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Old 06-19-2012, 11:34 AM   #1
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Hitch Bike Rack... what do you have and what do you like?

Hitch Bike Rack... what do you have and what do you like?

I am looking into buying one and I would like to hear some reviews and see some photos

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Old 06-19-2012, 01:13 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by SJS View Post
Hitch Bike Rack... what do you have and what do you like?

I am looking into buying one and I would like to hear some reviews and see some photos
Jeep Wrangler Bike Rack Roundup - Jp Magazine

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Old 06-19-2012, 01:24 PM   #3
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We've got an older Yakima that looks to be the predecessor of this one.

It's sturdy and well made, holds 4 bikes very securely, and easily folds down to open the tailgate. We're happy with it.

The only catch is it doesn't reach the trailer hitch with the 33x12.5R15 spare tire I have. It misses by quite a way too, so I'm doubtful it'd make it with even the stock spare.

So we added one of these extensions for $20 bucks and it works perfectly.
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:10 PM   #4
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hmm some great information
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by MTH View Post
We've got an older Yakima that looks to be the predecessor of this one.

It's sturdy and well made, holds 4 bikes very securely, and easily folds down to open the tailgate. We're happy with it.

The only catch is it doesn't reach the trailer hitch with the 33x12.5R15 spare tire I have. It misses by quite a way too, so I'm doubtful it'd make it with even the stock spare.

So we added one of these extensions for $20 bucks and it works perfectly.

Do you find that your set up rattles or seems loose with the extender?

I do a fair amount of mountain biking and am in a position where I want to be able to transport two bikes to the trails. My travel time will vary with most trips taking 45 minutes but I am planning on taking the bikes this Summer on a 5,000 mile long trip.

I need something secure, quiet, lockable and sturdy enough to provide worry free transport over long distances.

I looked into spare tire mounts but there is enough chatter out there about damage from the extra weight that I've abandoned that as a solution.

Most of the hitch mounts require an extender to clear the tire, and I find them to be kind of rattly/loose.

For the time being I'm just transporting them in the rear cargo area with the seats down, but a hitch mount would make things a lot easier.
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:16 PM   #6
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I have the Allen 4 Bike Hitch Rack. It works great! Only $170 at Amazon. Easy to install and remove or just by an extender.
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:37 PM   #7
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Do you find that your set up rattles or seems loose with the extender?
Loose yes, rattles no.

The Yakima rack itself uses a threaded bolt for a hitch pin. The threads screw into a nut that secured inside the rack. The result is that you actually tighten it down with a wrench, and the rack is solidly in place. This is how we use the rack on my wife's Yukon, and it doesn't budge.

The hitch extender however doesn't have an internal nut by which you can do the same thing. So you simply use a traditional hitch pin, which allows a fair bit of movement from left to right with the extender. While it's probably only an 1/8 of an inch narrower than the hitch itself, when loosely secured with a typical hitch pin this translates to an inch or more either way of play measured from the outward prongs of the rack.

On the highway, it's no problem. The wind keeps it from swinging around. Around town it is a little distracting to see it sway side-to-side as you go around corners and the like. While all the parts involved are substantial pieces of steel that I don't believe are at any risk of an actual failure, I'd imagine the swinging back and forth on trails would be very distracting.

Going from simplest to most difficult, the three "fixes" I've considered are (a) use bungee cords to secure the rack to the spare tire so as to minimize side-to-side movement; (b) securely wrap the hitch end of the hitch extender with some sort of sturdy padding, so that it's a "tight squeeze" to get it into the jeep's hitch; or (c) weld in some nuts to the hitch extender so that, like the Yakima rack, I'd need a threaded bolt to use as a hitch pin to secure the extender.

For our use, I'm thinking option "(a)" will do it. If we ever start really taking the bikes to offroad destinations however, I expect I'm going to have to try the other options as well.
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:48 PM   #8
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On my truck with the slide in camper on it I use a 24" extension which uses chains and turnbuckles to eliminate any sway or chatter. Torklift.com | Home of Torklift International

Granted this is a Class V hitch but the principle is the same and you're likely not extending 2' for a Jeep and a bike rack. Hook up some chains and turnbuckles and tighten it up and you'll get no movement out of that extension.
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Old 06-19-2012, 03:08 PM   #9
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Hitch Bike Rack... what do you have and what do you like?

I am looking into buying one and I would like to hear some reviews and see some photos
I have the Rugged Ridge spare tire mounted carrier and I love it. I had one that mounted on the hitch but it was a pain in the a** to get into the back of the Jeep if you needed anything, you had to take the entire rack off to get the door open. I like that the rear door swings open with the bikes attacked. Here's a link the the bike rack I got and a picture of it on my Jeep. Good Luck!

Rugged Ridge Bike Carriers - Bike Carrier - Racks - Exterior Parts & Car Care - by 4 Wheel Parts
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Old 06-19-2012, 03:20 PM   #10
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I have the Thule Apex 9027. It's hitch mounted, holds 4 bikes, key locks both to the hitch and a cable to secure the bikes.
It has a swing away feature so you can access the rear without offloading the bikes. There is one small issue, the handle of the bolt to release the swing away hung is slightly blocked by the spare tire. This can be addressed by trimming the plastic handle or using a hitch extender.
Loading and securing bikes takes seconds

Here are a couple pictures I've also posted on another thread
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Old 06-19-2012, 03:27 PM   #11
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We have the Thule 916XTR T2. Since we have FS mountain bikes, they won't fit a lot of racks without having to put a frame adapter on them and I don't like the tube. Seems really unstable. We love our rack. Sorry no pics.
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Old 06-21-2012, 12:35 PM   #12
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I bought a Thule Vertex 4 bike hitch rack a few weeks ago. It needed an extender because it, too, didnt clear my 12.5" spare. I just got the extender but havent had a chance to try it out yet.
This rack is one of hte fold down jobs but without the hitch extender, it didnt allow the tailgate to open the whole way. The extender I got also has a drop in it, so hopefully Ill be able to get the gate to open. Not sure when Ill actually be able to try all this because its 100* out today and I dont feel like going outside and roasting. Its supposed to be nice this weekend, so maybe we will finally get to go on a ride
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:11 PM   #13
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If you are hauling mountain bikes only (i.e. large crowned fork), see my thread. http://www.wranglerforum.com/f33/new...jk-143340.html
Just came off a 1,200 mile trip and it was flawless.
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:22 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Keep Moving Forward View Post
Do you find that your set up rattles or seems loose with the extender?

I do a fair amount of mountain biking and am in a position where I want to be able to transport two bikes to the trails. My travel time will vary with most trips taking 45 minutes but I am planning on taking the bikes this Summer on a 5,000 mile long trip.

I need something secure, quiet, lockable and sturdy enough to provide worry free transport over long distances.

I looked into spare tire mounts but there is enough chatter out there about damage from the extra weight that I've abandoned that as a solution.

Most of the hitch mounts require an extender to clear the tire, and I find them to be kind of rattly/loose.

For the time being I'm just transporting them in the rear cargo area with the seats down, but a hitch mount would make things a lot easier.
I have this same issue when using the extension which is why I have opted not to use it until I found a solution. I found this that I think might do the trick

Amazon.com: Tow Ready 63232 Silver Locking Silent Hitch Pin for 2" Receivers: Automotive



In the meantime I have just been pulling off my spare tire whenever I want to use the bike rack. Kind of a pain in the butt but I rather do that then have the whole assembly swinging around with 4 bikes on it.

Another thing, the 12" extension has everything sticking out way to much, would it be safe if I cut it down? I don't know what I would use its a heft piece of steel but I'm sure I can find something that will cut it down.
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:30 PM   #15
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I have a bike rack that I personally fabricated out of a combination of parts I had at my house. I had a 10 year old HD cargo carrier (rated for 500 lbs) that I never used anymore because it was so massive but has a very cool feature of being able to swing away for tailgate access and also fold up when not in use. Can't find that specific cargo carrier online anymore but it's sort of like this one:

Rage PowerSport Swing-Away, Hitch-Mounted Wheelchair and Scooter Carrier - 60" Ramp Rage Powersports Hitch Cargo Carrier SC500-AL105

I also had 3 bike trays from U-Haul (called Saferacks, now discontinued) that I've used for years on Yakima cross bars and these I bolted onto the modified cargo carrier.

Basically I cut the steel mesh and outer edge off the cargo carrier so it only had the frame including the 3 steel bars that supported the cargo carrier and bolted them on.

I don't believe there's anything like this available on the market today which is why I went this route since I needed the swing away option and it had to handle downhill MTB which don't have traditional top tubes to hang from traditional swing away bike rack like the Thule Apex (which is a $500 rack in and of itself).

Neither the cargo carrier nor the U-haul Saferack trays are still available for sale though there's a company called 1UPUSA.com :: Roof Tray Silver that sells a very similar bike tray. As far as a cargo carrier the closest thing I've found is that one in the link above from etrailer.

The rack is very sturdy (and heavy). The original cargo carrier alone was 110 lbs, after cutting off the steel I cut and putting the 3 aluminum bike trays on it's likely 80-90 lbs. Not something my wife would be taking on and off the vehicle but since it folds up it's rather simple for me to pick up and put onto the hitch. It's solid steel which accounts for the weight and has a massive grade 8 bolt where it swings away so it can be swung out with all 3 bikes on it and I'm talking 3 downhill bikes which are 40-45 lbs each. The trays are also adjustable to fit 24" or 20" kid's bikes or even road bikes and wide enough to fit a 3" wide MTB tire which is very big. Probably can't fit the newer balloon tire MTB since those tires are 4-5" wide. The bike trays also only touch the tire on the bike so no worry of any scratches or component damage to your nice bikes. Total weight of rack plus bikes would be 210-220 lbs which is in the tongue rating of 350 lbs for the 2" JKU hitch, not sure if I'll need an extension to clear the spare tire. Thinking of going with the Hidden Hitch or Draw Tite as they stick out further from the bumper so the pin hole is further back but it will become a knee knocker. Here are some pics:



Here are some pictures of it on my truck:
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:34 PM   #16
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We have the Thule 916XTR T2. Since we have FS mountain bikes, they won't fit a lot of racks without having to put a frame adapter on them and I don't like the tube. Seems really unstable. We love our rack. Sorry no pics.
I just bought the same one last week along with a Heininger 6000 Advantage Adjustable 11-Inch Hitch Extension since I have a 36" spare on a Rancho tire carrier. I'll take pics later.
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Old 06-21-2012, 03:22 PM   #17
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I have this same issue when using the extension which is why I have opted not to use it until I found a solution. I found this that I think might do the trick

Amazon.com: Tow Ready 63232 Silver Locking Silent Hitch Pin for 2" Receivers: Automotive



In the meantime I have just been pulling off my spare tire whenever I want to use the bike rack. Kind of a pain in the butt but I rather do that then have the whole assembly swinging around with 4 bikes on it.

Another thing, the 12" extension has everything sticking out way to much, would it be safe if I cut it down? I don't know what I would use its a heft piece of steel but I'm sure I can find something that will cut it down.
My NSR4 came with that exact anti-wobble/hitch lock. It works pretty well. And my rack was solid for the 1,200 mile trip.
I share your overhang concerns with the extension. The Küat 4 bike NV was a nice piece... but with the extension it looked like I was towing a wheel-less trailer. That overhang went on and on. Scary.
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Old 06-21-2012, 05:07 PM   #18
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X2 on the nsr4 rack! I use it for shuttles up some knarly fsr that have been decommissioned. No noise, super strong, I have slammed it on rocks and dirt going over creaks and trees that have fallen over the trails. Still looks new, just a few scratches! You do get what you pay for, but it all depends what kind of bike you have, my dh bike fits well, my xc bike is a bit short but works, road bikes are iffy for how the bike mounts on the rack!
Best part is no shuttle damage on the bike from rubbing the other bikes or tail gates! Good luck hope this helps with your decision!
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Old 07-11-2012, 09:35 AM   #19
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I bought a Thule Vertex 4 bike hitch rack a few weeks ago. It needed an extender because it, too, didnt clear my 12.5" spare. I just got the extender but havent had a chance to try it out yet.
This rack is one of hte fold down jobs but without the hitch extender, it didnt allow the tailgate to open the whole way. The extender I got also has a drop in it, so hopefully Ill be able to get the gate to open. Not sure when Ill actually be able to try all this because its 100* out today and I dont feel like going outside and roasting. Its supposed to be nice this weekend, so maybe we will finally get to go on a ride
Im going to bump this thread because I finally got around to putting my rack on today to bring my bike to work. I ended up getting a 8" extension with drop from Amazon and it worked out real well. The rack can definitely clear the large spare AND even more importantly, the rack can now drop far enough down so my tailgate can open all the way. Even with the drop, its still plenty high enough to not have to worry about it bottoming out on anything over bumps. It does wobble around a bit, but its solid in there. I may have to get one of those anti wobble pins shown above for longer trips, but for just transporting the ol bike around town on the back, its A-OK
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Old 07-11-2012, 05:06 PM   #20
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Old 07-11-2012, 05:13 PM   #21
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I have the Yakama that attaches to the spare tire. It is called Sparetime. I like it but it only holds 2 bikes. It doesn't get in the way of opening the tailgate since it is attached to it. I leave it there all the time even when I'm not carrying the bike.
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Old 07-11-2012, 09:19 PM   #22
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for one bike you don't really need a rack at all. just one good tiedown strap hooked to the seat post and a fork leg. then you hang the strap at least a 1/4 of the way over the spare tire. it's quite stable.

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