- Nearly lost a bike off the roof!
Coming back from a very wet Afan yesterday. One of the bikes, a Giant Trance, flipped out of the bike rack arms 😯 The arms were tight and still locked, yet the frame popped out. Thankfully it stayed on the car because of the wheel straps, but I've got a nice couple of dents in the roof/ door.
The rack is a Thule 503 freeride.
Anybody had a similar problem? Or know what to do about it.Posted 10 years ago
Is that the rack with the single arm & the gripper that clamps the downtube?Posted 10 years ago
I've got an Atera rack that is similar & have found that if the arm isn't as far down the tube as possible when the jaws of the clamp are closed, then it can all move when on the run. So, that's the first thing to check.
I have started wrapping a bungee cord around the clamp & frame to hold the whole thing in place, just as an added measure of security.
I had to start doing this, as I had a faulty rack where the jaws didn't always lock.
had this happen on the way up to laggan one day.
bike clamped in tight, and locked, but forced its way through the jaws.
doing 65 or so in the outside lane of the motorway, heard a loud thud to see a bike in my side mirror. luckily there was no car behind (well, around 6/7times the normal distance) slammed on the brakes and hit the hard shoulder. went to recover said bike from central reservation.
slashed tyre/tube. broken collar from lock on grip was the only damage. a lucky escape.
i would email/ask thule. haven't sorted anything here yet, its on a club owned rackPosted 10 years ago
Or know what to do about it.
Always use the wheel straps and put a toe strap round the clamp/frame. Takes 2 seconds and stops side loading of the clamp mechanism. The bikes can place a huge load onto the clamp at high speed and if its only plastic then its going to flex, possibly enough for the frame to pop out. Also, trance? isnt that a box section down tube? and was the supporting arm at 90degrees to the frame (i doubt it as the shock cradle was prob in the way?). So plastic clamp, at an angle, on a funny shaped tube… its possible its just not going to get a good enough grip.Posted 10 years ago
Had similar but with a rear window mounted rack. Bike was tied down, the rack was facing upward but somehow it popped off the rack and was left dangling from it being attached to another bike on the rack.
All that I needed was a new seat, and grips (they had been trailing along the road at 70mph, they were shredded!
Still not sure what really happened!!
Used rack since wth no problems.Posted 10 years ago
I too have Atera carriers (Giro). I totally agree with Stumpy01's comment about making sure the hook is as far down into the join between down-tube and seat-tube as possible. Also make sure that the down-tube is right into the back of the hook before tightening up. I find this crucial if you have several bikes on the roof and there is a degree of "interference" between bars and seats etc.Posted 10 years ago
Still not sure what really happened!!
Used rack since wth no problems.
remind me not to take a lift off you mark ….;)Posted 10 years ago
Thanks guys. I was going to talk to Thule anyway, but always good to get 'real world experiences'.
I think toe strap is the safest bet for a start.
Yes, Trance frame is an odd shape just where it needs to be clamped.Posted 10 years ago
i loaded the rack and bike onto the car once in the dark when i was stoned.
just as i turned onto the main drag i heard a noise that sounded sickening. i parked the car and had to drag the complete bike/rack combo out of the road.
i was relatively lucky. i only bent the bars on the bike. no dents to the bike, rack or car (prob because it wasn't fixed on).Posted 10 years ago
Had one come out a Thule 561 a few years ago and break a door window, still dont know it went past horizontal, must have been flex in the whole system. Now always put a toe strap around the clamp arm and down tube if going at speed, plus one on front wheels behind the clamping strap as we have had one of these break as the wheel twisted in the airflow.Posted 10 years ago
My mate did that – I think that was also with a 530 freeride – I think the clamp wasn't that tight and he forgot to do up the wheel straps and it was then off onto the road. got the 591 and no probs also the older verions with no probs. Get what you pay for I guess?Posted 10 years ago
Don't know if your Thule lock is the same as mine, but I did notice that if it isn't locked it tends to loosen itself on long motorway drives!
I now double-check it's locked but most importantly I use an additonal strap on my Thule as a "belts and braces"
(Mine is door mount not roof mount)Posted 10 years ago
My Heckler flew off the roof when I was doing errrr 60mph yes 60, bounced on the back wheel and landed on the grass verge. Only damage was to the front shifter it was my fault though in a hurry to get my takeaway I'd rang ahead for I forgot to strap up the rear wheel.Posted 10 years ago
I have a Thule roof rack and a Giant Trance X. Can't remember which rack it is but it's one of them ones with the lockable clamp thing. I noticed once when I was securing the clamp that it can slip if it's not located on the downtube in a favourable position. It seems to fit nice and snuggly where the downtube begins it's curve towards the bottom bracket so then downtube and bracket are at roughly a right angle to each other. I do it up nice and tight and make sure I lock it then i give the bike a bit of a shake this way and that to simulate in journey turbulence etc and check everything is tight.
It's also worth checking your roof rack every so often too. I have a cheap roof rack and luckily noticed that some of the screws had loosened off a bit when it was new.Posted 10 years ago
Always worth moving the bike fore and aft as much as possible in the rack to get the best clamp position on the down tube. I've seen so many of those racks where the clamp is nowhere near the 90 degree position. All it would take to get it right is a bit of thought and 10 min play. The Trance sounds more tricky.
Oh – never use bungees on racks. If you have ever seen what they do to a fibreglass canoe when they loosen at speed, you'll never use one again.Posted 10 years ago
I trusted my mate to strap one side of our bikes to the rear carrier while I did the other. I never checked that he had done it correctly and it turned out he never did it at all!
Driving down the M5 towards the Malverns looked in the mirror and both bikes were sliding up the rack on the side he hadn't done up. If I hadn't have looked at that point god knows what the bikes would have looked like.
Another time when going on holiday my old man loaded my bike on the back of the car when we stopped at the service station some couple of hundred miles later we noticed that one of the wheels had been dragging along the floor at motorway speeds. It wheel had been rotating tho so the tread wasnt even too badly damaged.
I am now paranoid about bike racks.Posted 10 years ago
I've found the Freeride rack to not be ideal on most modern alloy bike frames – I think this is due to the size of the downtube and the shape of it…I've been lucky enough not to have a bike fall off a rack, but I've seen it and it isn't nice.
I think if you can get a clamp that goes round 4 sides of the tube (the freeride only does 3 – 2 sides and the bottom) then is is a bit more secure and the 90 degree angle thing isn't quite as important – it is still a requirement but not quite as severe as if it only holds the bike by the sides.
The Marin frame that I have now, doesn't fit the Freeride design – it is only held on by the very ends of the clamp so it has no real grip on it…real dodgy looking.
Saying that, I've seen the Freeride used with no troubles whatsoever on steel framed bikes and bikes where the downtube is rounder and not as oversized…it gets a good grip of the tube and seems to hold it very well indeed.
If you are running something with a less conventional frame tube shape, it might be worth spending some cash on a 'better' roof rack design. I say better as something like the ProRide grips more of the tube and more sides of the tube (both sides, bottom and the top) so there is much less chance of the tube jumping out the clamp – but still doesn't prevent the bike falling if the clamp fails.Posted 10 years ago
Thanks for reminding me why I throw the bikes in the back of the car. Some of those stories sound pretty scary!Posted 10 years ago
Never owned one because of these possible occurences, but i'm guessing if you check the small print, there'll be some sort of speed restriction applied to them(just stick your hand out at 60mph to see what sort of buffetting they must get).Posted 10 years ago
Anybody had a similar problem? Or know what to do about it.
I had a FS on the roof with a Thule carrier which dropped out of the clamp in exactly the way you describe on the M6 near Cannock. Bike was lying horizontally on the roof held in place by the wheel straps.
I think it was a combination of a big fat tyre at the front which meant the front tyre could move around a lot, and not having tightened up the clamp as much as possible, and generally wiggled it around.
I now never put a bike up there if it's got more than a 2.1" tyre.
I guess the question to ask is: what tyres for being dropped off the top of your car into the path of oncoming traffic….?Posted 10 years ago
I know someone who that happened to on a square downtube using a proride 591. I actually think the cheaper 530 is a bit safer if you have a funny shapped downtube, it is fiddlier but I think that the fact that the clamp is fully around both sides of the downtube is much more secure. and they are cheaper, bonus. On a 591 move the crank arm so that it is behind the clamp and then fix it there with a little strap, seems to workPosted 10 years ago
DickBarton – Member
The Marin frame that I have now, doesn't fit the Freeride design
You've not still got your Pace then?
</ot>Posted 10 years ago
I've got the thule rack that bolts straight into the fork after removing the front wheel. Super secure, bike doesn't go anywhere….unless you drive under a low bridge and the bike gets ripped off. That was a good morning. 😳Posted 10 years ago
Sorry – can't help with the OP, but in the interests of sharing…. My disaster was a bit of a mixed blessing as it killed my nasty Dawes Edge Pro HT, and forced me to buy a proper bike.
After mincing the DH bit at Hamsterley in seriously sodden conditions a couple of times, and witnessing both my mates have potentially lethal offs, I decided to go and have a pedal round the red route whilst they continued trying to kill themselves.
When I'd finished, I went and waited at the carpark for them in the p1ssing rain for half an hour. When they finally showed up, bleeding and broken, I chucked their bikes onto the rack with mine on top. Managed to secure both their bikes properly but my fingers were too numb to properly attatch mine…..
Needless to say, the lack of effort on my part came home to roost about ten minutes later – the car behind us flashing furiously and beeping. Stopped, got out and saw my bike was trailing behind us on the road – utterly mashed up with its front wheel caught in my mate's pedal.
Devestated at the time, but was consoled by the reassuring noises made by the insurance company 🙂Posted 10 years ago
al_f – yes still got it and that fits on umpteen various racks (but generally only gets fitted to the ProRide rack on my car)…it's never used these days, just sits in the garage looking forlorn…Posted 10 years ago
What put you off it? Gone FS? Still have mine too, have SS'ed it though and it gets reasonably regular use.Posted 10 years ago
It still gets used – to commute to work…but I've gone full bounce – I wasn't getting to ride it often enough and I ended up feeling a bit battered after a day on it (going from daily biking to once a month had a bad effect on my ability to withstand the knocks and bumps)…so FS for the comfort and the Pace for the speed into/out of work!Posted 10 years ago
I haven't had any problems with mine and hopefully i won't (touch wood). It seems to fit the Trance X frame well. I think you just need to make sure it's all done up right even when you're tired at the end of the day. I have had one problem though which was my fault. I noticed a scratched/worn area on the headtube and couldn't figure out how it got there until i realised that the turbulence of the bike being on the roof had forced the brake cable to rub against the frame. I was very disappointed as it was new but then i chipped paint of a chainstay on a rock soon after so the scratched head tube didn't seem so bad then :P.Posted 10 years ago
old inner tubes make excellent and cheap compression strapsPosted 10 years ago
I don't like the Thule 591(?) with the fancy clamping becasue you can't clamp it really tight, but the way it works is brilliant for ease of use and is good for odd shaped tubes.
I like the Thule 530 becasue you can tighten it up loads such that it ain't going to move (with regular tubed bikes).
The Mont Blanc racks are good because of the incredibly deep front wheel holder, but the tube clamps are too loose.
The ideal rack would have a massive trough for the front wheel, and a clamp that is operated from roof height that can be cranked really hard.Posted 10 years ago
The Mont Blanc rack has a tyre width limit of something like 2.2" though (might be 2.3")…so although it can probably take the bikes, the wheels might not sit properly in the tray if they are wider.
I had a look at the Mont Blanc rack and thought the clamp on the tube was very similar to the Thule 530 and it just didn't look like it gripped enough (I was looking for the Marin) – I've ended up with a Pendle roof rack where the 15QR bolts to the carrier – front wheel in boot – works incredibly well and at the time was the only 15QR carrier on the market…Thule reckoned there was no demand for one and thought it wouldn't be out until end of 2010 if at all – not sure if that has changed, but mounting the bike by the fork would certainly keep it more stable and secure.
This does means the front wheel needs to be stored internally or get another racking solution to carry the front wheel on the roof. Saying that, the extra 'time' (about 1 minute) to secure your bike securely to the roof shouldn't really be an issue if it helps reduce the risk of it falling off – but that in itself isn't a common occurence – but if it helps ease the mind then shouldn't really be an issue.Posted 10 years ago
This thread really cheered me up after grabbing what I thought was a stonking bargain of 4 Thule freeride 530 carriers for £55. Not so sure now!
Anyway, can I ask if those with problems with the 530 checked they had the right size spacer (small rubber tube in either 45mm or 65mm width) for the downtube size?Posted 10 years ago
The 530 is decent enough, as said though it deals with conventional bike frames best because of the clamp design.
My NRS is fine in the clamp, but a friends Cannondale Prophet got me thinking as it has a really fat down tube and has never seemed as secure as my NRS.
I tend to mount one bike facing forwards and one facing backwards on my roof.
Maybe if you mount the bike facing backwards on on the car then any wind buffeting would push the bike "into" the support.
A strap sounds like a good idea around the frame and clamp to stop them popping out, I will start doing this.Posted 10 years ago
I found the freeride 530 is the ONLY bike carrier that will hold my Mount Vission properly. The twin arms stop the un-nerving wobble better than the single arm more expensive models and the clamp actually grips the frame tight, unlike the C shaped clamps of the higher models that a) dont fit this frame, and b)dont clamp so much as just partially suround the frame, leaving a gap in the side, exactly in the direction these things wobble worst. I know there built cheaper, but they are designed better IMO although we have one of each on the roof!
Clamped properly in the 530, Ive really yanked on the MV to try and break it out the arms, but it dosent budge, and we've done some fairly unsaviourly speed with it too.
That said, I'll take other peoples experiance on board and use an extra strap just in case! thanks for the heds up!Posted 10 years ago
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