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roof mounted vs hitch mounted bike rack -- any strong opinions?

Just bought a diesel station wagon and I need a bike hauling solution. Big question right now is if I get a roof rack or a hitch rack. All-in, with the cost of the hitch installation on the car, the cost is about the same. With the roof rack, I can use it for ski season and add a storage pod, but I'd lose some gas mileage. Any advice? 

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I have a honda civic hatchback that didn't have any roof rails. I put a sea sucker talon rack on it and that worked great. I used it on long trips, but I could never travel in peace because I was always afraid of the bike just flying off. I still have the sea sucker rack in case of emergencies. I ended up getting a hitch put on at Uhaul which was recently priced and picked up a Kuat 2 bike rack. I love the hitch rack. 

We also use a roof rack on our Outback, but when i get to the location of my ride or race i end up having to clean my bike of all the Southeast Texas bugs.

I prefer a hitch rack, I had it mounted on the roof but it was always difficult to get my bike up (I’m 5’ 10” and car was a Ford Escape) I felt like the bike was either going to tip over and fall before I latched it on, I ended up getting a step stool which helped out. Another problem was the height, there were times when I would hit branches and I freed that one day my bike and rack would be ripped off.

Currently I have a hitch rack and I love it, it’s easy to put in/ take off the bikes, I still have the roof rails for other purposes but for a bike I find a hitch rack to be easier and more convenient. Only thing is to be sure to put a bike lock on it for added security.

Concur with this response.  I would be wary of not knowing your total vehicle height restrictions with the bikes on the roof.  I would also suggest locking the tow hitch rack to the tow hitch as well as locking the bikes to the rack.  

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Congrats on the new car! Seems like the roof rack would be a great choice for you, at least initially. You’ll have the flexibility to put skis and expand cargo like you mentioned. When the time comes, I would supplement with a hitch rack, much easier to load/unload bikes with. Everyone I know with a roof rack has forgotten that they had a bike on top and have driven it into something.....

You probably won’t lose too much gas mileage, especially since you have a diesel 

hope this helps!

@Peloya @jgarcia1982 @KVu  ...thank you all! I think that right now I'm going to go with the roof rack. Just more affordable, and I want easy access to the trunk space. Long term, I think the combo hitch and roof is going to be the winner.