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  1. #1
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    Easily install/removable hitch rack?

    I need a rack for my 2010 Toyota Matrix. Though I cycle a 3 or 4 times a week, I would only be using the rack once or twice a week.

    I think I'd like a hitch rack. Is it practical to install and remove them each time? Any particular models? 2 bike capacity please.

    Thanks
    TMANIAC

  2. #2
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    www.1upsa.com

    the most expensive... but very "modular". Because it is very modular, it makes it easier to handle for installation.

    I previously had a Yakima Holdup.

  3. #3
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    A 1Up proponent here as well. Although it's pricey, it's well worth the cost. The rack can be removed and installed in seconds. That's no exaggeration either. I too was shopping around for a hitch rack until I said F-it. 1Up it was.. No regrets so far.

  4. #4
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    1Up is great. Barring that, might look at the light weight dial-in options. For example the Thule helium or Yakima Highlight. 2-3 bike frame hang style, install/uninstall in just a few minutes.

  5. #5
    RTM
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    assuming you will keep the Matrix for a while I recommend a good quality roof rack. I have a Sportworks rack (grandfather of the Thule T2) on my Xterra. While not impossible I definitely would not enjoy removing it frequently. I leave mine on the entire riding season. The price i pay is that its mildly inconvenient accessing the cargo area. Which can be annoying if I've got a pizza in my hands and I forgot to drop the rack before I went in. Loading and unloading is always done from an off-center position which gets a little awkward with heavy loads. with ALL that said, I love that rack for MY needs. However, if I had a smaller vehicle and was only hauling a couple bikes up to 35lbs each I would try a good roof rack.

    Also be aware of the 1 1/4" hitch. Some racks do not come in that option, some may require you to buy an adapter. And hanging the weight off the back of that car does impact the handling and mileage. (I know all this first hand because I drove a Vibe for 2 years)
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten." - Benjamin Franklin

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RTM View Post
    assuming you will keep the Matrix for a while I recommend a good quality roof rack. I have a Sportworks rack (grandfather of the Thule T2) on my Xterra. While not impossible I definitely would not enjoy removing it frequently. I leave mine on the entire riding season. The price i pay is that its mildly inconvenient accessing the cargo area. Which can be annoying if I've got a pizza in my hands and I forgot to drop the rack before I went in. Loading and unloading is always done from an off-center position which gets a little awkward with heavy loads. with ALL that said, I love that rack for MY needs. However, if I had a smaller vehicle and was only hauling a couple bikes up to 35lbs each I would try a good roof rack.

    Also be aware of the 1 1/4" hitch. Some racks do not come in that option, some may require you to buy an adapter. And hanging the weight off the back of that car does impact the handling and mileage. (I know all this first hand because I drove a Vibe for 2 years)
    a roof rack will also impact handling and fuel economy.

  7. #7
    RTM
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    Quote Originally Posted by tednugent View Post
    a roof rack will also impact handling and fuel economy.
    obviously. though not in the same manner. a loaded hitch rack is a big load for the rear end of a small vehicle like the matrix. and it makes the front end feel lighter. the roof rack's load is more balanced and acts closer to what its like adding an extra person in the passenger compartment. the hitch also has a far greater drag on fuel economy due to its weight and acting as a parachute.

    You'll also notice I said I love my hitch rack for MY needs. But if you consider the OP's vehicle and thought about removing the rack frequently (which is not fun) the roof rack makes sense. As I said, my feedback is based on years of real experience driving the same vehicle as the OP for 2 years and now a larger SUV.
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten." - Benjamin Franklin

  8. #8
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    have the same vehicle and using the THULE VERTEX (4BIKE) and i think its fairly easy to take off.

    i at times would have to mount it on a different vehicle (ROAD TRIPS) and its not really a hassle.
    2014 TREK FARLEY
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by RTM View Post
    obviously. though not in the same manner. a loaded hitch rack makes the front end feel lighter and wander a bit on a light vehicle like the Matrix. And it has a far greater drag on fuel economy due to its weight and acting as a parachute. The matrix is a small vehicle. You won't notice that impact as much on a larger SUV, but as I said, my feedback is based on real experience driving the same vehicle as the OP for 2 years. just trying to help.
    If the OP had a 1.8, then yes, the extra weight will reduce the fuel economy, regardless of whether it's on the roof or hanging from the back. the 2.4L, less of a difference hanging from the back vs. the roof.

    Yes, I have a car with a 2.0L engine, where I have stuff on the roof nearly 6 months every year (ski equipment) and have my hitch rack hanging the other 6 months.

    yes, my family has a 2011 Matrix with the 2.4L engine.

  10. #10
    RTM
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    Quote Originally Posted by tednugent View Post
    www.1upsa.com

    the most expensive... but very "modular". Because it is very modular, it makes it easier to handle for installation.

    I previously had a Yakima Holdup.
    Quote Originally Posted by tednugent View Post
    a roof rack will also impact handling and fuel economy.
    Quote Originally Posted by tednugent View Post
    If the OP had a 1.8, then yes, the extra weight will reduce the fuel economy, regardless of whether it's on the roof or hanging from the back. the 2.4L, less of a difference hanging from the back vs. the roof.

    Yes, I have a car with a 2.0L engine, where I have stuff on the roof nearly 6 months every year (ski equipment) and have my hitch rack hanging the other 6 months.

    yes, my family has a 2011 Matrix with the 2.4L engine.
    none of what you've said is a reason for the OP to dismiss the roof rack as an option. in fact I don't even know why you care so much. is it that important to you that he foresake all others and buy a 1UP?
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten." - Benjamin Franklin

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RTM View Post
    none of what you've said is a reason for the OP to dismiss the roof rack as an option. in fact I don't even know why you care so much. is it that important to you that he foresake all others and buy a 1UP?
    OP is asking for hitch rack opinions, that is easy to remove and install.

    If the OP didn't have a hitch reciever installed, he would of created a thread asking for the proverbial fork mount vs. upright thread. (and yes, I started with a roof rack, with upright bike holders, prior to buying a hitch reciever)

    Roof racks are worse for fuel economy because it acts more like a parachute than a hitch rack. On a hatchback/wagon design, air doesn't flow down the hatch, which is one of the reasons why the hatch gets dirty easily (compared to say... a sedan shape... ie a Corolla). Air flow over the hitch rack is minimal, so its impact on fuel economy is minimally affected.

    Roof racks, especially, when you load it with bikes, hurts handling more, because you have also raised the center of gravity of the vehicle.

    Loading up a car with passengers still hurt handling, as it even more weight is towards the back of the car, which hurts the front/rear weight distribution even more, which still hurts handling of the car.

    The reasons you stated for the roof rack vs hitch rack, isn't exactly correct.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RTM View Post
    obviously. though not in the same manner. a loaded hitch rack is a big load for the rear end of a small vehicle like the matrix. and it makes the front end feel lighter. the roof rack's load is more balanced and acts closer to what its like adding an extra person in the passenger compartment. the hitch also has a far greater drag on fuel economy due to its weight and acting as a parachute.

    You'll also notice I said I love my hitch rack for MY needs. But if you consider the OP's vehicle and thought about removing the rack frequently (which is not fun) the roof rack makes sense. As I said, my feedback is based on years of real experience driving the same vehicle as the OP for 2 years and now a larger SUV.
    on a car wtih 65/35 weight distribution, I highly doubt you're gonna feel the cantilevered weight of 26 pounds of rack and 27 pounds of bike at the opposite end from the heavy end of a 3000 pound FWD car. I ran a hitch rack on my GTi, and now on my Audi A4s. I guess if I'm really hammering in the turns I might feel it.

    I can tell you this, I feel it way less than I did with a roof rack.

    And with first hand experience I can tell you that there is way less aero drag on a hitch rack, not to mention wind noise. On my A4 sedan (where the bike sticks up in the breeze) I get a 1-2 mpg hit (on a 29 mpg car). I get zero hit on my A4 Wagon, and had zero hit on my GTI (which got a consistent 31mpg) where the bike was back out of the airstream. I suspect it would be the same with any wagon kinda car like a Matrix. I took a 4-6 mpg hit on my car when I run a bike on the roof rack.

    I'm another proponent of the 1Up rack. Ridiculously easy to take on and off. Way easier than any hitch rack with a threaded pin, and close to that of a non-threaded pin. Nothing to align. You just slam the rack in the receiver and tighten it up with the security allen wrench. There is no fumbling to line up the hitch pin holes.

    I only have the one tray right now, but I plan to get a second tray.






  13. #13
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    LOL a hitch rack is like a "parachute" and worsens fuel economy more than a roof rack? If anything, it probably helps by disrupting the laminar flow off the back of the car.

    Thankfully pimpbot already addressed how a loaded rack would have no negative impact on handling (if there were any impact, it would probably improve handling by balancing weight distribution).

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by racerwad View Post
    LOL a hitch rack is like a "parachute" and worsens fuel economy more than a roof rack? If anything, it probably helps by disrupting the laminar flow off the back of the car.

    Thankfully pimpbot already addressed how a loaded rack would have no negative impact on handling (if there were any impact, it would probably improve handling by balancing weight distribution).
    Laminar flow is a good thing. Disrupting it is a bad thing, which makes it more turbulent, which increases drag forces.

    As I already explained, on a hatch (ie Matrix, GOlf/GTI, etc), very little flow travels down the back of the hatch, which there will be area of low pressure behind the hatch before the flow from the top of the car meets with the bottom of the car.

    On a 3-box (ie A4 sedan), because the flow does travel down the rear window and over the trunk, hitch mounted bikes will induce more drag

  15. #15
    ballbuster
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    Quote Originally Posted by tednugent View Post
    Laminar flow is a good thing. Disrupting it is a bad thing, which makes it more turbulent, which increases drag forces.

    As I already explained, on a hatch (ie Matrix, GOlf/GTI, etc), very little flow travels down the back of the hatch, which there will be area of low pressure behind the hatch before the flow from the top of the car meets with the bottom of the car.

    On a 3-box (ie A4 sedan), because the flow does travel down the rear window and over the trunk, hitch mounted bikes will induce more drag
    ... hence, the small hit in gas mileage on the sedan. Heck, that hit is close to the threshold of error in my crude calculations. The zero-hit on my wagon or my old GTI (which I sold years ago) was calculated at the gas pump for miles/gallons pumped until full. If there was a hit, it was below the level where my crude method of calculation could pick it up. There was probably a minor hit, but none that actually showed up as anything but noise in my data.

    But, empty roof racks on the GTI all of the time showed up as a consistent 2-3 mpg hit.

  16. #16
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    I have the 2.4L Matrix and I expect to keep it as long as possible.

    To be honest, I don't have a hitch yet. I was leaning towards a hitch rack to avoid the wind, clearance, and lifting the bike issues, but I would still consider a roof rack. Especially since I wouldn't have to remove it to get out of the way. But I was curious if there was an easily removable hitch rack since that seems ideal to me.

    The 1upUSA sounds like a great rack, but also pricey. I was thinking of swagman, but it has a threaded bolt which could be a pain...

    Will think about it. THanks for all the help guys.

    TMANIAC

  17. #17
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    +1 on the 1up. You can remove it in about 30 seconds or less and then fold it and put it in the trunk...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by TManiac View Post
    I have the 2.4L Matrix and I expect to keep it as long as possible.

    To be honest, I don't have a hitch yet. I was leaning towards a hitch rack to avoid the wind, clearance, and lifting the bike issues, but I would still consider a roof rack. Especially since I wouldn't have to remove it to get out of the way. But I was curious if there was an easily removable hitch rack since that seems ideal to me.

    The 1upUSA sounds like a great rack, but also pricey. I was thinking of swagman, but it has a threaded bolt which could be a pain...

    Will think about it. THanks for all the help guys.

    TMANIAC
    I used to have a Performance Bike XPort Flatbed rack, which is the same rack, IIRC. The threaded bolt is not a big deal to install. I used to keep an old beater socket wrench in my truck with the correct socket on it (19mm, IIRC) so I could just zip it on and off.

    It was a pretty good rack, especially considering the price. It's pretty light and folds nearly flat. I used to just keep it in the trunk of my car until I needed it.

  19. #19
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    1up rack works great on my wife's 1.8L Pontiac vibe (twin to the matrix). No reason to be concerned about that combination. I just ordered my second 1up rack (one for both cars)...definitely satisfied customer here.

    Edit: hitch rack does affect the handling on my smaller, lighter sonic, but the vibe is good. The main reason for the handling impact is there isn't enough shock damping for the weight--2 bikes on back and hatch loaded with camping gear).
    whatever...

  20. #20
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    What's your budget? 1Up is great but pricey. If cost is no limitation, I'd go that route.
    However, if you are on a budget, two models that are very light and cost effective come to mind...
    Küat Sherpa (~35lbs)... Products » Sherpa | Küat
    Thule Helium Areo 3 bike (15lbs.)... Thule*-*9043 Helium Aero 3 Bike
    I just purchased the Thule for the wife's car and it is amazingly light and mounts in, literally, seconds. It says three bike, but realistically, it will hold two adult bikes (I loaded two fat bikes with no problem). Love the build quality... made in the USA.
    If the Küat would have held fat tires, I would have likely gone that route. I prefer platform to hanging racks (but after using the Thule, I am starting to change my mind).

  21. #21
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    I used this Swagman XC 2 on my SUV.



    Cheap $160 and works great. Install us easy to bolt up. One bolt and 19mm wrench. Easy.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  22. #22
    ballbuster
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    Quote Originally Posted by steadite View Post
    1up rack works great on my wife's 1.8L Pontiac vibe (twin to the matrix). No reason to be concerned about that combination. I just ordered my second 1up rack (one for both cars)...definitely satisfied customer here.

    Edit: hitch rack does affect the handling on my smaller, lighter sonic, but the vibe is good. The main reason for the handling impact is there isn't enough shock damping for the weight--2 bikes on back and hatch loaded with camping gear).
    Yeah, I remember renting a Sonic once for work, and typical Chevy soft springs/under damped suspension, minimal sway bars, was what I noticed most about it. Still, a hitch rack with bikes on the back can't be any worse than putting 55 pounds of bikes high up on a roof rack, making the body roll.

  23. #23
    ballbuster
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacons View Post
    What's your budget? 1Up is great but pricey. If cost is no limitation, I'd go that route.
    However, if you are on a budget, two models that are very light and cost effective come to mind...
    Küat Sherpa (~35lbs)... Products » Sherpa | Küat
    Thule Helium Areo 3 bike (15lbs.)... Thule*-*9043 Helium Aero 3 Bike
    I just purchased the Thule for the wife's car and it is amazingly light and mounts in, literally, seconds. It says three bike, but realistically, it will hold two adult bikes (I loaded two fat bikes with no problem). Love the build quality... made in the USA.
    If the Küat would have held fat tires, I would have likely gone that route. I prefer platform to hanging racks (but after using the Thule, I am starting to change my mind).
    Nice to see more bike rack mfgs are embracing aluminum. I can't tell you how many steel bike racks I've seen rust out. Seems like the useful life of a steel rack is about 8-10 years tops. Just as long as it is beefy enough not to fatigue like an alu bike frame... which of course, they fatigue and fail because they are making them as light as humanly possible. If you made a 6 pound alu hardtail bike frame instead of the usual sub 4 pound ones, they would probably last forever too, but nobody would buy it.

  24. #24
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    I think that even a low-tech hitch rack with a simple threaded bolt is very easy to attach or remove to/from the car. When it's cold I sometimes start my car to warm it up an then attach my hitch rack while holding my breath to avoid breathing exhaust.

  25. #25
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    Thanks for all the replies guys. I think I will go with the Swagman, and just do what I need to get it on and off. I am a MTB noob and only have the bikesdirect SS 29er, so its hard to justify a rack that costs more then my bike!

    The 1up looks awesome. Maybe if I stick to it I will get one later.

    Thanks
    TMANIAC

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