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Old 04-28-05, 05:04 PM   #1
CMcMahon
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Hitch-Mounted Racks

Alright, I figured that it would make more sense to post this here than anywhere else; if I'm wrong, just go ahead on eWail on me.

I'm planning on getting a hitch-mounted 4-bike rack, because I hate the inconvenience of having to remove a strap-on rack for work (I have to get in and out of my trunk a lot, and I've had the door come crashing down on my head way too much), and roof racks are too expensive.

I'm driving a 1989 Honda Civic DX hatchback. I'm not sure what brand (although it'll either be Yakima or Thule) I'm getting yet, or what size hitch (1-1/4" or 2") I'll be using.

But here's my actual question, because I can't find anything online to help me with this: how the hell do I attach a hitch-mounted rack onto my car? Do I need to buy a hitch, and if I do, how do I install it? All that I have right now is a little u-shaped steel piece on the underside of my bumper (if you don't understand, just let me know and I'll take a photo later and upload it).

Also, how hard is it to remove a hitch-mounted rack? I'm not going to want it in the way on Friday mornings, when I make all my deliveries, so is it a pain to take it off and remount it? Or does it only take a minute or two?
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Old 04-28-05, 05:08 PM   #2
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You need a hitch. Pay a visit to e-trailer, they have a menu based system where you can put in the make and model, and get the hitch kit for your car. You won't need a wiring harness if you are only going to use it to mount a rack. Their kits typically can be installed with hand tools by anyone with some degree of mechanical ability in less than an hour. They have racks too.
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Old 04-28-05, 05:10 PM   #3
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Did a check on your car...they only have a fixed tongue listed, and you don't want that. What you actually need is a receiver.
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Old 04-28-05, 05:13 PM   #4
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You can have the hitch installed by many automotive places and/or U-haul. It cost me $190 for the hitch reciever and the install. No wiring included or needed for just a bike rack.

For your car you have no choice but to have a 1 1/4" hitch installed. At least that is what I was told when I got my hitch on my Mazda Protege and asked about getting one for my wife's Civic hatchback.

I bought a Sportswork Mod because most of the time I only need to carry one bike, but I can get a second bike tray to carry two. It is very easy and quick to load or unlod the bike.

Check out the site below for review on almost every bike rack made.

MTBReview.com








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Old 04-28-05, 05:17 PM   #5
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The one that it's showing doesn't seem to tell me what size mount it has, but the balls listed below say 3/4". Would that be the size that I'd need to get for a rack, because I haven't seen any online for anything smaller than 1-1/4"?

http://www.etrailer.com/productdetai...rfrom=1989&h=e

edit: You guys answered the question before I even asked it.
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Old 04-28-05, 05:28 PM   #6
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Note that most hitch racks that fit a 1-1/4" receiver are not rated to hold four bikes. You can get an adapter however.



Just be careful because with four bikes out on a long leverage arm, you run the risk of pulling the receiver off the car.

The reason you are limited to a 1-1/4" hitch is that cars generally don't have enough of a strong chassis to put a 2" receiver hitch. Well... that's actually wrong. They do but the manufacturers don't want you loading the chassis with the loads a 2" receiver hitch would max out at.
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Old 04-28-05, 05:37 PM   #7
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So I can use a 2" hitch, even though I'm not really supposed to, is what you're saying? It's not like I'm going to be pulling a trailer or anything, I'll just be putting 4 bikes (less than that usually) that weigh between 25 and 35 pounds on the thing.

I could only find one rack (http://yakima.com/choose_my_rack/Pro...8002405&Part2=) for a 1-1/4" that holds 4 bikes, by the way, but from what you're saying, a 1-1/4" hitch probably wouldn't be the best idea for that many bikes, anyway.
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Old 04-28-05, 05:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beerman
So I can use a 2" hitch, even though I'm not really supposed to, is what you're saying? It's not like I'm going to be pulling a trailer or anything, I'll just be putting 4 bikes (less than that usually) that weigh between 25 and 35 pounds on the thing.

I could only find one rack (http://yakima.com/choose_my_rack/Pro...8002405&Part2=) for a 1-1/4" that holds 4 bikes, by the way, but from what you're saying, a 1-1/4" hitch probably wouldn't be the best idea for that many bikes, anyway.

you could try this one
Performance XPORT Odyssey 4 Bike Hitch Rack with 1 1/4 inch Foot
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Old 04-28-05, 05:44 PM   #9
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Roger that...weight can add up fast. The rack might weigh 25 lbs., then start adding bikes. In most cases a class I receiver is rated for like 200 lbs. gross weight, which includes the rack. Some are 100 lbs., which you could easily go over with 4 bikes. I carry my wife's bent and 3 road bikes, but My Sorento can handle just a wee bit more than a Civic.
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Old 04-28-05, 05:55 PM   #10
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This is a Class I 1-1/4" hitch and receiver. It attachs to the frame near the bumper at two points.


This is a Class II 1-1/4" hitch and receiver. It attaches to the frame near the bumper at two points and is also secured at another two points further along the frame.


This is a Class III 2" hitch and receiver. Notice that it attaches at six locations and spreads the load out over a larger area.



This is a Class IV 2" hitch and receiver. You need a lot of frame to support this one.
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Old 04-28-05, 06:22 PM   #11
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I don't think you will find a 2" hitch for your Honda. You will be most likely limited to 1 1/4 which is the standard for cars. I would suggest that you get the hitch from Uhaul. Then you can decide if you want to install it yourself or ask Uhaul to do it. The problem with installation is that sometimes you need to drill the trunk and that makes some people nervous. I recently intalled a 1 1/4 that required drilling and while it was sort of painful I saved a few bucks doing the work myself. I got the rack from swagman.com and it is very solid so you may want to check them out.
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Old 04-29-05, 08:47 AM   #12
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I have the Sportworks Mod Series that is the same as Bolo's above. These are very good racks and i believe much better than racks that support the bike by the top tube.

They are heavy racks however, since they are so heavy duty. So the manufacturer limits them to two bikes on a 1.25" receiver. IOW, on a car you can only carry two bikes. I wouldn't use one of those adaptors because i think there is a reason that the manuf. has this limitation. It is probably too much tongue weight for a 1.25"

So if you MUST have four bikes then you will need one like the other rack posted here that holds the bikes by the top tube. Your bikes will probably move around a little more in the rack but I am sure plenty of people do it and get along ok.

So your best solution is to either put a receiver on from etrailer or call a local moving place like U-haul or a place that does hitch work. Camper dealers are a good place to check because a lot of them do this along with selling campers. (not much good to have a camper without a hitch.)

You will probably spend well over $200 if you pay someone to install it. I had one installed "profesionally" on one car and it cost me $240. The other car i just ordered it off etrailer and it cost me $80. Granted the $80 was a much easier install as my cirrus required dropping the exhaust etc.
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Old 04-29-05, 08:54 AM   #13
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It looks like this one is the one that fits your car.

You can read the instructions to see if you are up to the install.
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