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Old 05-17-2011, 12:39 AM   #1
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Gas mileage with a bike rack

Hey everyone,

The wife and I bought a new tent trailer with the plan of heading west and doing at least 20,000 km in the next 6 months. We are deciding whether to bring bikes because I was worried that the extra drag will drive up fuel costs.

What are your experiences with this?

We have an '05 camry 4 cylinder.

Thanks!
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:04 AM   #2
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Insignificant.
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:21 AM   #3
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This year was our second trip to Florida and back from PA with two bikes on board. The first year I had a bike rack that went around our spare tire (see photo) and almost lost the rear bumper.

The second year we got a nose hitch for the truck and a 2 inch receiver bike hitch and moved them to the front (see picture).

Bikes on front we lost an average 1 MPG between the 2 trips. Since with the diesel we were getting 13 MPG average the first year, and 11.8 MPG the second, we had a long talk about bike usage vs cost.

We decided renting in the local area was more cost effective and, after spending a small fortune in bikes, hitches and carriers, they will stay home next year.
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:38 AM   #4
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Hmmm, I might have to review my ideas on the bike/mileage connection. I haven't noticed any big difference, but we usually take our bikes on most trips. I figure after hanging a trailer on the back of a vehicle with that big drop in mileage, that a couple of bikes wouldn't be noticeable. Sounds like I may be wrong.
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:42 AM   #5
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When you are getting 20-23 a single MPG (not towing) lost to the bikes is not a lot percentage wise; at 12 MPG it was quite a hit.

Of course if you only tow for 5 or 6 hours to the CG the cost is minimal and you are correct even at 5 dollar a gallon fuel. Towing for days of travel we could buy new biles in florida and throw them away every year in fuel savings.
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Old 05-17-2011, 09:45 AM   #6
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That's what I was afraid of. We're literally going to be putting on 20,000km as well, so even a 10% decrease in fuel efficiency translates into $300 extra cost.

I'm surprised that the bikes being in front cause that kind of problem. We're looking at the ones that stand straight up on our PUP, and looking at it I just worry it will be even worse than 10%.
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Old 05-17-2011, 01:24 PM   #7
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I also did not mention the higher transmission temperatures. While I had no issues with diesel engine heat, the trans did run 10 degrees hotter.
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