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  1. #1
    Jolt is offline Dodging the potholes...
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    May 2007
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    Southern Maine
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    1,668

    Recommendations for rear (not hitch) mounted bike carrier for hatchback?

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    I am looking at getting a rack to carry bikes on my car but it doesn't have a hitch (and I don't want to mess with getting one since it's not a car that one would tow a trailer with anyway). I also don't think I want to go with a roof carrier even though the car has a roof rack, because lifting my fairly heavy bike up there seems like it would be a pain. That leaves the kind that strap on to the back of the vehicle, and I was wondering which ones people here would recommend and how well they work. BTW, the car in question is a Suzuki SX4 which is sort of a tall hatchback. The bike fits fine in the back with the seat folded down, but getting it in and out is a little awkward and it makes it harder to put much else in there, and I don't think I could fit another bike in if I wanted to carpool somewhere with another cyclist.
    2011 Surly LHT
    1995 Trek 830

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
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    5,897
    My car is a hatchback but it's a Pruis, so the rear window is pretty angled. As a result I don't like to have a bike rack on the back -- I just don't like the way it sits. I do find that I can get two bikes inside my car. I take the front wheels off, put one bike in, cover it with an old blanket, then put the other bike on top. For just one bike, I could leave the front wheel on, but find it easier to take it off. Either way, I put the bike in fork-first. One of my friends has a BMW station wagon, and he finds it easier to get his bike in and out of the car by putting it in rear-wheel first. He leaves both wheels on.

    Anyway, that might help until you get a rack, or for days when you prefer not to use one.

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
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    14,501
    Along those same lines, here's a little video I made of loading my bike into my Prius. I find it much easier rear wheel first, because when I'm holding the handlebars, I don't have the front end flopping all over the place without any way to control it. It steers right in. I have occasionally put a second bike on top of a blanket as nybiker says, but that would involve a second person lifting it from one of the passenger doors, you can't just roll it in. It's still easier rear wheel first though IMO, because you can feed the rear wheel to the second person with one hand on the down tube and one hand on a fork tube, and still control the fork flopping.



    No help on the rack though, sorry, I had a Yakima roof rack decades ago and that's all I know.


    (Also, the drop bars are pretty necessary to loading a bike this way in a car as shallow as the Prius. I do have to take the front wheel off my more-or-less flat bar hybrid on the rare occasion I put it in the car.)
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 09-13-2014 at 10:13 AM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,897
    I usually have a second person to help when I'm loading a second bike. Once I had to get a very large road bike into the car on top of my bike with no one to help. It was after a club ride in which someone had gotten sick and was taken to the hospital, and I was bringing his bike home for safe keeping. It was a bit of a challenge, but I was able to manage it.

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver 2003 aluminum road bike
    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    532
    You can have a hitch installed without all the wiring, just for a rack (rather than towing). If you never plan on carrying more than 2 bikes, a class I hitch is sufficient. We've tried various strapped racks in the past and it seems we could never get the straps tight enough to feel really secure. And it's really difficult when it rains en route because the straps would stretch. But others may have had more success.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    23
    I also have a Prius (3rd generation model, 2010). I purchased the Allen MT1 compact folding rack. It works ok for me. I think I would prefer a hitch rack but I'm not interested in spending the $$$ to do that. I only ever carry my own bike. I am able to get the bike inside the car without removing the front wheel and my bike is a hybrid flat bar.

    Here's a picture of how I have the rack mounted low on my Prius, which is my preferred rack placement.

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,897
    It looks like the Saris Bones gets very good reviews.

    http://www.rei.com/items/853367/sari...ike-trunk-rack

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver 2003 aluminum road bike
    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    I could never trust a rack that had straps. I've driven to rides twice with a friend who has this type of rack for 2 bikes and I looked back so many times, my neck started hurting! My bike easily fits in the back of my station wagon with the rear seats folded. It also fit in the back of my small sedan, because the rear seats folded, too. However, it was a little harder to fit in, and I have a small bike.
    I had a Saris Thelma rack on that car for awhile, until I broke the Acton car wash and they banned me from going there, until I took the rack off. I sold the rack, finally last year. My DH has a huge Saris platform rack with an extender for 4 bikes. We take that car when we are going somewhere together. I would look into getting a hitch that is just for a bike rack. It's worth the peace of mind.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura
    2017 Specialized Ariel Sport

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    212
    Quote Originally Posted by Jolt View Post
    Suzuki SX4
    The Saris BONES RS will fit the SX4 and is IMO the best rack on planet. Only two straps. Goes on SUPER easy and is very very stable. Made in USA.

    If you are looking for an alternative rack the Saris Grand Fondo will also fit your car. I usually describe it as a strapped on back mounted roof rack. For ease of getting the bike on and off...its a tough one to beat.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    185
    I had the Saris Bones 3 bike rack for my Subaru Forester. It was nicely built but frankly I hated it. Took forever to get it secured properly on because it had to be opened very wide to accommodate the relatively flat back of the car which made it less stable. The straps would stretch and the top arm would come off the window by a good inch or two allowing the rack to sway which was disconcerting to see in my rearview. I tried padding that area but it didn't help so basically the rack was hanging by the top straps instead of being secure to the car. As a result the straps rubbed the paint (if I had known that I would have padded them too). No matter what I did I could not get the rack to stay tight against the car and I am anal about that especially for long trips. By the time I got the rack on and the bikes loaded, secured and padded it took almost two hours and a great deal of sweat. Not to mention how difficult it became to heft two hybrids up above my waist level. Also, these racks don't work with spoilers or rear-window wipers (ask me how I know that). The road bikes were a little easier. I have since gone to a hitch rack and it is much much easier. I don't have to worry about the bikes crashing through the rear window if I have to stop suddenly and I don't have to lift them as high. I started with a Sportrack three bike carrier which still required lots of bungee cording and padding but it cut my load time down to 45 minutes. I just pulled the trigger on a 1Up USA rack. I haven't travelled with it yet but I did a dry run and installed the rack and loaded the bikes in under 5 minutes. No padding necessary. Moral of the story is for me a hitch rack is the only way to go for ease of loading and security.YMMV.
    Last edited by FlyingScot; 09-16-2014 at 05:30 AM. Reason: What can I say I'm on Nyquil.
    2008 Specialized Globe Sport
    2009 Specialized Sequoia Elite

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Denver Metro
    Posts
    834
    If you don't mind that there is no lock feature and that you would want to remove it when you aren't using it- take a look at the Seasucker racks. Great product- meant to be temporary (so put it inside of your car when your bike is off, so no one can take it)

  12. #12
    Jolt is offline Dodging the potholes...
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Southern Maine
    Posts
    1,668
    Ended up going with the Allen 102DN two-bike rack that my LBS had in stock and sells a lot of...it fits my car really well (and doesn't even interfere with the rear wiper) and I used it yesterday to get to a shop ride a few towns away. So far so good...seems very stable and is easy to load/unload the bike, much easier than putting it in the back!
    2011 Surly LHT
    1995 Trek 830

 

 

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