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4-bike rack for a Prius

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4-bike rack for a Prius

Old 06-19-22, 03:56 PM
  #1  
Leinster
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4+ bike rack for a Prius

Somebody stole our bike rack! (It may have accidentally been left on the side of the street while packing).

We have a road trip next weekend and want to bring 2 grownup bikes, 2 kids bikes, and we can probably stick the Strider in the back seat. The kiddo bikes are 16 wheels, but theyll be growing out soon, so in long-term thinking we need to allow for 20+. I mean, we probably need to *allow for* 5 bikes altogether.

If we could somehow get a cargo bike on there itd be awesome, but Ill settle for just riding the hardtail for this weekend.

The hitch, if you will, is it has to go on a Prius. Which doesnt have a hitch. Is there a way to get a bunch of bikes on there? Are suction systems reliable enough? Roof rack? Im presuming that the trunk-type is a disaster waiting to happen with this kind of load.

There are no bad suggestions here, people. Just bad bike racks that leave us picking components off of the highway.
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Old 06-19-22, 04:18 PM
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Polaris OBark
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You can put a 1.25" receiver on a Prius, which will enable you to put two racks on the back. For the other two or three, you can put another rack on the roof.

I did this with our Rav4 Hybrid.

The one thing you should be aware of is that your milage will take a big hit unless you choose your roof rack carefully, and it will always take a big hit when you have bikes up there.

In our case, we got a Kuat Sherpa 2.0 (with 2" receiver, but they also have 1.25") and a couple of Rockymounts mounted to Whisperbars (now owned by Yakima). Many people like the OneUp racks better.

For kids bikes, you might be able to get away with a hatch mount, but it might not leave enough room for a hitch mount.
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Old 06-19-22, 06:21 PM
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FWIW U-Haul would not put a receiver on my Prius because it's not rated for towing. (Same car in the European market is rated for 750kg trailers. #gofigure & #dontgetmestarted.) Anyway, I installed a Curt Manufacturing receiver kit myself: "it's easy and it's fun".

The roof rack is a Yakama. The bike carrier is a 1Up. HTH.

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Old 06-19-22, 07:22 PM
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Buy a 2" receiver hitch.
Buy a 2" 4 bike tray style rack, or a 2 bike plus 2 bike add-on.
Enjoy.

https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Hit...8aArz7EALw_wcB
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Old 06-20-22, 10:49 AM
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I've yet to find a way to carry a 16" kids bike on a roof rack. The fork spacing is too narrow to use standard QR style fork-mounted roof racks and the wheel size is too small for my Yakima Highroad that hold bikes by the wheels.

A hitch rack that hangs bikes from the frame is probably best for a kids bike.
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Old 06-20-22, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
I've yet to find a way to carry a 16" kids bike on a roof rack.
Tie it (securely) between two adult bikes mounted normally in the roof rack.
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Old 06-20-22, 11:20 AM
  #7  
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Two on the hitch, two on the roof
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Old 06-20-22, 12:55 PM
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Rent a pickup truck or a cargo van as a second vehicle. They're only $19.95 a day in a lot of markets. If you don't have two drivers, rent something else that works for the whole shabang. For four people and four bikes plus all the luggage for a road trip, there are way better options than a Prius. Anything that will tow a cargo or utility trailer will free the vehicle of both the luggage and the bike volume.

I have a Thule 4-bike rack and have done what you're describing, except that I did have a 2" receiver hitch. I can tell you that it's very difficult to put four bicycles on there and drive down the road any distance without incurring some damage to some of them. With kids' bikes, it's probably not terribly consequential. If you have anything nice, you will regret stacking it so close to so many other bikes and then going bumping and bashing down the road. Trying to stick four bikes on a car also has a high probability of causing some damage to the car.
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Old 06-20-22, 01:02 PM
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Yeah, were looking at ride-sharing with my father in law and his old Ford Ranger now as an option, the question there is keeping the bikes stable in the bed of the truck. Complex combinations of ropes look likely.

The Prius is pretty doable for road trips with small kids; we did a 500-mile e/w vacay at Easter, and nobody was uncomfortably cramped. We even had a strider and a scooter in the trunk for that trip, as well as all our clothes swim gear.

Its when you staffing camping gear, or large things like bicycles that it becomes an issue. And obviously well need more legroom as the kids get taller.
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Old 06-20-22, 02:30 PM
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Strapping bikes in the back of a pickup is not complex. Use cargo tie-down straps. Cam buckles are best. Ratchet straps are unnecessary and might break stuff. The ones with metal hooks will work. I personally prefer continuous loop straps because they don't have metal hooks to damage anything. For each bike, use a strap over each end of handlebar, hooking or looping around something that won't be damaged (not around soft handgrips, shifter or brake components or cables).



I recently did a trip with two bikes secured this way, and a third on a hitch-mounted rack. There is no reason you can't get more mounted in the truck bed though. You can mount two, parallel, facing foward, and two parallel facing the rear.

Some people prefer tailgate blankets. I'm not sure why. My neighbor uses one.



These same methods will work with a trailer, and if you're outfitting something for more than one use, you can add bike wheel-chocks hold the front wheels while you're strapping them down. I recommend trailers provided you have the storage space for one because they give you flexibility about the vehicle that tows them -- so you don't always have to drive a crew-cab.

You only need a short-term solution. In the long term, your kids will grow, the stuff you take with you will change, and the bikes themselves will change, all faster than you imagine.

Last edited by greatbasin; 06-20-22 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 06-20-22, 02:41 PM
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This guy used a variation on the tailgate method for his trailer:

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Old 06-20-22, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
Tie it (securely) between two adult bikes mounted normally in the roof rack.
1. I'm rarely traveling with two adult bikes plus the kid's bike.
2. There is zero chance I'd be comfortable tying my kids bike to my bike (carbon fiber frame/wheels/etc) and then driving at highway speed. I worry enough about my bike up there alone as it is.

I've managed by squeezing her bike in the trunk, but this gets tricky on road trips with other luggage. Thankfully she's ready to move up to a 20" bike, and those seem like they will fit in most roof racks.
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Old 06-20-22, 03:45 PM
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I only realize now how convenient our (erstwhile) minivan was. You could put 5 bikes, 2 adults and 3 kids inside.
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Old 06-20-22, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by greatbasin View Post
Strapping bikes in the back of a pickup is not complex. Use cargo tie-down straps. Cam buckles are best. Ratchet straps are unnecessary and might break stuff. The ones with metal hooks will work. I personally prefer continuous loop straps because they don't have metal hooks to damage anything. For each bike, use a strap over each end of handlebar, hooking or looping around something that won't be damaged (not around soft handgrips, shifter or brake components or cables).



I recently did a trip with two bikes secured this way, and a third on a hitch-mounted rack. There is no reason you can't get more mounted in the truck bed though. You can mount two, parallel, facing foward, and two parallel facing the rear.

Some people prefer tailgate blankets. I'm not sure why. My neighbor uses one.



These same methods will work with a trailer, and if you're outfitting something for more than one use, you can add bike wheel-chocks hold the front wheels while you're strapping them down. I recommend trailers provided you have the storage space for one because they give you flexibility about the vehicle that tows them -- so you don't always have to drive a crew-cab.

You only need a short-term solution. In the long term, your kids will grow, the stuff you take with you will change, and the bikes themselves will change, all faster than you imagine.
Is the bed of a Ford Ranger (the truck that the OP mentions) long enough to fit a bike with both wheels on (i.e. cargo strapped)? I kind of doubt it.
Your neighbor's truck doesn't look like it would fit bikes that way either. Maybe if the tool box was removed?
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Old 06-20-22, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Is the bed of a Ford Ranger (the truck that the OP mentions) long enough to fit a bike with both wheels on (i.e. cargo strapped)? I kind of doubt it.
Your neighbor's truck doesn't look like it would fit bikes that way either. Maybe if the tool box was removed?
yep!
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Old 06-20-22, 05:16 PM
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Bicycling! magazine, October 1964




"An elegant weapon for a more civilized age."
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Old 06-20-22, 09:17 PM
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A used Chevy Suburban 7400/8100 would be ideal for hauling four bikes and keeping them safe, I guess...
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Old 06-21-22, 12:57 AM
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Sometimes you just have to get the vehicle that suits your needs.
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Old 06-21-22, 06:10 AM
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I have a yakima Fourtimer on our Outback. Works great. Adding a Curt receiver is an easy choice.
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