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Roof rack for bikes (or maybe hitch rack?)

3653 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  engage
Hello. New here, so I don't know if I'm posting in the right place or if there are existing threads I should read.

I have a 2105 Soul, no roof rails. I want to carry 1 bike occasionally and 3 - 4 bikes rarely. If I have the roof rails, cross rails, and bike attachment installed, can I remove some or all 3 of these components when I am not using them, for better fuel efficiency?

In other words, I can imagine removing the bike attachments pretty easily. (True?) Could I also remove the cross rails and perhaps the roof rails if I was going on a long road trip without bikes? Would this noticeably improve fuel efficiency on a long trip? Would it noticeably improve fuel efficiency in city driving?

Lastly, if you feel strongly that a hitch rack is a better choice than a roof rack, I'd love to hear your opinion, including your favorite hitch rack.

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I have roof rails (what SSD calls hybrid rails, not the factory style rails) on my 2014. They come on and off in less the ten minutes using a single wrench. I did not notice any MPG difference when I installed them BUT if I load it up with a brick, any movement above 50 makes a serious dent in the MPG.

As for the hitch bike rack, did you look at Old Man Soul's threads on his bike rack?
I think the hitch is the way to go because of the different uses you can apply to it, walmart has a double hitch for bikes for $80 and you could probably put 3 bikes on it. I do not want anything that can cause scratches and dents on the roof and it will be inevitable that scratches and dents will appear if you put bicycles on the roof.
If you have any height restriction bars in car parks it may be wise to pay for tow bar fitting and hitch carrier. It will also provide you with the ability to hire trailer for holidays etc.
As long as you use dedicated tow bar and wiring it will not void warranty. All bolts in place with no drilling and 7pin electrics plug in.

The other issue with a roof rack is that sooner or later you will forget those bike are up there and drive into your garage or under some other low structure. Ask me how I know :culpability:
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I have a new Soul and just ordered the Curt 1 1/4" hitch and the Curt wiring harness. Also ordered the Rola NV2 Bike Rack. It's a well made lightweight 2 bike hitch mount carrier that adapts to any bike size and folds flat when you need to access the liftgate and easy to take on/off when not needed. I ordered the parts online and paid for local installation. All said I spent $480 for parts and labor.
I debated this subject myself when I started cycling last year... "do I get a roof rack for my SSD rails or a rear hatch mount?" I didn't consider a hitch rack since I didn't want to bother putting a hitch on my car.

With roof racks you have to lift the bike up there and take the front wheel off... I ride daily before work so I wanted something quick and easy and it's dark out so the last thing I wanted to do is take my wheel on and off all the time.

So, I went with a Yakimma QuickBack 3. It's a very sturdy bike rack, I drive down the highway with my bike on it and it's completely stable. It comes with a security strap so you don't have to worry about someone walking off with your rack and your bike.

I recommend you install some 3M protective film on your car where the rack comes into contact with the paint under the pads and the hooks.

Yakima QuickBack 3 Bike Rack -
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Big plus to Yakima for including a beer opener. I mean come on!
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This seems to be the best hitch/rack combination. Does anyone see any issues with this?

I'm looking to get a 2" hitch on a 2015 kia soul rated for 300lb tongue weight

2014-2019 Kia Soul EcoHitch

Bike Rack

Sport Rider SE4 Hitch Bike Rack 4 bikes, rack weight ~100 pounds shipping weight, rated for (4) 50 lb bike = 300 pounds total

Is the cantilever length of the rack an issue? I really like this rack because it can do either 2 or 4 bikes and bikes can have fenders. The rocky mounts 4 bike rack can not have fenders due to bar going over front tires. I would eventually like to take this rack to a larger vehicle so 2" hitch is critical.
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Amazon sells a Curt hitch that many of us have used and is a lot less money:

I basically have the two bike version of that rack and the Curt hitch. Works well.
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