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2013 Outback, 2.5i Limited w/ Moonroof
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If a roof mount/wheels on is what you want, I can highly recommend the Yakima Frontloader. I had a pair and really liked them. They were very easy to load, had good security lock options, and stowed nicely when not in use. They mounted very nicely to the Outback roof rack cross rails too.

I sold them and replaced them with a Yakima Holdup hitch mount. Not because there was anything wrong with the Frontloader racks, but because of the fuel economy loss with bikes on the roof. We lost close to 3 mpg when we put bikes on the roof. That's no big deal if you are only transporting them a short distance, but we take our bikes on vacation from time to time. The other disadvantage to the roof carriers was loading and unloading. I'm 6'3", and it was still kind of hard. I have a few small dings on the roof from loading the bikes.

After I bought my Holdup, I saw a Kuat NV 2.0 on someones car at a gas station. It was pretty cool. The Kuat line is a little more pricey than the Yakima line. But they are nice. The cool thing about the NV 2.0 is that it has a built in bike repair stand. That could be a very nice feature.
 

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2017 Outback 2.5 Premium w/ power moonroof, dimming mirrors and power hatch. All weather package
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I use the Yakima Raptoraeros mainly to carry bikes on top. Very easy on and off. I recommend them highly.

But beware with any bike rack on the factory cross bars they will lean to the outside of the car as the factory rails are arched. Better to get aftermarket poles Yak or Thule, to have a flat, unarched base.

I think that from what I have seen of Yak or Thule, the Yak Raptoraeros are the easiest to use.
 

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2017 Outback 2.5 Premium w/ power moonroof, dimming mirrors and power hatch. All weather package
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If a roof mount/wheels on is what you want, I can highly recommend the Yakima Frontloader. I had a pair and really liked them. They were very easy to load, had good security lock options, and stowed nicely when not in use. They mounted very nicely to the Outback roof rack cross rails too.

I sold them and replaced them with a Yakima Holdup hitch mount. Not because there was anything wrong with the Frontloader racks, but because of the fuel economy loss with bikes on the roof. We lost close to 3 mpg when we put bikes on the roof. That's no big deal if you are only transporting them a short distance, but we take our bikes on vacation from time to time. The other disadvantage to the roof carriers was loading and unloading. I'm 6'3", and it was still kind of hard. I have a few small dings on the roof from loading the bikes.
I couldn't disagre more. I have 5 Yak Raptoraeros and one Frontloader. I absolutely despise the frontloader as it requires the bike to be dropped on vertically. That is vary hard to do and the wheel rail has no real catch at all. . The Raptor aeros allow the wheels to be put in the rails and then the bike slid up to clamp. I'll be retiring the Frontloader as soon as I get one more Raptoraero.

The Frontoader is the worst bike rack I have ever had.
 

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2013 Outback, 2.5i Limited w/ Moonroof
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I couldn't disagre more. I have 5 Yak Raptoraeros and one Frontloader. I absolutely despise the frontloader as it requires the bike to be dropped on vertically. That is vary hard to do and the wheel rail has no real catch at all. . The Raptor aeros allow the wheels to be put in the rails and then the bike slid up to clamp. I'll be retiring the Frontloader as soon as I get one more Raptoraero.

The Frontoader is the worst bike rack I have ever had.
Why are you dropping your bike vertically into the Frontloader? I would set my bike on the rack, and then roll it forward into the front wheel clamp. As I rolled it forward, the rear loop would come up behind the front tire. Set the rear wheel into the rear wheel tray, tighten the strap and then tighten and lock the front wheel.

Are you under the impression that the rear loop has to be raised into position before putting the bike in? That would be an absolute pain!

I've never used the Raptoraero, so I can't speak how the two compare. But I've spoken with friends who are serious bike riders, and they have told me that loading any roof rack is a pain. But they choose it over hitch mount because of the inherent less risk of traffic or parking lot damage to the bikes. If I were 30 years younger, I'd still have my Frontloader. But my wife doesn't have the upper body strength to help, so it's all up to me to load and unload. Thus the hitch mounted Holdup bike racks.
 

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2017 Outback 2.5 Premium w/ power moonroof, dimming mirrors and power hatch. All weather package
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Why are you dropping your bike vertically into the Frontloader? I would set my bike on the rack, and then roll it forward into the front wheel clamp. As I rolled it forward, the rear loop would come up behind the front tire. Set the rear wheel into the rear wheel tray, tighten the strap and then tighten and lock the front wheel.

Are you under the impression that the rear loop has to be raised into position before putting the bike in? That would be an absolute pain!

I've never used the Raptoraero, so I can't speak how the two compare. But I've spoken with friends who are serious bike riders, and they have told me that loading any roof rack is a pain. But they choose it over hitch mount because of the inherent less risk of traffic or parking lot damage to the bikes. If I were 30 years younger, I'd still have my Frontloader. But my wife doesn't have the upper body strength to help, so it's all up to me to load and unload. Thus the hitch mounted Holdup bike racks.
It's not possible to set the bike on the rack and roll it forward unless the bike is vertical as the rear wheel falls off the minimal rails and the front wheel will not go into the wheel clam at any angle but vertical.The only way I can get a bike onto the Frontloader with it on the factory rack is to use at least a 2 foot step stool. Otherwiise the bike just falls off or will not ride up into the wheel clamps.

If I was 7 feet tall with gorilla arms I could do it but at 5'9" i need a step stool to roll the bike in vertically.

The Frontloader is a nightmare.

The Raptoraeros are a far better design.
 

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I haven’t bought an Outback yet. One of the reasons why I want to buy one is because a bike will fit in the hatch without removing one or both bike wheels provided the rear seat backs are lowered. Currently I carry my bike in the hatch area inside of my car. The bike has quick release front and rear wheel hubs and by removing the front wheel only, the bike fits in the hatch.

Two Caveat Emptors concerning roof mounted bike racks:

You MUST have the presence of mind that a bike is mounted on the roof before entering a garage or driving under a low hanging awning at a drive-through bank or restaurant. Hide the garage door opener so you can’t use it whenever carrying a bike on the roof. If you have a HomeLink interior mirror with garage door opening capability, disable it if it can be.

If you have a mishap while raising/lowering a bike to/from the roof rack, there will be body and paint damage. You might need to use a step ladder depending on your height.
 

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2017 Outback 2.5 Premium w/ power moonroof, dimming mirrors and power hatch. All weather package
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If you have a mishap while raising/lowering a bike to/from the roof rack, there will be body and paint damage. You might need to use a step ladder depending on your height.
That's what's good about the Yak Raptoraeros. Hold the bike over your head two handed on the frame. Put the front and back wheels into the rails of the rack. They can go in almost horizontal. A few degrees up from horizontal and they will stay in the rails as they are very deep. Then continue to hold the bike with one hand at the frame. Use the other hand to grab the car rail or the rack poles. Step up onto the open rear door steps. Balance there for a moment to raise the Raptoraero clamp into place to fix the bike at the frame. Tighten the camp.

I have never had a mishap with the Raptoraeros. With the Frontloader every try is taking a large chance that the bike will go crashing off the car and I will hurt myself. Twice it did fall off the car even using a step stool. One of several problems with the Frontloader is that the rail that the back wheel goes into is only about a 1/4 inch deep and very narrow and it's so easy for the back wheel to just slide off the rack while trying to get the front wheel in the wheel clamp. Whereas the rails that the wheels go into on the Raptoraero are a good inch deep and very wide.
 

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2018 3.6R Touring Outback
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If you are traveling long distances bike trays work the best on a hitch rack. They are not hanging and seems to be the most stable. I got a hitch installed on my OB and bought a 1Up hitch rack. I purchased a single tray with two add ons. Even though they are a more expensive than most bike racks, I think they are some of the best and lifetime guaranteed.
 

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2017 Outback Premium, silver
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526 Posts
There are good and bad points to hitch vs. roof.

- Hitches can get rear ended and bye-bye bikes
- It’s not unheard of to get a ticket for an obscured license plate
- Bit of work to get into the hatch, ever try lowering and lifting a hitch with 3 bikes on it ?
- Hitches save gas mileage
- Really easy to get a bike on the rack, easy to add the hitch rack.

- Roof racks are good for all kinds of stuff, boxes, lumber, a couch, bikes, canoes, Aunt Edna
- Out of the way.
- A slight hit in mileage
- Gotta watch those garages
- The car looks cooler with a rack and some bike trays, states that you are a REAL OB owner !

Pretty much a financial wash, they both require an investment of $700 or so.
 
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2013 Outback, 2.5i Limited w/ Moonroof
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You MUST have the presence of mind that a bike is mounted on the roof before entering a garage or driving under a low hanging awning at a drive-through bank or restaurant. Hide the garage door opener so you can’t use it whenever carrying a bike on the roof. If you have a HomeLink interior mirror with garage door opening capability, disable it if it can be.
Excellent advice. I was forewarned by some of my serious biker friends about this same potential accident. My solution was to hang a sign from the garage door. The sign reminded me to not pull in if I had a bike or bikes on the roof. Each time I opened the garage door, the sign would be prominently displayed in front of me. This was a very effective reminder for me.


As far as the discussion on roof mount or hitch mount, this is what I see as the pros and cons of each.

Roof:
Pros
Protected from damage from other cars, both on the road and in parking lots.
Protected from kids who may tinker with a bike, when you are parked.
A little more theft protected. Less convenient for the thief.
No hitch required.

Cons
Hard to get up and down.
Very likely to put small dings and scratches on the roof of a car from pedals.
Wind noise.
Loss in fuel economy. This will differ by the engine size. A big Suburban or Excursion will not feel the difference as much as an Outback or Forester.
Must be aware of them for clearance, such as parking garages and home garage.

Hitch:
Pros
Very easy to load and unload.
Less risk of damage to car.
Almost no wind noise
Easy to check on the bikes. Just look in rear view mirror.

Cons
Must have a hitch.
Bikes are susceptible to damage from another car, particularly in a parking lot.
More tempting for thieves and kids messing with the bikes.
Blocks backup camera view somewhat. Doesn't bother me, but it does some.
Getting in and out of the hatch. But most nicer designs drop or swing out of the way. My Holdup is really easy to lower the bikes, and it really does give enough clearance. And they are real easy to raise back up.


Edit: Oops. It looks like I was typing while Lightinguy was posting.
 

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2018 3.6r Touring, Black, modifications: 255-55-zr18 Continental DWS06
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I have had both roof and hitch on multiple cars over the years. At 5.8, I prefer the hitch and use the Thule T2 (formerly Sportworks). UHaul installed a simple round tube hitch on my 2017 lease outback for about $240 total. I like the tilt away to get into the back when needed and as said before, load and unload takes a minute and I have thru axles so I like the time savings. Tapatalk app isn’t letting me load images right now. Will try to show pictures later.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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2018 3.6r Touring, Black, modifications: 255-55-zr18 Continental DWS06
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I have had both roof and hitch on multiple cars over the years. At 5.8, I prefer the hitch and use the Thule T2 (formerly Sportworks). UHaul installed a simple round tube hitch on my 2017 lease outback for about $240 total. I like the tilt away to get into the back when needed and as said before, load and unload takes a minute and I have thru axles so I like the time savings. Tapatalk app isn’t letting me load images right now. Will try to show pictures later.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk






Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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2017 Outback 2.5 Premium w/ power moonroof, dimming mirrors and power hatch. All weather package
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Being an almost old guy, 56, and 5 feet 9 inches and a family of 5 where the three kids are big enough to need full size bikes but not competent enough yet to put the bikes on the cars without likely having a crash landing, I've been thinking about a small trailer.

It's the magnitude of the process that I have to manage. It's not just my bike but 5 bikes. We have to take 2 cars when we go on vacation.
 
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