Recreational & Family - Can a 5-bike hitch carrier REALLY carry 5 bikes?
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08-30-08, 05:35 PM
We bought a Thule Roadway 5-Bike Hitch Carrier today with great enthusiasm. But our spirits have been dashed unable to fit more than 3. Between handlebars and pedals, it seems impossible.
We have 2 adult bikes and 3 youth bikes. Has anyone had success with a 5-bike hitch carrier?
Any advice including alternative transport ideas would be greatly appreciated.
08-31-08, 01:19 AM
Even with the 4 bike hitch carriers, I had the same problem. No doubt you are already placing them on the carrier so every other bike has the front wheel pointed the same way. I still had problems with the handle bars getting in the way of each other. More so when all 4 were mountain bikes "wide bars" Newer frame designs would not allow the bikes to be shifted so the bars would avoid each other.
I found that if I took the front tires off the first and third bikes, it allowed me to turn the bars 90 degrees on those bikes so the bars then ran with the top tube.
It made it much easier. We then would bungie the two removed tires on top of the bikes.
Even after putting foam between every place the bikes looked to possibly rub against each other, it was painful to see the damage. I would loose more paint via 2 hours on the carrier than 2 years of riding trails "including a good number of crashes".
I soon invested in a roof rack to go along with the hitch carrier putting two bikes on each carrier.
I did a gooogle search trying to find an image of a 5 bike carrier fully loaded .... could not find one ..... Maybe that should be an idea of how easy it is to do.
08-31-08, 06:34 AM
Yes... that's our story. We had a 4-bike hitch carrier, but a poor design and our bikes bear the scars of shimmying this way and that to make them fit. We had managed to fit 3 on that carrier, but it wasn't pretty, and we really needed to haul 5 bikes.
We upgraded to a 5-bike Thule, trusting the name, but we're in the same boat. I'm guessing, if we had 5 ultra sleek slim tube adult bikes, maybe they'd fit, but we're a family, and yes, kids' mountain bikes are in the mix.
We don't have a roof rack on the minivan, although maybe we'll explore that idea. With a hitch already in place, maybe some kind of trailering solution would work, too. Hmmmmmm!
Thank you for your feedback!
I know this might be a bit of a pain, but what if you remove the peddles and loosen the handle bars so they turn sideways. ???
08-31-08, 07:59 AM
Ok, that's an idea, too.
We're really not an experienced biking family. We were looking for a solution with minimal prep time. It would be great to decide spontaneously that we'd like to load up and go for a bike ride and not have to disassemble 5 bikes to transport, reassemble upon arrival, disassemble to come home, etc, (although the boys might enjoy the handyman time with a wrench).
Thanks for the thoughts... we'll probably end up with some combination of all of these.
09-01-08, 05:55 PM
I have a yakima kingpin 5 and have been able to put 2 adult hybrids 2 kids mtb and a trail-a-bike on it with out to much wrench time. I will say that you have to take the front wheels off and turn the handlebars 90 deg. It takes some practice, but when we get to a trail by the time the rest of the crew is out and has there helmits on I've got most of them off and ready to ride. Not as easy as just tossing them on the rack, but not a major undertakeing.
We have the Yakima Full Swing, a monster of a "4" bike carrier, and I find it difficult to do more than 3 without risking paint damage. The geometry of our three bikes made it necessary to put #1 'north', #2 'south', and #3 'south' so that all the parts nested properly.
I also found that with time, the 'grippers' slide on the painted shafts no matter how much you tighten them down. I eventually cut some plastic tubing to fit between them, to keep the distances between components constant.
Good luck with a carrier claiming to fit 5! Maybe with perfectly matched road bikes, but certainly not with the unusual frames out there today.
09-02-08, 02:25 PM
three bikes on back, two on the roof on a separate rack. Problem solved (expensively).
09-04-08, 07:16 AM
This is not just about numbers of bikes but about weight. I`we got a Thule 3 bikes rear carrier. It can take 45 kg. This means three bikes of max 15 kg.
That means if I give a lift to a friend with a cheap "full suspension bike" I can carry only two.
The weight I am allowed on the "trailer hitch" on my car (small Toyota) is 50 kg`s. I am thinking the carrier is approx 5 kg so that is ok.
Maybe you could carry the bikes minus frontwheels in the back? You can buy solutions to carry wheels on the roof.
Twice I`we had bikes falling down and damaging my roof, so make sure you are not in a hurry when you mount them there.
Remember there is a limit for what you can carry on the roof, both for the roof itsself and the rack you buy. My roof is 100 kg limited.
I think best (but not cheapest) solution for 5 bikes, (doing this for maybe 10 - 15 yrs) is a trailer for the car. Make some arrangement for a sturdy ride for the bikes. Fast and easy compared to most other solutions.
I think for this (and other reasons) more and more peopel is going to buy folding bikes.
On short rides with the family I do actually take my Dahon Vitesse D7 folder for exactly that reason - one less bike to put on the rack!
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