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2011 Forester 2.5X Limite Automatic
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This may not be a Subaru-specific question, but could be. I've looked around and cannot find an answer.

Long story short, I'd like to be able to carry my bike on the roof of my car horizontally. Why? Because I want to be able to get in and out of the garage with it on there. Vertical on the roof obviously won't work, and a hitch-mount requires adding a hitch in addition to the rack AND won't fit in the garage length-wise AND means taking the whole rack on and off all the time to get into the back.

I am surprised no one seems to have invented this yet, at least not from what Google can tell me so far. I could maybe just strap it to the roof rack with some sort of padding and bungie cords, but that seems pretty iffy for multiple reasons.

Hoping some enterprising Subaru owner has made something like this work!
 

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2010 2.5X Limited 4-speed Auto
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Tie it down to cross bars attached to the roof rails. I've carried one like that on more than one occasion. Just put some padding between the bike and the bars.
 

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2011 Forester I Auto
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116 Posts
T AND means taking the whole rack on and off all the time to get into the back.
As FYI, many hitch racks are hinged with a quick release pin to lower the rack so you can access the hatch.

As to the actual question, you want a rack and cross-bars, then a platform of some kind, with attachment points for rope or load straps. The 2 biggest issues I see are 1) Keeping the pedals and h-bar off of and/or from coming in contact with the vehicle roof, so as to prevent scratching and dents and 2) Keeping the pedals and handle bar from getting entangled in any basket like platform. Thus a solid platform. Thick plexiglass ?, something that is weatherproof ?.

Why not just put the bike in the back of the vehicle ?. I do this with my road and mt. bikes. The '09 and later Foresters, as well as pretty much all the Outbacks have enough depth to allow the front wheel to stay on.
 

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2017 Forester XT CVT
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To me it seems like it would be a lot harder to lift the bike off the roof flat. Lifting it vertical then off roof. Plus you would only be able to carry one bike. A good hitch rack is nice and simple as is a normal roof mount.
 

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2011 Forester 2.5X Limite Automatic
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
As FYI, many hitch racks are hinged with a quick release pin to lower the rack so you can access the hatch.

As to the actual question, you want a rack and cross-bars, then a platform of some kind, with attachment points for rope or load straps. The 2 biggest issues I see are 1) Keeping the pedals and h-bar off of and/or from coming in contact with the vehicle roof, so as to prevent scratching and dents and 2) Keeping the pedals and handle bar from getting entangled in any basket like platform. Thus a solid platform. Thick plexiglass ?, something that is weatherproof ?.

Why not just put the bike in the back of the vehicle ?. I do this with my road and mt. bikes. The '09 and later Foresters, as well as pretty much all the Outbacks have enough depth to allow the front wheel to stay on.
Sorry, should have mentioned, there are two reasons I don't want to put it in the back. For one, I have two child seats in the back seat, with the back-side tethers attached, which on the Forester means attaching to the hard points on the ceiling in the cargo area. The straps mean I can't get the bike across the top of the back seat. Second reasons is, I did this on my previous car, and it marred the back seats up pretty good.

I was considering just cross bars with some sort of padding setup and straps, just not sure how effective that will be. As for a platform, I could get one of those metal cargo baskets and strap it to that somehow - but again need to do some sort of hinky padding and strapping system.

As for swing-down racks, you have to swing it down and then back up each time going into the back which is a pain. I did find one possible alternative - there are a couple companies that make hitch-mount racks that are just wheel holders on a bar at bumper level and a single hook bar in the middle to hold the frame upright - what is nice about these is, when not used, the middle tower folds down to bumper level, so it can stay there and you can access the cargo door whenever you need to because you can drive with it down. I might give that a try.


Since posting this, I did a couple hitch-
 

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2014 Forester XT 8 speed
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even if you manage to figure out a way to lay the bike down on the roof rack, you still won't fit into a standard garage door (7'), unless you loosen the headset and twist it 90deg.

I think you are underestimating the ease of use on the higher quality hitch bike racks. I've got two roof mount bike racks, and will be getting a hitch mount also, for when my wife takes the kids biking on her on. Honestly, when not in use, it's one pin, to remove it. and they all collapse out of the way for storage and hatch access.
 

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2016 Ford RS & 2019 Subaru Descent
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Have you thought of a roof box?

I have Yakima 16s on my foz. Fits in and out of 7' garage. I can fit a bike in it as long as I remove the wheels & seat. It is a little bit of work, but is safe, secure and weather resistant. I can fit my 20" Surly Pugsley in it. Tires and all w/room to spare.

When in use, it is mounted to far left of roof. I have a fork mount bike rack to the right.

 

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2011 2.5X Premium, AWP 5MT
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There's a reason no one makes anything to put your bike horizontal on the roof - there are better ways to go about this.

The clear and simple solution to this is to get a quality hitch mount rack.
I've had lots of rack systems on my vehicles over the years (the easiest was my truck - just throw it in the bed and done) and, no doubt, the best for my purposes is a platform hitch rack. The lighter the better and there's none lighter than the 1Up USA rack. People say it's too expensive but for ease of operation, weight, convenience it has everything else I've tried beat, hands down. Since it's so easy to put on and off the vehicle and easy to load the bike on/off I find myself riding more than if I had to go through a bunch of rigamorole to take my bike with me. I'll put it on the back of the Foz if I'm even just considering riding later that day - it's just that easy/convenient. Best money I ever spent on a rack system.
 

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2011 Forester 2.5X Limite Automatic
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
There's a reason no one makes anything to put your bike horizontal on the roof - there are better ways to go about this.

The clear and simple solution to this is to get a quality hitch mount rack.
I've had lots of rack systems on my vehicles over the years (the easiest was my truck - just throw it in the bed and done) and, no doubt, the best for my purposes is a platform hitch rack. The lighter the better and there's none lighter than the 1Up USA rack. People say it's too expensive but for ease of operation, weight, convenience it has everything else I've tried beat, hands down. Since it's so easy to put on and off the vehicle and easy to load the bike on/off I find myself riding more than if I had to go through a bunch of rigamorole to take my bike with me. I'll put it on the back of the Foz if I'm even just considering riding later that day - it's just that easy/convenient. Best money I ever spent on a rack system.
Well, I think you've all talked me out of my poorly thought-out engineering attempt. I think my hesitation is that I did have (actually still have) a hitch-mount, 4-bike rack - but it is very heavy, hard to take off the car and put back on, sticks out a ways from the car, and only swings down with the use of a pin that is not easy to use. Plus it requires doing this swing-down each time I need to open the hatch, whether or not I am even using the rack at that time.

I looked at that 1up rack, and it does look very easy to use. Also, when the arms are in the down position (when no bike), it is down at bumper level (out of the way of the rear hatch), and only sticks out from the car maybe a foot (and I have plenty of room for that in the garage), so I can just keep it on the car pretty much all the time.

I found a similar, cheaper rack, but with a center arm for the frame (instead of arms for each wheel), the
. Looks a little flimsier, but it is cheaper, and I'd likely use it mostly on short hauls.

Thanks for all the advice, I think I'll go with one of these hitch-mount platform jobs. Just need to decide which one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
even if you manage to figure out a way to lay the bike down on the roof rack, you still won't fit into a standard garage door (7'), unless you loosen the headset and twist it 90deg.

I think you are underestimating the ease of use on the higher quality hitch bike racks. I've got two roof mount bike racks, and will be getting a hitch mount also, for when my wife takes the kids biking on her on. Honestly, when not in use, it's one pin, to remove it. and they all collapse out of the way for storage and hatch access.
Wanted to reply on this one too... our garage door is substantially higher than 7'. When in the up position, I can just barely touch the base of the door, and my standing reach is 8'.
 

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Well, I think you've all talked me out of my poorly thought-out engineering attempt. I think my hesitation is that I did have (actually still have) a hitch-mount, 4-bike rack - but it is very heavy, hard to take off the car and put back on, sticks out a ways from the car, and only swings down with the use of a pin that is not easy to use. Plus it requires doing this swing-down each time I need to open the hatch, whether or not I am even using the rack at that time.

I looked at that 1up rack, and it does look very easy to use. Also, when the arms are in the down position (when no bike), it is down at bumper level (out of the way of the rear hatch), and only sticks out from the car maybe a foot (and I have plenty of room for that in the garage), so I can just keep it on the car pretty much all the time.

I found a similar, cheaper rack, but with a center arm for the frame (instead of arms for each wheel), the Swagman XC Cross-Country. Looks a little flimsier, but it is cheaper, and I'd likely use it mostly on short hauls.

Thanks for all the advice, I think I'll go with one of these hitch-mount platform jobs. Just need to decide which one.
If you've got it config'd for one bike only you can even fold it 'up' against the car and you can STILL open the hatch, then it only sticks out maybe 6" from the bumper. If you have two platforms then you cannot fold it up and still be able to open the hatch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If you've got it config'd for one bike only you can even fold it 'up' against the car and you can STILL open the hatch, then it only sticks out maybe 6" from the bumper. If you have two platforms then you cannot fold it up and still be able to open the hatch.
You mean the 1Up rack here, right? I'll have to see if the other one does that too, because that is even better.
 

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2008 X 5MT
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Bars + Rola roof basket = put / tie whatever you want in there!
 

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This may not be a Subaru-specific question, but could be. I've looked around and cannot find an answer.

Long story short, I'd like to be able to carry my bike on the roof of my car horizontally. Why? Because I want to be able to get in and out of the garage with it on there. Vertical on the roof obviously won't work, and a hitch-mount requires adding a hitch in addition to the rack AND won't fit in the garage length-wise AND means taking the whole rack on and off all the time to get into the back.

I am surprised no one seems to have invented this yet, at least not from what Google can tell me so far. I could maybe just strap it to the roof rack with some sort of padding and bungie cords, but that seems pretty iffy for multiple reasons.

Hoping some enterprising Subaru owner has made something like this work!
As some others have commented, you don't need a special rack. Just use common sense tying it down securely, and check on it often. Remove at least one pedal and the front wheel. Use redundant bungies and/or ties, make sure everything is secure, and enjoy being able to go under low roofs, which would make a mess with an upright carrier. I put a packing blanket on my roof just while loading the bike to avoid scratches.
 
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