Hitch Rack - Any recommendations?
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  1. #1
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    Hitch Rack - Any recommendations?

    I need to get a hitch rack for the minivan. The main reason is for vacation travel to take one or more of my bikes, my wife's bike, the kids bikes, maybe the trailer, a jog stroller, whatever and leave room in the van for everything else. We would use it for local trips too though, especially as the kids get older. I will need to get a hitch mount also. Any recommendations?

    I'm thinking the more robust 2" hitch mounts are probably a better choice but what rack? Rack prices range from $60 - $400+. Add to that the cost of the hitch mount and this becomes a big decision. Is a swing-away feature a necessity? Are other features essential? Has anyone used a hitch tray instead of a rack to carry bikes? Is that more versatile? It seems less expensive.

    Any recommendations would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    CHT
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roundabout
    I need to get a hitch rack for the minivan. The main reason is for vacation travel to take one or more of my bikes, my wife's bike, the kids bikes, maybe the trailer, a jog stroller, whatever and leave room in the van for everything else. We would use it for local trips too though, especially as the kids get older. I will need to get a hitch mount also. Any recommendations?

    I'm thinking the more robust 2" hitch mounts are probably a better choice but what rack? Rack prices range from $60 - $400+. Add to that the cost of the hitch mount and this becomes a big decision. Is a swing-away feature a necessity? Are other features essential? Has anyone used a hitch tray instead of a rack to carry bikes? Is that more versatile? It seems less expensive.

    Any recommendations would be appreciated.
    On one of our cars we use a Thule Rak-n-Lock with a 2" receiver. It currently is configured for 2 bikes, but with an add on (soon to be purchased), it holds four. Besides being very sturdy, it has locks which lock the rack to the hitch, and a second lock which locks the bikes to the hitch. It also has an anti-sway bar. I don't think a swing-away is really necessary. What I do like about this rack is that it has a pneumatic pump to slowly lower the bikes if you need to access the trunk. Others do not have any pump, they just drop. My wife can acess the trunk with 2 bikes without any problems because of the pump. Also, the rack is modular, and can be converted for other purposes such as carrying skis (see Thule website).

    If you search around, there are deals. I purchased mine online with no problems.

    Good luck, I'm sure there are others quality racks out there, such as the new hitch racks which load the bikes by the wheels (not sure if you get trunk access though).
    It's better to burn out, then to fade away....

  3. #3

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    I have a hitch rack made by Sportworks out of Seattle. It is the type that supports the wheels from below, rather than hanging the bikes from the top tube. I had the top tube hanging type rack for my previous vehicle, but switched to this one. I really like it, it supports the bikes much better than the other. Negatives are that it weighs more and can only fit two bikes, although you may be able to get a larger size for more bikes, but you would probably get a hernia trying to fit it into the hitch.
    Ken

  4. #4

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    1upusa.com makes a nice rack....

    I just picked up the 1upusa.com Ultra rack - very well made, easy to use. A little expensive though. That being said, I recommend it nonetheless. I like the fact that I don't need to take the wheels off or anything - just drop it on there and go.

    Its worth noting that mtbr.com has a whole section devited to bike racks and ratings. That really helped me narrow down my decision.

    jsargevt

  5. #5

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    I had U-Haul install a hitch for $60 and purchased a Yakima Big Horn 4 for a Volvo wagon. I think REI has the Big Horn 4 on closeout for only $109 (I paid more). It holds up to four bikes securely and folds down to access the rear hatch. However, the bikes would need to be unloaded first. I think the model that can fold down w/ bikes on it cost quite a bit more.

  6. #6
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    Sportsworks!!!

    It is easy, very well built, will last, folds out of the way, folds, down, folds up. I have used three other yakima/hollywood/Thule racks and the Sportsworks are by far better than anything else I've used, in every way.

  7. #7
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    Sportworks

    Like Ken 59 I bought the Sportworks rack. I couldn't use a top tube type due to my DH bike so I found this rack. It is very easy to load/unload the bikes and you can fit upto 4 bikes I believe, there is an extra extension tray you can purchase. The rack isn't cheap, but definetly worth the price IMO. Hollywood makes a similar rack, it is cheaper I think but not as solid as the Sportworks.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roundabout
    Is a swing-away feature a necessity?
    Murphy's law says that you'll always need to get more junk in (or some junk out) once the bikes are on. This possibility increases exponentially the more bikes you have on the rack and the more crap there is in the van.

    I run a two bike tray type (front wheel comes off) hitch mount rack on my wrx wagon and love it. Prior, I had the top tube mount and hated it. Why the difference? Because with the prior rack I couldn't get into the back of the car without adjusting something. Not so with the tray mount... the rear hatch can swing open even with two bikes mounted.

    My wife drives an Odyssey minivan, and given my experience with the frustration of not getting into the back, I've decided to go with a roof mount rack for her car. To do a hitch mount swing away rack would run $500, at least, once you account for the hitch. Rockymounts, on the other hand, can be had for $50 and will mount to the OEM rack. Yeah it's a pain to lift 'em up there, but this is going to be for infrequent use.

  9. #9
    CHT
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    FWIW, the Rack-n-Lock I mentioned can be lowered and raised w/2 bikes due to the pneumatic pump. My wife refused to lift he bike on the roof, so this was our best solution which works great.
    It's better to burn out, then to fade away....

  10. #10

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    Obvious Ad Alert

    Will the same guy with multiple usernames quit advertising already?

  11. #11
    HANK
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    Racks

    I have used a Draftmaster (www.draftmaster.com) for 4 years and really like it. It is a skewer mount so you will have to take off the front wheels. You can get a 2, 3 or 4 bike or configure it for recumbents or tandems as well. Good luck with your search.

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