I’ve owned a few cars in my life and each one of them has hauled a bicycle. I used an inexpensive trunk rack on my first car. My next car was a truck with a cap on the back so I eschewed a rack altogether. My next car was an Outback. I sprang for the full Yakima rack with a fairing and steelheads. I eventually sold the Subi and my wife and I used her Saturn. I got some Q towers for the Saturn and used the Yak rack on that car until our family grew and we sold the Saturn and bought an Odyssey. With the minivan, I didn’t need to use a rack anymore. There was plenty of room in the back for bikes and it would have been inconvenient to get the bikes off the taller roof anyway. I sold the Q towers I had used on the Saturn.
For the past four years, I’ve been commuting by bike and when I’ve needed to travel to races with my bikes, I’d just throw them into the back of the minivan. My daughter has just started school (long story as to why it’s now, late in the school year) and my wife and I have to trade off carting her to and from school. Her school is too far to make it reasonable for me to use a bike for any leg of the trip so I bought a car. It’s a ’97 Accord with a lot of miles and it needed a bike rack.
I already had cross bars and one fully functional steelhead from my previous rack configurations. I checked out the prices on Q towers and clips but balked at the $250 price tag. Instead, I sent out a message on the OBRA email list asking if anyone had some towers taking up space in their garage. Mark in Eugene hooked me up with a set of old, well used towers for $10 plus shipping — lock cores and key included! He also threw in the clips even though they wouldn’t work on my car.
Next, I headed down to Rack Attack in Portland. I traded in the clips for a used pair of clips for the rear and a used set of feet (I needed different foot pads). They didn’t have a used set of clips for the front so I bought a new pair. The guy who helped me warned me that on older Hondas, it was really important to set up the rack to the exact recommended measurements.
At home, I only had a bit of a glitch when, on one of the towers, the hex receptacle used to firmly affix the tower to the cross bar was completely stripped. With some finagling, I was able to tighten it enough to grip firmly when the rack was locked in place. So my total cost? $18 for the towers plus $30 for the clips. Actually, I paid Mark $25 since I was so pleased with everything and felt like I ought to throw in a few extra bucks so he could buy some coffee drinks. So for $55, I have a fully functional Yakima rack.