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Old 05-10-2019, 10:55 AM
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4 or 5 Bikes hitch mounted bike rack suggestions?

Anyone have any advice on a good hitch mounted bike rack to buy, to carry either 4 or 5 bikes? The rack would need to carry 2 or 3 kids bikes and 2 adult bikes. I have been trying to do some research and seems like kids bikes are a bit of an issue on a lot of these bike racks.


I would prefer a 5 bike rack, but there seem to be fewer options there, so if there is a really good 4 bike rack, I would choose that and then throw the 5th one in the back, since I have a JKU.

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Old 05-10-2019, 11:04 AM   #2
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If I needed to transport that many bikes, I'd get a small trailer and set it up as a rolling bike rack. Example from a quick Google search...


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Old 05-10-2019, 11:06 AM   #3
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Look into Alta Racks. It will carry 6. Can be set up to carry fat bikes as well and even road bikes. They are solid and help maintain a decent departure angle compared to most racks.

My favorite rack is a 1upUSA. Available online only. They are super solid, easy to load and unload bikes and can be set up for fat bikes, and kids bikes. Can also carry road bikes. Also help maintain a good departure angle.

You will need a hitch extender for any rack if you have a spare tire on the back.

I've used just about every rack out there so please ask if you have questions about them all.

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Old 05-10-2019, 11:12 AM   #4
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Both of those racks are made in the USA.

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Old 05-10-2019, 02:45 PM   #5
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Old 05-10-2019, 02:48 PM   #6
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I bought one of these about 8 years ago or so..works great...no issues at all...

https://www.amazon.com/Allen-Sports-.../dp/B00TRTT178
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Old 05-10-2019, 04:49 PM   #7
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I bought one of these about 8 years ago or so..works great...no issues at all...

https://www.amazon.com/Allen-Sports-.../dp/B00TRTT178
Carrying five bikes, aren't you out of luck for opening the tailgate? I know empty it swings down I don't know how that works loaded with bikes. I had a Thule 2-bike carrier that worked great but was otherwise a PITA to work around. That was on a wagon with a swing up door - not sure how it would work on a Jeep.
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Old 05-10-2019, 04:59 PM   #8
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Carrying five bikes, aren't you out of luck for opening the tailgate? I know empty it swings down I don't know how that works loaded with bikes. I had a Thule 2-bike carrier that worked great but was otherwise a PITA to work around. That was on a wagon with a swing up door - not sure how it would work on a Jeep.
Yep...rear tailgate is more or less useless until the rack is unloaded and/or removed...it DOES swing down, but honestly have never tried (on the Jeep at least) to access the tailgate...it MIGHT clear (I used it on my Expedition and that gave me just enough room to use that tailgate...

Another option is to put it on a front hitch...but personally I don't like seeing the bikes in front of me...blocks my vision too much for my liking...(not sure if it's "legal" either from that point of view now that I think of it...hmm...?
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Old 05-10-2019, 09:33 PM   #9
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That Alta 6 looks like a great option for carrying a fleet. Either that or the trailer idea is going to be the best solution for that many bikes. Just my opinion of course.



For hitch racks in general, I think Swingaway is the way to go for a Jeep if you want access to the rear. It's been discussed in a couple other threads. A friend just got the Rockymounts Backstage swingaway. It's a nice rack but I'm going with a separate swing arm attachment so I can use it with any hitch mounted accessory. The pioneer in that field is the RakAttach, but there are now several similar or straight copies. I went with the Kuat Pivot because it is a copy (I think it's licensed) but actually has a couple of features over the RakAttach that I want. Specifically, the cam handle is horizontal (on the updated version) so it doesn't hit the spare; and it has a threaded hitch pin. I got it for a pretty decent price on etrailer. I'm undecided on the actual bike rack I'm going to get. I want a single with option for an easy on/off second bike tray. There are only two that I know of that have that ability, 1up single and Rockymounts Solo. With the add-on trays, the former will be double the price of the latter, so...
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Old 05-10-2019, 10:02 PM   #10
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I think you would want to hang them vertically if you needed to carry that many bikes.



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Old 05-13-2019, 02:47 PM   #11
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I have a 4 bike rack hitch mount from
Quadratec. Works for us.
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Old 05-13-2019, 03:41 PM   #12
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I have a 4 bike rack hitch mount from
Quadratec. Works for us.

Good to know. This is the one I've been eyeballing. Outfitted the wife and kids with mountain bikes recently and I want to start finding some trails.
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Old 05-14-2019, 07:57 PM   #13
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I've been using various Thule racks for the past twenty+ years. Four kids and wife. I add some zip ties or a ratchet strap and keep checking it when I hit a large bump while i'm driving. Now that the kids are older the most I roll with is four adult bikes, but I do have one rack that fits five.
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Old 05-14-2019, 11:07 PM   #14
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I can’t recall the model however I had a 4 bike carrier on the previous JKU. We would take 5 bikes on our trips be it local mtn bike trails or pulling the JKU behind the RV for longer trips

My full suspension bike didn’t like the frame mount racks, difficult getting rack to hold the frame properly which also made it difficult to mount the other bikes. Especially when the kids were small and they had smaller mtn bikes, between MX and full size adults. So we would put the kids bikes on the hitch and put my bike and my now x wife’s bike inside. Cut a piece of wood to cover the entire back of the JKU, mounted two front fork mounts so our bikes would sit there. Especially traveling long distances, I never liked having expensive bikes to me ($1,500+) bouncing on a carrier that holds the frame thus this is the direction we went.

I also added a Kongo Kage which allowed me to put the kids 3 bikes in the back then two bikes on the roof. I could actually put all 5 bikes up there if I wanted.

Presently have a Thule rack that clamps onto the tires only, works great but only carries two bikes.
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Old 05-22-2019, 09:38 AM   #15
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Arrow Hitch Bike Rack (2 bikes, or 4 bikes with extension)

Love my Kuat NV 2.0 and Kuat pivot on my 2017 Jeep Wrangler JK Winter Edition! You definitely get what you pay for.
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Old 05-22-2019, 03:48 PM   #16
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I have a yakima doubleDown4 https://www.yakima.com/doubledown-4

I mostly use the ski rack attachment add on but it works for 4 bikes. If you have a stock hitch you can put it on with a stock spare tire but its tight. I have 33s with a higher backspace wheel and I needed an extender until I bought a new back bumper (ace engineering pro series) and it works great with their hitch.

Whatever you do I recommend using a hitch tightener. It works wonders on the shaking.
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Old 05-22-2019, 07:12 PM   #17
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Love my Kuat NV 2.0 and Kuat pivot on my 2017 Jeep Wrangler JK Winter Edition! You definitely get what you pay for.
Sorry, but that rack is easily one of the worst 4 bike racks you can get. Really not trying to rain on your parade but I am trying to save someone else from that mistake. As a 2 bike rack, it is ok. Making it a 4 bike rack moves the trays too close together and the bike tetris you have to play in order to get the bikes on, without damaging each other, is insane.

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Old 05-22-2019, 08:38 PM   #18
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I just bought a Thule Classic 2 with the +2 carrier. It is built like a tank, holds the bikes very well, but sticks out a good 5 feet beyond the hitch, it is insane.

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Old 05-23-2019, 12:43 PM   #19
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If you've never tried to hang kid's, women's and men's bikes (at the same time) on a mount built for a horizontal top tube, get ready for hell on earth. You definitely want a tray rack like the Yakima HoldUp or a hanger like the Recon posted by @armourbl or the Yakima HangOver. The crazy top tube configurations of 20" and 24" kid's bikes and then the ridiculous, curvy top tube on many women's bikes make it almost impossible to hang them all by themselves. Not enough space between the down tubes on the kids bikes and the weird angles it forces you to hang women's bikes makes handlebars and pedals all run into each other. Look at all the marketing photos of those hanger-style racks and you'll notice they always hang identical men's bikes with a horizontal top tube.

I am regularly carting around 2 27.5" (one women's and one men's), 1 24" and one 20" MTB. I have a very expensive Thule 4-bike hanger rack that we put on my wife's GMC but only to carry our 2 27.5" bikes and by putting them on hanger 1 & 4 so they don't get tangled up.

In general, nobody has designed an ideal solution for that many bikes when they are different geometry. Make sure whichever you get has the space to do make your particular bike tetris work.
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Old 05-23-2019, 03:17 PM   #20
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Jeep Wrangler has a bit more issue with hitch mounted bike racks than most. The rack has to extend the bikes out far enough to clear the spare.

A bike rack places a lot more strain on a receiver than a trailer of equivalent tongue weight. A trailer is a lever with a pivot at the wheels and only produces a direct downward load at the receiver.

A hitch mounted bike rack produces a downward load based on weight and an additional load created by the torque vector of the load. When the load is extended out, the load is significant.

Then there's a bounce effect on the bikes themselves. Every bump is amplified at the bikes.

FWIW, with 30ish years in the bike industry, I don't like anything bigger than a 2 bike receiver hitch carrier.

If my math is correct, 150lbs of bikes, 30 inches out from the receiver, with 6 inches in the receiver produces 750 ft/lbs of static torque at the center of the receiver, in addition to the 150lbs. of tongue weight.
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Old 05-23-2019, 06:19 PM   #21
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In general, nobody has designed an ideal solution for that many bikes when they are different geometry. Make sure whichever you get has the space to do make your particular bike tetris work.
This is exactly what the 1up USA rack fixes. Each bike sits higher than the last and each tray allows about 10" of lateral placement of the bike to move it around the other bikes. Very easy to do. There's a reason they are the best rack you can buy.



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Old 05-24-2019, 08:19 AM   #22
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This is exactly what the 1up USA rack fixes. Each bike sits higher than the last and each tray allows about 10" of lateral placement of the bike to move it around the other bikes. Very easy to do. There's a reason they are the best rack you can buy.
I was just taking a look. Thanks for the pointer. Certainly looks like a great product. I don't know that it really solves the problem, though. It still depends on the bikes. If, for example, you're putting a 20" bike next to a 27.5", the handlebar on the 20" are going to be at wheel height on the 27.5", likely poking into the spokes. Maybe the play the 1upUSA rack gives you gives you the room to take care of this, but I'm looking at pictures and not sure that would be the case. Pity there are no local retailers.
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Old 05-24-2019, 08:25 AM   #23
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FWIW, with 30ish years in the bike industry, I don't like anything bigger than a 2 bike receiver hitch carrier.
Thanks for your point of view on this. Even in my wife's GMC, when we just have the three bikes that fit on the 4-bike Thule (2 x 27.5 and 1 x 24), that thing bounces something fierce on the roads. It scares the crap out of me every time we take the bikes anywhere. Drove them up to Whistler from Seattle a couple years ago. The impact is real.

On the contrary, my spare mounted Yakima 2-bike on the Jeep is rock solid. Bikes don't move. Only complaint is that the v2 redesign raised the rack up about 6" from center, so it blocks rear-view vision now, even when no bikes are mounted.
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Old 05-24-2019, 08:51 AM   #24
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On my last Jeep I had a front mounted receiver hitch and a spare tire mounted rack on the back. I would carry the kids bikes on the front, and the adult bikes on the back.
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Old 05-24-2019, 11:07 AM   #25
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I have a Yakima HoldUp (tray type rack) that I typically run with only 2 bikes, but occasionally I add the extension to hold 4.

CampAgnolo is right, 4 bikes is quite a lever on the hitch. Things are pretty solid, though, so I'm not worried about it damaging anything from the weight of the bikes, alone.

To me the bigger issue is how far back it sticks out and how vulnerable it is. I worry someone will bump it, kill my bikes, my rack, and possibly (with the big lever arm) cause structural damage to my jeep. I run a hitch extender, so the bikes will clear my ~35" spare, and they stick really far out there. Beyond the risk of getting rear-ended or someone changing lanes too close, parking lot damage is a big concern, too. I'm longer than most parking spaces, and the rack/bikes is what sticks out of the parking space into passing traffic. I have nightmarish visions of an old fogey or new driver cutting it too close, and hooking a fender or bumper on the rack/outermost bike, causing $$$ in damage.

I think a trailer would be better because the hitch is compliant and will unhitch if bumped hard enough. And, a trailer is more substantial and less likely to be misjudged by an incompetent navigating the parking lot.
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Old 05-26-2019, 11:46 PM   #26
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I have a Thule swing away (swings sideways to the passenger side). Had it on my Ram 2500 and was going to sell it because I thought it would never clear the spare tire without a extender. To my surprise it fits - no extender. 4 bike rack. I also use it with my Thule ski tram for heading to the slopes.
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:36 AM   #27
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On my last Jeep I had a front mounted receiver hitch and a spare tire mounted rack on the back. I would carry the kids bikes on the front, and the adult bikes on the back.
Haha that picture is great! I don't think you could find a jeep carrying more than here.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:02 PM   #28
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Haha that picture is great! I don't think you could find a jeep carrying more than here.
Glamping with my fam This is what all that stuff looks like when we get there...two bedrooms with foyer, outdoor kitchen, and rec. toys
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Old 06-03-2019, 03:18 PM   #29
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Glamping with my fam This is what all that stuff looks like when we get there...two bedrooms with foyer, outdoor kitchen, and rec. toys
Looks like you're living in luxury! I am quite jealous
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Old 06-10-2019, 01:45 PM   #30
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Jeep Wrangler has a bit more issue with hitch mounted bike racks than most. The rack has to extend the bikes out far enough to clear the spare.
I bought an extension for my receiver to clear the spare for both the bike rack, and a luggage rack/tray. It's a 4-bike rack, but don't think I've ever hauled more than 2.

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