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Trailer Hitch for Bike Rack...can this be done?

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Trailer Hitch for Bike Rack...can this be done?

Old 06-09-05, 07:07 AM
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globe9
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Trailer Hitch for Bike Rack...can this be done?

I don't like bike carriers that mount on the trunk. I own a Saris Bones rack and I'm a paranoid freak everytime I carry my bikes anywhere. I constantly look out the rearview mirror to make sure their not moving or falling off etc. A friend suggested getting a trailer hitch attached to my car, since those racks are much more stable.
I own a 1992 Mazda Protege and I have been looking at hitch prices. The cheapest one I can find is like $120 and then about $100 for the rack. That's over $200, something I really can't afford. Can I just buy the cheapest hitch I can find for any car? I NEVER plan on towing anything with my car, just having 1 or 2 bikes on there, so I don't need some 1200 ton towing hitch. I don't know if this would work or not. Does anyone have any other suggestions?
Thanks so much! I would even consider making something or designing something if anyone has any ideas.
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Old 06-09-05, 07:12 AM
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My car is rated to tow nothing. Nonetheless, I put a receiver and a hitch-mounted bike rack on it. All is well.

I can't imagine a cheap receiver is going to be a bad thing. There are only a few manufacturers out there making them anyway. Just make sure somebody does a proper job of installing it.

You're likely to find mostly 1-1/4" receivers. That should be fine. Just make sure the rack you buy matches that size. I would avoid the ** 2" rack + 2" > 1-1/4" adapter ** thing. Moving the weight another six inches from the car's frame increases the torque on the receiver pretty dramatically.

You can go to websites like U-Haul to figure out what they carry that will fit your car. They're pretty price-competitive, and some outlets do a decent job with installs.
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Old 06-09-05, 07:22 AM
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I must confess I don't know that much about auto parts...is a receiver hitch the same as the tow hitches I've been looking at online? Do they still cost about $100 or is this different? Sorry about the questions, but I am an auto-moron. Thanks for the quick answer though!
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Old 06-09-05, 07:27 AM
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Yeah . . .

Trailer hitch . . . receiver. Same thing. It's the big piece that bolts/welds on to your car.

Here's a site (or two) that you may want to look at:

http://www.etrailer.com/

http://www.hitchesonline.com/
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Old 06-09-05, 08:37 AM
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You will most likely have to buy the hitch new. I got a Hidden Hitch for my MPV from etrailer.com a few years ago. It is a 2" reciever (that is the square tube that the ball for a trailer, or the bottom of a bike rack slides into, as opposed to a drawbar or ball mount), and it cost me about $120 and I installed it by myself in about 45 minutes. You could probably find the rack used at a swap meet, yard sale or absolutely on eBay. A roof rack system would cost you about $200 too, so you have to decide what gives you the most versatility and re-usability when you eventually switch cars. With a hitch rack, you will need a new hitch on each car. With a roof rack, you just need a new fit kit for the new car ($30-$40). With the Saris that you have, you don't need anything. BTW, I have used all three and find them equally effective. I have never had a problem with a properly attached trunk rack coming loose, but I did check the straps relatively frequently. I just put a Bones rack on a friend's Z3 ( no hitch available, and you can't put a roof rack on a ragtop), and it is probably the best designed trunk mount available.
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Old 06-09-05, 10:17 AM
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Not to be too pedantic or anything, but a hitch is not the same as a receiver hitch. You want to make sure that you get a receiver hitch, that being the little 1 1/4" box that you can slide things into. You do not want to get a flat bar thats designed only to have a hitch ball bolted through it. For most cars, the receiver hitch is designed to tuck up under the bumper in an unobtrusive fashion.


Originally Posted by neil0502
Yeah . . .

Trailer hitch . . . receiver. Same thing. It's the big piece that bolts/welds on to your car.

Here's a site (or two) that you may want to look at:

http://www.etrailer.com/

http://www.hitchesonline.com/
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Old 06-09-05, 10:39 AM
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Good catch. Thanks.
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Old 06-09-05, 12:34 PM
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There are two sizes of receiver hitches. 1 1/4" and 2". 1 1/4" is fine for bike racks. 2" is the most common one, so you may have better luck finding a used rack in that size.

You do have to get one designed for your car, or how will you attach it? Unless you are a welder.
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Old 06-09-05, 02:31 PM
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unless you buy something car specific, you may run into fit problems. You have to bolt that thing to your car, which means drilling through floor of trunk in my experience with hitches on compact cars.
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Old 06-09-05, 08:39 PM
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Most of the newer hitches don't require any drilling. They use the bumper mounting points.
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Old 06-10-05, 03:57 AM
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the question is wether the poor little compact car has the mounting points at all. I saw a toyota echo with a 1 1/3 hitch once I doubt they could have even pulled and empty trailer with that thing.

On my old ford taurs I found a hitch on a car at a wrecking yard for $30, and got an old rack that my dad welded out of angle iron. Im not sure how much better it works than a trunk mount one though. Roof racks are really the way to go.
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Old 06-10-05, 06:02 AM
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You can attach a hitch to my little Protege. U-Haul, EHitch...they all have the Protege specific hitch, but since I never plan on towing anything in my life, I was trying to find a used one somewhere for a little less. I'm having no luck on Ebay finding anything for my car. A friend told me to go to Wal-Mart b/c they sell hitches for like $30. Has anyone tried there? Another friend is going to give me his bike rack with the 2" thingamagig so that will be free.

I really just don't like the Bones rack(2 bike one), everytime I mount only 1 bike on there it moves around a lot. I spend about 45 minutes adjusting and readjusting the darned thing...the main problem is the middle bar that mounts on the trunk...the 2 bars that mount on the bumper are fine and never move. I'm just paranoid that a bike will fall off and cause a severe accident behind me. I'd rather the more stable hitch rack IMO.
Thanks for all of the help by the way. I really appreciate it!
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Old 06-10-05, 06:27 AM
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I have the saris 3 bike trunk mount and it has 4 bars on it (2 on the top, 2 on the bottom). The only reason I don't like it is that my wife's "girl" bike is such that it has to use an adapter bar to mount, and it doesn't work that well. I've used it on 4 different vehicles and it is as solid as my yakima cobra rack on the roof of my truck. Plus, you never have to worry about driving your bike into an overhead object...like your garage or drive through awning (No I haven't done it, but I've come close). You also don't need a ladder to get the bike to the top of the vehicle (I just use the truck-bed, and I guess you have a compact car so nevermind about that).

I've seen several of the hitch-mount racks on the road, and many of them look like they are wiggling all over the place. If you go that way, be sure to get one that is solid.
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Old 06-10-05, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by DogBoy
I've seen several of the hitch-mount racks on the road, and many of them look like they are wiggling all over the place. If you go that way, be sure to get one that is solid.
True enough.

On my Thule 998, we got the "Snug Tite Lock" http://www.rackattack.com/exdthule-STL.asp?id=63

No movement at all. Course, it says it can only be used with Thule racks. Dunno' about that. Any rack distributor could tell you if this was true.
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