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1.25" hitch, bouncy bike rack - any way to avoid that?

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

1.25" hitch, bouncy bike rack - any way to avoid that?

Old 11-03-10, 03:48 PM
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PaulRivers
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1.25" hitch, bouncy bike rack - any way to avoid that?

Hi,

I recently got a new car. My old bike rack, a Saris Bones 3, was the strap kind of didn't work well with the new body style.

I though "Finally! I'll get a hitch installed, and a hitch rack, and have a 'real' bike rack".

After some debate, I bought a Saris TRax Pro 4 bike hitch rack. Actually, the first one I ordered was the latest one with the screw-in pin, so I also bought one of the ones that doesn't require tools to take on and off as well.

On both of them, the rack itself is not completely solidly connected to the car - it bounces up and down. This was a huge suprise to me - my rack with straps didn't bounce up and down, why would a hitch rack? But it does.

If I put the rack on my car, put a bike on the outermost bike mount (which fyi is the only way you can actually use the "bike lock" that comes with the rack, with a single bike, so it's not like it wasn't designed to work that way) the bike bounces up and down every time I hit a bump - rather dramatically.

Does anyone know if there's a way to get a hitch-mounted bike rack that connects solidly to the car, and doesn't bounce up and down while you're driving down the road (especially when you got over bumps - at least not more than the car itself bounces).
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Old 11-03-10, 03:53 PM
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Assuming the shaking is due to loose tolerances between the bike rack insert and hitch tube, I would take your car to the local hitch shop/welder and have them drill the hitch then weld a nut to it. Then, thread the right size bolt through the nut until it presses against the bike rack inside the hitch tube. This will stop the shaking...and it's a cheap fix.
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Old 11-03-10, 06:37 PM
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Go tighter on the pin that screws in.

My Yakima Holdup doesn't move at all.
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Old 11-03-10, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by simonaway427 View Post
Go tighter on the pin that screws in.

My Yakima Holdup doesn't move at all.
Correct. Torque that baby until your socket wrench breaks.
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Old 11-03-10, 07:54 PM
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I use those cargo straps with a ratchet mechanism in the middle. You will need somewhere on your vehicle to secure the hooks.
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Old 11-03-10, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by runner pat View Post
I use those cargo straps with a ratchet mechanism in the middle. You will need somewhere on your vehicle to secure the hooks.
ratcheting tie-downs are a good idea
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Old 11-04-10, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by PhotoJoe View Post
Assuming the shaking is due to loose tolerances between the bike rack insert and hitch tube, I would take your car to the local hitch shop/welder and have them drill the hitch then weld a nut to it. Then, thread the right size bolt through the nut until it presses against the bike rack inside the hitch tube. This will stop the shaking...and it's a cheap fix.
Hmm...I wonder if I can do this without worrying about reducing the weight the rack can handle (since I would be drilling into it)...
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Old 11-04-10, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by simonaway427 View Post
Go tighter on the pin that screws in.

My Yakima Holdup doesn't move at all.
As I mentioned the second rack I have has a pin that screws in, and it still has some bounce to it. Mostly the pin seems to make the up/down motion slower, but doesn't eliminate it.

It's also a p.i.t.a. to take on and off the car then as I have to get out a wrench. I can try it again, but I tightened it down as far as it would go.
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Old 11-04-10, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by runner pat View Post
I use those cargo straps with a ratchet mechanism in the middle. You will need somewhere on your vehicle to secure the hooks.
The problem there is that then I won't be able to get into my trunk and more. Hmm. Maybe I should just return my rack and buy a trunk track that's made to fit my car.
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Old 11-04-10, 09:23 AM
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I have a cheapo Performance hitch rack that doesn't move either as long as everything it tightened. Do you have other parts of the rack that have bolts? Mine does, and they all need to be tightened, not just the ones on the hitch.
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Old 11-04-10, 09:27 AM
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My parents car has a 1.25" hitch rack, it bounced but not that much. (THULE about 6 years oldish?) I have a roof rack on my car, fits 2 bikes, solid as a rock. Only downside is, even with no bikes on it, it does make my car feel a little topheavy through the turns, but thats mostly because I'm too cheap to buy sway bars.
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Old 11-04-10, 09:50 AM
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I use a hitch mounted rack on two cars. On one of the cars, it's a bit bouncy. So I a shim.
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Old 11-04-10, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
Hmm...I wonder if I can do this without worrying about reducing the weight the rack can handle (since I would be drilling into it)...
I had a custom hitch built onto a 95 Chevy Crew Cab dually that I used to pull BIG trailers with....ALOT. The shop did this as a standard feature of their hitches. I took so much noise out of the hitch and stopped ALL hitch movement. It worked REALLY well for me. YMMV.
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Old 11-04-10, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
As I mentioned the second rack I have has a pin that screws in, and it still has some bounce to it. Mostly the pin seems to make the up/down motion slower, but doesn't eliminate it.

It's also a p.i.t.a. to take on and off the car then as I have to get out a wrench. I can try it again, but I tightened it down as far as it would go.
Keep a wrench in your glove box. A big one, not some dinky adjustable wrench. The bigger and stronger it is, the more torque you can apply to the pin - and hence, the less your rack with bounce.

I use an air ratchet on mine - doesn't move an inch.
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Old 11-04-10, 11:50 AM
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I've used products similar to these in the past with excellent results, totally eliminates bouncing.

http://www.etrailer.com/Hitch-Access...er/RM-061.html

http://www.hitchrider.com/bike-rack-application.htm
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Old 11-04-10, 11:57 AM
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Get a bigger hitch...mine is 9 inches.
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Old 11-04-10, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by lpolliard View Post
Get a bigger hitch...mine is 9 inches.
That doesn't make any sense.
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Old 11-04-10, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by slowandsteady View Post
I have a cheapo Performance hitch rack that doesn't move either as long as everything it tightened. Do you have other parts of the rack that have bolts? Mine does, and they all need to be tightened, not just the ones on the hitch.
But do you only put 1 or 2 bikes on yours?
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Old 11-04-10, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Nachoman View Post

I use a hitch mounted rack on two cars. On one of the cars, it's a bit bouncy. So I a shim.
What exactly is that? And is it really wood - not waterproof?
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Old 11-04-10, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by PhotoJoe View Post
I had a custom hitch built onto a 95 Chevy Crew Cab dually that I used to pull BIG trailers with....ALOT. The shop did this as a standard feature of their hitches. I took so much noise out of the hitch and stopped ALL hitch movement. It worked REALLY well for me. YMMV.
How would I find a shop like that? I live in Minneapolis MN, and here's it's mostly UHaul and such - I've asked around before, and it's hard to find anywhere that does any sort of custom welding, most place are just generic "bolt the hitch on" kind of places.
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Old 11-04-10, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by simonaway427 View Post
Keep a wrench in your glove box. A big one, not some dinky adjustable wrench. The bigger and stronger it is, the more torque you can apply to the pin - and hence, the less your rack with bounce.

I use an air ratchet on mine - doesn't move an inch.
I used a standard...uh...not sure what it's called, it's one of those "clicky"...socket wrenches? It's not tiny, though it's not huge.

I'm not sure it's possible to tighten it anymore than it is - it's already snug in there, as far as I could get it with the wrench. I'll give it a try and see if I can tighten it more, but the pin just screws into the hitch mount part itself, there's no screw on the other side, not sure there's any way to apply more pressure to it than I already have...
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Old 11-04-10, 01:04 PM
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I find that on my wife's rack - a Yakima Hold Up - the bouncing isn't where the rack inserts into the 1 1/4 inch hitch mount. Rather, the rack moves at the hinge where the rack is designed to be able to fold up when not in use.
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Old 11-04-10, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
What exactly is that? And is it really wood - not waterproof?
It's wood. And not water proof. I was on vacation at my parents house and the wobbly rack was bothering me so much I dug through my dad's garage looking for potential solutions and found these little wooden wedge shims.
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Old 11-04-10, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Scorer75 View Post
I've used products similar to these in the past with excellent results, totally eliminates bouncing.

http://www.etrailer.com/Hitch-Access...er/RM-061.html

http://www.hitchrider.com/bike-rack-application.htm
Thanks. I just ordered the etrailer one.
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Old 11-04-10, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
I used a standard...uh...not sure what it's called, it's one of those "clicky"...socket wrenches? It's not tiny, though it's not huge.

I'm not sure it's possible to tighten it anymore than it is - it's already snug in there, as far as I could get it with the wrench. I'll give it a try and see if I can tighten it more, but the pin just screws into the hitch mount part itself, there's no screw on the other side, not sure there's any way to apply more pressure to it than I already have...
I also don't think tightening down the bolts is necessarily going to solve your problem. My rack bolts into the reciever. However, due to some play between the size of the rack's tube, and the reciever hitch, the rack will still move up and down, pivoting on the bolts, even if it's cranked down very tightly.

So it's either Kegel exercises for the hitch, or one of those anti rattle deivces listed above.
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