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Bike Rack Recommendation

Old 03-15-16, 01:35 PM
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Hosstyle
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Bike Rack Recommendation

I am looking for a bike rack recommendation. I would like to get one to handle 4 bikes and I have a truck so either a hitch mount or something for the bed of the truck? New to cycling so look for some guidance and advice. Thanks.
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Old 03-15-16, 02:11 PM
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rumrunn6
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stay tuned you'll get a ton of feedback ... gotta love this forum
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Old 03-15-16, 02:53 PM
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With a truck I'd much rather just build something for the truck bed than having 4 bikes hanging off the back. There are tons of options if you are up for building something yourself. Just google truck bed bike rack. They make rack specifically for truck beds but most of them are just a bar with some fork mounts on it and cost way more than just buying some fork mounts and a 2x4.
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Old 03-15-16, 07:05 PM
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The Kuat NV is fantastic. With the add-on it can accommodate four bikes Products | KŁat Racks
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Old 04-06-16, 08:52 AM
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Just went through the bike rack buying process. We had a Yakima hanging rack that was fine with what I'd call "standard" bikes with a straight top tube, but once we added a third rider to the family it became more clumsy, and once we picked up a few mountain bikes it became an elaborate process to get them all on and then off the rack. Plus, the rack was about 7-8 years old and the straps were starting to dry rot and the tabs the straps buckled on were breaking off one here, one there. Bungee cords were required. Plus I bought a carbon framed road bike last fall and for some reason have it in my head that hanging them from a rack like this puts stress on the frame. So with all that factored in, it was time for a new rack and I wanted to go with a non-hanging rack.

I finally bit the bullet and got a 1up USA double rack, and getting one add on for a total capacity of three bikes. Also will be getting the adapter to turn the add on to a stand alone. Can add one more add on if needed, but right now only have three riders in the house.

Racks I considered:

1. 1up double plus an add on
2. Kuat NV plus the add on
3. Saris Freedom 4 Superclamp

I know there are many other options out there, but these were my final three. Money was a factor, but only part of it. I decided to buy something I would be able to use for 10+ years. Paying a little more upfront now vs headaches later.

Here was my thought process:

Loved the Kuat, could get it plus the add on that puts capacity at 4 bikes. Someone at work has a NV 2 and let me check it out. Seemed pretty straightforward and well built, but didn't care for the way the one tire had to be strapped down. The strap seemed to be pretty sturdy, but so did the straps on my Yakima when I first got it a long time ago. Now those straps are starting to break one-by-one. I like the add on capability, but I don't need to haul 4 bikes right now, and only need to haul 3 sometimes. A few reviews said that the add on was removable, but took some time to put on or take off. The built in bike work stand seemed like a nice idea, but not something I would find myself using a lot. I did like the built in cable lock, and he said it was pretty handy. Did notice some plastic parts on it. But in the end, it was $900 for the 4 bike setup ($550 for the NV 2, plus another $350 for the add on). I know sometimes you can find a store doing a 20% or 25% of sale and get the Kuat cheaper, but those seem to be far and few between.

The Saris Freedom 4 Superclamp was a serious contender at first. The videos looked great online. I was able to go touch and feel a Superclamp 2 at a local store and liked it, and it seemed solid, but had a lot more plastic than the Kuat. I am looking for a 10+ year rack, and plastic can look great in year 1, and then weather, use, age kick in and suddenly not so good. Since I have not owned a Saris product before I wasn't sure how their plastic would age, and since the rack is fairly new there aren't any long term reviews. Also, since I have 3 bikes to haul I needed the Freedom 4 superclamp which they did not have in stock. The guy helping me was not sure if the freedom 4 could convert to a 2 when you only needed 2, and we looked at some documentation he had from Saris and it looks like it is always a 4 bike rack.

And then that left the 1up. Because it can only be bought online, I spent probably 3-4 hours watching youtube after youtube video, searching bike forums, reading reviews and researching the heck out of it. Struggled to find a negative review. Did see a few from years ago were they seemed to have had a manufacturing/QC issue with a batch, but it was probably 99 4 and 5 star reviews for every 1 bad review. All metal construction. I could not believe how easy the load/unload process looked int he videos.

At this point I was sold and ordered the double along with an add on. All in I was paying around $725. Plan on getting the adapter for the add on soon for another $90 or so.

Great thing about the 1up is the flexibility. I can set it up as a one, two or three bike rack. Putting the add on rack on the double takes less than 60 seconds. Taking it off less than 30. And it feels like cheating putting a bike on and taking it off. No bungee cords. No rubber straps. No plastic. I use a cable lock to secure the bikes to the rack, and have a lock for the rack to the hitch. The cable lock is more to deter all but the more determined bike thieves. But I don't leave my bike on the rack for long and when I'm not around. Maybe at a restaurant or quick trip into a store here or there.

The 1up is very stout, there is not a weak point on it that I have found yet. It just seems too easy to put a bike on and take it off. I can't stress this enough especially after having to play the bungee and rubber strap game with the old rack. I spent quite a bit of money on it when there are other non-hanging racks out there for $500 or less that can haul 3-4 bikes, but I wanted a quality rack that was flexible in configuration. I have peace of mind with it and have no regrets about paying as much as I did for what I wanted.
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Old 04-06-16, 11:09 AM
  #6  
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I've been using a cheap, Allen, hitch mounted, 4 bike rack purchased on Amazon for several years. It works fine. Just add a couple bungee cords around the wheels & frame to keep stuff from moving around. The only PITA thing about these Allen racks is the hitch pin arrangement. They provide a permanent bolt -on hitch pin with their racks. It's a custom size bolt that doesn't match the standard 5/8" pin hole too. (Apparently a lawyer got involved with the design process). I had to go through all the trouble of finding an oversize drill bit & boring the whole mess out to accept a standard hitch pin. Oh well. Now if the damn thing falls off I can't sue them can I. Whatever.......
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Old 04-06-16, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by ramzilla View Post
drill bit & boring the whole mess out to accept a standard hitch pin
similar story for me. my Swagman Titan 4 has 2 holes, one threaded and one smooth. to use the hole I wanted on my Subaru Forester (the smooth one) I had to drill it out. Now that I switched to a Jeep Cherokee I can use the threaded hole and I bought a Swagman Threaded locking pin for $30.
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Old 04-06-16, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by tnburban View Post
Just went through the bike rack buying process
it's brutal isn't? so many choices & knowing EXACTLY how one will fit on our particular vehicle is such a grey area. best of luck! :-) any pics on your car?
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Old 04-06-16, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
it's brutal isn't? so many choices & knowing EXACTLY how one will fit on our particular vehicle is such a grey area. best of luck! :-) any pics on your car?

Sorry, don't have pics, but the vehicle the 1up is on is a Mazda CX-9 or a GMC Yukon XL. I installed a 2" class III hitch I got from etrailer on the CX-9. I don't plan on towing anything with the Mazda, but since the Yukon has a 2" receiver, I thought it would be easier if the Mazda had one as well just to make the back-and-forth between vehicles easier. But you would have thought I was a serial killer when I took the Mazda in to the dealer for a warranty issue involving a headlight about 6 months ago. Apparently the "tow package" that is a CX-9 option comes with a 1.25" receiver. The dealer tried to tell me that by having a class III hitch I voided my warranty. I tried to explain it was for compatibility both for the bike rack and a cargo carrier we use on occasion as well. We never exceed 300lbs tongue weight, and I have a Yukon should I need to actually tow anything. He didn't seem convinced. Powertrain warranty still has about 70k miles left so we'll see if anything comes of this...
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Old 04-06-16, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by tnburban View Post
I installed a 2" class III hitch I got from etrailer on the CX-9. I don't plan on towing anything with the Mazda, but since the Yukon has a 2" receiver, I thought it would be easier if the Mazda had one as well just to make the back-and-forth between vehicles easier
haha brilliant!
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Old 04-06-16, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
haha brilliant!
Until the tranny goes out at 98K (I have a 100K powertrain warranty as we bought the CX-9 as a Certified Pre Owned with less than 1,000 miles on it so it comes with a 100k warranty). Then I get to battle with Mazda for the repair bill. I don't think it will happen, but just my luck it will, and they will piss and moan about my class III hitch, even though I've never towed anything with the CX-9. They also grumbled about my Fumoto valve on the oil drain plug. I change the oil every 3k or less religiously with the manual recommended Castrol synthetic, and have every receipt showing oil and filter purchases, but they still think the valve is the devil and will destroy not only my car, but the US, democracy and humanity all at once....
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Old 04-07-16, 03:59 AM
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Originally Posted by tnburban View Post
Until the tranny goes out at 98K (I have a 100K powertrain warranty as we bought the CX-9 as a Certified Pre Owned with less than 1,000 miles on it so it comes with a 100k warranty). Then I get to battle with Mazda for the repair bill. I don't think it will happen, but just my luck it will, and they will piss and moan about my class III hitch, even though I've never towed anything with the CX-9. They also grumbled about my Fumoto valve on the oil drain plug. I change the oil every 3k or less religiously with the manual recommended Castrol synthetic, and have every receipt showing oil and filter purchases, but they still think the valve is the devil and will destroy not only my car, but the US, democracy and humanity all at once....
anything big comes up just take the hitch off. it's just bolted on right? Mazda has a good reputation. ever browse your make/model forum? I'm active on Subaru and Jeep forums so I stay informed about vehicle specific issues. you may also consider changing dealerships. one dummy's opinion isn't necessarily another's
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Old 04-07-16, 08:30 AM
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There are a lot of things to consider for a bike rack. When it was just me, I had a cheap 3 bike Allen one that I bought from Walmart. I only use it to take my bike to the shop though and rarely us it for anything else. If you only tow road bikes than this or multiple others will work. If you have mtbs than the problems start. My wife has a girls 27.5 mtb and my son has a 24" mtb to go with my 29er. The Allen rack is awful for that combination. The bikes get scraped up and are a major pain.
Thus, last year I started to look at platform racks. I got the usual Kuat and 1up recommendations. I am sure that they are nice but $1000 for a rack is steep in my book. I bought the Performance Transit for 4 bikes. I waited for one of their big sales and picked it up for around $175. It is very heavy but awesome. It locks to the hitch and the bikes also lock to the arms. Platforms are the way to go for sure if you have varying sizes of bikes to transport. I do not leave it on my hitch. I put it in the garage after each use. After a year and a few trips to Vermont and NC it has held up well. No problems at all. Nashbar has a similar one but it does not have the locks if I remember correctly. Again the weight is the only disadvantage. Like with bikes, there are many options it just depends on your price range.
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