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Hitch bike racks- Review? Have questions!

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Hitch bike racks- Review? Have questions!

Old 12-08-09, 06:55 PM
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Hitch bike racks- Review? Have questions!

Did a search, but not much of real relevance came up.

I may be buying a new car and installing a hitch with the single purpose of using it for a bike rack. I have considered the roof rack as it has some benefits (no need to take off and on, the fork mounted ones have locks, out of the way and always there), but I want to consider the hitch racks before making my mind up. The biggest benefit I see are the easy of on and off for the bike as they are at body level and the fact that they don't kill mileage as much as the roof rack. They can also be taken off when not in use.

Questions:

1. Which models are highly recommended? I am referring to the ones where the bike sits on the rails/wheels and NOT the ones that hold the bike by the frame.
2. Are the ones that have a hold down bar for each individual bike better than the ones with a single bar for 2 bikes? Why? Advantage vs disadvantage?
3. Is there a way to lock with a key the bikes in place with some models? Which ones?
4. Is there a way to easily lock the rack to the hitch receiver itself?

Anyone with a Prius with a hitch receiver and a rack in it they can show me to get an idea of what this would look like? I am a bit concerned this particular car is a bit narrow. Putting a hitch receiver and a bike rack may end up being wider than the car.
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Old 12-08-09, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by dgasmd View Post
Did a search, but not much of real relevance came up.

I may be buying a new car and installing a hitch with the single purpose of using it for a bike rack. I have considered the roof rack as it has some benefits (no need to take off and on, the fork mounted ones have locks, out of the way and always there), but I want to consider the hitch racks before making my mind up. The biggest benefit I see are the easy of on and off for the bike as they are at body level and the fact that they don't kill mileage as much as the roof rack. They can also be taken off when not in use.

Questions:

1. Which models are highly recommended? I am referring to the ones where the bike sits on the rails/wheels and NOT the ones that hold the bike by the frame.
2. Are the ones that have a hold down bar for each individual bike better than the ones with a single bar for 2 bikes? Why? Advantage vs disadvantage?
3. Is there a way to lock with a key the bikes in place with some models? Which ones?
4. Is there a way to easily lock the rack to the hitch receiver itself?

Anyone with a Prius with a hitch receiver and a rack in it they can show me to get an idea of what this would look like? I am a bit concerned this particular car is a bit narrow. Putting a hitch receiver and a bike rack may end up being wider than the car.
I have a mazdaspeed3 with a thule T2 and love it. Last car was a focus with a roof rack, roof racks suck. Taking the wheel on and off gets old. No problem with the bike being to wide. Hitch rack is easy on easy off, weighs about 50lbs though. I have a lock for the reciever and the bikes also lock into place. Lame car choice though.

Last edited by fazzman; 12-08-09 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 12-08-09, 07:17 PM
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enjoy getting your bike destroyed if you get rear ended.
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Old 12-08-09, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by fazzman View Post
I have a mazdaspeed3 with a thule T2 and love it. Last car was a focus with a roof rack, roof racks suck. Taking the wheel on and off gets old. No problem with the bike being to wide. Hitch rack is easy on easy off, weighs about 50lbs though. I have a lock for the reciever and the bikes also lock into place. Lame car choice though.
They weight of the rack being hitch mounted IS an important factor for me. This stuff should be easily managed by my wife alone, and 50 Lb would be an issue. What's so lame about your Mazda? It is a fricking car, not a vagina with wheels!

Originally Posted by mintygood View Post
enjoy getting your bike destroyed if you get rear ended.
I think if I get rear ended, I would have a heck of a lot more to worry about than my bike. But, I'll enjoy it when it happens. Thanks.

By the way, what is the benefit of a 2" vs a 1.25" receiver? Is it just that the bigger one is stronger due to being bigger? Anything else to it?
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Old 12-08-09, 07:26 PM
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Thule T2 in my opinion the best.

Never tried the double bar, I like having individual bar.

Thule you can buy a key lock that fits in the bar.

You can buy a lock that locks it to the reciever hitch the lock fits on the pin.
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Old 12-08-09, 07:29 PM
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the 1.25 or 2" will depend on the hitch you can get installed. The Prius will probably only come in a 1.25" hitch. Get the hitch installed first before buying the rack
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Old 12-08-09, 07:34 PM
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1.25 is going to be the recievers for smaller cars. Weight limits. Yea the hell with the bike getting rear ended. The T2 fold up for storage and down for hatch access. Just razzin about the car. Check out the jetta sportwagen TDI, more room, 50mpg. Doesnt have that prius status though.
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Old 12-08-09, 07:59 PM
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I have the Saris Cycle on Pro. Great rack. Slip it in the hitch and put the pin through the hole and put the lock on the pin. Then you tighten up the hand screw on end and the rack is tight on the car. The rack is not heavy and I get it on and off in under 5 minutes. The rack also comes with a cable lock that is keyed to match the lock on the hitch pin. read about it on the Saris site. Also Saris is the best when it comes to customer service.
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Old 12-08-09, 08:44 PM
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The T2 is a great hitch rack. I've had mine for a number of years. It can be extended to hold 4 bikes but only with the 2 in receiver. For whatever car you purchase, stay with the 2 in receiver, it's much more standard and is fine on a small car. My toyota corolla had a 2 in and I was pleased to have the flexibility of a 2 in receiver for towing utility trailers and motorcycles.

The advantages of the T2 are quick loading/unloading, better fuel economy, no need to remove a wheel, a very simple and stable platform, and for my carbon bike I like that the TT is not weight-bearing.

The main disadvantage I see is bike security. A bike on top of a roof rack is less accessible to the curious or the devious. There are locks to the T2 but it only secures the front wheel. You can steal a bike as quickly as using the front wheel's quick release. I try not to leave the bike unattended, even when using the Thule locks.

I'm getting some additional roof mounts like rockymounts or yakima's system that attaches to the factory crossbars so I can better secure my bikes when traveling, but I'll use them only when leaving my vehicle unattended.
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Old 12-08-09, 09:44 PM
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If you're getting a hitch rack, and you ever plan on carrying more than one bike, I strongly suggest you get one that has an anti sway bar so the bikes don't bang into each other.
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Old 12-08-09, 09:53 PM
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I won't hang my bike by the top tube so I purchased a Tule T2. I do like the rack but have a friend with a Saris that I'll buy the next time around.

My T2 is mounted on a Scion tC and the bike is a tad wider then the car but not so much so that I worry.
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Old 12-09-09, 12:06 AM
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I have a mazda 3 hatchback, and my biggest concern was gas mileage, rack weight, and one that would not touch the frame. Majority of the racks are near 50lbs, the Saris Thelma came in at 26 lbs. It is one of the lightest hitch racks on the market. Its easier to take on and off and easy to use. Works only on 700c wheels or 26 inch mountain bike wheels. 650 wheels dont fit or bmx tires unless you get the juvenile cradle attachment.

Roof racks are cool but my gas mileage without rack is 28mpg, with rack and no bike its 21mpg, and with one bike attached to rack it goes down to 17 mpg. With Saris thelma and two bikes attached, gas mileage is 27 mpg.
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Old 12-09-09, 10:09 AM
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Love my Thule T2

It was more expensive but the advantage of quickly and securely getting the bikes on without any rubbing or swinging was a big advantage over the other hitch mount we had.

The only problems that we have are that it is big and heavy (especially with 4 bikes) and on dirt roads the dust/dirt can foul the slidding/ratchet mechanism.

Still - by far the best solution I have found.
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