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Hitch mount racks, ORS, Backcountry,...

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Hitch mount racks, ORS, Backcountry,...

Old 07-31-09, 10:39 AM
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Hitch mount racks, ORS, Backcountry,...

I've been doing my usual overly intensive research and flip-flopping on selecting a hitch mounted bike rack. Originally I was focusing on the Thule Doubletrack. The main reasons were avoiding the sway associated with the top bar hanger-style, somewhat better reviews in general for Thule over similar Yakima, and I can't justify the additional cost of the T2.

Then I noticed the Saris Thelma, which is cheaper and lighter - both important features. In particular, I expect to be taking the rack on and off the car frequently, and it seems much easier (for me) with the Thelma because of the weight, in spite of some comments about the difficulty of getting at the mounting bolt. Also, because of the unique design, it seems less likely to obscure the my license plate. There are quite a few good reviews, but of bad ones make me nervous.

Then I hit upon a couple of places running 20% sales on Thule. Not only does this bring the Doubletrack price below the Thelma, but it prompted me to look at the Helium. (I did say that flip-flopping was part of the process.) At 20% off, it's now at the same price as the Thelma, which means it's within my budget (though still more than the Doubletrack at the same 20% off).

The Helium comes with the locks and anti-sway cradles that Thule nickles and dimes you on the lower end hanging racks. Plus, and this is a big win, it's a tool-free mount. The usual mounting bolt is replaced by a keyed pin that just slips through (though I'd feel better if there were a cotter pin for security on the other side). The rigidity is obtained by tightening a keyed knob that uses a wedge to hold the rack in place. Combine that with its light weight, and taking it on and off seems easy. On the downside, it's new, and thus there aren't many reviews for it. I'm not dealing with any carbon-fiber frames, so the main concern about going back to a hanger style will be scratches on either car or bike - along with design flaws that haven't cropped up yet.

So my two questions are a) Any opinions out there at all about the Helium? and b) any opinions on either ORS or BackCountry as places to order? (Amazon has it listed at that price as well, but out of stock; if you search you'll first hit one of their affiliates listing it at only 10% off.)

Many thanks,
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Old 07-31-09, 02:54 PM
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I think you are over analyzing it. It's a hitch mounted bike rack. You could always add on a strap to prevent sway.

I am considering this one, free two day shipping for me.
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