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  1. #1
    Senior Member Bendico's Avatar
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    Thule Ridgeline rack

    Was not sure where to post this so I figured I would put it here. I am looking at the Thule Ridgeline 4-Bike Hitch Rack. If anyone has this rack please let me know how well you like or dislike it. I was going to get the Saris T-rax pro but after see the straps on that rack I have change my mind.

  2. #2
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    My own preference for a hitch rack is one where the tires of the bikes are supported in tray's and the bike is held up by its wheels rather than hanging from the top tube. I have many different styles of bikes, straight, sloaping and no top tubes and can mix and match easily with this style of rack. The disadvantage is that the rack is a bit heavier and can be a handfull when mounting and dismounting from the vehicle.

    If you prefer the type of rack that hangs the bikes from the top tube then think about the usefulness of a "stabilizer bar". This is a bar that extends from the rack below the bikes. You can put bungee cords down there that keep the bikes from swinging back and forth and banging into each other.

    Remember, to use a 4 bike rack, your going to neeed a 2" receiver and a pretty substantial hitch. My own experience ends at 2 bike racks.

    Thule makes excellent racks but you might want to take a long look at Hollywood Racks for very good products at good prices. I have used several of them with excellent results including withstanding a substantial rear end collision that scratched my car and gutted the grill, radiator and hood supporting structure of the car that hit me. (That was a Hollywood Boomer.)

    Hollywoodracks.com (trust me, the website name sounds dangerous but isn't)
    Last edited by maddmaxx; 03-21-09 at 07:49 AM.

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    [QUOTE=maddmaxx;8571112]My own preference for a hitch rack is one where the tires of the bikes are supported in tray's and the bike is held up by its wheels rather than hanging from the top tube. I have many different styles of bikes, straight, sloaping and no top tubes and can mix and match easily with this style of rack. The disadvantage is that the rack is a bit heavier and can be a handfull when mounting and dismounting from the vehicle.

    If you prefer the type of rack that hangs the bikes from the top tube then think about the usefulness of a "stabilizer bar". This is a bar that extends from the rack below the bikes. You can put bungee cords down there that keep the bikes from swinging back and forth and banging into each other.

    Remember, to use a 4 bike rack, your going to neeed a 2" receiver and a pretty substantial hitch. My own experience ends at 2 bike racks.

    Thule makes excellent racks but you might want to take a long look at Hollywood Racks for very good products at good prices. I have used several of them with excellent results including withstanding a substantial rear end collision that scratched my car and gutted the grill, radiator and hood supporting structure of the car that hit me. (That was a Hollywood Boomer.)

    Hollywoodracks.com (trust me, the website name sounds dangerous but isn't)[/Q



    Do you have a link to this "stabilizer bar"? Which racks have them?

  4. #4
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    I can also vouch for the Hollywood hitch rack. I have a two bike rack mounted to the rear of my Van using a 2" reciever. I also have the two bike additional attachment. I never manhandle the complete four bike unit assembled as it is quite heavy and with all the kids basicly out of the house now, I seldom transport more than two bikes at a time.

    The rack has served us well on trips as short as 15 miles and as long as 2000 miles.

  5. #5
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Bialy;8586842]
    Quote Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
    My own preference for a hitch rack is one where the tires of the bikes are supported in tray's and the bike is held up by its wheels rather than hanging from the top tube. I have many different styles of bikes, straight, sloaping and no top tubes and can mix and match easily with this style of rack. The disadvantage is that the rack is a bit heavier and can be a handfull when mounting and dismounting from the vehicle.

    If you prefer the type of rack that hangs the bikes from the top tube then think about the usefulness of a "stabilizer bar". This is a bar that extends from the rack below the bikes. You can put bungee cords down there that keep the bikes from swinging back and forth and banging into each other.

    Remember, to use a 4 bike rack, your going to neeed a 2" receiver and a pretty substantial hitch. My own experience ends at 2 bike racks.

    Thule makes excellent racks but you might want to take a long look at Hollywood Racks for very good products at good prices. I have used several of them with excellent results including withstanding a substantial rear end collision that scratched my car and gutted the grill, radiator and hood supporting structure of the car that hit me. (That was a Hollywood Boomer.)

    Hollywoodracks.com (trust me, the website name sounds dangerous but isn't)[/Q



    Do you have a link to this "stabilizer bar"? Which racks have them?

    I looked quickly and posted these two pictures. I'm sure some other manufacturers have something like this but I don't remember who. These are both from Hollywood.
    Last edited by maddmaxx; 06-01-09 at 05:53 PM.

  6. #6
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    Not sure if I should comment here, since I actually work for Hollywood Racks, but thanks for the positive words, maddmaxx and cranky old dude!

    We are a lot smaller company than Thule, so we depend on comments from happy customers to make up for many of the marketing dollars we don't have. For a 4 bike hitch rack, and if you have a 2" receiver hitch, I would recommend the Sport Rider SE (HR1400).

    And Bialy, why does our website sound dangerous? Have to talke to our webmaster about that!

    Rick / OCRR

  7. #7
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR View Post
    Not sure if I should comment here, since I actually work for Hollywood Racks, but thanks for the positive words, maddmaxx and cranky old dude!

    We are a lot smaller company than Thule, so we depend on comments from happy customers to make up for many of the marketing dollars we don't have. For a 4 bike hitch rack, and if you have a 2" receiver hitch, I would recommend the Sport Rider SE (HR1400).

    And Bialy, why does our website sound dangerous? Have to talke to our webmaster about that!

    Rick / OCRR
    One might think that looking for "hollywoodracks.com" would be like looking for "dickssportinggoods.com". You must never make a mistake......

  8. #8
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by [B
    maddmaxx[/B];8590608]One might think that looking for "hollywoodracks.com" would be like looking for "dickssportinggoods.com". You must never make a mistake......
    Oh, okay, well then if you want to go there . . . Dick's Sporting Goods just bought Chick's Sporting Goods so you can have all kinds of fun with that !

    And on our website, we never know how many hits we get from people with other intentions .

    Rick / OCRR

  9. #9
    Senior Member Bendico's Avatar
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    Ok here is what I have been told by both the hitch maker (Draw Tight) and Thule. I have a 2008 impala and the bought a class II 1 1/4inch hitch rated for 300 lbs. The Thule ridgeline is rated for four bikes at 140 lbs total for bike weight. If I had a class I hitch it would only be 200 TW weight but because I got a Class II hitch the TW weight is 300lbs. Nothing in any maker technical data that I have seen states that a 1 1/4 hitch will not support 4 bikes. All of the manufactures product selectors I have used kick out both 2 and 4 bike racks for the 1/1/4 hitchs as long as you have a Class II hitch. Am I missing something here again?
    Hitch link:
    http://www.draw-tite.com/fitguides/h...7&partno=36407
    Last edited by Bendico; 03-24-09 at 02:52 PM. Reason: Add Link

  10. #10
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bendico View Post
    Ok here is what I have been told by both the hitch maker (Draw Tight) and Thule. I have a 2008 impala and the bought a class II 1 1/4inch hitch rated for 300 lbs. The Thule ridgeline is rated for four bikes at 140 lbs total for bike weight. If I had a class I hitch it would only be 200 TW weight but because I got a Class II hitch the TW weight is 300lbs. Nothing in any maker technical data that I have seen states that a 1 1/4 hitch will not support 4 bikes. All of the manufactures product selectors I have used kick out both 2 and 4 bike racks for the 1/1/4 hitchs as long as you have a Class II hitch. Am I missing something here again?
    Hitch link:
    http://www.draw-tite.com/fitguides/h...7&partno=36407
    It sounds like you have done your homework. In the past the choices for 1 1/4 hitchesw were far fewer.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Bendico's Avatar
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    I have been researching this for about a month now. I have read a ton of stuff about all the racks and the biggest thing I have learned is that more you are willing to spend the better rack you are going to get IMHO. Up until about a week ago I was set on buying a Saris T-rax pro rack till I took a really good look at the straps on it in the store and that made me change my mind even tho it is still looks like a good rack. I also posted a question on this forum and another forum and most people were saying look at the Thule rack so I did. I found that the Ridgeline 954 fit my Impala and looked like an awsome rack so I checked it out in the store and liked what I saw. I looked at the hollywood road runner deluxe rack as well online and the rack looks well built but, I just don't like how the base is built with the extra brace and welds. The more weld points you have the more chance of having problems is my personal experience. Other than that the Hollywood racks don't look to bad either just not for me I guess.

    At this point also the LBS where we are getting our bikes at is willing to give me a great deal on the Ridgeline also and they didn't steer me to it I told them what I was looking for so that was a plus.

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    Bendico or others,
    1. What was the specific problem/issue with the Saris T-Rax's Pro's straps?
    2. Did you consider Softride Racks ( http://www.softride.com/ )?
    3. What about Yakima? Seems Thule has a heavier bike weight capacity.
    4. Were you able to figure out which rack is least damaging to the bikes in terms of scratching or bumping into each other?
    Thanks.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Eclectus's Avatar
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    I have an old Yak Getaway-4 that is based on Softride's parallelogram concept. (Yak no longer makes it, was it breaching Softride's patent?)

    It works really nicely because you can lower the rack so you only have to lift bikes about 10 inches, even with a high-clearance 4 x 4 SUV, e.g. 4Runner. Easier for women or people with wrist injuries to load and unload their bikes.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Bendico's Avatar
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    Bialy Said:
    1. What was the specific problem/issue with the Saris T-Rax's Pro's straps?
    2. Did you consider Softride Racks?
    3. What about Yakima? Seems Thule has a heavier bike weight capacity.
    4. Were you able to figure out which rack is least damaging to the bikes in terms of scratching or bumping into each other?
    Thanks.
    I really like the Saris T-rax pro but those straps seem like they will not hold up to the weather or abuse of the bikes bouncing around on the rack. Hard plastic tends to wear to quickly in my experience the idea is on the right track but I think it needs more work. I did some checking and Yakima a few years ago used a similar type strap that are like what is on the Saris and Yakima seemed to get away from them and went to the soft rubber type. Also the more I look at the Saris the way the pins hold the rack up is not really thrilling me either. The feature I really liked the most about the Saris rack was the knob that you use to tighten the rack down once you place the pin in and lock itto the hitch.

    I looked at the softride racks and they just didn't interest me at all can't really tell you why.

    Yakima seems like a nice rack but I don't need the features they offer for their rack such as tilt away left or right for one or the swing away they offer on another. I have a friend at work that has a Yakima rack says it is really heavy but he loves it. I showed him the Thule Ridgeline and he was in awe of the rack and said that if he was in the market for a new rack that was one he would consider.

    As far as a hitch rack that does not damage the paint on the frame of the bikes or keeping them from bumping together I don't think that has been made yet. All racks are going to allow bikes to swing some and at some point they will touch and scratches will happen but hey its a bike and you have to deal with it and find ways to help limit it.

    I looked at the system that the Hollywood racks uses on it roadrunner and thought about how I could use a U bolt and some square extrude alluminum and make my own stablizer (sway) bar for at the bottom of the rack instead of the tie down strap that comes with the Thule rack. By using aluminum for this process it i will add little weight to the rack but hold the bikes more steady on the rack. I figure that the strap method that Thule wants you to use will cause all bikes to sway together and cut down on scratching but still making to much sway. Then I read on another forum where a guy was using the Ridgeline and travelling at 80mph from GA to I think NY and had not problem with bikes or racks.

    As stated above I will get the Ridgeline and if I don't like it I will get another rack in the future. But the biggest thing I think about in all of this is that Grandma always said "you only get what you pay for" I think this time she may be correct.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bendico View Post

    .........
    As far as a hitch rack that does not damage the paint on the frame of the bikes or keeping them from bumping together I don't think that has been made yet. All racks are going to allow bikes to swing some and at some point they will touch and scratches will happen but hey its a bike and you have to deal with it and find ways to help limit it. ........
    No Sir. Not true.

    My Hollywood Hitch rack is well over ten years old. It's the "Team-Rider" 4-bike model. The front and rear wheels of the bikes get straped into individual trays and the bike is stablized with a seat post clamp. I've reduced it down to two bike size.

    No swinging bikes. No bikes banging into each other. No scratches occurring during transport. The rack locks to my truck, the bikes lock to the rack and all is well with the world.

    I've included two pictures of the rack on my truck; one folded up and the other ready for loading. The rack is sturdy enough to have me considering a way to extend the trays to accomodate our Long Wheel Base recumbents.

    By all means buy what you're comfortable with but please be aware that hitch racks do exist that work quite well. Just my .02. Please pardon my rust.





    EDIT: I am not attempting to promote one rack over another, just sharing my personal experience.
    Last edited by cranky old dude; 03-25-09 at 05:43 PM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Bendico's Avatar
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    I'm sorry I mean to say in my post that the hanging racks all have sway to them. I wish I could use a rack like that with my car. They look really nice and alot better than the hanging racks.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Eclectus's Avatar
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    Thule and Yak racks' cradles hold the top and seat tube simultaneously to minimize sway. They also make tray models.

    For people with SUVs, p/ups with shells, vans, the Thule 954 Revolver, Yakima Swingdaddy and Softride Parallelogram are very convenient if you take a lot of trips because you can open your tailgate (or Suburban swing-out doors) without having to remove the bikes. No biggy for one bike to take off and put back on, but if you take 3-4, this feature is very nice.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bendico View Post
    I'm sorry I mean to say in my post that the hanging racks all have sway to them.
    Don't these incl. the Ridgeline have "anti-sway" features?

  19. #19
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    OK, another bit of useful information about hitch racks. My family rides several varieties of bikes with different sizes, bar configurations and seat locations. Sometimes the bikes have to be mounted facing in the same direction and sometimes in different directions to avoid interference between bars and seatposts etc. Picture racking a TT bike next to a beach cruser.... My newest rack is sold by many outfits and looks like the picture. The Wheel supports are adjustable for width to accomodate longer or shorter bikes and that means that each bike can also be offset to the left or right of the car's centerline. Voila, its almost impossible to find a combination of bikes that will not fit together.
    Last edited by maddmaxx; 06-01-09 at 05:53 PM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Bendico's Avatar
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    Bialy
    Yes the ridgeline has anti sway features, but I feel there is still going to be some sway and the bike may bump together. This is not a major concern to me as a little bumping should hurt the bikes.

    Hey Maddmaxx
    I did think about the loading of four bikes on the rack and the LBS said that the three Hybrids and the FX should load fine. I figure that he knows best as he sells all the bikes and the racks.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Eclectus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
    OK, another bit of useful information about hitch racks. My family rides several varieties of bikes with different sizes, bar configurations and seat locations. Sometimes the bikes have to be mounted facing in the same direction and sometimes in different directions to avoid interference between bars and seatposts etc. Picture racking a TT bike next to a beach cruser.... My newest rack is sold by many outfits and looks like the picture. The Wheel supports are adjustable for width to accomodate longer or shorter bikes and that means that each bike can also be offset to the left or right of the car's centerline. Voila, its almost impossible to find a combination of bikes that will not fit together.
    That's a very important point: make sure you select a rack that accommodates all the bikes you want to carry, and is suitable for kinds of hauling you intend to do.

    For example, I don't know how we'd mount women's curved step-through frames on our Yak Getaway. We could use our rooftop rack, although that wouldn't be terrific because our Sequoia roof is 6 and a 1/2 feet high, so A) somebody would have to climb onto the roof, which is not designed for this weight, and B) we drive offroad to primitive campsites and other waypoints, which can have overhanging limbs that are perfect bike removers. Might have to lay it flat with a cargo net on top. But it hasn't come up because our family's ladies ride men's bikes.

    So our rack loses versatility points in the range of bikes it can carry, but scores high in all-terrain capabilities. (The Sequoia is actually the limiting factor, although it's gotten us through some, "That was exciting, our right front wheel was in the air--uhm, let's not do that again--" places.

    Our rack allows bike-sway, but velcro tape (REI sells some super heavy duty stuff) and bungie cords nicely overcome this to prevent dings and other impact damage on trips ranging up to 2300 miles so far. You immobilize wheels, handlebars, and pedals (you could remove pedals, we don't) then manually test and modify your rigging in the driveway, and you're good to go.

    (One can understand why, in this circumstance, it's nice to not have to undo all this stuff to take the bikes off to load groceries, access the coolers, etc. from the tailgate.)

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