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Bike riders: Is this a good quality hitch-mount bike rack?
Posted by: 3d
Date: August 08, 2018 10:46AM
Bike riders: Is this a good quality hitch-mount bike rack?
It's a platform style rack. Pros/Cons?
Any features missing that I will regret?

It's for a family of 4. Not Lance Armstrong space-age material racing bikes.

It's normally $430, but with the eBay coupon it drops down to $365 delivered.

[www.amazon.com]



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Re: Bike riders: Is this a good quality hitch-mount bike rack?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: August 08, 2018 12:13PM
Looks well made, the welds look good. I love the fact that the bikes are mechanically restrained by the wheel holders and the top frame hold downs, rather than the usual nonsense collection of rubber straps and whatnot. My current bike rack is pretty much too difficult for my arthritic hands to use.. the rubber clamps are too hard to stretch.. I have to use tools.
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Re: Bike riders: Is this a good quality hitch-mount bike rack?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: August 08, 2018 12:16PM
....it is o.k.....but have seen nicer racks in the Sears catalog.....during prepubescent phase.......



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Re: Bike riders: Is this a good quality hitch-mount bike rack?
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: August 08, 2018 01:46PM
I don't know about the quality of the rack, and am not typically given to worst case, highly improbably scenarios.

That said, I'd want a 'daytime tail light' and a brake light on the rack. I have visions of somebody not 'seeing' it, only the vehicle itself loaded or unloaded, and not stopping where they should. <crunch>

And possibly, being extended that far, your state law might require a red flag on the 'load', much as though it were 10' 2x4s hanging out the back of a vehicle.

Yes, a worse case, highly improbably scenario. But one of the rare one I would probably consider doing something about.

Oh, and maybe a back up camera.




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Re: Bike riders: Is this a good quality hitch-mount bike rack?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: August 08, 2018 02:54PM
Ramd... good advice ! I expect you can get a magnetic clamp on set of LED trailer lights that will do the trick.
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Re: Bike riders: Is this a good quality hitch-mount bike rack?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: August 08, 2018 02:57PM
....what size is the rack........DD.....??



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Re: Bike riders: Is this a good quality hitch-mount bike rack?
Posted by: davester
Date: August 08, 2018 03:38PM
The problem with 4-bike platform racks is that they are really heavy and expensive. Also note that the one you have there is a "swing-down" rack. A "swing-away" (i.e. swing sideways) rack would be vastly better (though more money). There is no way you will be able to use the swing-down feature with more than two bikes on it (and even then it'll be a PITA) because it will come crashing down and will be impossible to lift back up (I've been there). This means that you won't be able to get into the back of your car.

IMHO the main reason for a platform rack is if you have either a fragile bike frame (i.e. carbon) or the type of bike frame (some full suspension MTBs) that won't hang from a regular hanging-type bike rack.

For a bunch of family bikes I'd suggest you go with a swing-away hanging bike rack from a major brand like Yakima or Thule instead of this rack.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/08/2018 03:40PM by davester.
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Re: Bike riders: Is this a good quality hitch-mount bike rack?
Posted by: Bo
Date: August 08, 2018 05:11PM
I have this 5 bike Allen rack I got from Amazon for $100 (now $130): [www.amazon.com]

It has been super solid for 5 or 6 years now. I have had it fully loaded with 5 bikes for many road trips and camping trips. Mind you those are family trips with cruiser bikes, beaters and kids bikes.

If I'm doing a real bike trip with any of my carbon fiber bikes, then I skip this and the bikes go directly in the bed of the truck (and I'm usually solo anyway).

Definitely will save you some money. Just depends on what you are after and what bikes you'll be hauling.
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Re: Bike riders: Is this a good quality hitch-mount bike rack?
Posted by: 3d
Date: August 08, 2018 07:06PM
Excellent points raised by all. Thanks for the insight.
This bike rack is more for the wife than me since she's with the kids during the day.

We had a trunk style bike rack for a sedan that was an absolute chore to take on and off. Straps and knobs every which way. I used it a handful of times. The wife NEVER used it when alone with the kids. Then we sold the sedan for an SUV. It wasn't compatible sad smiley

If it was just for me, I would totally get the no frills Allen Rack for $130. I don't mind paying more for quality and ease of use. Most importantly I want the wife to feel comfortable enough to use it when I'm not around.

Sometimes with the hanger racks it's a game of Tetris. With the platform style, I figured it was much easier for her to load up with each bike in it's own tray. I'll look into the options some more. Thanks again.
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Re: Bike riders: Is this a good quality hitch-mount bike rack?
Posted by: M A V I C
Date: August 08, 2018 07:20PM
Make sure it doesn't hit the ground when you go up an incline. I thought about getting a hitch rack on my car, then asked someone with the same car how their hitch rack worked for them. It tended to hit the ground.




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Re: Bike riders: Is this a good quality hitch-mount bike rack?
Posted by: Winston
Date: August 08, 2018 08:52PM
Quote
davester
IMHO the main reason for a platform rack is if you have either a fragile bike frame (i.e. carbon) or the type of bike frame (some full suspension MTBs) that won't hang from a regular hanging-type bike rack.


We have a Thule four bike hanging-rack hitch mounted carrier. I've never figured out how to prevent the rack from wearing on the bikes' paint where the bike sits on the rack. The bikes swing back and forth a little, however much I try to tie them in place. A platform rack would keep the bikes from getting wear spots. (There is probably something I could do with padding, but so far I've not succeeded, and no one else in the family will make the effort.)

I'd take a platform mount over the hanging mount any day.


Ours is a "drop down" rack, which folds back away from the car. On the plus side, because it cannot fold down past about 30 degrees, it's not hard to get it back up, even when it has four bikes on it.

Our hitch is mounted lower on the vehicle than I'd like. (A "factory" Toyota hitch made by Draw-Tite). The hitch itself will ground at the angle on steep driveways. The hitch has been more of a problem than the bike rack, but I can definitely see watching out for how the lower bar of a bike rack could hit the ground when the vehicle is transitioning an angle.


One other thought: we got a Thule locking hitch pin, so the rack cannot be removed without a key. This allows us to lock bikes to the rack. As our hitch has a couple of rings for trailer chains, we could get by without this by running a locking cable to one of the rings, but the locked hitch gives us more flexiblity.


Good luck.

- Winston

ps: I also like the idea of a swing-away mount, but haven't looked at any to see how useful the swing-away feature is. Our drop down hitch allows us to open our minvan's rear hatch, but the bikes are still in the way of any major loading and unloading. So for a big trip the bikes go on last.



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/08/2018 08:56PM by Winston.
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Re: Bike riders: Is this a good quality hitch-mount bike rack?
Posted by: davester
Date: August 08, 2018 09:33PM
Quote
Winston

We have a Thule four bike hanging-rack hitch mounted carrier. I've never figured out how to prevent the rack from wearing on the bikes' paint where the bike sits on the rack. The bikes swing back and forth a little, however much I try to tie them in place. A platform rack would keep the bikes from getting wear spots. (There is probably something I could do with padding, but so far I've not succeeded, and no one else in the family will make the effort.)...

ps: I also like the idea of a swing-away mount, but haven't looked at any to see how useful the swing-away feature is. Our drop down hitch allows us to open our minvan's rear hatch, but the bikes are still in the way of any major loading and unloading. So for a big trip the bikes go on last.

I had an earlier Yakima hanging swing-down rack and I did have a similar bike-swinging issue to you, though this was limited by strapping the bikes to the stabilizer bar that extended out from halfway up the main upright post. However, the higher quality newer hanging racks have mounts that hold both the top and seat tubes of the bikes. I ride with a friend who has one of these (either a Thule or Yakima, can't remember which) and it is very secure. My bikes have very fancy paint too, so I'm very wary of paint damage. It's also a swing-away, which is fantastic because we can easily get into the back of the car even when fully loaded. Also, it doesn't weigh almost 100 lbs like the 4-bike platform racks.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Bike riders: Is this a good quality hitch-mount bike rack?
Posted by: Winston
Date: August 09, 2018 07:28AM
Quote
davester
However, the higher quality newer hanging racks have mounts that hold both the top and seat tubes of the bikes. I ride with a friend who has one of these (either a Thule or Yakima, can't remember which) and it is very secure. My bikes have very fancy paint too, so I'm very wary of paint damage. It's also a swing-away, which is fantastic because we can easily get into the back of the car even when fully loaded. Also, it doesn't weigh almost 100 lbs like the 4-bike platform racks.


That sounds like a big improvement over ours. I've generally found Thule products to be well designed, and was surprised that our rack didn't do a better job protecting the bikes. The mount point for the bikes is well padded, but even relatively soft silicone is going to wear at the paint if the bikes swing as the car moves.

Maybe I should take a look at ours and see if there is a way to adapt it to a two-point support, like the one you described.

I did find some adjustable bars which attach to the handlebar and the bike frame to keep the front wheel from moving around, but that doesn't stop the entire bike from swinging from the top bar mount.


One other thought: My wife has a bike where the upper tube curves down ("step through" frame?). There is not an easy way to attach this bike to a carrier where the bike is meant to hang from the upper tube. A platform mount would be usable for just about any bike, assuming there is some adjustment available for differing wheelbases, such as for a child's bike.


Good luck.

- Winston



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