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Forester X
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288 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So we had our first ride last night since our car accident in January, and it was freaking awesome. Rode through some mud too which was fun, albeit very dirty. Made it 5 miles with no ill effects. My neck is a little tight today from looking up, but that happened before the wreck, so good stuff there.

HOWEVER, when we got back to the car we realized that, although the bikes fit great inside the car, putting muddy bikes in a car sucks. We have a 2003 Subaru Forester and a 2006 Subaru Outback Limited.

Fortunately I had a sheet in there, but it still sucked.

SO, Jennifer (my wife) said she would rather have a rack, which I agree whole-heartedly with. This would keep us from putting dirty bikes in the car, but more importantly, allow us to take bikes on long trips (bikes take up entire cargo area of car eliminating possibility of bringing dogs/luggage/camping gear/etc... if we also have bikes.

So I am thinking. Both Subarus have the same roof rack. I could get the rack for both bikes with locks for about $180 with the Thule 515 Prologue Pack. That rack would fit both cars and solve all of these problems.

OR... for about three times as much (What a deal! Not. ) I could install hitches on both cars (I wanted to do this eventually anyways) and get a hitch rack that would fit both cars. This would allow us to not only solve the current issues with the bikes and these cars, but would also allow us to take our kayaks on the roof racks. So if we go camping/long trip, we can take 2 kayaks, 2 bikes, dogs, gear etc... on either car.



So... $180 to let us use bikes on both cars and have dogs and gear inside.

OR... about $520 to let us use bikes on both cars, kayaks on both cars, have dogs and gear inside, and tow a small trailer should we decide we need/want to.



Another option would be to simply install a hitch on one car now, and do the hitch on the other car later for a total of $370 now, and then $150 later. Since the Forester is more of our activity vehicle, this would be ideal most of the time. However, for long trip like to our place on Beech mountain, I would rather take the Outback since it is a little more comfortable, better mileage, newer, etc...



I really want the hitch racks since they have SO much more utility, are more sturdy, and I don't have to worry about clipping them by driving under low branches/drive thru's/etc... I just don't know if I want to drop that much coin. The extra $370 would just allow us to take the kayaks with the bikes, and maybe haul a small john boat trailer or small moving trailer later.

Thoughts?

Keep in mind we are saving for a trip to Europe this summer, so the extra money is greatly appreciated now.
 

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2015 Forester CVT
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62 Posts
I have an 04 XS.

We used to put the bikes in the back, yet that is a messy pain.

I installed this hitch:
https://www.hitchmart.com/default.jsp
https://www.hitchmart.com/commerce/product.jsp?prodId=2058&catId=821

I got the package deal, it was a good deal.

I have a hitch mounted rack for 4 bikes. It is from Thule and if you look around, you can get last year's modle on sale. The simple straight pole is the best and cheapest, not spring loaded or swing style.

My wife loves it. Very easy to put on and remove.

I had friends with the roof setup and they hated it. So much, they switched to the trailer hitch.
 

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80 Posts
I have a Yamaka 4 bike hitch rack and it works great, it tilts out with plenty of room to open the hatch and closes up real nice when I don't have any bikes loaded.



Of course you can see that I just tossed my daughter's little bike up on the roof basket since I was too lazy to load it on the rack when we were done riding.
 

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2000 Forester L
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315 Posts
Hitch racks are where it's at. Minimal mpgs loss and you can remove them very easily when not in use. The best part: you can use the hitch for towing.
 

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Forester X
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288 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Well I am about decided on a hitch rack. Just going to have to deal with installing the hitch on only one car for now to save $$$.

Can always add the hitch to the other car later.
 

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2003 forester XS
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619 Posts
Well I am about decided on a hitch rack. Just going to have to deal with installing the hitch on only one car for now to save $$$.

Can always add the hitch to the other car later.
+1 for hitch / hitch rack

I have hitch w/ yakima 4 bike rack and a load warrior w/ extension ... it w freakin pack mule :biggrin:

hitch free shipping

it takes about 20 -30 min install ... no drilling just remove and replace a few bolts
 

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Forester X
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288 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Good find. Thanks!

I might still go with the Curt route since I have a hook up there and have heard good things about them. But this is a possibility.
 
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