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Car Rack or Roof Rack xc90 54 plate

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Old Sep 11th, 2012, 12:42   #1
strepsi
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Default Car Rack or Roof Rack xc90 54 plate

Hi, appreciate there maybe other posts relating to this, but. I was wondering if anybody could offer suggestions as I am getting very confused. My wife and I are buying two bikes, stupidly I thought it would be straight forward task to by a bike rack, I actually thought it would be a case of buying a rack off the shelf! I have been advised by the guy in the shop that we would need to get one that involves a tow bar, I have no interest in towing anything so a tow bar appears to be a little excessive and a further expense that I hadn't factored in.

Would really appreciate any ideas on whether I should go for roof rack or bike rack that may not require a tow bar, if so what would people recommend.

Regards
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Old Sep 11th, 2012, 12:54   #2
KJ4x4
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I am sure somewhere on here there was comment saying you can't have a rear mounted bike carrier due to the rear hatch not being metal. In that case, assuming it is true, it would be roof mounted only. I have roof mounted bike carriers, which work once you get the bike all the way up. Can be a bit hairy without steps or a bench. I think Thule do a set with a hydraulic lift, but these were too spendy for my budget.

HTH

Kevin
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Old Sep 11th, 2012, 18:16   #3
Coconut
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I don't have a Bike Rack, but without searching the forums to find the other posts,
the issues were indeed that the rear tailgate is not generally strong enough to have the strap on type of rack attached to it,
although some have done so by running some of the straps up and attaching them to the roof rails.

Considerations are :

Do you have Roof Rails,
Do you have roof bars if you have the rails,
Do have Side steps if you have both of the above -
( Useful to gain access all the way up there ! ),
Is the extra height on top of the already quite high roof going to be a problem -
Low bridges, Car Parks, Ferries etc ?

If price was NOT an issue then a tow bar would get rid of the height issue,
and there are some every nice racks that fit directly onto the tow ball,
not to mention adding that extra something if you ever decide to sell the car on in later years.

Pop into your nearest Volvo dealer to see if they have any XC90 bike racks on display.

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Old Sep 11th, 2012, 20:19   #4
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I have used a rear mounted rack - see picture below and indeed used reinforcing webbing straps tied to the roof rails to take the 'horizontal strain' of the weight. Very little of the load actually pulls the tailgate as the majority is sitting on the bumper rests.
the arrangement in the picture took me to the South of France and back with no trouble or i'll effect on the car.
It is a bit of a faff that you have to either remove the bikes to get into the boot - or load the boot through the car. Ultimately depends how often and for how long you want to use it I suppose.



Technically you need to be carefull that you are not obscuring your lights or number plate in which case you'll need a tailboard anyway (as I have too) to avoid any legal attention. This is obviously an advantage of having a tow hitch too - you can choose either option. I also used a roof mounted rack as there wasn't room for 4 bikes on here - height is definitely a factor and side steps help enormously (I'm 6'4" and wouldn't have managed without them) or you need a small pair of steps unless you have the all singing swing mechanism thingybob that lifts it for you..

SO - rear mounted racks are not impossible on this car if you respect the physics of what you're doing. There are some very effective tow hitch mounted ones though that give you better flexibility for boot access, there's plenty of people on here that can recommend their preferences.
All I'd say though is be realistic about how often you are likely to use it and base your budget around that. I very rarely use mine so the hassle involved in strapping it all together outweighs the expense of a ball mounted version. I already had the tow hitch fitted so didn't need to factor that in - it helped anyway as I needed to use a light board.

Hope that helps.

Cheers
Ian.
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Old Sep 11th, 2012, 20:29   #5
Jim314
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strepsi View Post
Hi, appreciate there maybe other posts relating to this, but. I was wondering if anybody could offer suggestions as I am getting very confused. My wife and I are buying two bikes, stupidly I thought it would be straight forward task to by a bike rack, I actually thought it would be a case of buying a rack off the shelf! I have been advised by the guy in the shop that we would need to get one that involves a tow bar, I have no interest in towing anything so a tow bar appears to be a little excessive and a further expense that I hadn't factored in.

Would really appreciate any ideas on whether I should go for roof rack or bike rack that may not require a tow bar, if so what would people recommend.

Regards
Putting bikes on the roof of an XC90 would be much easier and cheaper than a hitch mounted bike rack, but would put them way up and in danger of hitting low hanging branches. It would also be a lot of trouble to get the bikes on and off.

A tow bar on a Volvo is an expensive item totalling almost $US 1000, part and labor. This is not including the cost of the bike holder which fits to the tow bar. The European tow bar is a different design, but still must be very costly.

I suggest you might try putting the bikes inside the vehicle, at least until you find that you are doing enough biking to justify getting a towbar and bike holder.

Do these bikes have quick release wheels?
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Last edited by Jim314; Sep 11th, 2012 at 22:31. Reason: typo
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Old Sep 11th, 2012, 21:27   #6
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I've just had a Westfalia detachable fitted and bought a Thule towbar mounted rack to go with it. It cost a fair amount all told (about 850) but we use the bikes a lot and it's a joy to use.
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Old Sep 11th, 2012, 22:21   #7
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If its only for 2 bikes a rear mount one will be fine. I used one for first year or two of my XC90 ownership. Mine only held 2 bikes (although rack could have taken 3) but as stated above most of the weight will be resting on bumper if you use a bit of trial and error with the initial set-up/fit and support upper straps on the roof rails.

I now have a Thule towbar mounted one, however only because I need to carry 4 bikes now. Dont go to the expense of fitting towbar just for a bike rack.
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Old Sep 11th, 2012, 22:43   #8
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If the bikes have the usual quick release skewers for the front wheel, then try removing the front wheels and fitting the bikes into the vehicle. If you aren't practiced at removing the front wheels it may seem like too much trouble, but with a little practice it's quick and easy. Removing the front wheel makes a huge difference in the amount of space required to accomodate a bike. If the bikes won't fit upright, then lay one down and put a piece of cardboard or a stout tarp over it and then lay the other on top of it.

With the front wheel removed, the handlebars can be turned to be in the nearly the same plane as the bike frame and rear wheel. The pedals will protrude but a cardboard panel will prevent damage of one bike to the other bike.

Removing the rear wheel is somewhat more trouble due to the chain and I don't make a habit of doing that, but I have seen people who can do that as easily as I can remove the front wheel. If the bike has rim brakes (as opposed to disc brakes), then you have to disconnect the front brakes and open them to pull the wheel out, but this is easy once you get some practice. Just be sure to reconnect the brakes when you get where you are going to ride. The new disc brakes don't have to be disconnected. The discs just slip right out of the calipers.
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Last edited by Jim314; Sep 11th, 2012 at 23:44.
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Old Sep 12th, 2012, 11:54   #9
strepsi
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Thanks for all the replies, I did not mention that we will be buying a trailer for our two kids to ride in, so putting the bikes in the car sadly would not be an option.

I am 6'4'' so I think the roof option would not have been a problem, but then I did not consider low bridges and parking.

I think it may have to be a detachable towbar, I have looked on various websites and it appears that you can pick one up for about 200, not wanted I wanted to do but I think it probably would be my only option.

Cheers
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Old Sep 12th, 2012, 13:16   #10
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I sometimes carry 6 bikes! 3 on a Thule towbar mounted carrier (I have a detachable towbar for towing a boat), 2 on roof carriers (Mont Blanc Scott, bought cheap on Amazon) and one smaller bike inside!

The towbar carrier is by far the easiest - it's simple to mount it on the towbar, the bikes can be fitted fairly quickly (though can be a bit of a squeeze getting 3 full size ones on - handlebars, pedals can get in the way if you don't think about what you're doing). But it also tilts easily to allow access to the boot and has a number plate and lights. I also take it off or secure it with a lock when I'm parked - I'm probably paranoid, but there's nothing to stop anyone walking up and unscrewing it from the towbar...

The roof ones are easier to use than you might think, but depends on the weight of your bikes. Much, much easier if you've got side steps on the car. You obviously become much more height limited.

I had a rear carrier (the one that mounts on the hatch/bumper) on a previous car and never really trusted it, especially after I didn't tighten the straps the right way and nearly lost the whole thing off the back on a dual carriageway!! I then changed to roof mounted and after the first few trips being a bit wary, became extremely confident in them.

I occasionally carry a single bike in the back of the car for convenience, but I wouldn't recommend it if your bikes are going to get dirty...

Gerry
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