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Looking for suggestions on hitch mount bike carrier

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[OP]
Deal Addict
May 2, 2010
1646 posts
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Toronto

Looking for suggestions on hitch mount bike carrier

I'm going to get a hitch (2") for my SUV so that I could carry some mountain bikes (nothing fancy) to trips or nearby bike trails.

Preferably I'd like to get those that swings so that I can access the trunk with bikes already loaded. Is there anything I should watch out for (ie. avoid Kijiji?)? I'd like something that would be sturdy enough without rattles for long trips when needed.
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Sep 21, 2004
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They all do roughly the same. The more you pay the better it works (in general). I recommend a platform style rack as it's cleaner and easier to use with less touching. They cost more though.

Swagman offers a lot of functional low price options. I use a Kust Sherpa which is fantastic bit it's $500+ to hold 2 bikes.
[OP]
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May 2, 2010
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Toronto
I'd consider $500+ bike carrier if my bikes cost $500+. I'll check out Swagman, thanks!
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Mar 30, 2010
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I had a Thule Parkway 957SS and it was VERY solid, but the arms didn't fold out, so I ended up selling it for a Yakima something that does have folding arms.

Comparing the two I can say:

The Thule straps are slightly better than the Yakima
My Yakima uses THREE straps per bike instead of - two at the front of the bike that strap to the top tube and down tube, and one at the back to strap the top tube near the seat - so it holds the bikes a little more securely


In the end, if you are going for a "rack" instead of a platform carrier, make sure that you:

Get a double arm rack instead of a single arm type rack
Get the kind of bike rack that uses straps instead of "clamps"
Get the folding feature(s) that you need
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Jan 16, 2007
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Costco. Hitch mount, folds down to access hatch and hold up to 4 bikes. Usually under $100.
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Oct 16, 2001
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We picked up a Thule at CT a couple summers ago that flips down, but have it mounted on our camping trailer. Works very well, holds 4 bikes. We wanted a flip down as we have a rear slide, and when we stop for a quick stop to sleep or whatever, we just have to flip it down and not remove the bikes.

Very happy with it
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Feb 9, 2003
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OP says "1/2"" which I think means a class 1/2 or 1-1/4" hitch. These do not have the strength for 4 bikes, so they're limited to 2 bike carriers.

Or does he mean he's getting one 2" hitch? Obv there's no 1/2" hitch so I don't know what size?

I have a swagman platform style. Used it on the hitch on my wife's Yaris. Works great. It was just the perfect size that the hatch could clear the post if there was a bike on the outside. If there was a bike on the inside, the hatch wouldn't open. The post folds down if needed so any hatch will clear.
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Nov 12, 2006
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Have the Thule Helium for 3 bikes. Works well and very light weight.
Will work for 1.25 or 2 inch hitches. No rattling at all. Comes with 2 locks.
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i6s1 wrote: OP says "1/2"" which I think means a class 1/2 or 1-1/4" hitch. These do not have the strength for 4 bikes, so they're limited to 2 bike carriers.

Or does he mean he's getting one 2" hitch? Obv there's no 1/2" hitch so I don't know what size?

I have a swagman platform style. Used it on the hitch on my wife's Yaris. Works great. It was just the perfect size that the hatch could clear the post if there was a bike on the outside. If there was a bike on the inside, the hatch wouldn't open. The post folds down if needed so any hatch will clear.
The Thule we got goes down to a 1/4", which we use on our trailer. And we have 4 bikes. Havent had problems using it camping that last two summers.

It says not to use on trailers becaue you cant see it, but to me, then why have a hitch on the back of a trailer made to carry bikes. In fact there are tons of bike racks on back of trailers with the same setup
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May 29, 2007
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Toronto
Costco has them in store right now for $70. I'm thinking of getting one.
[OP]
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May 2, 2010
1646 posts
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Toronto
i6s1 wrote: OP says "1/2"" which I think means a class 1/2 or 1-1/4" hitch. These do not have the strength for 4 bikes, so they're limited to 2 bike carriers.

Or does he mean he's getting one 2" hitch? Obv there's no 1/2" hitch so I don't know what size?

I have a swagman platform style. Used it on the hitch on my wife's Yaris. Works great. It was just the perfect size that the hatch could clear the post if there was a bike on the outside. If there was a bike on the inside, the hatch wouldn't open. The post folds down if needed so any hatch will clear.
Sorry, typo. I meant 2" hitch. Fixed now.
[OP]
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CraigLee wrote: Costco has them in store right now for $70. I'm thinking of getting one.
Do you recall which model they have in the store right now?
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i6s1 wrote: OP says "1/2"" which I think means a class 1/2 or 1-1/4" hitch. These do not have the strength for 4 bikes, so they're limited to 2 bike carriers.
I put 4 bikes on my old Thule 1-1/4" rack no problem... it was an ~25 pound rack, so strength is obviously not an issue on a well made rack.

My new Yakima is also running in 1-1/4" mode and will be hauling 4 bikes over the May 24 in a couple weeks.
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May 29, 2007
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conix67 wrote: Do you recall which model they have in the store right now?
Sorry I don't. It was an unfamiliar brand. It is a 2" model that has a 1.25" adapter.
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Viperoni wrote: I put 4 bikes on my old Thule 1-1/4" rack no problem... it was an ~25 pound rack, so strength is obviously not an issue on a well made rack.

My new Yakima is also running in 1-1/4" mode and will be hauling 4 bikes over the May 24 in a couple weeks.
It's not the rack, it's the hitch. Class 2 hitches are usually rated to 350max, class 1 even lower. And that assumes that the center of mass is far closer than it is with a bike rack. The center of mass on the rack is far further back than it is with a trailer ball. If you double the distance, you halve the carrying capacity. 4 average adult bikes is probably borderline, 4 downhill bikes is probably over.
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i6s1 wrote: It's not the rack, it's the hitch. Class 2 hitches are usually rated to 350max, class 1 even lower. And that assumes that the center of mass is far closer than it is with a bike rack. The center of mass on the rack is far further back than it is with a trailer ball. If you double the distance, you halve the carrying capacity. 4 average adult bikes is probably borderline, 4 downhill bikes is probably over.
Class 1 hitches are rated for 2000lbs trailer weight and 200lbs tongue weight - http://www.reese-hitches.com/learning_c ... ng-classes
So a 4 bike rack that weighs ~30lbs (like my old Thule...) and 4 downhill bikes at 40lbs each would be borderline.

I don't disagree that the bike rack would put the weight further away from the hitch compared to a hitch ball, but looking at how heavy the class 1 hitches are, and how wide the contact area is with the car, it's obvious that there is a safety factor built into that 200lb figure.
[OP]
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May 2, 2010
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Thanks everyone for suggestions!

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