Thread: My X3
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:53 AM
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JCL JCL is offline
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Bike racks are exactly the same story for the X3 as the X5. There have been a lot of posts on this in the E53 forum, so suggest you read there and do a quick search on bike rack. You will find photos of lots of options. I used my current rack on my E53, and then moved it over to the X3.

If you want to carry them inside, you really don't need a rack. I figure the inside rack BMW offers is a bit silly, as it takes up all the load space.

If you want to carry them at the rear, suggest you use a hitch-mounted rack. I would use the OE BMW receiver hitch, and a Thule or similar rack. Look for the designs that have a tray that the tires sit in. I don't like the ones that the bikes hang from, as I found the bikes moved around too much. Some like the simplicity of that style. If you don't otherwise need a hitch, it can get expensive to buy one just for a rack. Advantages are easier loading and unloading.

I personally don't like hitch racks because I have high end carbon road bikes, and I don't want them in the low pressure zone collecting grit behind the vehicle. If I had mountain bikes, which get dirty anyway, it would be less of an issue. I use a Thule roof rack with Thule 450 Crossroad attachments to the BMW rails, square Thule load bars, and a combination of Thule and ATOC carriers. I have them all keyed the same, which is handy. Issues with roof racks are underground parking (I have to take the bikes off outside), and reaching up for them (I am tall, so have no issues, but some may find it less convenient).

There are BMW bike carriers, but BMW doesn't actually make them, they buy them and add a markup. Look for Thule or Yakima over those, IMO. Both Thule and Yakima have good web sites with configuration tools to build a custom rack for your vehicle. My best pricing has been from RAck Attack, not sure if that applies to your locale though.

Couple of shots of the current set up (the tandem carrier is convertible for either the racing tandem or a Cervelo R3). There is plenty of room to put three carriers on my current cross rails, with wheel holders. With four carriers, I would likely remove the wheel holders, or get slightly wider load bars.

Jeff
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