As a result of these racks, you will be able to access the trunk or hatchback of your car easily, as well as make certain that your bike is securely mounted. Most of all, these racks won’t break the bank either. However, deciding to go with a roof rack is much easier than deciding whether to go with a fork mount or upright bike rack.
There is no doubt that all of them are mounted on top of the vehicle, but there is a great deal of differences from one to another. The weight capacity, the freedom of movement, and the ease of mounting are just a few of the variables that most importantly affect the end result.
It is exactly what the purpose of this article is to do. In this article, you will find yourself guided through the intricacies of roof racks, so that by the end of it, you will have become an enlightened human!
A great advantage of roof racks is the fact that they are not likely to interfere with the back of your vehicle, and this applies to every roof rack available on the market. Additionally, they can also be used to carry other equipment such as cargo boxes, kayaks, or what have you.
As the stakes are raised, let’s take a closer look at how these racks work before we get into the differences between upright roof racks and fork-mount roof racks to learn more about how they function.
Fork-Mount Roof Bike Racks
In comparison with upright racks, fork-mount roof racks are known for their excellent stability and reliability. On the other hand, upright racks require the user to take off the bike’s front wheel in order to mount the racks. The reason for this is that the bikes are held by the forks of the bikes.
Because the forks are long enough to hold up, these racks also provide a lower-profile mounting system as the front wheel is not attached to the rack. As a result, it makes for a sturdy mount, as the forks are strong enough to hold up.
There is no doubt that the mounting mechanism on these products limits their versatility as much as their competitors. Furthermore, many users are dissatisfied with the lack of compatibility with different types of bikes due to their incompatibility.
Upright Roof Bike Racks
It must be noted that upright roof racks are probably the most popular variant of roof racks. In contrast to the chin-down versions of the fork-mount racks, upright racks hold the bikes upright, eliminating the need to remove any wheels from the bicycles in order to mount them on these racks.
It should be noted that the user will also have to reach up to the roof in order for the wheels to be attached. Now, there are two kinds of racks itself – frame-mounted and wheel-mounted. Let us have a look at what each one of them is like.
Frame-Mounted Upright Roof Racks
In short, a frame-mount rack supports your bicycle by its frame instead of the wheels by clamping down on the frame (no matter what kind of frame it is) instead of the wheels.
In addition to being able to work with almost every bike with a frame, these racks also allow for impressive weight distribution, so users who will be going on rough terrain usually prefer these racks.
Wheel-Mounted Upright Roof Racks
A similar upright rack can also be fitted to bikes with the front wheel on, and in this case, it also holds the bike with the front wheel on. However, the difference is that in this case, the front wheel is used by grabbing on to it, making it suitable for a wider range of bikes.
People who have lighter frames (like carbon frames, for example) often opt for these racks, because there is no direct contact between the rack and the frame at all. However, on the downside, they do not have the same types of weight distribution as frame-mounted upright racks.
Fork Mount vs Upright Bike Racks — The Contrast
My goal here is to present a direct comparison between a few of the most important aspects of bike racks in a few categories.
There is no clear winner here. It’s about finding the option that best suits your particular needs and preferences. We’re not trying to find any single winner here – we’re trying to find the one that best suits your needs and preferences. With that out of the way, let’s get started.
Mounting is one of the most crucial parts of the experience, since you’ll be doing it quite frequently over the course of your experience.
Fork-Mount Roof Racks Mounting Process
This particular type of rack has both the ease of installation, as well as the difficulty of installing it on an upright rack, as there is no front wheel present on the rack. This is why people with taller cars might choose this kind of rack since they do not have to lift the bike as high as they would with upright racks.
The disadvantages of this product, however, are that you will have to remove your bike’s front wheel. For some people, this alone is so bothersome a burden that they completely avoid choosing these products.
I would be lying if I said that I did not understand why people would want to do that. After all, it can get a bit annoying to remove the wheel every time you transport the bike, then reattach it again when you are finished.
There are however some benefit to this. First of all, the bike gets lighter because of the removal of the front wheel. This makes mounting even easier and, in addition, the mounting process is pretty straightforward. You just have to mount your bike, get the clamp and straps on, and your done.
My only complaint about these racks would be the fact that removing the wheel is the most tedious part of the whole process.
Upright Roof Racks Mounting Process
This is yet another case where the pro and cons are both present. On the positive side, you don’t have to make any changes – the rack accepts the bikes just as they are. On the other hand, using a fork-mount option requires removing the wheel every time you want to move the bike.
However, with these racks be aware that you might have difficulty getting the bike up to the roof, especially if it is higher up on the roof. This process will require some practice and proper technique to be able to master. Fork-mount racks can help alleviate this situation much more easily.
In addition, I would like to point out that upright racks which mount bikes on wheels as well as those which mount them on frames, mount the bikes slightly differently, as I have explained above.
There are some pros and cons to both sides, so it is important to keep those things in mind as you make your decision.
Stability and Sway
In fact, this is arguably a more important parameter than the ease of mounting. The reason for this is that this has a greater impact on your bike’s overall performance as well as the security of the bike on the rack. How the rack holds your bike, how much sway it allows – everything plays a part in this.
Fork-Mount Roof Racks Stability
It is my pleasure to inform you that fork-mount bike racks are known for their stability. Since they are mounted on the fork, no wiggle room is allowed because they are attached to the fork.
In the result, you will find the bikes on the roof of the vehicle surprisingly stable, even if you drive at a higher speed. This means that these racks are great if you are planning on traveling through rough terrain, as stability is important.
Fork-mount racks can prevent this from happening with their fork-mount systems. Another important factor is swaying. Ideally, the swaying will be annoying and may degrade the experience. However, if it becomes worse, then you risk ruining the finish on your bike. Fork-mount racks can prevent this.
Upright Roof Racks Stability
It is true that upright roof racks are not as strong as the alternative above, but that’s because upright racks give you quite a bit of room to move, regardless of whether you are using a wheel-mount or frame-mount rack. Although, the latter does offer somewhat better support.
There is no doubt that they do allow for a greater degree of swaying, but that does not necessarily mean that they are riskier. Even the half-decent racks can keep things in place despite the fact that they do allow for a greater degree of swaying.
In spite of that, this may also be a problem if you are traveling at high speeds or if you are going through a bumpy road. It depends on the individual’s preferences, so I will let you draw your own conclusions.
There’s no doubt that compatibility is one of the most important factors for any roof rack, and fork-mount roof racks are well known for being lacking in this department since they require specific measurements. So let’s take a look at what is required.
Compatibility with Fork-Mount Racks
As we said previously, fork-mount racks require precise measurements to be able to mount bikes. They are usually designed to fit one of two axle designs for bikes. One arrangement involves the front fork of the bike having a slot for the wheel, and when it is loosened, the wheel and axle will fall out.
It is also true that some bikes’ forks don’t come with this slot, which means that you’ll have to remove the axle from the side in order to replace it. Since the fork goes through the axle, it is known as the thru-axle fork, which is convenient.
If you opt to use a slotted rack, you will have to make sure that the rack will fit the bike’s slotted forks, whereas if you wish to use a thru-axle rack, the tubes must match the bike’s skewer in order to mount the rack correctly.
You can get fork adapters that will let you attach forks to either of these bikes, but you will have to measure them in both cases. Therefore, using multiple bikes on one rack is highly unlikely, unless they share the same measurements. If you want a bit more flexibility, you can buy fork adapters.
In addition, if you have a bike that has a rather uncommon frame, then you might find it problematic to use a fork-mount rack. Fork-mount racks are not designed to deal with many non-standard frames, so people with such bikes (such as children’s bikes) should avoid using them.
There is also the issue of whether you will be able to mount disc brakes on your rack since not all racks are compatible with disc brakes (especially the older models), so you need to consider this as well.
The fact that fork-mount racks offer such excellent stability is one of the reasons why I would recommend they be purchased cautiously if you are not sure which bike you will have to mount on your rack. If, on the other hand, you know what bikes you will use, then the excellent stability fork-mount racks offer makes them a good purchase.
Compatibility with Upright Racks
This is a section where fork-mount racks would easily take the lead over upright racks. All things considered, upright racks don’t offer the same level of compatibility as fork-mount racks, but their scope for compatibility is far more extensive than that of their competitors.
There are many reasons to use upright racks, such as the fact that they can hold all kinds of bikes, as they hold them by the wheels. You could also use them for bikes with non-standard frames, which raises the bar in terms of their versatility.
While it is true that all upright racks will be able to mount bikes with disc racks as well, it’s not always that simple. There are a few instances, however, where you need to be aware of the situation.
This is because wheel-mount and frame-mount roof racks have different compatibility areas that do not always overlap with one another. As an example, if you have bikes with composite frames, a wheel-mount rack would be the ideal option, since it will not touch the frame (which is different from a frame-mount rack).
As a consequence, some accessories, such as front racks and full fenders, will probably interfere with wheel-mounted bike racks. In such a case, it is recommended to use a frame-mounted bike rack.
It’s very clear that upright racks are still the best when it comes to compatibility. However, you must always make sure that you’ve got things right before deciding on what to buy.
Installation Method on Vehicles
We have talked about how one would install the bikes onto the racks, but what about installing the racks themselves? Well, the reason this is so far down the list is that there is not much to worry about when you install the racks.
In spite of the type of rack you choose, the mounting mechanism will usually remain the same. Some of the racks will slide into rails (for crossbars that have rails in them), while others will be mounted by using clamps and mounting plates. It is more versatile to use the latter, but it depends more on what you have on your car than on the racks.
The majority of the time, you will already have your crossbars installed by the time you need them. However, there is one alternative that you won’t have to leave to fate – suction cups.
There are quite a few roof racks on the market that come with suction cups instead of clamps that can be attached to any kind of car roof, but they are only made by a few brands, so you are limited in your options.
Basically, what we are trying to say here is that when it comes to installing the racks, you should be more concerned with your crossbars than anything else.
It is also important to note that the properties of your vehicle play a part in this aspect as well.
Depending on the capacity of your vehicle’s roof and crossbars, you may even be able to rack up to six bikes on a fork-mount rack if you have the capacity. By capacity, I mean the weight limit assigned by your vehicle’s roof and crossbars.
The width of a crossbar is also an important factor, as you only have a limited amount of space to work with. This is also true for upright racks, so these factors can limit what the rack can be used for.
Despite this, forkmount racks still have a slight advantage over forklift racks since they take up less space and have a lighter load.
As a general rule, most people would recommend switching the direction of the racks after every bike to take advantage of the available space, so the fork-mount racks have an advantage here as well. Other than these aspects, there isn’t a whole lot of difference about the capacity of the rack.
Known by the name “Achille’s heel”, roof racks are known for adding a significant amount of drag to a vehicle, and as a result, fuel efficiency suffers as a result, so they are less eco-friendly and less wallet-friendly.
In this respect, does there seem to be a difference between the two?
There is some drag introduced by fork-mount racks, but it isn’t so astounding. Due to the fact that the bikes are dropped on their chin (so to speak) when they are mounted, there is generally less drag introduced by them. On the other hand, upright racks hold the bikes as they are, which makes things slightly worse.
Therefore, fork-mount racks are comparatively more fuel-efficient as compared to upright racks. However, we must keep in mind that roof racks are still roof racks, and that there is a limit to how much fuel they save.
Well, that’s about all there is to the comparison. There are a couple more factors, including security, which is a very crucial aspect, but fork-mount and upright racks are not significantly different in this regard, so there is no need to compare them.
I discussed with you a number of aspects of your decision-making process which can and should affect the process you use to make your decision.
The debate over whether to use fork mount or upright bike racks can be a difficult one. Both sides have specific advantages (as well as disadvantages) that the other side does not offer for different purposes and situations. Hence, I had the idea of presenting you with specific scenarios that would help ease the decision-making process and help you determine the best course of action. In closing, I would like to reiterate my statement that there is no clear winner, only a winner for your needs.