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I'm looking into purchasing a Saris Bones 2 bike rack for daily use (driving part way, then biking the rest of the way to avoid parking fees), and occasional use on long road trips. I intend to keep it on the car most of the time. This is a trunk-mounted rack that bears its load on the rear bumper on two rubber feet.

My question is, can the trunk be opened if the rack is still attached to the car? Obviously without a bike mounted on it (but if it works with a bike mounted too, bonus). Will the feet slide off the bottom of the trunk when it is lifted, or is there enough grip for it to stay?

Details: I have a 1999 Volkswagen Jetta. Because the trunk is held open by hydraulic shocks and not the balanced hinges of most American cars, the trunk does not swing freely and must be pulled open and closed manually. Shutting it requires a bit of force (maybe ten pounds), so it can bear a bit of weight without slamming shut.

Apparently the Saris Bones is a pretty well-known and popular rack, so I'm hoping somebody can give me their experiences with it. I've been searching online and can't find a straight answer.

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    It looks as though many of them allow lid opening, a quick image search for "trunk rack" showed a fair few photos that look plausible. Like this hollywoodracks.com/bike-racks/trunk-racks But that particular one... I can't even imagine how it attaches to the cripple carriage from that photo. – Móż Sep 23 '16 at 2:47
  • What is a "cripple carriage"? – user23374 Sep 23 '16 at 3:01
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    the thing that you strap that rack to. They're designed to attach to motorised mobility aids. – Móż Sep 23 '16 at 3:25
  • Erm... do you mean a car? – user23374 Sep 23 '16 at 3:46
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    I have used a trunk rack, but not that one. I could open the boot, but the weight of the rack was significant enough that the boot would not stay open and was hard to lift up. care was needed closing it not to accidentally slam the boot really hard. No damage occurred to the car when opening and closing, although if you leave the rack on, grit and dirt will get under it and rub the paint - a strip of Ducktape will stop this if worried. – mattnz Sep 23 '16 at 4:18
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I have a different Saris rack that has one top foot and two lower feet like the one you show, but I didn't find it on their website now. It has six straps, two top, two side, and two bottom. I use it on the hatch of a Lexus CT200h, same as Prius C. The lower feet sit on the bumper for me, not on the hatch. I can open the hatch when no bikes are installed with no problem. In fact, I open the hatch to install the rack because the side and bottom clips are hard to get on with the hatch closed. I had a previous Thule rack with the same experience except that you have to keep your head out of the way when closing the hatch. All the feet of that one sat on the hatch.

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  • This is exactly what I was looking for. Somebody who's actually used the Saris to give me a straight answer. Thank you. – user23374 Sep 23 '16 at 14:00
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Based on Ross Millikan's answer, I purchased the Saris Bones 2 from a LBS. I can confirm that you can indeed easily open the trunk with the rack installed. The manual states that it weighs 4 kg, which on my car is enough that the trunk stays open (other vehicles may vary, especially if they have an auto-open balanced hinge and not the hydraulic shock variety). You have to be careful that when you close the hatch, you stand to the side so you don't get hit in the gut. The manual also states never to open the hatch with the rack mounted, but that doesn't mean anything (they're just trying to avoid a lawsuit).

Not only that, contrary to what everybody says, opening the boot with a bike mounted on the rack works perfectly fine. Despite all the warnings people gave, no damage occurred to my car, the rack, or my bike. Of course, combined weight of the bike and the rack was probably 35 pounds, but I had no problems with it. Once you close the hatch, tighten down all the straps again, because the rack usually shifts a bit. I'm not going to make a habit of this, but it's an option that's there if I need it.

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You need to take off the trunk rack in order to open the trunk, lest you risk damaging the rack or the car (this is true of all trunk racks on the market, as far as I know).

If you need to use the trunk while having a bike rack installed, you should access the trunk from inside the car or use a hitch rack or a roof rack.

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  • Does this come from personal experience with the Saris? The car is more than 17 years old and I live in Canada (where roads are salted five months of the year) so there's no reason for me to be worried about a bit of scratched paint. I don't have a hitch, and installing one is not an option. Accessing the trunk from inside the car is also not a reasonable option for me (besides, while mine can, many cars cannot open the seats from the inside). – user23374 Sep 23 '16 at 2:20
  • I have not used the Saris, but its attachment is essentially the same as most other trunk racks (and therefore would cause the same type of damage); the only thing special about it is that it can clear smaller spoilers. If you look at the manual, it specifically states not to open the trunk with it on, just like other trunk racks. – Batman Sep 23 '16 at 2:26
  • Of course the manual says that, but that doesn't mean anything. Just like the label on a hammer always says, "wear safety glasses". Any damage caused to the car (if any) would be limited to scratched paint, which I don't care about. And the Saris is different from some other racks in that the main load-bearing surface is the bumper, not the trunk. However, the rack is still strapped to the trunk using four straps. My question is whether this is enough to hold the rack to the trunk when it's lifted, not whether the manufacturer thinks it's safe or not. – user23374 Sep 23 '16 at 2:37

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