Bicycle Travel > Gear Talk

Bike Rack Advice

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DaveB:

--- Quote from: briwasson on November 26, 2012, 07:48:28 pm ---If you are able to get a 2" receiver hitch for your vehicle, I suggest going that route over the 1.25" hitches, as the larger box cross-section makes for a more sturdy interface between the hitch and your vehicle.
--- End quote ---
I agree, if you have the choice get a 2" hitch and a matching rack.  However, most Class 1  hitches, the type offered for smaller cars and SUV's, have 1-1/4" receivers so you are limited.  That said, most 1-1/4" receiver hitches are rated for 150 to 200 pound tongue weight so they will support any reasonable rack plus 2 to 4 bikes.

One useful addition is a drawbar stabilizer, a hollow square clamp with a forward projecting tab with a big thumbscrew.  It goes around the drawbar with the tap overlaping the receiver box and the thumbscrew tightens against it.  It does a good job removing the slack between the drawbar and receiver box and prevents any rocking motion.   Any trailer supply shop sells these in both 1-1/4" and 2" sizes. 

pmac:
I recently purchased a kuat hitch mounted tray style rack.  While a bit pricey, you can get 2 bike rack and a 2 bike add-on if you need to be able to carry 4 bikes.  As noted in a prior post it is important to know if you have a 2" or a 1.25" hitch.  Kuat makes a 2 bike rack for either size, but it you want the 2 bike add on you need a 2" hitch.  The kuat also comes with a built-in lock and bike stand attachment which has been useful. Whether loaded or unload you can lower the rack to access the back of the vehicle.  While perhaps not as easy as a swing away rack, it has been functional for me.  My wife likes it since she can load her bike with minimal lifting.  Keep in mind that all the hitch mounted racks are pretty heavy in comparison to a trunk rack.  I used a saris bones 3-bike rack on my old vehicle for years that worked great as well.  The trunk racks are a whole lot cheaper.  I've never used a roof rack, but a friend destroy a bike driving into his garage.  While your policy would pay something, you still have to pay the deductible and you have a claim on your policy which would probably effect your future premiums.

litespeed:
Since I am hopelessly absent minded I refuse to even consider a roof rack. My sister, and ardent outdoorswoman, used to insist I should get a roof rack for my bicycle. I told her of my reservations. She confessed that she had torn the seats off a couple of bicycles on low branches.

Since I won't own anything but a minivan (hopelessly uncool but, in my opinion, the greatest invention since the zipper) a rack is not necessary at all. I have a sturdy cargo trailer that serves as my pickup truck.

DaveB:

--- Quote from: litespeed on December 02, 2012, 11:18:48 pm ---Since I am hopelessly absent minded I refuse to even consider a roof rack. My sister, and ardent outdoorswoman, used to insist I should get a roof rack for my bicycle. I told her of my reservations. She confessed that she had torn the seats off a couple of bicycles on low branches.
--- End quote ---
One trick I used back when I did use roof racks was to remove the garage door opener from it's usual location in the car and put it where I had to make a specific effort to get it.  That way I realized something different was going on and would not unconciously just drive into the garage.

It prevented damage at home but did nothing about parking garages, hotel driveways, etc.

bikeguyrich:
The Thule swingaway rack is one of the best if you want to access the rear of your vehicle while still having the bikes on the rack. Most other Mfgrs offer a fold down rack to access the rear when the rack is empty, some are aluminum and lighter in weight (therefore easier to manuver). Go straight to a good local bike shop to get all the info on the various companies and their offerings.  With a roof rack your insurance may cover some problems, but just wait till you go  thru a drive thru bank or Dunkin Donuts and you will get a rude awakening on how much it costs to fix their damage.  Roof racks are costly, your bikes on top are a sail and will decrease your gas mileage, plus bikes can be a pain to get off if your not tall or you don't have upper body strength.

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