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  1. #1
    Yen
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    Shopping for a bike rack

    We're planning for our next road trip which will include our bikes.

    Looking for recommendations for a good, stable bike rack for the back of the car. We will mount it on a hitch (not the trunk).

    We've looked in catalogs and on-line but the choices seem overwhelming... what makes one better than the other?

    Jen
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  2. #2
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Hey Yen, I got one at Acadamy for $100 and it works great. The one I have fits into a 2" receiver, but they had different sizes. Mine can carry 4 bikes. Good luck and have a nice trip.
    George

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    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    They all suck at carrying more than one or two bikes and not beating the crap out of them as you go down the road. Buy the least expensive four bike rack you can find and use it to haul two. I spent a too much money on a Yakima. It works but no better than cheapies I've seen.
    It's all downhill from here. Except the parts that are uphill.

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    I agree with the experience of hitch racks beating up the bikes. I really don't like any rack that holds the bikes by the top tube and allows them to swing (without taking steps to prevent swinging).

    We have a "4 bike" rack and it is a BEAR getting 4 bikes on it, and they do get all beat up, swinging and bumping into each other. Two on a 3 or 4 bike rack would be OK, but you'd still have to figure out a way to keep them from swinging around and bumping each other.

    They now make bars ("frame adapter") that go between the seat post and the steering tube and/or quill stem that "even out" sloping top tubes so that they hang on a hitch rack better. It is indeed difficult to get some of the smaller compact or sloping tube bikes on that sort of carrier.

    I think they also make bars, very similar, but shorter to the above, that you can hook on the lower down tube or seat tube of two different bikes and keep them from swinging into each other. I would highly recommend looking into both of those accessories.

    If I had it to do over again, I'd get the kind of rack that has trays that the wheels sit in so the bike is supported upright by the wheels instead of hanging from the top tube. We used a "Fiamma" bike rack of that general design when traveling in Europe several years ago, and it was very good. I don't think they sell them in the States, but they are very common in Europe. the one we had was for use with a "hatch back" type rear door (we were in a VW, but it would work with a mini van or SUV). It was nice because you could fold it and use the hatchback door w/o removing the rack. Hitch racks get in the way if you need ot open the door.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terrierman
    They all suck at carrying more than one or two bikes and not beating the crap out of them as you go down the road. Buy the least expensive four bike rack you can find and use it to haul two. I spent a too much money on a Yakima. It works but no better than cheapies I've seen.
    Try this one by Hollywood, Its the pro rider I believe. Absolutely no bike rub, and easy to mount the bikes. If you don't want damaged bikes and don't want to mess with bungee cords to lash down your bikes, this is the one for you.


  6. #6
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    Look at Price Point, Performance and other for the Hollywood (or rebadged version) Sport Rack. This is a 2 bike (1 1/4 or 2.....careful, check the specs for hitch size, the original Hollywood comes with an adapter for both) rack with hoops for the wheels to sit in and adjustable padded hooks to hold down the bike. There is no sway or rubbing of bikes together nor is it necessary to remove any wheels. Because the wheel hoops are adjustable right and left, many different bikes can be accomodated without handlebar/other bike interference. It also folds up into a compact vertical package that minimizes the chances of it being clipped in a parking lot. I purchased one not too long ago on sale for 160 to replace the last rack that was hit on the car (no bikes fortunately.)

    Research shows "Price Point" internet bike shop has this for $169. There will be a larger freight charge though for the weight.

  7. #7
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George
    Hey Yen, I got one at Acadamy for $100 and it works great. The one I have fits into a 2" receiver, but they had different sizes. Mine can carry 4 bikes. Good luck and have a nice trip.

    Most bike rack like to be tied down near the end. I tie mine down from the end of the rack, down to the receiver. That way when you go over overpasses and hit bumps, the bikes aren'y flying all over the place.
    George

  8. #8
    Senior Member Thrifty1's Avatar
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  9. #9
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Some of those racks that hold bikes in a wheel tray look pretty heavy and I wonder how they would affect handling on a smaller car, but I haven't actually got the data.

    I prefer a rack that hinges at the base so you can swing it down to access the rear hatch.

    You'll want some string or twine to tie the front wheel rim to the downtube or otherwise prevent it swinging.

  10. #10
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    The Bell hitch rack I got from K-Mart for well under $100 works just fine.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  11. #11
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    I use a older Hollywood hitch rack on my Van. It carries two bikes and can be converted to carry four bikes. The bikes don't hang by the top tube, instead they sit in a track and an adjustable bar swings up and grabs the seat tube. Adjustable straps secure the wheels to the tracks. No banging bikes, no spinning wheels, and the rack swings down to allow access to the rear doors.

    I've also got an old Yakima roof system for my car which I love. Same idea, bike sits in a track and an adjustable bar swings up and grabs the down tube. Disadvantage..the older I get, the tougher it is to throw the bikes up onto the roof of the car.

    Whatever you buy, make sure it's good and strong...the 18 wheeler behind you may not be able to avoid squishing your bike as it bounces down the interstate at 65 mph.

  12. #12
    Senior Member roadiespinner's Avatar
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    I have done some research and have just purchased a Saris Thelma. I just got it yesterday and have not put it on the car yet but it looks like it will do the trick. It holds the bike by the wheels not the frame. When there is no bike on it, it folds up. It weighs about 26 lbs, as I recall.

  13. #13
    Yen
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    Thanks very much, everyone. I will check into your recommendations.

    Jen
    Specialized Roubaix Expert
    Surly Long Haul Trucker

  14. #14
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen
    Thanks very much, everyone. I will check into your recommendations.

    Jen
    Get a van, and hire a driver, and stock the van with food, drink, and all that. Your own personal SAG wagon!
    Visit my blog! The Leadership Almanac
    2012 Masi Evoluzione
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