Bicycle carrier for 2003 Jetta GL/TDI Roof or Rear Mount?

Couleetdi

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2003
Location
West Wisconsin
TDI
2015 Passat SE TDI
Looking for best Bicycle carrier for 2003 Jetta 4 doors sedan GL/TDI Roof or Rear Mount?

ANy preferences, I'm looking at minimum two bikes and two for grandkids some of the time.

Anyone have good or bad experiences with roof or rear hitch type mounts? What is good, what is not good about either type, costs about for each, and best place to buy.

We have few places here in Eau Claire, WI to buy such things, so internet will be my choice of desire.

I'd appreciate your sound help and solutions.

Thanks much as always

Coulee
 

whatnxt

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2003
Location
Lk Stevens, WA
TDI
2015 Q5 TDI Premium +
I have a Bauer two bike rack on a receiver hitch. I prefer that set-up due to height restrictions in the garage, parking garages and the ferry (they change more for over height). The bikes are out of the air flow and the car is stable up to 85. I haven’t gone any faster. A receiver mount is also easier to get to the bikes and not the high lifting. Just watch the hitch that you get, if you go that way. The 1 1/4 will only allow two bikes. The 2" allows 4.

Take a look here for some good information: http://www2.sportsrack.com/
 

fitzski

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2004
Location
Ottawa
TDI
Uh... hmm... Well, none...
Hi Coulee;
Have you ever owned either type of rack on a previous car?

Personal preference has much to do with it, but there are a few things to consider if you haven't formed that preference.

For a rear mount, some models simply strap onto the trunk lid, with another piece that sits on the bumper. These are cheap, fairly easy to install/remove (after you've done it once and set straps and knobs where they need to be for your car), and easy to store when not in use. They are also about the cheapest option out there. However, they totally restrict access to the trunk, and are not the most secure - the rack can move around a bit, just through vibration, and that could cause damage to the finish of the car.

Other rear mounts take advantage of a trailer hitch - this has the benefit of maintaining full access to the trunk, and is *very* easy to mount/unmount from the car. Of course, there is the added expense and hassle of the trailer hitch itself.

The other comment on rear racks is that they are subjected to substantially more abuse than bikes on a roof rack - driving on a muddy gravel road is a big no-no unless you can wash the bike before riding!

The biggest benefit of the rear carriers is the ease of loading - no lifting bikes above your head, no need to remove wheels, and easy access to locking mechanisms. If you are not comfortable lifting bikes over your head onto a roof rack, this is your only option.

For a roof rack, there are also a couple of options - fork mount (where the front wheel is removed from the bicycle), and upright (where the whole bike is attached to the rack). I prefer fork mount - they are more rigid and secure, require slightly less acrobatics to get in place, and also stay out of the wind a bit more. The benefit of the upright is, obviously, that you do not have to remove and separately transport the front wheel.

Roof racks are a bit trickier to install/uninstall until you've done it a few times, and can be a bit awkward to handle when not in use. The other concern is remembering that it is there - I have witnessed, on a couple of occasions, what happens when a low beam entrance meets bikes on a roof rack. With a rear mount, every time you check your mirrors, you are reminded. The roof rack also adds additional flexibility, be it for transporting other gear (a travel box, kayak, skis, etc.), or just bringing a small load of lumber home.

You'd have to do some comparison shopping, but on the whole, a roof rack is probably going to be, at best, about the same cost as a trailer hitch/rear mount setup, and then up from there.

Anyway... I think that's enough from me... hope that helps.
 

redcliffs

Veteran Member
Joined
May 12, 2005
Location
Marlboro, VT
TDI
'02 Jetta GLS
fitzski did a great job breaking down the options. Like him/her (I assume), I use a roof rack/fork mount set up. Beyond that, you basically have two options: Thule and Yakima. My observation is that the bars and bases are a bit less expensive from Thule, and that the reverse is true for the bike trays themselves. Prices are ultimately very close, however, and quality-wise, I think it's 6 of one... Also, a company called RockyMounts makes excellent trays.

Personally, I use Thule, mostly because that's what my parents use, so I'm used to it, but I don't think it really matters. Parts are usually available less expensively on your local Craigs List -- otherwise, search online, as there are a few rack specialty sites that often give discounts, free locks with the purchase of a full set-up, etc.

One other advantage to a roof system that fitzski didn't mention -- it can also be set up to carry everything from a canoe to skis to a large luggage box, something that obviously cannot be done with a trunk/rear rack.
 

JayT

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2004
Location
Pennsylvania
TDI
Golf, 2003, Silver Beetle, 2013, Moonrock
I use some "Bones" plastic rack on the back of my golf. Uses straps, kinda labor intensive (my bike use to wheel right in the back of my toyota mind you) to put on, but works great, no complaints, holds two bikes, I think they make a three bike one also, It was very inexpensive:)
 

sootwagen

Veteran Member
Joined
May 25, 2003
Location
Pennsylvania
TDI
2003 Jetta Wagon, 5 Speed, Indigo Blue, 2005 Jeep Liberty CRD
I have a Thule rack for a 1-1/4in. receiver. What I like about the trailer-hitch type rack is that it can be moved to ANY vehicle with the same size receiver. Roof-mount and many hatch-mount solutions are specific to the make and model vehicle that they were built for.

My wagon has a class 1 trailer hitch, limited to 200 lbs. tongue weight. This limits me to 2 bikes.
 

lrpavlo

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2000
Location
Cocoa FL
TDI
09 Sportwagen DSG, 02 NB Auto
Aside from the dirt and spray problem in rain when on the rear I prefer the rear for bikes....plus you can get the add a cargo tray that goes right into the receiver hitch and then put some tupperware boxes on it to haul extra stuff. I'm lucky though I can keep the kayak on one TDI and use the other for biking...I figure just like kayaks or bikes...You can never have enuff TDI's! :D
 

doc_m

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 2, 2002
Location
somwhere
TDI
None
I have a hitch mount one and figured it was the easiest way to go, I use my trailer alot for other things as well so kinda dual purpose
 

Cincy_Mike

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2003
Location
Cincinnati, Ohio
TDI
Auto 2003 Jetta GLS TDI - Galactic Blue
Personally, I'd get a folding bike and put it in the trunk. 300 bucks can get you one at dahon.com
 

mannytranny

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 14, 2003
Location
CA
TDI
02 Jetta (sold, such a great car) '16 Touareg
I bought a hidden hitch and had a 2" reciever welded on. I can use my regular rack and the 2" is very stable. Made by Thule.

I dont know how to upload pics.....email me if you want some....

I plan to fabricate my own rack soon. The Thule has a swing option that I never use.....it weighs a ton.
 

20IndigoBlue02

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 22, 2001
Location
Was North NJ, now SoCal
TDI
2002 Golf TDI-- deceased
whatnxt said:
I have a Bauer two bike rack on a receiver hitch. I prefer that set-up due to height restrictions in the garage, parking garages and the ferry (they change more for over height). The bikes are out of the air flow and the car is stable up to 85. I haven’t gone any faster. A receiver mount is also easier to get to the bikes and not the high lifting. Just watch the hitch that you get, if you go that way. The 1 1/4 will only allow two bikes. The 2" allows 4.

Take a look here for some good information: [URL="http://www2.sportsrack.com/"]http://www2.sportsrack.com/[/URL]
With my Thule roof rack... I can't get above 80 on the highway up inclines--- due to all that drag (though I normally cruise at 70 anyway)
 
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