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    • CommentAuthorrobin623
    • CommentTimeOct 2nd 2012 edited
     
    After tossing the road bike into the back of the SUV over the past year, I am looking to invest into a bike rack. I am preferring to get a hitch mounted rack. I prefer to not take the rack on and off all the time.
    I am not too worried about how many bikes to carry.

    90% of the time it's just me, 10% carpooling with another rider. Thus a 2 station rack will be more than fine.

    However, I am looking for something that is convenient to use when the rack is on the back of the SUV while running errands (make way for the Costco run).

    With all the brands and features out there, I am looking for feedback on how the bike is with the rack (movement, locking), how easy the rack is to live when not hauling bikes and how is it to put on and take off the nullcar.

    Any thoughts, suggestions and advice will be greatly appreciated.
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      CommentAuthorHans
    • CommentTimeOct 2nd 2012
     
    Good call on getting a receiver style rack. The hinging to the side is nice if you're loading big & heavy items into the SUV, otherwise a regular type will usually have a pin that pulls out to hinge down for access if needed and weigh a bit less, when it comes time to remove and store it.. A four bike rack is nice because even if you're only carrying two bikes, they can sit further away from one another(giving clearance for baskets, and keeping them from getting scratched from pedals).
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      CommentAuthorSigurd
    • CommentTimeOct 2nd 2012 edited
     
    I, too, am in the market for a new hitch rack, and am seriously considering springing for the Thule Apex 9025 (support the local economy [in Sweden]!). The 9025 has a tilt-down feature, but the Apex series is also available in a swing-away variety. The one question I haven't quite figured out yet is whether a tray-based hitch rack (akin to the design found MTS bus racks) has advantages over a hang-design rack such as the Apex 9025: Any opinions about that?

    Note that I haven't owned or used this Thule model before, so this is not an endorsement - my view is based on online research, only:

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      CommentAuthorsvelocity
    • CommentTimeOct 2nd 2012 edited
     
    Sigurd:I, too, am in the market for a new hitch rack, and am seriously considering springing for the Thule Apex 9025 (support the local economy [in Sweden]!). The 9025 has a tilt-down feature, but the Apex series is also available in a swing-away variety. The one question I haven't quite figured out yet is whether a tray-based hitch rack (akin to the design found MTS bus racks) has advantages over a hang-design rack such as the Apex 9025: Any opinions about that?

    Note that I haven't owned or used this Thule model before, so this is not an endorsement - my view is based on online research, only:
    That rack looks really nice. It's been some time since I used a rack but that looks better than anything I've used in the past. I now have a rack that goes on top of my truck. I do think that cable for locking your bike is kind of useless but I suppose it's better than nothing for those quick stops.

    My opinion about this style of rack vs. the tray style is: I've had my bikes swing and rub/scratch each other while they are suspended like that. Even bang against the car. You have to tie them down but it always seemed awkward and susceptible to be damaged when braking or accelerating. I think a tray version would avoid that issue.

    Wait a minute! Sigurd you drive? lol
  1.  
    From Turbo Bob's Bicycle Blog: Bicycle Rack?—Here’s Ours

    In my endless pursuit of Craig's List bicycles, I've come across a few folks who had the tray type racks. They really seemed to like them. One guy who did a lot of mountain biking in the east county showed me how easily they fold up when not in use (just like the bus racks on MTS), the ease of loading the bikes on and off, and the secure attachment of the bikes so they don't get banged around. He said he tolerated the slight increase in weight and the hassle of installing or removing the rack if he wasn't going to use it for a while. It was mounted on a Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV-4 type small SUV. You just need to have a tow hitch on your auto to mount the rack.

    They are good for carrying heaver loads as well, as Turbo Bob points out with his use of electric assist bikes.
    Might be good for heavy touring bikes as well.

    Tow Hitch on CL
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      CommentAuthorKathy
    • CommentTimeOct 2nd 2012
     
    I have a tray rack now. I have had the strap-on racks and the roof rack, and I must say that the tray rack is the most convienient and secure by far. It takes just a few seconds to get the bike on and off the rack. Plus I have a little car so not too much lifting to get the bike on the rack. The bikes are really stable on the rack and don't bang or wave around while driving.
    I have noticed three disadvantages, though -
    One: I was always tripping over it unless I folded up the arms when it was not in use. I had some good shin-level bruises there for a while. And I worried that I might trip some other unsuspecting person walking near the car in a parking lot, especially in the dark. To avoid this, I just fold up the 'wings' when I don't have a bike on it.
    Two: the rack we have doesn't have a convienient way to lock the bike to the rack, so I would be hesitant to leave it on for long periods of time. That's one advantage of carrying the bike in the car - I don't have to worry about someone walking off with it.
    Three: with any hitch that mounts to the tow hitch - they stick out a bit, which on my Hyundai means I occasionally scrape it on the ground if I go over a dip too fast.
    Considering how wonderfully easy it is to get the bike on and off the rack, and how secure it is when I drive, I definitely wouldn't go back to other racks!
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      CommentAuthormarkphilips
    • CommentTimeOct 2nd 2012 edited
     
    We bought a Thule Raceway (for two bikes) for Gena's Prius. Two things I like about this: 1) 4 cable attachments are more stable than any nylon strap setup 2) Anti-sway levers keeps the bike very stable. Thule Raceway is available for 3 bikes and also comes with a Tray version. Keep an eye out on the gear sales twice a year for a great deal.


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      CommentAuthorbatmick
    • CommentTimeOct 3rd 2012 edited
     
    We actually just recently made the switch from a trunk mounted rack to a hitch mounted one. The trunk rack we had was the Saris Bones RS and I really liked it. Like Mark's rack above it uses a solid strap (plastic covered steel). That adjusts with a ratchet system and I could put the rack on and off the car in less than a minute. Or switch it from one car to the other. It fits a wide variety of cars. It is also lockable, something none of the other trunk racks offers, which seemed like a no-brainer in terms of theft prevention. The only reason we had to stop using it was that our car's hatch turns out to be mostly plastic and it started to crack. We still have the Bones RS so if you want it, make me an offer.

    Our car did not have a trailer hitch but I found that you can buy one fairly cheap and install it yourself, which I did http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0016IAIK2/ref=oh_details_o06_s00_i00. And for a rack I definitely recommend a tray style rack over the dangly type. The bike is secured very well and you don't have to deal with any straps to fix the front wheel etc. which also means that putting the bike on and taking it off is a matter of seconds. I went for the budget version (well, compared to Thule or Yakima et al.) and got the Swagman XC http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0001VO1YY/ref=oh_details_o06_s01_i00
    Best bang for the buck, I think. It does not fold up but the vertical arm folds down to access your hatch. This one holds two bikesbut can be extended up to four.

    Be aware, however, that with a 1 1/4" receiver you are limited to two bikes max. For 3 or more you need a 2" hitch!
    • CommentAuthorjacobk
    • CommentTimeOct 3rd 2012
     
    After our yakima roof rack system got stolen when we lived back east, we moved to a tray hitch rack as well and it is much better.

    We went for the Swagman XC 2 bike tray rack. It's one of the more inexpensive hitch racks, but it still seems to be well built and works well for our purposes. We don't use it often, but it worked great for a cross country trip.

    If you're interested in getting the swagman, I would recommend the XTC over the XC since the xtc has a taller vertical bar. Ours was too short for our average size vintage road bikes (58 and 56cm frames) and I had to manually file extra notches to get accommodate larger frames.

    Here's a link to the XTC:
    http://www.amazon.com/Swagman-Cross-Country-2-Bike-2-Inch-Receiver/dp/B001DMJPLO/

    Here's the XC:
    http://www.amazon.com/Swagman-Cross-Country-2-Bike-2-Inch-Receiver/dp/B0001VO1YY/

    We also picked up the locking hitch pin with the accompanying cable for looping through the frames and wheels. It all works very well together.
  2.  
    I too have the Swagman XC mounted to a 2" receiver in my SUV.

    Pros:
    Tray style is easy if you have a hard time lifting a bike high up in the air.
    Bikes do not sway back and forth while driving.
    Trays can fold up for compact storage.
    Vertical arm can fold down to get into trunk.

    Cons:
    The rack is actually made for a 1-1/4" receiver, but it uses an adapter to mount to a standard 2" receiver. This "skinny" construction allows too much flex in the tray itself. So when I go over bumps (especially while turning), the tray along with my bikes will wobble left and right. How comfortable are you with this? It's up to you. I just try to drive slowly. If you want a more solid feeling, avoid this design. Go for a rack that uses 2" tubing.

    Besides the hitch rack, make sure you get a hitch bolt that stabilizes the rack. When you slide the rack into the receiver, often times you'll have this standard receiver "pin" (looks like a bolt with no threads) that goes into the side and secures the rack inside the receiver (for safety). However, this pin doesn't prevent the rack from wiggling around inside the receiver causing too much wobble for your bikes. Buy the accessory threaded bolt (some models even have a locking feature) so that you can tighten it down. This way makes for a much more solid rack.

    Good luck on your racks guys.