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Just wondering if anyone has any thoughts/suggestions on which direction bikes should sit on the roof

I've Thule bike carriers which can be left or right opening.

So do I place both bikes facing forwards, or do I have the bikes one front facing, one rear facing?

If the answer is simply try it and see, so be it, just wondered if anyone had experience of whether one option is easier for mounting the bikes, or provides less wind noise etc.etc.etc.

cheers

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5 Answers 5

With two carriers that are well-spaced I've always put them both forward, with three I put the middle one facing backwards to reduce the amount of interference between adjacent handlebars and porteur racks.

For most bike-and-rack combinations it shouldn't matter.

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Are the mounts the kind where both wheels stay on the bike, or the style where the front wheel is removed?

If it's the kind where the front wheel is removed, then if:

  • You mount the bike backwards and
  • You forget to strap down the back wheel

then the bike might get flipped over by the wind and either fall off or damage your car. If you mount it facing fowards then the wind will be keeping the bike in the right position.

So I'd recommend mounting it facing fowards.

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Mainly it doesn't matter. Usually two bikes are front-first (because it "just seems right"), but once you go beyond two bikes the directions alternate. True, if you don't have the bike properly fastened then, on a fork-mount carrier, it can blow loose a hair easier in the reverse orientation, but it can also come loose going around a curve or going over a bump, so you need to be sure it's well-fastened in all cases.

Note that you may find, based on whether you're right-handed or left handed (or maybe you have a bad shoulder or such), that it's easier to lift the bike onto the roof one way vs the other. In that case it makes sense to have the bikes front-facing on one side and rear-facing on the other. OTOH, the shape of the vehicle, position of the doors, etc, may factor into your orientation decision.

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With my Atera carriers, fitting the bike 'backwards' means that it can pivot forward on the frame clamp under very heavy braking.

I learned this to my cost when using them for the first time, having fitted the two bikes in opposite directions as it seem the right thing to do.

Short answer; I always fit facing forward.

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Only reason I can think of...

Front mounted: I have a "bug shield" (may be called a "bike bra") with my rack (attaches to the handlebars/fork) and it only works on the front of the bike. The advantage is that I get to the end point without bug carcasses on the bars.

Otherwise, it probably makes no difference.

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