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  1. #1
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    Trying to find a semi-decent bike carrier for 3 bikes

    I have three bikes - two regular road bikes and one women's bike with that slanted top tube.

    I have a SUV with a 2" hitch already. Previously had a two bike carrier and put the kid bike in the back of the SUV, but now the kid has grown taller and I need a 3 bike carrier.

    Before I get into specific brand/model, I wanted to get some opinions of the different styles available and their pros and cons.

    First, it seems most carriers are made for either 2 or 4 bikes. There are 3 bike versions but not much. So first question is, does getting a 4 bike rack to use for 3 bikes a good idea or should I target only 3 bike carriers?

    Second, some 4 bike carriers can "convert" to 2 by removing a section. Is this a useful feature or most don't bother with removing it once it's on?

    Third, the carrier I had was for a 2" hitch. I didn't have a problem with it. Some of those I am looking at have a 1-1/4" hitch adaptable to a 2". Should I stay away from those simply because it's an extra piece of hardware and it may cause additional wobble? Get one made for 2" hitch or doesn't matter?

    Now on to the various types.

    Mostly I have seen this kind. You hang the bike's top tube over the arms. From what I read the problem is the bikes would rub and scratch each other since the bottoms are hanging? Some use pool noodles to separate them and then strap all the bikes together? Also this may be a problem for a slanted tube on a women's bike? Any brand/model of this type with design that doesn't suffer from these issues?

    3K83G73J35L35I85Hbd1s34081f1c963c127e.jpg

    Or this, very small footprint, you can even leave it there when not being used.

    3E73Lc3J55E85Ff5M9d1k2840770dff3d166a.jpg

    Then I saw this kind. This is worse right? There is only one arm to rest the bikes how would the bike be stabilized?

    3Ge3Jf3N45L95N95Jed1n9e2a050cf51418fb.jpg

    Then you have these. This is similar to what I had. The wheels sit on it. No problem with women's bikes. The one I had doesn't have the top bar to hold down the bikes, but instead had a short arm sticking up that holds the crank arms. This is one I am considering but sure has a big foot print.

    3Fe3m43J55Ic5L85Mdd1me2db7525f40519a1.jpg

    Finally this type. I think this wouldn't have a problem with women's bike frame, and would not have the bike scratching and bumping into each other? Not sure if those V shaped bars can be removed? Any experiences with these types?

    0004289913905_500X500.jpg

    Thanks in advance for any advice or comments.

  2. #2
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    I have a Swagman 4 bike carrier that the wheels sit in. Works great.. a little tricky to load with kid and adult bikes, but once it's set, as long as I remember order and orientation, it works flawlessly.
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

  3. #3
    Climbing Fool terrymorse's Avatar
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    I hate the "hang from the top tube" style racks. You have to smash the bikes together, sloping top tubes make loading a hassle (top tube adapter, really??), and bikes can take a beating as they rub and bang into each other.

    It's tray mounting for me, whether it's on the top of the car or on the rear. My new all time favorite hitch rack is made by Saris, they call it the Selma 3:



    Very lightweight, will cary just about any bike, surprising stable on the road. Carries 3 bikes.
    Managing Director, Undiscovered Country Tours

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    I have a Swagman 4 bike carrier that the wheels sit in. Works great.. a little tricky to load with kid and adult bikes, but once it's set, as long as I remember order and orientation, it works flawlessly.
    Thank you. Do you only put the carrier on when you use it, or do you leave it up folded normally?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
    I hate the "hang from the top tube" style racks. You have to smash the bikes together, sloping top tubes make loading a hassle (top tube adapter, really??), and bikes can take a beating as they rub and bang into each other.

    It's tray mounting for me, whether it's on the top of the car or on the rear. My new all time favorite hitch rack is made by Saris, they call it the Selma 3:



    Very lightweight, will cary just about any bike, surprising stable on the road. Carries 3 bikes.
    I am leaning away from the top tube hangers as well.

    I just not sure if those with two arms out would be better than single armed ones.

    The Selma 3 looks interesting, but is it all plastic? The cons seem like it's very odd shaped and difficult to put away?

  6. #6
    Climbing Fool terrymorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miamicuse View Post
    The Selma 3 looks interesting, but is it all plastic? The cons seem like it's very odd shaped and difficult to put away?
    The wheel holders are plastic, the rest is metal. It seems a bit weird at first, but it's great once you get used to it. When folded up, it's no bulkier than any other of the wheel-mounted racks (and much lighter).
    Managing Director, Undiscovered Country Tours

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