Drag Penalty for Bikes On Roof? - Page 2 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 09-30-2014, 09:51 AM   #11
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: St.Albert, Alberta
Trailer: 21 ft November 17th
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I have had bikes up on the roof with the spandex covers to keep the bugs off the forks and bars and its like a sail. Noticed a drop in fuel mileage and could alsp notice a difference in power when passing on the highway. I have two styles of racks, one that you remove the front wheel and mount the fork to the rack and these are not as bad but I tried some that mount the bike with both wheels on and that really puts the bike up there along way to catch alot of air. I have also used a yakima sky box on the truck @ times. without the trailer its about 1-2 mpg penalty with the trailer theres no difference.

MacRae, 21ft
2016 GMC Yukon SLT
St.Albert Alberta
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Old 09-30-2014, 10:08 AM   #12
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Yellow Springs, Ohio
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19
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I've also had experience with two bikes on top with the spandex covers. I once tried this on a Prius when my son and I left for the starting point of a week-long ride. The bikes knocked the mileage in half! Needless to say, I switched to a hitch mounted rack. I'm thinking of racks that lock the forks down without the front wheel, and probably turning the bikes backwards so the rear tire get the first shot at bugs and such. If this works, I'll make up something to hold the front wheels on the rear bumper of the Escape. I'm happy to hear there is very little additional drag penalty after taking the big hit with the Escape. That seems to be the consensus.

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Old 09-30-2014, 11:09 AM   #13
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Santa Cruz, California
Trailer: 2014 Escape 19
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I used to leave the crossbars in place on the Yakima rack on my Tacoma. Then I read a Consumer Reports article that stated just leaving racks in place can cost 1-3 mpg on average. I tested that and found it to be very true in my case. The racks came off! Those were just the cross bas, I can't imagine what the loss would be for those folks who leave their snowboard and and bike racks in place year-round.
2009 Tacoma Crew Cab, TRD 4WD
2007 Tundra Double Cab TRD 4WD
2014 Escape 19
2007 Norwegian Elkhound "Baxter"
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Old 09-30-2014, 03:17 PM   #14
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Trailer: 1979 Boler B1700
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Originally Posted by Chapitre View Post
I drove 12k miles or so overall with them on, and never noticed a problem with stability.
Good - but just be aware that you have less margin of stability than without the bikes. When a tug/trailer rig is at a speed near the limit of the trailer's stability, it will feel fine, but sway could be started by an emergency avoidance maneuver or a gust of side wind. It's hard to know how much margin is available - I don't know how fast our van could tow our current trailer before it became unstable, and my concern it that I unknowingly come too close.

(Although I have had the trailer at a too-high-to-mention speed once, so I'm not so concerned )

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