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If you want the bike(s) not to get scratched while in transit the best type to get are the hitch mounted bike carriers. Any car can have a hitch installed, but just because there's a hitch doesn't mean any car can tow anything, so watch your cars towing weight limits and cut those max figures by half to be the safest. Of course carrying a load of bikes won't max out the towing weight capacity of any car except maybe a SmartCar!

There are lots of hitch carriers on the market, the one I bought is from here: http://thebonelocker.com/ This allows me to lock up the bikes without using a flopping banging cable lock that can scratch the bikes. You will also need to get a hitch receiver locking pin.
 

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I have one of these. Works great for a fraction of the cost of hitch + hitch mount rack. :thumbsup:

http://www.amazon.com/Allen-Deluxe-...=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1340024182&sr=1-2

I also have roof racks which in my opinion give better bang for the buck than hitch mount rack. Caveat; lifting heavy bikes onto the roof of a tall vehicle can be difficult. If you have a trailer hitch already on your vehicle, then the hitch mount makes more sense. Just my opinion. :)
 

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Problem with roof mounts is that most people eventually forget the bikes are on top and either hit the top of their garage, or the low steel pipes used in fast food drive through's, or low public garage entrances, or low overhanging trees, etc. Of course the outcome is a very damaged bike or two, the bike rack, and sometime the roof of the car is damaged due to the force of ripping off the bikes.

Of course the problem with any rear mounted bike rack is a car rearending you. I had a friend that lost his $3200 bike from that. But it seems more bikes are lost on roof top systems then rear systems.
 

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When my bike was on a roof rack, my seatpost got bent at McDonalds drive-thru, but the driver felt bad and bought me a new seatpost

Once I forgot to tighten the fork mount and my bike fell over when I took a turn. I heard noise, turned my head to the left and saw my bike hanging there against the window. The drop out got bent almost 90º, but I hammered it back into shape.:)

When my bike was on a rear rack, it was totaled when rear ended by a driver in a stolen car fleeing the police. The car was totaled too. My insurance paid for the car, bike and bike rack. Coincidentally, my car was worth the same amount as your friend's bicycle!
 

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When my bike was on a roof rack, my seatpost got bent at McDonalds drive-thru, but the driver felt bad and bought me a new seatpost

Once I forgot to tighten the fork mount and my bike fell over when I took a turn. I heard noise, turned my head to the left and saw my bike hanging there against the window. The drop out got bent almost 90º, but I hammered it back into shape.:)

When my bike was on a rear rack, it was totaled when rear ended by a driver in a stolen car fleeing the police. The car was totaled too. My insurance paid for the car, bike and bike rack. Coincidentally, my car was worth the same amount as your friend's bicycle!
Either way we sometimes have to transport our bikes and with that comes certain risks. I damaged my rear wheel on my bike and had it mounted on a standard rear rack, not the hitch type like the one I have now, and the bouncing of the whole thing going down the highway for some reason bent the wheel pretty good. I never had that happen before, but after that I got the hitch job. A lot of times I just put the bike in a back seat by removing the front wheel and slide the bike in then put the front wheel in; but times where I either will have passengers or more then one bike then on the rack it goes.
 
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