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  1. #1
    JeffcoHo
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    Best hitch mount 4 bike rack

    Going to hauling a mix of full suspension, hardtails and 29'rs and wonder what the best 4 bike hitch mounted bike rack is.

    Swagman XTC4 ?

    SportRack A30902 4EZ ?

    Yakima HoldUp Plus 2

    Or another rack I don't have listed.

    Thanks!
    ‎"Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears." -Marcus Aurelius

  2. #2
    Come see me after class
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    don't forget the Thule 916XTR T2. there's also the 1up USA rack.

    that first rack you listed doesn't look very sturdy. i wouldn't have any peace of mind if i had that on the back with my bikes on it. the second one doesn't look too bad, and that's one helluva price for a 4-bike platform rack. the Thule and Yakima require add-ons bringing the total investment to $600. the 1up USA rack will run you $900 to hold 4 bikes.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
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    I have heard a lot of good things about the Thule. If that second one works, that's a heck of a deal. In the market for one myself, but don't want to be cheap if I'm loading up 4 bikes at $5k+ each.

  4. #4
    Slowest Rider
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    I've gone through a dozen or so hitch racks, not believing the price of the best were worth the money. But after always finding the cheaper ones inadequate, I ended up with a garage full of hitch racks I finally sold off on eBay last year.

    The first two racks you listed hold the bike by the frame, not the wheel, which is only useful for cruiser bikes with big fenders around the wheels. They will take a lot of fiddling to get bikes mounted and aren't that sturdy either.

    So now, I'm fully satisfied finally with the Yakima Holdup Plus 2 hitch rack.
    I have an extensive review of it on a post here along with pictures.

    The Yakima Holdup can handle all sorts of bikes, from roadies, 29'ers, FS, hardtail, even my kid's 20" bike, all instantly inserted without adapation. I put the hitch on my car in literally 30 seconds for each of the two-bike sections, and another ~15 seconds for each bike. (I keep the ratchet & socket handy right next to the rack which is near the end of my car.)

    The Tule T2 bike rack is also very good and in the same class. The T2 has the advantage that the trays can be adjusted for different bike spacing. The downside of the T2 is that you may need to spend a lot of time to adjust trays for different bike spacing. Also, some have had the adjustable slide continue sliding all the way off the end of the hitch (along with their precious bike) while driving along.

    I've never failed in fitting all sorts of bike combinations on the Yakima Holdup, in spite of the fixed spacing. I think it's because the spacing is somewhat wide already, which puts the fourth bike out some distance. Sometimes I need to remove a seat if I can't lower or raise it to prevent conflict with the adjacent bike's handlebars.

    To handle the heavy torque from four bikes extended out on a hitch,. I beefed up my Class III receiver strength some more to prevent the couple inch droop from heavy bikes at the end, and made sure I had road and driveway clearance on my crossover by tilting up the receiver a few degrees (took ~$150 to a welder). Not all cars/trucks need this.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  5. #5
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    I like the Raxter Tarsus with the "Plus Two" - http://www.raxterracks.com/index.cfm?id=3&prodID=5

  6. #6
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    Kuat NV with add on. I have the Nv without the add on and I love it. Customer service is also impeccable.

  7. #7
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    I'll add the Saris Cycle-on to the mix. I'll also suggest going to a bike shop that has racks built and out on display that you can load/unload. I like the user interface on the Saris better than the Yakima, and the build quality seems higher than on the Swagman. I like the bike interface better than the SportRack (the Saris doesn't grab the TT, just the wheels). If I were buying a hitch rack for myself, I'd be looking closely at the Cycle-on and the Thule T2.

    Eric

  8. #8
    Slowest Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by eric1115
    I'll add the Saris Cycle-on to the mix. I'll also suggest going to a bike shop that has racks built and out on display that you can load/unload. I like the user interface on the Saris better than the Yakima, and the build quality seems higher than on the Swagman. I like the bike interface better than the SportRack (the Saris doesn't grab the TT, just the wheels). If I were buying a hitch rack for myself, I'd be looking closely at the Cycle-on and the Thule T2.

    Eric
    Is this the Saris that has the "wheel sleeve" for the front wheel? A friend had one it was a total PIA. It works on the most bikes, but wouldn't properly fit my wider 2.8" tires and XL bike, just for starters.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  9. #9
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    The Yakima Holdup Plus 2 is what I wanted to go with, but my driveway angle is prohibitive ( I used to scrape the bottom lip of my front fender going up the driveway in my sports car ). It might not have been a problem with two bikes, but I would have ruined it when transporting 4 bikes.

    I just ordered a Yakima Swingdaddy.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by nevermiss
    The Yakima Holdup Plus 2 is what I wanted to go with, but my driveway angle is prohibitive ( I used to scrape the bottom lip of my front fender going up the driveway in my sports car ). It might not have been a problem with two bikes, but I would have ruined it when transporting 4 bikes.
    The Thule XTR T2 actually sits up really, really high. I bet i could go wheelin' with it on the back of my SUV and not worry about it contacting the ground.




    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    The Tule T2 bike rack is also very good and in the same class. The T2 has the advantage that the trays can be adjusted for different bike spacing. The downside of the T2 is that you may need to spend a lot of time to adjust trays for different bike spacing. Also, some have had the adjustable slide continue sliding all the way off the end of the hitch (along with their precious bike) while driving along.
    So the Thule has adjustability, unlike the Yakima, but yet it's a downside because you have to adjust it? Anyway, how many times are you adjusting it? I only have 26in MTBs so they never have to be readjusted. If I'm loading a friend's 29er on it, it's still close enough to center that I'm not going to fiddle with it. I adjusted the racks once when I put it together, and never had to do it again.

    If the bike slid off the hitch, it's the owner's fault and they deserve it. The rack comes disassembled and if they didn't tighten the bolts, who is to blame? It's not like it's quick-release or anything. The slides clamp onto the hitch with 4 bolts. If they were so lose as to slide off, then I'd say they weren't tightened at all.



    It's a non-issue.
    Last edited by alexrex20; 05-20-2011 at 06:03 PM.

  11. #11
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    That Thule XTR T2 looks like it would be great for me when I'm just taking 1-2 bikes.

    When I go out with the family I need to take 3-4 bikes and I need to get access to the back of the Denali.

    I wish they made a rack like the XTR T2 that held 4 bikes and would swing out and allow access to the back.

    Now that I just dropped $400, I'm sure that someone will make a rack that will work better for me!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by nevermiss
    That Thule XTR T2 looks like it would be great for me when I'm just taking 1-2 bikes.

    When I go out with the family I need to take 3-4 bikes and I need to get access to the back of the Denali.

    I wish they made a rack like the XTR T2 that held 4 bikes and would swing out and allow access to the back.

    Now that I just dropped $400, I'm sure that someone will make a rack that will work better for me!

    Well, the T2 can only hold 4 bikes with the $300 addon, making it a $700 rack. It does swing down to allow the tailgate to open, but I guess it's still pretty impossible to load/unload anything, and I wonder how easy it would be to swing it back up with 4 bikes on it.

  13. #13
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    +1 on the Kuat NV

    I bought the Kuat NV after reading about the T2 failures. The NV has the same design ideas as the T2 but alot better build in my own opinion. I dont have the add on. The built in bike lock and hitch tensioner are very nice features. Oh the bike stand is also very usefull. No regreats on the NV!!!
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  14. #14
    mtbr member
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    Just purchased the t2 at rei for 20% off.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    Is this the Saris that has the "wheel sleeve" for the front wheel? A friend had one it was a total PIA. It works on the most bikes, but wouldn't properly fit my wider 2.8" tires and XL bike, just for starters.

    I think you're thinking of the Thelma. Lots of plastic, cheap and light? The Cycle-on is much beefier build and works MUCH better. Easier and faster on and off, doesn't complain with any wheel size that I've tried, and holds the bikes much more securely.

  16. #16
    turtles make me hot
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    I have the T2 with the add on to carry 4 bikes and I regularly take it from NY to Florida with 4 bikes on it. No problems ever. It drops down and grants me access to the rear cargo area of my Surburban just fine.
    I've seen the videos of them coming apart. I put mine together with red Loctite and check it periodically. I have the later one that clears 29" wheels fine and has a screw on the end to further prevent the tray from sliding off. It's also super easy to convert from two bikes to four and back.
    I like turtles

  17. #17
    Delirious Tuck
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    + whatever on the T2.

    I run the T2 with 4 DH bikes on my FJ Cruiser, probably close to the 200lb limit, or slightly over, every weekend during DH season, and push 80mph. I can easily lift and drop the thing with that much on it, YMMV.

    The only time I had a rack slide was when I was rear ended at a stoplight (I was stopped the jetta behind me had a jump dog and twitchy foot), and the slide probably saved an $8k moots and more. Rack is still fine almost 3 years later even after the rear end incident including some serious bike trips around the NE CT-> ME/VT/PA/DC on rd and on dirt track. I've never had to loosen or tighten bolts outside of the getting rear ended experience, even then I had to LOOSEN the bolts to reset.

    Get the T2, buy once, cry once.

  18. #18
    Clydesdale 29er
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    I guess this qualifies as a hitch mount. I modified a four bike T2 rack to fit on a mini trailer.
    Two of the trays are the new style that fit my 29er perfect. I also love the integrated cable
    lock on each arm.

    little car with lots of bikes

    close-up of custom mount
    MxV=Clydesdale

  19. #19
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    I have the 2 bike version of the Sportrack (#2 on your list). A buddy had the 4 bike version for several years and never had a problem. We used it to go from SoCal to Utah and it held up well, though I admit at times it shook more than I would like as I watched it in my rear view mirror.

    That buddy was recently rear-ended and his Sportrack was toast so he is in the market again and plans on getting the Thule T2 plus the add-on at REI. Like the others, my advice is to bite the bullet and buy the best so you only have to do it once.

  20. #20
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    best is, without a doubt, 1UpUSA http://www.1upusa.com

    Next best is Raxter.

    J.

  21. #21
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    Yakima bighorn 4 works great and is very secure.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry View Post
    The first two racks you listed hold the bike by the frame, not the wheel, which is only useful for cruiser bikes with big fenders around the wheels. They will take a lot of fiddling to get bikes mounted and aren't that sturdy either.
    sorry but that is just not true at all. the swagman can hold any bike you can think of with any frame design. i've used my swagman XTC4 for 3 years and it has held every single bike i've wanted to put on. the wheel trays keep the bike from rolling forwards or backwards and the frame hook holds the bike from going side to side. the rack uses a screw type hitch pin so it mounts solidly to the hitch. no swaying whatsoever. The only weak aspect of the rack is the wheel trays aren't as strong as I'd want them to be. If i didn't crank down the frame holder so tight it wouldn't be a problem though. loading bikes really isn't that hard. make sure the pedals are the same on all bikes and you are fine.

    if you don't have 4 heavy bikes to load on then this rack is a good option. personally, i'd rather hold my bike from the frame than the front wheel.

    one thing i'd like to add also is avoid the saris version that holds the bikes by the front wheel. my friend had his bike fall right off.

    if you plan on hauling only heavy adult mountain bikes, checkout the north shore rack. nothing is sturdier.

  23. #23
    Slowest Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by eric1115 View Post
    I think you're thinking of the Thelma. Lots of plastic, cheap and light? The Cycle-on is much beefier build and works MUCH better. Easier and faster on and off, doesn't complain with any wheel size that I've tried, and holds the bikes much more securely.


    Yeah, I was thinking of the Thelma. Don't get that bike mount.
    Last edited by BigLarry; 05-29-2011 at 02:55 AM.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  24. #24
    Slowest Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by coiler_guy
    sorry but that is just not true at all. the swagman can hold any bike you can think of with any frame design. i've used my swagman XTC4 for 3 years and it has held every single bike i've wanted to put on
    I agree. I didn't quite say it properly. I meant to say
    "The first two racks you listed hold the bike by the frame, not the wheel, which is the only type that is useful for cruiser bikes with big fenders around the wheels."

    However, you also seem to agree with me that the first two are not as strong as the others.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  25. #25
    willtsmith_nwi
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2rider1964 View Post
    I have the 2 bike version of the Sportrack (#2 on your list). A buddy had the 4 bike version for several years and never had a problem. We used it to go from SoCal to Utah and it held up well, though I admit at times it shook more than I would like as I watched it in my rear view mirror.

    That buddy was recently rear-ended and his Sportrack was toast so he is in the market again and plans on getting the Thule T2 plus the add-on at REI. Like the others, my advice is to bite the bullet and buy the best so you only have to do it once.
    I learned that after spending $150 on a trunk rack. That was $150 I could have put on a hitch rack.

    BTW, Kuat NV is very cool. I considered going cheap with a Hollywood rack. A friend did that and I'm glad I dropped the extra change as it will be with me for a long time. And it has the best and worst integrated lock system on the market ;-)

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