i have thought about just building a hitch system and bike rack from scratch... but I do see what you say about it being a bit low on my car...
 

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I far prefer my roof to a hitch as I can now easily transfer my bars and Atera Giro to pretty much any car just by changing the feet, at a relatively low cost, and not having to worry about the expense of fitting a hitch to a new car. I had hitch rack on the back of my 98 VW Golf but there is a lot of pissing around with truck straps, cardboard (to separate the frames so they don't get damaged), taking wheels off due to the low height when you had 3+ people kit and bikes. Bare in mind that I used something similar to Yakima SlickROC/Thule Roadway/Parkway. Hope this helps.
 

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I've got a 05 Golf and I am doing a roof setup. We had the goofy setup on the hatch but it sucked big nuts.

Plus I'm still trying to coerce my better half to buy me a roof box. The Golf is too small for camping trips with a kid and gear...

-Rob
 

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Racks where the bike hangs from the top tube are for Huffy's and Next bikes from the local Wally world. If you're going hitchmount then it has to be a wheel mounted type. Doing silly stuff like bungieing and trying to keep bikes from touching always seems to fail. Something inevitably gets scratched. Not to mention that any dirt that accumultes on the top tube acts like sandpaper to really mess up your prized ride.

The cheapest of the wheel mounted hitch type is sold through performance under the name "Xport" theyre pretty good but still touch the top tube. I have the Saris Cycle-On and love the thing. It only makes contact with the rubber of the front wheel and rubber/1" of rim on the back. I do wish it would fold down so I could open the main hatch on my truck, with the bikes on.

The Thule T2 seems to be the best of the breed. It was bought from a comp-any that makes commercial racks for busses and the like.
 

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Roof rack.

If you want to use the rack to carry something else such as skis or a kayak, the hitch is worthless and you'll need to spend money on another rack. Be done with it and get the roof rack.
 

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It's a very personal choice, and sometimes you need to experience both to figure which you perfer, and when.

Hitch have some definite benefits: gas mileage on highway trips, ease of mounting, no overhead clearance issues, no dead bugs.

Roof also have benefits: out of the way of tailgaters and parking lot mischief, don't block the lift gate on wagons and hatchbacks, easier to leave in place when not hauling bikes.

With my low wagon, the roof is my preference. My wife, who is 6" shorter than me, still prefers the hitch if only for ease of mounting (but she doesn't drive the car every day and have to deal with the tailgate access issue. For a longer trip, I'll sometimes mount the hitch up just to save a few bucks on gas. My hitch has been rear-ended before, luckily no bikes on the rack, while I've yet to hit anything other than low brush with bikes on the roof -- and I like my odds there.

The biggest peace of mind with a roof rack comes in a parking lot. If I'm sitting down for a post ride burrito & beer, it's so much easier to park in a spot where I can mosty see the bikes propped up on the roof, out of harms way. I was always paranoid with bikes on the hitch, where my view was usually obstructed and seemingly anyone could walk up and pick a nifty something or other off of a bike without me seeing.
 

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I prefer the roof mount...especially on a hatchback (I have a roof rack on my '07 Rabbit). Easy to quickly throw the bike on the roof and open up the hatch to throw my Camelbak, shoes, helmet, etc in the back. Hitch mount gets in the way when you want to quickly gain access to the hatch area.

Also...being in auto insurance I know that rearend accidents are the most prevalent. I'd rather have my bike up out of the way in case some idiot decides to slam into the back of my car. Bad enough the car would be damaged, but I'd rather not have to deal with repairing/replacing my bike too.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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Speedub.Nate said:
Roof also have benefits: out of the way of tailgaters and parking lot mischief, don't block the lift gate on wagons and hatchbacks, easier to leave in place when not hauling bikes.

Well, a good hitch rack does NOT block the rear access of the car/wagon.
 

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Jayem said:
Well, a good hitch rack does NOT block the rear access of the car/wagon.
It sounds as if your definition of "blocking access" is different from mine.

Again, it's a very personal choice. Dropping the rack clear of my wagon's lift gate, whether carrying a bike or stowed vertically, is an inconvenience I am happy to be done with. This wasn't even an afterthought when I drove a sedan.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
i think i'm leaning towards a roof mount now, for the fact it will be up out of the way and i too am paranoid, plus i want to have something that doesn't look crappy hanging off the back of the car like a hitch to snag on. (especially in snow, gotta love drive through +12" of snow in a '94 golf:p :thumbsup: ) my only real issue would be the possibility of parking in a parking garage. like at REI or something. I'm kind of curious now as to the highest part of the bike (fork mounted style, no seat attached) while it's on the rack. I was trying to measure the other day and it seemed extremely high from jsut my quick measurements. like 88" from the ground to the top of my bike.:confused:
 

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Hitch, roof rack means no parking in city garages, scratches or drops after a hard days ride. some days i can hardly lift my bike on to my wheel mount hitch rack. i woulnt want to think about lifting the bike's ontop of my sports car. the hitch acts as a frame stiffner so i get better handling out of the rear end of my sports car :) and if i have to i can pull a small trailer....also i dont have to worry about low hanging branches grabing the bike / bikes off the roof and smashing them into the ground. saw a post where some one had that happen with a roof rack. if you are worryed about dirt and dust make a cloth cover for the bike that slips over it after its in the rack......
 

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Discussion Starter #16
merchant said:
Hitch, roof rack means no parking in city garages, scratches or drops after a hard days ride. some days i can hardly lift my bike on to my wheel mount hitch rack. i woulnt want to think about lifting the bike's ontop of my sports car. the hitch acts as a frame stiffner so i get better handling out of the rear end of my sports car :) and if i have to i can pull a small trailer....also i dont have to worry about low hanging branches grabing the bike / bikes off the roof and smashing them into the ground. saw a post where some one had that happen with a roof rack. if you are worryed about dirt and dust make a cloth cover for the bike that slips over it after its in the rack......
Well, I'm picking up a Thule 444 today with two bike trays for $100 so i'm not complaining :thumbsup: I do like the idea of the hitch mount still, due to the fact that i can't go into parking garages but i rarely go in them any ways, but i guess when the time comes that i need to, i'll park elsewhere:mad:. I will have to watch out for branches, but i'm usually pretty careful about stuff like that, hmm, just thought of ferries, i wonder if they have a height limit, meh, oh well:p i'll just ride with the big boys;)
 

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Ferrys? They can take trucks and box vans, right? My car with bikes on the roof (upright mount, both wheels on) results in just shy of 9'0" clearance. Obviously a little lower with a fork mount setup, or a little higher with a taller car or SUV.

Parking garages? Hmmm... I saw a blingy looking road bike ruined when some poor joe drove his car into a parking garage 'round here. Pretty bad, aluminum vs. concrete.

However, what are you going to do with a bunch of expensive bikes on a hitch rack in a dark parking garage? I'm just asking. Personally? I wouldn't walk away from my bikes for a minute (paranoia again, remember?) -- too much **** goes down in parking garages, people feel anonymous in the shadows. I wouldn't want to walk back from getting a cup of coffee or whatever to find my seatpost or handlebars or brake calipers MIA. That'd blow.
 

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never said leave the bike in garage, just said you cant drive in one with the bike's on the rack. so garage with roof rack = remove bike or bikes chain to something or have someone watch them park car then get bikes. garage with hitch rack = park car remove bikes to hotel room or where ever with out having to leave them unattended :thumbsup:
 

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They've both got their merrits. I personally prefer a roof rack for a couple of reasons. They are high visibility if you go in to have a bite to eat, and they are a little more of a theft deterent than a hitch mount. Please understand i didn't say they are theft proof, because they're not. Anyone who wants something bad enough will get it. That said, i also have a sportworks hitch mount rack too. I can carry six bikes and six people with their gear in my minivan.
 

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Persoanlly I've found...

that the vehicle I'm driving pretty much dictates my preference. I've owned both hitch and roof mounts. Neither was safer or more secure than the other. I prefer hitch mounts on larger and/or higher ground clearance vehicles, i.e. SUV's and Vans. Keeps the bikes out of the slip stream and doesn't affect mileage as much. For smaller vehicles that are much lower to the ground I prefer roof racks. Keeps the bikes higher and safer from road debris, rear end collisions, and less worry about backing or steep parking lot or drive way approns. Try mounting a hitch rack on a Honda Civic SI and you'll get what I mean about drive way approns! A Pickup is another story. I prever a roof rack type of arangement that mounts above the bed between the side rails and uses a roof rack type tray for the bikes. The bikes are mounted lower than a regular roof rack, and the cargo bed is pretty much free for your load of camping gear etc.

For my current vehicles I'm usuing a roof rack for my Civic. For the Minivan (what can I say, the wife loves it even though the kids are gown and gone) I use a glide board and Saris Traps fork mounts. With the rear seats down and the bikes loaded we have enough room for all our camping and bike gear for a nice 2 week stay anywhere we want to go. Biggest advantage to this set up is the bikes are INSIDE out of the weather and protected from debris. That and the bikes are more secure when we hit the rest stop or need to stop for food or fuel. Deep tinted windows for less visibility, lock the doors, arm the alarm, and they're as safe if not safer than bikes locked in an external rack.

Like I said, my rack preference is pretty much dictated by the vehicle I'm driving.

Good Dirt
 
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