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  1. #1
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    Class 1 hitch load capacity

    Hello everyone,

    I recently had a class 1 hitch installed on my VW GTI and I was looking around for a rack to put on it. I am looking to transport three mountain bikes, each averaging about 35lbs (entry level aluminum bikes, can't afford carbon yet). I searched on etrailer.com and almost all the racks I saw on there stated that for a class 1 hitch, you should not put more than 2 bikes.

    Has anyone put 3 bikes on a class 1, 1 1/4 inch hitch rack? Any issues?

    Thanks,
    Rich

  2. #2
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Even if you have a class 2 it's often a bad idea unless its a very heavy vehicle, because not only does that much weight make a huge lever arm on the receiver, it makes the car tilt backwards due to the CG shift. Ok for large trucks and SUVs, not so much for lighter ones or cars.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

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  4. #4
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    drewvir,

    If you scroll down, you'll see:

    ◦Maximum capacity for Class I hitch receivers is 2 bikes

  5. #5
    ballbuster
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Even if you have a class 2 it's often a bad idea unless its a very heavy vehicle, because not only does that much weight make a huge lever arm on the receiver, it makes the car tilt backwards due to the CG shift. Ok for large trucks and SUVs, not so much for lighter ones or cars.
    Most smaller cars these days are up in the 3000 pound range. I don't think a 1/20 lever stretching less than 3 feet off the bumper is going to throw the CG of the car off by enough to notice, unless you're autocrossing your car at the same time./// Especially when you put bikes on the back which create some drag, moving the total vehicle's center of pressure back as well.

    BTW, three bikes isn't that much weight... as long as they aren't 45 pound DH bikes. I would be more concerned with the sheet metal on the car developing cracks if you take your card down unpaved rutted roads.

    *edit*


    ... or scrape your rack hard on driveways. You're basically lifting the car up by whatever sheet metal the hitch is bolted to. That does put a lot of stress on the unibody if you slam it hard.
    Last edited by pimpbot; 12-15-2012 at 01:34 PM.

  6. #6
    gran jefe
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    class 1 means it's rated for what, 150 lb tongue weight and 1500 lb total weight? so it is built to pull and emergency stop a trailer that big. I don't think I would worry about 150 lbs of bikes/rack. That said, I'd make sure to use one stabilization kits to keep the rack from clanging around in the receiver.

  7. #7
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    150lbs due to a rack is the same as 150lbs on the receiver due to a trailer. I did some calcs earlier today and w/4 30lb bikes you are closer to 190lbs total, although it depends on the rack, could go more or less. The torque values are what's most impressive, again, it's not like putting 190lbs in your trunk, it's like putting it 3 feet in back of your receiver (for a 4 bike). 3 isn't so bad, in a pinch its fine, I just don't recommend it most of the time.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  8. #8
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    I have a 1 1/4 Schwinn hanging rack on my Element. With 3 or more bikes I use a strap tied to the rack, through the clam shell tailgate and anchored into the seat mounts on the floor. Gives me peace of mind.

  9. #9
    gran jefe
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    right, so redo the calcs with an 8 foot tall trailer weighing 1500lbs, mass evenly distributed, at a negative acceleration of about 0.7g's. you will find that that trailer puts a lot more than 190lbs of downward force on the hitch, plus huge horizontal loads.

    a driver would definitely want to watch out for weird handling with it loaded up like that.

  10. #10
    skobiken
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    A friend did this with a Thule Helium on the back of his honda fit. There was quite a bit of bouncing due to flex in the hitch and the back of the car. He never had any problems with the setup, it just didn't inspire much confidence. He ended up switching to a combination of roof and hitch racks for carrying more than two bikes.
    Those who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither. - Ben Franklin

  11. #11
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill in Houston View Post
    right, so redo the calcs with an 8 foot tall trailer weighing 1500lbs, mass evenly distributed, at a negative acceleration of about 0.7g's. you will find that that trailer puts a lot more than 190lbs of downward force on the hitch, plus huge horizontal loads.

    a driver would definitely want to watch out for weird handling with it loaded up like that.
    a U-haul 5x8 weighs 1000lbs, many 5x8 open trailer may weigh less. Not sure where 1500 is coming from, but it's not "evenly distributed" if it's a trailer, it's mostly on the wheels, and then partially on the receiver (only a small fraction usually). Not sure where you are getting that math from. The whole point of wheels on a trailer is so they are taking the "load". The actual hitch is maybe seeing 50lbs max, the structure right at the hitch and the locking mechanism, that's about most of the "weight" on it, the rest is contingency for bouncing up and down like you are talking about.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

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