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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
The E9X is the 4th evolution of the BMW 3 series including a highly tuned twin turbo 335i variant pushing out 300hp and 300 ft. lbs. of torque. BMW continues to show that it sets the bar for true driving performance! -- View the E9X Wiki

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Old 06-15-2013, 09:30 PM
dargar dargar is offline
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Post 335i Convertible - Deciding on a bike rack!

This should have been a simple decision, but it wasn't, so I thought I would share (photos included). Feel free to comment on this post!

I DID SOME EXHAUSTED RESEARCH (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder style) before finally settling on the BMW REAR MOUNT BIKE RACK. I hope this helps anyone else struggling to decide on a rack for this car.

I searched the Internet blogs, so I could identify the best rack for my car. I did this because I was appalled that I would have to cut slots in my bumper to use the BMW rear mount rack. I even located some BMW owner's online photos of these slots; my initial reaction was, NO WAY, this devalues the car! An additional determent was the high cost of the BMW rack; really…......I just needed a bike rack. Anyway, I EVENTUALLY I SETTLED ON THE BMW REAR MOUNT RACK, the following defines how I got to my decision.

My driving thoughts:
- I considered a roof rack, but felt it could compromise the functional features of the roof (the roof splits into 3 parts). Also, I wanted to be able to carry my bike and enjoy my convertible at the same time.

- I considered a trunk-mounted rack, but felt it could compromise the trunk's tracking mechanisms (considering the trunk opens in both directions). I also read somewhere that the paint/finish on the trunk could get rubbed, scratched and damaged.

- I considered a hitch, but didn't want a permanent hitch on the back of the car and installing an invisible hitch was expensive. Also, I was not getting on the ground to attach/remove the visible portion of the invisible hitch every time I wanted to mount the bike rack. Furthermore, any hitch would be pretty low to the ground since the car already sits low on run-flats.

- I researched non-BMW high-end bike racks. Neither Thule nor Yakima bike rack fit guides recommended a fit for my car! I was actually surprised by this! I guess you can use their racks, if you want, but not based on a recommendation from them.

- I own a carbon fiber bike. According to industry articles you should not hang this type of bike, hanging could stress the bike frame, so a tray style rack is recommended.

- The BMW rack with its optional lights and plate mount does have a nice finished look. BUT, to mount the rack I would have to purchase an additional installation kit; this is why the cost started to escalate. Ultimately, I really did want to stick with a rack engineered to work best on my car. Most likely BMW considered balance, arrow dynamics, existing car features, etc.

My Decision after all considerations:
- Get the BMW rack; it would work best out of all the options I explored and based on the slot photos I found on the Internet, the slots would not look that bad.

- First, I had to get over the cost, BUT get the best price. After all, I had already spent a mini fortune on the car and cycling, so why compromise now. Not being able to independently transport my road bike was simply not an option. I managed to get the price down from an INSANE $1,800 quote (I think that dealership was toting on their tail pipes) to $1,035 dollars after tax. This price covered: a discounted bike rack-$464; a discounted installation kit-$136 (my car didn't have that 3AR option); painting (for the bumper caps); and all labor and taxes-$335. I know, I know, the cost is still high, but it was around the same cost of getting an invisible hitch and a tray style bike rack (that wasn't recommended for my car). Hell, most of us wear jewelry that costs way more, just look at your ring finger (yes, I am now justifying the cost).

Here is something I didn't expect (a gotcha):
- The bike rack (in the US) does not come with the optional light and plate holder. I was not happy about this because these features provided a very distinct polished look to the BMW rack and set it apart from all others. MORE IMPORTANTLY, you should get exactly what is advertised. The BMW site talks to these features and the book indicates they are optionally installed; not being provided the features is not the same as "optionally installed". I wonder if I should push this issue with BMW and get all that I paid for!!

- The BMW bike rack light option has an impact on the operation of the reverse sensors. With the optional light feature installed the sensor alarm is disengaged when the lights on the rack are connected. Without this option, the sensor alarm is automatically triggered the minute you put the car in reverse (one long alarm). Actually the latter is probably better for those who rely on the alarm.

So to wrap this up:
- After everything, I am pleased to say the capped bumper slots do not look bad at all (for when the rack is not on the car) and they are very secured. I will probably order spare bumper caps just in case I misplace one. I no longer feel the cut out bumper devalues the car. I plan on keeping my car, but if I sold it, I guarantee you the next owner (cyclist or skier) would be psyched that they would get the rack with the car.

- I can easily install and remove the rack myself (when I have no choice); it only takes a few minutes.

- The BMW rack is a very solid contraption (smile) and can't be removed from the car when locked. Lock the bike to the rack and minimum worries. The rack also looks really good on the car (even w/o the lighting feature), I have received several compliments from other cyclists!

So hopefully this thoroughly exhaustive post will help one other person that my be struggling with the same decision!
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Last edited by dargar; 06-18-2013 at 07:41 AM.
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  #2  
Old 06-15-2013, 09:35 PM
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3two8iguy 3two8iguy is offline
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Nice job,,,,,and about you OCD,most definitely...
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Old 06-16-2013, 06:29 AM
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Verts4Ever Verts4Ever is offline
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We thought about adding an invisible hitch to our E93 for a rack, then decided to leave well enough alone and continue to use our SUV for carrying the bikes.

With the SmartTop mod, it would be too easy to forget the rack is on, trigger the fob to open or close the roof, and WHAM goes the trunk lid.

You have to account for this kind of stuff happening after your age passes 45.
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Old 06-16-2013, 10:00 AM
TXFred TXFred is offline
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This is a great post. I think that this should be made a sticky thread.

And I'd like to offer one more solution. This is how I carry my bicycle. I'm a big guy, and my bike is a 21" frame mountain bike. If it works for this big bike, it should work for most bikes.

This method is compact, keeps the bike safely locked inside the car, and only cost me $10 for the moving blanket.

The procedure sounds complicated, but I can actually get the bicycle in the car faster than I could mount a bike rack to the car.

Remove the wheels from your bicycle. Put them in the trunk. Collapse the bicycle seat to its lowest height.

Put the top down, and use the moving blanket to drape the rear seat.

Spin the bicycle's handlebars around backwards, and load the bicycle into the back seat upside down. The chain side of the bike should be towards the front of the vehicle. One pedal should be between the passenger headrests, padded by the blanket. Be sure it won't interfere with the trunk lid opening and closing.

Wrap excess moving blanket around the forks and the back of the frame. Then pull the seatbelts out and wrap them around the forks and frame. Snug up the seatbelts.

Put the top back up.

Total time to strip the bike and load it, about two minutes. The same to unload and assemble it. The bike is locked inside the car and secured by the seatbelts in case I have to swerve or brake sharply.

I actually use this moving blanket for lots of things. With a moving blanket and the convertible top, the E93 does a good imitation of a pickup truck. For instance, yesterday I hauled a load of potted plants home from a nursery, and the car's interior stayed nice and clean!

Frederic
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Last edited by TXFred; 06-16-2013 at 10:03 AM.
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  #5  
Old 06-16-2013, 10:42 AM
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fun2drive fun2drive is offline
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This post is suitable if you want to carry a bike rack. You mentioned expensive hitches? Mine was 89 bucks and is not a one trick pony and is a hidden hitch. I have no intention of cutting holes in my bumper and my hidden hitch serves a lot of purposes besides a bike rack mount. I pull my jet ski with it and works excellent.

However for those only carrying a bike rack this one seems to be the best I have seen. Cutting holes in the bumper facia and having caps that match and make it look well integrated. I could also see assuming the load carrying capacity of this rack that you could carry extra luggage or stuff (since our convertibles don't have the largest carrying capacity).

Its all what you want and I have never seen a bike carrier like this one, very clever...
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Old 06-16-2013, 01:24 PM
dargar dargar is offline
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Thanks Frederic. I actually took this route until I decided on a rack. I will need that interior space for luggage when traveling to out-of-state rides and of course I need that trunk so I can drop the top! However, your solution is certainly, the least expensive option for carrying a bike!
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Old 06-16-2013, 01:27 PM
dargar dargar is offline
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Hey Fun2drive! You paid only $89 bucks for an invisible hitch. I got some insane quote in the hundreds, that is why I noted this option as being costly.
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Old 06-17-2013, 01:27 PM
unrealii unrealii is offline
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Yup, $89
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=268660
I did pay $300 for installation + 100 for a bike carrier on top of the $89
Only downside is that the hitch is very low, so it does scrape on some low roads. It doesn't fit m3's and possibly 328's as hydraulics are located in the way.

I like yours. It definitely looks easier to manage and more solid coming out of the bumper the way it does.
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:33 PM
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I bet BMW would sell more of these if they made the price more realistic... Of course, they'd rather you buy an X3 for bike hauling chores...
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:45 AM
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OP...I didn't think E93's had roof racks available. I remember reading up on it long ago and couldn't find any roof solution.
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:02 PM
dargar dargar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Last Sight View Post
OP...I didn't think E93's had roof racks available. I remember reading up on it long ago and couldn't find any roof solution.
Yes, you are right, BMW don't have a roof rack solution, but there is nothing to stop anyone from using some other manufactures roof rack. It was one of the options considered, but quickly eliminated as a solution. As you can see I went with the BMW recommendation.
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