Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

Car flex and losing a roof rack with bikes?

3D9419FC-C48A-49B5-B620-F72BEF0ABC18.jpeg
1BC14FF6-EEC8-4953-9DB6-6EE95E0BEC12.jpeg
880321B2-772E-4105-99E3-4D05411BAC65.jpeg
5C34A16F-8EB6-4A34-A75E-83ED9410E75D.jpeg
31A0DD13-6948-4644-BD23-14B8FC1D2E07.jpeg
987932D5-9293-4660-8BD6-DEEE707A22B5.jpeg
3DB97375-B639-44C5-AF7C-FC0065B6BF1A.jpeg
87B2B4E2-471D-40A4-B9EC-97240977EF97.jpeg
FD0CD106-20B3-46F9-9A2E-49FA17B34E63.jpeg
I’ve had the Tesla Whispbar roof rack on my Model S for two years and used it on around 4,000 miles of trips with either two tandem kayaks or 4 bikes. I use Yakima JayLows for the kayaks and Yakima Front Loaders for the bikes. I’m pretty diligent about checking the system and take it off and on every season to make sure it’s clean and secure.

Yesterday morning before hitting the road with the family for a biking trip, I pulled into a parking lot with a large hump. I went slowly, but still scraped the bottom of the car. I have coil suspension, which I love, except for the occasional scrape. Anyway, I heard two loud pops from the roof. I got out and checked and didn’t notice any of the bikes were loose and everything seemed ok. Later at 45 mph, the entire rack system with all 4 bikes slid off the back! Luckily, no one was behind me and no one got hurt. There’s some decent damage to the car and the rack and bike front loaders are toast. The rack and front-loafers were intact and the whole system came off as one giant unit.

Upon inspection, two mounts on the roof of the car are stripped - that must’ve been the pooping noise I heard when the car flexed over the hump. Has anyone experienced anything similar?

I’ll probably move on to a hitch system like 1up for the peace of mind. Y’all be careful out there!
 
Man, that's some gruesome damage!

Sorry to hear about the misfortune to your S and bikes (+the rack). Hope all the cosmetic stuff gets worked out quickly! Thanks for sharing about the possibility of the potential for it to all come out. Makes me wonder if there might be more issues in the future especially with the interesting implementation of the Model 3 roof rack.
 
Two kids bikes are ok, but the adult bikes will need some real work.

Really, I’m just glad that someone wasn’t behind me or the bikes didn’t fall left into oncoming traffic. That would’ve caused someone to swerve and could have ended tragically. The material stuff is all repairable. For peace of mind, I’m really thinking about a hitch for the bikes or something else to carry the kayaks. Could you imagine two massive tandem kayaks coming off at 45mph with the whole rack? Yikes!
 

Ludalicious

Active Member
Feb 22, 2018
1,105
1,435
Vancouver
There has to be a weight limit for that roof rack... I would have a look at the instillation manual a little more. Looks to be allot weight. 2 canoes too.... This is just asking for trouble

If it's the whisper rack it's only rated for 165 lbs.

Each bike say roughly 35-40 lbs each... That's 160 lbs without the attachment bike holders. The attachments also need to be added to the overall weight too.
 
Last edited:

jskenney

Happy Member
Mar 22, 2013
97
49
Maryland
The bolts came out of the roof? I had a whispbar on my old S70D once when I drove into the garage with the bikes still on top, the bolts were fine but the connecting bracket which connected the bolt to the roofrack gave way. I moved to a hitch mount rack on my next S and now with the X, the 1UP rack is awesome and I can completely recommend it. Make sure you go with the 2" receiver.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: JerryEVall
The boats are 42 lbs each for less than 90lbs total.
The bikes are 18lbs each for the adults, 20 for one kids and 25 for the other. Around 100 with the front loader racks.

There has to be a weight limit for that roof rack... I would have a look at the instillation manual a little more. Looks to be allot weight. 2 canoes too.... This is just asking for trouble

If it's the whisper rack it's only rated for 165 lbs.

Each bike say roughly 35-40 lbs each... That's 160 lbs without the attachment bike holders. The attachments also need to be added to the overall weight too.
lbs
 
  • Like
Reactions: BBMc
But the rack is rated for 165lbs without the added bike holders.

Rule of thumb is not too exceed 75%. That rack is way over loaded IMO. Too each of their own though

View attachment 398047

Bike holders are 13lbs each: total of 52 lbs. plus bikes is 133lbs total. That’s 80% of the load. I didn’t know about a 75% rule, just thought I was safe under the max.

Honestly, I’ve never had any issues until scraping the bottom and hearing the pops on the roof. I think the front loafers, since they span the front and back bars and are very tight, didn’t allow it to flex with the car and the popping sound was two of the screws stripping out of the threads on the roof. Not weight related, although your point is taken, but that the front and rear bars were tied together with the bike racks.
 
The boats are 42 lbs each for less than 90lbs total.
The bikes are 18lbs each for the adults, 20 for one kids and 25 for the other. Around 100 with the front loader racks.


lbs

My carbon road bike weighs 18 pounds.
I would guess the adult bikes are closer to 30+.
However a 8k hard tail can approach 18 pds.
 

jskenney

Happy Member
Mar 22, 2013
97
49
Maryland
I use Sea Suckers on my Model S instead of a trail hitch. Take a look on youtube and elsewhere for reviews. I think you'll find that system a great option.

I have the Sea Suckers as well, but I get Bike Anxiety when I use them, hence the move to the hitch. I use them now if I have a loaner, but still panic a bit inside. Yes I know they won't fail and are awesome, but looking up and seeing the the suction cups...
 
  • Like
Reactions: BillFres

daktari

Active Member
Jan 21, 2017
1,137
1,341
Norway
Ouch, good no-one got hurt.

Seems it stripped from the roof? Not the fastener inside the Whispbar? And it is the screw rod that got stripped, not the attachment in the car? Or did anything break inside the rack feet?You probably will need new rack attachments in the car anyways.
 
My carbon road bike weighs 18 pounds.
I would guess the adult bikes are closer to 30+.
However a 8k hard tail can approach 18 pds.

I'm also skeptical about the stated weight on the bikes. I'd also guess 30 lb average on the bikes, and 15 pound average on the bike mounts. That's 180 pounds total. I'm also skeptical that the car would flex enough to pull those bolts out of the mounting brackets. My guess would be that the mounting bolts and brackets have weakened over time being overloaded, and going over the speed bumps combined with the weight of the setup made them finally fail.

I do feel your pain, sorry that happened. You've convinced me to not run my roof racks with more than 2 bikes.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Leeclanual
To back up my skepticism, I'll just say that my titanium road bike weighs about 18 pounds, and my carbon mountain bike (with high end, light weight components) is about 25 pounds. My kids aluminum mountain bikes weigh more than my carbon mountain bike. From the pics those look to be hybrid trail bikes, so I wouldn't expect them to be anywhere near road bike weight.
 
Last edited:

tes-s

Active Member
Oct 6, 2013
3,327
5,282
CT
First report of this I have seen. Two were stripped - what happened to the other two?

Seems you may have been near the weight limit, but that really does not matter. Your insurance company will pay, and very unlikely they will pursue any of the manufacturers for recovery - not enough dollars involved. The dollars are small in relation to the hassle.

Looks like you and your family really enjoy the car! Hope you are back on the road enjoying again soon.
 
...Seems you may have been near the weight limit, but that really does not matter. Your insurance company will pay, and very unlikely they will pursue any of the manufacturers for recovery - not enough dollars involved...

My guess is that he was 10-20% over the max weight limit on the rack. Just curious, will the insurance company do any kind of investigation to determine if the equipment was being used properly, to determine who is at fault?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Leeclanual

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top