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Looking for a good bike rack solution for a sedan...

Old 12-11-19, 09:51 AM
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wclarkin
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Looking for a good bike rack solution for a sedan...

I have a big SUV that has been my bike hauler for years, but it is on deathís door and I need to get my sedan ready to haul my bikes around when the SUV dies. Iím fairly particular with my car, so I really do not want a bike rack that could potentially damage the car: I do not like the bike racks with a bunch of straps, as it seems like the metal clasps on those are just ready to damage my paint. But if I could find one with less straps then the standard it may be a possibility at this point. My current bike rack holds three bikes which was OK because I could put two inside of the car, so Iím really looking for a bike rack that can hold four or five bikes on the sedan. Iím looking for the best cost friendly solution to haul my bikes around: any suggestions? Thanks
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Old 12-11-19, 10:05 AM
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You want a rack that holds 4-5 bikes on a sedan? You are going to have to go with a hitch-mounted rack, and with 4-5 bikes you are going to want a 2" receiver if you can get one for your car. There are not many that will hold 5 out here, though. You might also consider a 3-4 bike hitch mount rack and then a roof rack mount for the other 1 or 2.
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Old 12-11-19, 10:53 AM
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I would prefer that it holds four or five, but if thatís not reasonably possible then I could settle with a rack that holds three bikes since I can fit one in my back seat. Whatís most important is that it is something I can easily take off and put back on. I will probably be getting a different car in the next couple years, so Iíve had trouble justifying the expense of installing a hitch I canít keep when I sell the car.
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Old 12-11-19, 11:02 AM
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If you regularly haul that many bikes you need to do what's necessary for the task. If that means buying a receiver so a hitch-mount will fit, that is what I'd advise. It's the best way to minimize the possibility of damage from a trunk-mount rack and/or the bikes on it. Check your local junkyards; you might find a sedan like yours with a receiver for cheap. Do the same for the next vehicle and move the rack to that one when the time comes.

I tend to get minivans and I buy used. The last one had a 2" receiver that I used a lot and when I replaced the van the next one was the same year and also had a 2" receiver already installed. Shop wisely.
Draftmaster Racks

Last edited by thumpism; 12-11-19 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 12-11-19, 11:20 AM
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I know you said rack, but sounds like the best solution would be a receiver and a small utility trailer that you could modify to hold bikes. The trailer could also come in handy if you wanted to haul some mulch, dirt, whatever, that might be too heavy to put in the trunk of your sedan.
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Old 12-11-19, 01:03 PM
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I have a sedan with a 4 bike hitch rack. It was not cheap. I would highly recommend not going the way I did. Here are the issues I ran into:

1) Rear suspension sagged
2) Rack/hitch scraped (HARD) when exiting driveways
3) Bikes constantly scraped each other. Had to buy a bunch of straps to preload the bikes against the rack and then put electrical tape on possible rub points. It worked... usually. Youíll have to live with the look on your buddyís face when thereís a giant spot of paint missing on their baby.

Those are the main issues. Iím using a Yakima Fulltilt ($420) and it sucks for the price. The tilting mechanism adds some play to the rack, the bracket mechanisms have a TON of play/flex so the bikes sway around like crazy (hence the straps), the hitch mechanism needs greasing (which means it will need cleaning) and itís very unwieldy to frequently reinstall (but better than most hitch racks I assume).

Carrying 4 bikes with a sedan is already a tall order. Theyíre not designed for it. I would suggest finding a hitch rack that has a rise so it doesnít scrape. Maybe Kuat? Either that, or go with a 2 bike tray rack and a 2 bike roof rack. Way more expensive, but your bikes will remain intact and it wonít take you 30-40 minutes to load your bikes when itís 35 degrees out at 4AM and youíre trying to get to a race.

I like the trailer idea as well. Iíd just look into the legal restrictions etc. You probably also wouldnít get away with speeding as easily.

You can also look into aftermarket rear springs. Itíd harden the ride, cost a lot, and look weird - but youíre trying to fit a square block in a round hole anyway.

Last edited by smashndash; 12-11-19 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 12-11-19, 03:55 PM
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A roof rack or a hitch rack will both require something that's specific to the model of the car you own - either a hitch receiver or rack feet. Depending on your car, either will run you $100-$200 and will be a sunk cost. Though you can usually resell the fit kit for a decent price. The roof rack + bike carriers can be a much more expensive solution, but both the roof bars and the actual hitch rack can be reused on the new car.

If you want to do this the most economical way, get one of those racks with straps - they really aren't bad if you use them properly - then sell it when you get rid of the car. If you really don't like that idea, and you're OK with a roof rack on your future car, invest in the roof rack + carriers (you can usually get a good deal on those on CraigsList/FB marketplace) and then sell the fit kit - will be much easier than trying to sell a hitch receiver.
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Old 12-11-19, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by wclarkin View Post
I would prefer that it holds four or five, but if thatís not reasonably possible then I could settle with a rack that holds three bikes since I can fit one in my back seat. Whatís most important is that it is something I can easily take off and put back on. I will probably be getting a different car in the next couple years, so Iíve had trouble justifying the expense of installing a hitch I canít keep when I sell the car.
If you want a rack that carries 4 bikes and is not a strap-on trunk rack (which I would not want to do with 4 bikes anyway), then I don't see how you are going to get around getting either a receiver hitch or a roof rack.

You could get a roof rack with extra-long cross bars and 4 trays. When you get a new car you may only need new towers that hold the cross bars. But that is not going to be as easy to put on and take off (both the bikes and the rack itself) as a hitch-mounted rack. But really, in the larger scheme, the price difference between a new set of towers and a receiver hitch is not all that much, and 4 roof rack-mounted trays plus two cross bars are likely going to cost more than a 4-tray hitch rack of similar quality.

So I still think a hitch mounted rack is the best way to go.

Just curious, with a bike in the back seat you can only fit two or three people in the car, so why the need to carry 5 bikes?
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Old 12-11-19, 04:21 PM
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1upusa with roof rack for the other 2 bikes. Wouldn't recommend putting 4 bikes on a 1.25" receiver.
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Old 12-11-19, 07:02 PM
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Same question. 4 bikes on hitch/roof, one in back seat. Where are the 5 cyclists sitting ?

Personally I would go with a roof rack. It’s a wash as to price between a hitch and rear rack or a roof system. The hitch system is marginal for 4 bike on a sedan, I wouldn’t do 5, I would do 4 on roof, which will fit on a 50” crossbar, but not 5. On a sedan, not as high a lift for the bikes as compared to an SUV. You also don’t have to remove the roof rack, it’s not in the way of anything usually, I leave mine on all season, only remove in winter so I can scrape snow off the roof.
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Old 12-11-19, 07:34 PM
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I'll echo other respondents that 4 or more bikes on a typical sedan trailer hitch is too many. You'll be dragging the rack going up and down ramps. As for a trunk rack, I don't think anyone makes anything that they actually suggest carrying more than 3 bicycles. Even the Saris bones 3, which is, in my opinion, the best of breed in trunk racks, is pushing it with three bikes. I've done five bikes on a roof rack on a large SUV and it was unwieldy due to both the height of the vehicle and necessity for wide bars.

For 5 Bikes

Roof rack alone
Roof rack with one or more inside vehicle
Trunk rack plus Roof Rack
Hitch Rack alone
Trunk Rack with one or more inside vehicle.
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Old 12-11-19, 07:57 PM
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There is no inexpensive method for reliably transporting five bicycles with a sedan. It is genuinely that simple.
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Old 12-11-19, 10:04 PM
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Nothing particularly cost-friendly for hauling 5 bikes.Why the need to move so many at a time?
What sort of 'sedan' that covers everything from a Toyota Corolla to a Lincoln TownCar. Also, what kind of bikes? 18-lb carbon road racers? 50 lb. beach cruisers? 16" kids bikes? Fatbikes? Frankly, 5 bikes (and riders?) is going to be a big ask of most any passenger car from the last ten years (except maybe a P71 Crown Vic)

If you haul 1-2 bikes frequently, but sometimes have to haul 4-5 (races or big events) then you could have a 2-bike hitch/trunk rack that you use for the 'daily riders' and a 2-4 bike 'XL' roof rack that you slap on for big events. You could also do it the other way, Leave the 2-3 bike rails on the roof full-time and slap on a trunk rack like a Saris, when you gotta haul some extra bikes.

A lot of people balk at the idea of removing and re-installing a roof rack, but once you get the initial setup done, all you have to do is unhook the towers from the car, and take the thing off in one piece. You don't have to completely disassemble the thing every time.

Same goes for strap-mount trunk racks; once you get your rack set up for your specific car, just loosen the straps enough to unhook them, leave the 'arms' as they are, and it doesn't take much to hook it back on again.
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Old 10-17-21, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by wclarkin View Post
I would prefer that it holds four or five, but if thatís not reasonably possible then I could settle with a rack that holds three bikes since I can fit one in my back seat. Whatís most important is that it is something I can easily take off and put back on. I will probably be getting a different car in the next couple years, so Iíve had trouble justifying the expense of installing a hitch I canít keep when I sell the car.
If thatís the case, and if easy on/off includes being able to do it single-handedly, then the SeaSucker Bomber 3-bike ($600) is worth a look.

I love my SeaSucker Talon single carrier for its ease of use and versatility, though it does require more thought than most other rack systems. What I mean, for example, is that Iíve got to remember to load the trunk before mounting the bike, because I mount the rear wheel on the trunk lid, preventing it opening when the bike is clamped down. Sure, I could loosen the fork mount and let the bike pivot when the trunk is opened, but the bike weight doesnít allow the trunk to stay open without assistance, so itís all rather fussy, and the best solution for me has been to stick to an order of operations.

Hereís a pic of the 3 Bomber using the same mounting I use:


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Old 10-17-21, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
Nothing particularly cost-friendly for hauling 5 bikes.Why the need to move so many at a time?
What sort of 'sedan' that covers everything from a Toyota Corolla to a Lincoln TownCar. Also, what kind of bikes? 18-lb carbon road racers? 50 lb. beach cruisers? 16" kids bikes? Fatbikes? Frankly, 5 bikes (and riders?) is going to be a big ask of most any passenger car from the last ten years (except maybe a P71 Crown Vic)

If you haul 1-2 bikes frequently, but sometimes have to haul 4-5 (races or big events) then you could have a 2-bike hitch/trunk rack that you use for the 'daily riders' and a 2-4 bike 'XL' roof rack that you slap on for big events. You could also do it the other way, Leave the 2-3 bike rails on the roof full-time and slap on a trunk rack like a Saris, when you gotta haul some extra bikes.

A lot of people balk at the idea of removing and re-installing a roof rack, but once you get the initial setup done, all you have to do is unhook the towers from the car, and take the thing off in one piece. You don't have to completely disassemble the thing every time.

Same goes for strap-mount trunk racks; once you get your rack set up for your specific car, just loosen the straps enough to unhook them, leave the 'arms' as they are, and it doesn't take much to hook it back on again.
I actually setup a juryrigged pulley system in my garage. I positioned the car under the dangling roof rack and then lowered it onto the car. Or raised it to remove the rack. It was fiddly to setup but then flawless. I used that system for two different cars, modifying the arrangement and location when I replaced the first car.
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Old 10-18-21, 06:09 PM
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I recently learned that Saris makes a 5-bike rack to fit a receiver hitch, the Glide EX 5-bike.

https://www.saris.com/product/glide-5

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Old 10-19-21, 12:07 AM
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With no hitch, you can easily carry 2 bikes with a rack. Carrying 3 is difficult - I've done it, but only after removing the front wheel, pedals, and taping cloth between points where the frames might rub.

4 - you need a hitch or a roof rack. It's difficult to do with a 1.25" hitch, I've used extra straps that decured the hitch rack to the trunk.

No one sells a non-hitch trunk rack that carries 4 bikes.
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Old 10-19-21, 03:43 PM
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5 bikes? no problem

Last edited by icemilkcoffee; 10-19-21 at 03:47 PM.
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