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Old 06-12-2016, 08:22 PM   #1
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Roof mounted bike rack and bumpy roads

I'm about to pull the trigger on a roof-mounted bike rack for my PUP. But first, I would like to hear from others on your experience with longevity, especially those of you who leave the highway for those bumpy forest service and BLM roads like me.

I want to protect my bikes, which are fairly expensive full suspension setups, while also looking out for my PUP's roof. I'm assuming that the bikes bouncing on the cross bars could create more stress where the rack attaches to the roof on the bumpier roads that I frequent versus the typical blacktop user.

I'd also love to hear what brands everyone has used. It looks like Forest River is installing the ProRac brand on their Sports Enthusiast series, while my dealer (Roberts Sales) has used SportRack (now owned by Thule), and others prefer the Swagman Roamer. The SportRack supports 200 lbs while the other two only 150 lbs. 150 isn't quite enough for 4 bikes @ 34 lbs each and 4 nice holders like the Thule Sidearm. Yet I don't understand why the SportRack claims higher weight support when they all look roughly the same. Finally, the SportRack attaches at the roof sidewall whereas the others screw into to the 1.5" pine frame inside the sidewall.

Finally, I might want to put a kayak and/or canoe on top. Seems like 36" is the cross bar spread recommended by major manufacturers like Thule and Yakima, but I'd love to hear everyone's experience carrying these toys on top of a roof rack on your PUP.

Decisions, decisions...

Thanks in advance!

...and no I don't want to do a hitch mounted or tow vehicle roof rack option. Trying to decrease weight on the TV.
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Old 06-12-2016, 10:26 PM   #2
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Steamboatscot,

Do a search for "Pup roof top racks", there's some good ideas there.
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Old 06-12-2016, 10:46 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goff View Post
Steamboatscot,

Do a search for "Pup roof top racks", there's some good ideas there.
Thank you. I've read pretty much every post on this topic, this forum and the others. Looking for specific perspective driving these down bumpy roads, not paved blacktop. Also the pros/cons of each brand.
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Old 06-12-2016, 11:30 PM   #4
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Hello,

We use the prorac 4 bike. ProRac Proformance Bike Rack | Tent Trailer Bike Rack |

We also have a lot of money tied up in FS mtn bikes. With 4 on there, I'm maxed at about 130lbs. The rack specs 150lbs max. I really like the rack, though. I have it on our classic 625D PUP. It holds the bikes by the forks. I have used it several times over the past year on all kinds of roads. But more towards your point, It does a great job on the bumpy, dirt and fire roads. Very little side to side motion. The only thing that is a bit of a PITA is the strap system. It is a bit time consuming to load and unload, but it does a great job holding them down and still on highways and off road. I'm going to start looking into a quicker strap system this summer.

Anyway, as for now, it is a small inconvenience compared to attaching the rack to the roof. I didn't want to put any holes in the roof. Don't want to give Mother Nature any more of a chance to make the roof leak.

If you choose to attach to the roof and use upright mounts, just use some sort of extra strap system to help miminze the lateral motion, and you should be good to go. Good luck.

Mark
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Old 06-13-2016, 08:38 AM   #5
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We use the prorac 4 bike.
Thanks Mark. Great to hear your real world perspective on backwoods roads.

Unfortunately the tongue mount ProRac doesn't provide enough tow vehicle weight reduction to be worth the $ or PITA on loading/unloading for me. I'm looking at the permanent roof-mount options to place almost all weight on the PUP's axle.
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Old 06-13-2016, 04:34 PM   #6
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I hear you. It is a bit of work strappi ng them. I did speak with a guy a year ago at the dirt rag mtn bike fest in PA. He had roof rack. Yakima bars and a mix of Thule and Yakima upright holders. The ones on the down tube. I asked about side to side motion. He used a few extra straps. I didn't ask about off road ability. But he did say the straps made all the difference in movement. That's probably your best bet. Good luck. Post some pics when you have it all set up. I love looking at bikes. Ok, that sounded wired. But there is a beauty in a sweet bike. Later.
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Old 08-12-2016, 02:07 PM   #7
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Hey f5moab, if you see this, can you PM me directly? I've not received much insight to my question of long term use on bumpy roads. Hoping you have more perspective from there in Moab.
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Old 08-12-2016, 02:59 PM   #8
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Bike racks

Personally, I'd stay away from top mounted racks. Especially if you have to penetrate the roof for hardware mounting. Spend that money for a professional fabricator to weld a good solid bumper w/2" reciever to your rig to carry your bike rack. I did just that.

see attached
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Old 08-13-2016, 06:56 PM   #9
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Back of PUP bounces way too much on the forest roads I travel to put $10k of bikes on there. I would at least mount the roof rack over or just forward of axle for less jiggle...although I still worry about these things being designed for the pavement & full hookups crowd and not doing my roof well on bumpy gravel roads.
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Old 08-13-2016, 07:28 PM   #10
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If I was to weld a bike rack to the rear, I would weld it to the frame. That rear bumper, at least on mine, is not that sturdy; heck I'm afraid to step on it.
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Old 08-13-2016, 07:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steamboatscott View Post
Hey f5moab, if you see this, can you PM me directly? I've not received much insight to my question of long term use on bumpy roads. Hoping you have more perspective from there in Moab.
PM sent...there are some things to watch out for on Moab area trails.
I mention the broken spring...
This, I believe, is the trail that did in the spring...


Or, it might have been this one...


Also why the Goodyear Marathons failed too often, and the battery fluid bounced out.

But I can't complain; it was fun and that is why I purchased a popup; never saw any 5th wheels or Berkshires where I used to camp
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Old 08-13-2016, 07:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sistahazel View Post
Personally, I'd stay away from top mounted racks. Especially if you have to penetrate the roof for hardware mounting. Spend that money for a professional fabricator to weld a good solid bumper w/2" reciever to your rig to carry your bike rack. I did just that.

see attached
I detest trailer hitch racks. Bikes are subject to the worst of dirt and debris.
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Old 08-15-2016, 06:50 AM   #13
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I would be a little edgy having the bikes bouncing directly onto the pup roof over rough roads as you describe. It seems to me that would be asking for trouble. If the pro-rack (we use that one, and IMHO the tie down procedure is not too bad) is not for you, you might investigate a custom support system attached to the trailer frame that a rack over the roof could sit on. I saw one on these forums recently for a canoe rack where the over-the-roof section slid into the support uprights and pinned on thereby transferring all the weight directly down to the frame. I did experiment with a rear mounted bike rack, but that adversely affected the weight distribution (Doh!). And it will bounce more as you observed. I'd expect whatever you decide upon will need strap/tie-down to negate the sway you will get.
Cheers.
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:50 AM   #14
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I use a modified Prorack with modified, heavier vertical tubes. This holds
my bikes very well. While I do not take my HW296 down anything worse
than dirt roads, some would consider Georgia Highways as "Unpaved".
They roll front to back but do not bounce.
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Old 05-29-2017, 09:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2gwright View Post
I use a modified Prorack with modified, heavier vertical tubes. This holds
my bikes very well. While I do not take my HW296 down anything worse
than dirt roads, some would consider Georgia Highways as "Unpaved".
They roll front to back but do not bounce.
Where did you find heavier support tubes/poles for the prorac system. I need to raise mine up about another 3-4" for our HW296.
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Old 05-30-2017, 06:23 AM   #16
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I work at a Manufacturing shop. The metal Department had some tube that was the same diameter but double the wall thickness
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Old 05-30-2017, 07:50 AM   #17
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My pro-rac came with pads for the rear tires. It reduces wear on the roof and spreads out the contact point a bit
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Old 05-30-2017, 09:25 AM   #18
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Just personal experience and opinion:

I put Thule racks on my 2000 Coleman Westlake (12ft box) pop-up to carry 4 bikes or a canoe. Despite this being the notorious Coleman one-piece roof, I never had a roof issue from the bikes (I had thin cracks in the top lamination which I repaired with reinforced epoxy and gel coat). The bikes did bounce a little on some of the dirt roads, but we never went boondocking.

But I came to loathe those racks. They prevented installation of an air conditioner, which was probably no loss for us. But the bikes took at least an hour to load when I accounted for installing the bike trays, getting the bikes on the roof, and setting up the support arms. The 4 bikes had to be in a particular order to not interfere or rub on each other, and that order changed as the kids outgrew their bikes and got new ones. That loading routine delayed our departure from the campground for an hour after we had popped down the roof. No fun in the rain or a hot sun.

Upon arrival at the campsite, I had to get the bikes off before we could even start setting up the camper. This was frustrating for everybody. I often wondered if all the work was worth it, but then watching the kids ride bikes around the campground, I guess it was.

I found out carrying a 17ft canoe was even worse. Again, the canoe had to be removed before setup, and put back after take-down, which was a 2 person job. And if we weren't at a waterfront site, the canoe had to be carried to the water. After 2 trips, I changed to putting the canoe on the tow vehicle roof. Again, lots of great memories with the canoe. But I would never put it on the PUP roof again.

Same with bikes. I don't want a bike carrying system that interferes with raising and lowering the roof.

just my experiences
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Old 05-30-2017, 03:42 PM   #19
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Two points:

1. Trailer suspension sucks compared to tow vehicle suspension. Your bikes are far safer on the tow vehicle. I have a pickup, and I installed an aluminum tool box in the bed. I put two of these on the lid: https://www.backcountry.com/thule-lo...B&gclsrc=aw.ds
I can mount the front fork to these, and the rear tires could sit on the bed floor, a cooler, the top of a bundle of firewood, and so on.

2. When going off road, I drop the tire pressure on the trailer the way off-roaders do in Jeeps. In my case, 40 pounds in the trailer tires (compared to 50 to 60 for the highway) makes a big difference without risking the rims. At low speeds, tire flex will not overheat the tires.

I keep one of these in the truck: https://www.amazon.com/Viair-93-VIAI...air+compressor
Note the direct connection to the battery...not a cigarette lighter plug. This makes short work of adding air to the tires when you get back to pavement.
And your jumper cables can act as an extension cord.
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