Carriers for Subaru Outback: Saris RS Trunk Mount or Thule Hitch Mount
Do you have any advice, opinion or experience on a good carrier for a Subaru Outback? We would like to carry either 3 or 4 bikes on a good quality carrier. We need at least three, the fourth would be nice if a friend wants to come along.
I was told about the Saris RS Bones trunk mount - it tightens by ratcheting down steel cables and is about $260.00 at the LBS. No straps to hand tighten, just ratchet the cables down. This only holds three bikes I think max.
The other is a Thule hitch mount that holds up to four bikes and could swing down to allow access to the hatchback while the bikes were still attached, but I have read the Subaru hitches do not accept other brands of bike carriers, or at least not very well.
All else being equal, which is better for preventing damage to the (brand new expensive) bikes? and which company has better service?
I own a second generation Outback ('02). There is nothing unique about a receiver hitch that makes it rack or trailer draw bar specific. The only thing that can be problematic is that most Subaru models are only Class I-II rated, which means you have a 1.25 x 1.25" receiver rather than the more popular 2 x 2" receiver. There are lots of inexpensive 2 bike racks in 1.25", but the selection diminishes sharply when you start looking for 4 bikes racks in the smaller receiver size.
Personally, I like receiver racks over trunk or hatch/tailgate mounts. They are much more secure both structurally and theft wise, plus you minimize cosmetic damage to paint and sheet metal.