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Old 08-12-12, 10:03 PM   #1
LuckySailor 
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Hitch mounted bike carrier

Hello. didn't know which forum to put this under so I thought that I would post it in a couple forums. I currently have a bike carrier that is fairly adjustable to allow for odd sized frame tubes. The problem is that our bikes keep getting scrapped up, even gouged. There must be a better bike rack. I am looking to buy a 4 bike hauler, and am considering a platform type, hitch mounted. Will this be the best choice to keep the bikes apart? I've been taking pedals off as necessary, but then kick stands get in the way. So then I took a pool noodle, cut it into various lengths, hollowed them out and then attach them to the areas that are or might contact the adjacent frame. Then I try to tie the bikes together so that they move less. This has worked pretty well, but it takes 30 minutes to load 3 bikes! Any suggestions?
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Old 08-13-12, 12:33 PM   #2
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Oh boy this is a great question and I too have battled with this.

I have a Thule that should carry 4 bikes, but I only carry 3. I have done a number of things to try to prevent the 'rubbing'.

First, I question if the bikes should be "tied" together. I think this pulls the weigh of the bikes from rest and basically turns your bikes into pendulum that want to swing to get back to a resting position. Actually causing even more wobble/rubbing than if they were not tied together.

It seems that this issue only plagues me on the highway, around town I don't seem to face any issues. On a big trip, I do the dog and pony show and do the 30 minute tie-up/noodle thing, but usually for local jaunts, I just make sure the bikes are spaced out (and finding the right space out did take several trial and error senerios)

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Old 08-13-12, 12:38 PM   #3
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I carry four bikes on a hitch mounted rack and they are supported from the bottom (tires). It is similiar to the one that you see on buses. The back whell is locked down and the front one is covered by an adjustable arm (as opposed to the type that clamp over the frame). It is the best option I have found. The bikes are very easy to get on and off and they do not touch each other (occasionally, if I had an odd sized bike from on odd sized friend joining me I might have to adjust a seat height).

The only downside is it it heavy to move around once off the vehicle, but that is far outweighed by the way the bikes are carried safely. You can get a bike off and on the rack in seconds too. Lastly, it fits my recumbant just as easily as my weird framed dual suspension Marin mountain bike.
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Old 08-13-12, 04:11 PM   #4
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I use a Thule 916XTR T2 2-Bike Hitch with the add on for 2 more bikes and love it. I use to have a Thule 956 Parkway 4-Bike rack and hated having to unload the bikes since you have to take them out in reverse order. It also meant that they sometimes swung into each other. The 916XTR T2 will allow removal of any bike you want. It helps when you want to take a quick ride while everyone else is staying with the loaded auto, otherwise you have to pull them all off or pre-load them in a specific order.
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Old 08-14-12, 01:33 AM   #5
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I've had every type of bike rack available, and I'm a big fan of hitch mounted platform style racks. They definitely have the easiest and fastest bike mounting system and they hold the bikes very securely. The "hanging" style sucks.

I've had a Swagman 2-bike setup (XTC-2) for a few years. I recommend those without reservation.

However, when it came time to get a 4-bike rack, I got a Highland Sportwing: http://www.etrailer.com/Hitch-Bike-R...d/1370400.html



Got it for a road trip I we took with the family to Lake Tahoe a couple weeks ago. I'm very happy with it.

I'd never seen one before, so I was a bit skeptical about how it would work, but it ended up working great. It has a few features that I found to be desireable:

- It's light. If you're going to be putting and taking off a bike rack more than a few times, it's nice if you don't have to lug around an 80lbs+ piece of equpment (or 100lbs+ for the Thule or Yakima version).

- It breaks down to a small package. When it's broken down it's actually smaller than the 2-bike Swagman that I have, which is probably one of the smallest available since it folds up nicely. My garage space is limited, so when I put the bike rack away, I don't want it to take up too much room. It takes maybe 15 seconds to break it down, then the Sportwing can fit in a 1' x 1' x 3' space, which is tiny.

- It hangs the bikes from the rims and the hangers are quickly adjustable. This is actually superior than the platform style racks if you ever switch the bikes around, because the spacing of the mounting hangers doesn't have to be exact. With a platform style rack, you have to adjust the platforms where the wheels go. Each bike has a different wheelbase, so you have to make sure the spacing is correct. With the Sportwing, you just have to eyeball it and if you're off by a few inches, no biggie. I was able to quickly set it up to hold a Townie (super long wheelbase), my mountain bike, a small 20" wheel kids bike, AND a trail-a-bike. It was easy as pie.

- It doesn't stick out as far as some of the other 4-bike platform style racks I've seen. Some of them stick out REAL far.

- Mounting is super fast. You just hang the bikes, secure the wheels with the wheel straps, then use a provided velcro strap to keep the bike from swinging. It's not quite as fast as the platform style rack, but it's still plenty fast.

- It converts to a 2-bike system. It comes in two main parts and you just slide out the 2nd part and you've got yourself a 2-bike rack.

- It's cheap. I was ready to shell out quite a bit more, but the low price made it easier to decide to take a chance on this rack without ever having seen one before. I'm glad I did take that chance.

Cons:

I do wish it had a bit more ground clearance, but it's no lower than most other racks. I just have a really steep driveway and need to be careful when I'm backing out. It also doesn't have a built in lock. I bought a 10' cable lock and felt comfortable with the bikes attached to the car when we were away.

Sheesh, that was long.
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Old 08-17-12, 05:56 PM   #6
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I have this one and and I love it. They make a four bike rack just like it.
http://www.hollywoodracks.com/bike-r...h-rack-SE2.htm
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Old 09-17-12, 09:52 PM   #7
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I have this one and and I love it. They make a four bike rack just like it.
http://www.hollywoodracks.com/bike-r...h-rack-SE2.htm
I have the Hollywood Se1400, bikes do not move,real easy to clamp the bikes down. Cheaper then Yakima and Thule . Bought from Amazon no problems.
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Old 09-17-12, 10:49 PM   #8
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I'm with you on trying to figure out bike carriers. I'm a firm believer in snugging the bikes together. I use microfiber towels between the bikes touch points, and strap them together at those points with Velcro loop straps which are easy to attach, take apart. I borrowed a friends 4 bike Thule. Worked fine but I also had to tie the rack to the PU bed's outside tie downs to keep the rack from jumping all over the place.

You can barely see the red straps in this pic.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/61726328@N03/7998664569/

Strap looks like this.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/6172632...n/photostream/
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Old 09-24-12, 08:08 AM   #9
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Thank you everone for your input. I am fairly sure that I will end up with a Draftmaster in the spring-mainly because I am hauling a tandem as well as regular bikes. And for Wildwinds, if clearance is a concern, then head to tractor supply company (TSC) and get the hitch that slides into your receiver with 2 recievers mounted on top of each other. The bottom one would be for your trailer(if you were hauling one) and the top one is for your bike rack. It would raise the bike rack a good 4". Or go to a welding shop, (preferably one that makes trailers) and tell them you want to raise your bike rack up a few inches for clearance. Probably only cost you $50-60 bucks. Heck of alot cheaper than buggering up a bike!
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Old 09-24-12, 08:59 AM   #10
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I'm curious. How would the Highland Sportwing (and others with similar wheel mounting) work with a bike that had fenders? Anyone tried that? Thanks.
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Old 09-24-12, 10:23 AM   #11
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We use a SWAGMAN XTC4 (2 inch receiver) and bought it at Amazon. It comes with a threaded lock and a bike lock cable. It also folds up however, the clearance to my van warranted a 8" hitch extension. No issues so far. Farthest I've used it is driving from NJ to Martha's Vineyard.


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Old 12-02-12, 10:21 PM   #12
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Can a hitch be put on a Corrolla?
I want an easy-to-use rack for one bike. I plan on using it often; Probably several times per week.
Right now I have a cheap Walmart carrier. I would like something that is easier to use.
Any suggestions?
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Old 12-03-12, 09:36 AM   #13
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I would have a hitch installed by U haul, and then get a rack that slides into that hitch receiver. I would use a platform type rack by Swagman or SportRack for the ease of loading. Both are fairly lightweight for your small car-but there are lighter ones made of aluminum, but you will pay dearly for these. (Thule comes to mind), and we're only talking 5 pounds or so.
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Old 12-03-12, 10:14 AM   #14
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Ok. I know this is OT but what if I didn't want to go to the expense of getting a hitch mounted rack. What's a good trunk rack? I'm looking for ease of use.
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Old 12-03-12, 11:05 AM   #15
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I had a hitch mount put on my Mazda 3. I am happy to have it. I just leave the rack there most of the time. It makes it much easier to be spontaneous, rather than always having to put the rack back on the trunk. I also like that my trunk is accessible. When I use the trunk mount rack it is not possible to get in the trunk whenever I carry a bike. Yes, it did cost, but the advantages made it worthwhile.
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Old 12-03-12, 11:13 AM   #16
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Can a hitch be put on a Corrolla?
Select your year/make/model: http://www.etrailer.com/fitguide.htm
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Old 12-10-12, 10:52 AM   #17
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I am happy to have it. I just leave the rack there most of the time. It makes it much easier to be spontaneous, rather than always having to put the rack back on the trunk. I also like that my trunk is accessible. When I use the trunk mount rack it is not possible to get in the trunk whenever I carry a bike. Yes, it did cost, but the advantages made it worthwhile.

I agree with this. I did not like using a trunk mounted because of the damage caused to the top of the deck lid. (this was 20+years ago) maybe designs have changed. But I like the ease of a hitch mounted system- They fold up to the back of the vehicle when not in use, still allow access to your back end, and don't look too bad either. Good luck with whatever you choose. As long as your butt gets onto your bike, that's all that counts!
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