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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Hitch bike rack for 5+ bikes. looking for recommendation

    Hey all.
    I could use some help / recommendations on what bike rack to buy.
    I have up to 7 bikes to transport (too many kids) and I figure a combination of roof rack and trailor hitch racks can do it.
    I have the roof rack, and would like to purchase a trailor hitch rack with room for 5 or more bikes.

    Any feedback on products would be greatly appreciated.
    Also, is there a "standard" size hitch I should have installed on my van?

    Thanks
    Joat
    aka D. Babcock
    My bike aint fancy, but I can pedal all day.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Second question first: You'll want a 2" receiver. Reputable shops will install either a 1 1/4" or 2" receiver depending on the trailer towing capacity of your van. If you have a full size, rear wheel drive van, I don't think that will be an issue.

    First question: I think that Rhode Gear used to make a receiver rack to carry 5 bicycles. Here's the downside: It's easy to load the first bicycle onto a rack. The second bike is a little harder because you have to be aware of the crank and handlebar position of of the first bike. Size and frame configuration are additional issues. The third bike gets a little more difficult to load yet and so on up to five.

    Have you considered a trailer? I'm thinking the cost would be similar to the combined cost of a roof and receiver rack. With a little bit of ingenuity you could securely load all seven of your bikes at a convenient height. You will also retain easy access to the rear hatch on your van to make it easier to get at your helmets, water bottles, pumps and such. That's a HUGH benefit.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Trailer is an option that I had not considered. I was under the impression that a trailer would be a lot more expensive than a rack. Sounds interesting though.
    Joat
    aka D. Babcock
    My bike aint fancy, but I can pedal all day.

  4. #4
    Footballus vita est iamlucky13's Avatar
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    Some company out there makes a little single axle flatbed trailer with a 4'x8' deck (so you can use a sheet of plywood for the deck). I've seen them selling at Home Depot (and plenty of other, far superior stores I'm sure), for about $250. You could make wooden sides for it pretty easy, since it has brackets for that purpose and it could probably hold 4-5 bikes plus gear fairly easily. Keep in mind that a trailer requires it's own license and this particular one would not be great for long highway trips if you're an 80+ mph type driver. Its light weight and short wheelbase would makes it a little unstable. Plus, if you've never driven a trailer before, you'll have to learn. It's not really hard, as long as you do it before your vacation, but backing up is counter-intuitive to most people.
    "The internet is a place where absolutely nothing happens. You need to take advantage of that." ~ Strong Bad

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Ok, I have it down to 3 racks.
    Any Real life experience or comments would be appreciated on these.

    Saris T-RAX Pro 5 bike

    Yakima KingPin 5 Bike Rack

    Thule Hitching Post Pro 5 Bike

    Thanks in advance.
    Joat
    aka D. Babcock
    My bike aint fancy, but I can pedal all day.

  6. #6
    @#$% cars
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    How small is your smallest bike to load? I have a cheapo (approx $100 Bell 4 bike rack) on my mini van. The rack works great, but it is very hard to wedge a small bike frame onto it. A 24" bike is fine. A 20" bike ... my daughter's fit fine, but a friend of her's had a little different shape step thru frame and it was tough to fit. A 16" kids frame doesn't fit at all. So, if you've got a couple little ones try the exact bike where you want it before purchasing. The 16" bike fits easily in the back of my mini-van of course ... If you are counting that small a bike maybe you can do a 4 bike hitch rack. 2 on top and one tucked inside.

    Never too many kids! You'll find a way!
    Enjoy the ride.

  7. #7
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    Just picked up the Yakima KingPin. I plan on trying it tonight. All the bikes are full size: two trek 4100's, two trek 4300's and my LeMond.
    Once the youngest is old enough to be in a trailer, I will probably get a roof rack for my wifes bike and toss the trailer in the back.

    I will let you all know how I like the rack. I plan on using it tonight.
    Joat
    aka D. Babcock
    My bike aint fancy, but I can pedal all day.

  8. #8
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    Not sure if you're still looking, but we have a new product on the market that allows you to mount multiple bike racks to one hitch receiver. You can see images of it here and there are videos of it in use here. I'd be glad to answer any questions you or the others might have.

    kit2_fullsm.jpg
    Last edited by MnL_Guy; 03-08-10 at 04:53 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Steve in MA's Avatar
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    +1 on the trailer idea. One of my neighbors uses a trailer to transport his bikes (usually a mix of 4-5 bikes, including two recumbants), and it has worked out really well for him. Easy to get at the bikes in any order (as opposed to a hitch-mount), and minimal lifting of the bikes is needed (particularly handy for his recumbant trike).

    He has fork mounts like this one installed into the trailer to make securing the bikes easier:


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