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  1. #1
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    Forester Hitch Rack

    Sold the VW and now it's time for a hitch mounted bike rack. Looking for something that can hold 2-3 bikes and won't be in the way of the automatic lift gate. I'm leaning towards a frame mounted rack but open to all feedback. Anything that's easy to remove and can fold up for storage would be great as well.

  2. #2
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    I've got a Kuat NV on my Forester and it's a nice, easy to use rack. It can be folded down 45deg with the bikes on it and the tailgate will open without hitting the bikes. I think you can get another two bike attachment to make it carry four bikes, up from the standard two.

    It isn't too heavy and takes about 3 minutes to carry from the garage, fit to the car and fit two bikes on.

  3. #3
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    Do you have an OEM or aftermarket hitch?

    Someone I sold a '14 Forester to couldn't use his hitch rack with his new Forester and aftermarket hitch without using a hitch extender sleeve.

    I don't know the brand of rack or hitch though but my point is be wary of clearance. I've never seen a Subaru have an issue like that before this.
    '15 Specialized Fatboy
    '14 Kona Zone Two
    '13 Surly Big Dummy

  4. #4
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    i have a thule T2 on my 2009 forester and i am mostly happy with it except...

    - the rack is on the heavy side
    - i can't open the rear hatch door without removing the bikes
    - the bikes don't feel solidly clamped in unless i have the front arm resting against the fork arch/legs which rubs the fork paint off if i don't put a rag/foam in between

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by honkonbobo View Post
    i have a thule T2 on my 2009 forester and i am mostly happy with it except...

    - the rack is on the heavy side
    - i can't open the rear hatch door without removing the bikes
    - the bikes don't feel solidly clamped in unless i have the front arm resting against the fork arch/legs which rubs the fork paint off if i don't put a rag/foam in between
    I have none of those issues with the Kuat. The T2 was a rack I considered but I thought the Kuat was a better option.

    Quote Originally Posted by XJaredX View Post
    Do you have an OEM or aftermarket hitch?
    OEM from Subaru Australia.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by crank1979 View Post
    I've got a Kuat NV on my Forester and it's a nice, easy to use rack. It can be folded down 45deg with the bikes on it and the tailgate will open without hitting the bikes. I think you can get another two bike attachment to make it carry four bikes, up from the standard two.

    It isn't too heavy and takes about 3 minutes to carry from the garage, fit to the car and fit two bikes on.
    Kuat makes a solid product. Not to mention that awesome clamp for working on the bike if ever needed. Do you have a 2014? I only ask because I was told bt the dealer that the tailgate is slightly larger on the new models.


    Quote Originally Posted by XJaredX View Post
    Do you have an OEM or aftermarket hitch?

    Someone I sold a '14 Forester to couldn't use his hitch rack with his new Forester and aftermarket hitch without using a hitch extender sleeve.

    I don't know the brand of rack or hitch though but my point is be wary of clearance. I've never seen a Subaru have an issue like that before this.
    I've heard this as well. Right now I am looking at the Curt 2" hitch.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Island20v View Post
    Kuat makes a solid product. Not to mention that awesome clamp for working on the bike if ever needed. Do you have a 2014? I only ask because I was told bt the dealer that the tailgate is slightly larger on the new models.
    2013 Diesel S.

    http://www.subaru.com.au/forester/2.0d-s

  8. #8
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    I have an Outback and had Uhaul install a 2" rack. It's been great so far. I use it with a basic Yak hitch rack, but I am thinking of getting a Swingdaddy for ease of use.

    FINAL SALE : Yakima SwingDaddy - Yakima Hitch Mount Bike Racks

    The ones that tilt down to clear the rear hatch can be a little heavy to lift back up with the bikes on. I think the Swingdaddy would be better for ease of use.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by crank1979 View Post
    I hate you!

    Quote Originally Posted by phsycle View Post
    I have an Outback and had Uhaul install a 2" rack. It's been great so far. I use it with a basic Yak hitch rack, but I am thinking of getting a Swingdaddy for ease of use.

    FINAL SALE : Yakima SwingDaddy - Yakima Hitch Mount Bike Racks

    The ones that tilt down to clear the rear hatch can be a little heavy to lift back up with the bikes on. I think the Swingdaddy would be better for ease of use.
    I was looking at the Thule version of that rack.

  10. #10
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    Forester Hitch Rack

    Anyone running roof racks? Thule or OEM Subaru?

  11. #11
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    Pulled the trigger on the 2" Curt today. Should have it in the shop sometime next week.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Island20v View Post
    Pulled the trigger on the 2" Curt today. Should have it in the shop sometime next week.
    First I would like to address the extender sleeve question. Nearly all manufacturers will not warrant their product in conjunction with an extender sleeve, so I can only recommend finding a product for your vehicle that will clear the bumper without.....

    That specific 2" hitch gives you some good options. It sounds like you have a 2014, and the hitch should be about 3-4 inches under the bumper. You said you were leaning toward the hanger style racks, and if that works for your bikes it definitely saves you some coin.

    I would recommend getting a rack larger than your needed capacity if you go with a hanger style. You can't add capacity without getting a new rack. All of these will work with your lift gate and clearance.

    Saris Axis Steel 3 Bike - $180 (inexpensive light weight option, tilts away from vehicle)
    Thule Parkway 4 Bike - $220 (Thule's inexpensive work horse, tilts away)
    Thule Vertex 4 Bike - $290 (Has a slightly better cradle than the above, but might not work with your clearance)
    Yakima Full Tilt 4 Bike - $400 (bomber rack, pretty heavy but will last you)
    Yakima Swing Daddy - $399 9 (nice option with your lift gate, will be pretty close to your bumper, I would recommend finding a place that lets you test fit before buying this one)

    Unfortunately most of the Softride hanger racks won't clear your bumper with your Curt receiver hitch. A Thule Apex Swing away might be too close, but likely won't work as well.

    Assuming your bike is a full suspension rig, you'll have to have to get an adapter to carry on the hanger style options safely. Personally, I'm not a big fan of this option on my bike, but it works. If you're considering the tray style, it will be much more versatile in the kinds of bikes you'll be able to carry. There's a few tray style options that allow you to add on additional bike capacity and all these should work with your bumper clearance and tilt away from your vehicle.

    Kuat NV 2 Core $440 (unable to add bikes)
    Kuat NV 2 $549 (can add bikes)
    Thule T2 $449 (can add bikes)
    Yakima HoldUp $449 (can add bikes)

  13. #13
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    Forester Hitch Rack

    That's great feedback, thank you. I do have full suspension bikes so I will have to look into the adapters you are talking about. As for the Curt hitch, it sits out right under the bumper. I'm leaning more towards the Thule Aero Swing but that Kuit NV rack is pretty awesome. I might end up waiting a little longer so I can play with both somewhere. Decisions...

  14. #14
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    I have owned a KUAT NV for several years, connected via 2" receiver. I later bought the add-on for a 4 bike option.

    If you have a 1.25" receiver, I highly recommend you look at 1UPUSA. I recently sold my Touareg and have a 1.25" curt hitch on my new Audi Allroad. I loved Kuat, so automatically ordered a replacement to fit the 1.25". It's a "first world problem", but I don't think the 1.25" Kuat is nearly as robust or solid as the 2" version. That said, I got the 1Up delivered today and am blown away by how much more solid it feels to the KUAT even in the 1.25" version.

    I just started a Kuat vs. 1UP head-to-head post and will follow up with more thoughts, and/or answer questions that come up. There are plenty who vouch for 1Up. I think I might be one of the few who have owned/tested both.

    Before getting the 1UP, KUAT had been the best rack I've owned to date.

    Good luck!

  15. #15
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    Just an FYI, I have a 2014 Forester XT 2.0L, this passed weekend I installed a 2" eco Hitch from TorkLift Central. It fits great, you can only see the receiver portion, and my Tule T2 fits just fine.

  16. #16
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    I am getting a Curt 2" hitch installed on Friday. I am very interested in the Kuat racks though. Going to try and find a local dealer so I can play with it for myself.

  17. #17
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    Consider ordering KUAT through REI (at which point if you're not 100% satisfied you can return it).

    1UP has a 60 day money back guarantee, and they'll pay for shipping back.

    It's a win-win.

    However, as someone who owned a KUAT for several years and now owns a 1UP. I'm fairly confident if you test both, you'll be returning the KUAT. That said, both great racks, and it can come down to personal preference.

    Good luck!

  18. #18
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    I didn't know REI carried KUAT. We have one just down the street, I will see if they have any in stock to play with and possibly go that route. Thanks.

  19. #19
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    Forester Hitch Rack

    Got the Curt hitch on today. Going to go check out a few different shops today for bike attachments.

  20. #20
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    Unfortunately the REI's n San Diego don't carry Kuat in stock. I am torn between the Thule T2 and Kuat NV now though. I like the security of the NV and the lower price but the NV has that bike workstation clamp as well as a cable lock system.

  21. #21
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    You can order it online via REI and have it shipped to the store:

    Kuat NV 2-Bike Hitch Rack at REI.com

  22. #22
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    I saw on another thread that you said that you didn't like the design of 1Up. I wanted to comment because I thought the very same thing initially. I also owned a Kuat NV for many years (you probably saw I started a head-to-head comparison thread). While I have yet to formally put the 1Up through it's paces, I can say for sure that I am converted and very, very impressed by the 1Up design and aesthetically believe that in black, it's a pretty piece. I can't fully speak to the silver, because probably like you, I take a look at the photographs and have trouble seeing the elegance.

    I thought the KUAT was the perfect rack when I had the 2" / 2 tray version. I got the add-on, then thought it was a bit bulky and too much (for what I needed). When I sold my car and got the 1.25" hitch, there was a difference in comparing the two versions, enough for me to explore 1UP.

    But back to my comment about aesthetics...

    Before seeing the 1UP in person = KUAT NV is the "sexiest" rack ever built.
    AFTER = 1UP is the "finest" piece of machining ever done (a different level of fit and finish).

    In the end, they are both great products with slight advantages and disadvantages over the other. But I now know why the 1UP has received such great reviews by a large number of people.

    Hope that helps.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by njnets23 View Post
    You can order it online via REI and have it shipped to the store:

    Kuat NV 2-Bike Hitch Rack at REI.com
    Probably going to go that route. If it doesn't work out, I could always take it back.

    Njnets23, I have actually seen the 1UP in person. I will admit it's a nice rack but I am not feeling it. REI carries both the Kuat and Thule so I know if I ever have any problems with them I could take it back. It is a quality rack and pretty light weight but I just don't like it all that much.

  24. #24
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    That's fair. Not to throw another wrench, but if you only have to carry mountain bikes, North Shore racks are pretty sweet... and probably one of the best options for someone with a 2 "in rack that consistently carries 2+ mountain bikes.

    Good luck.

    Quote Originally Posted by Island20v View Post
    Probably going to go that route. If it doesn't work out, I could always take it back.

    Njnets23, I have actually seen the 1UP in person. I will admit it's a nice rack but I am not feeling it. REI carries both the Kuat and Thule so I know if I ever have any problems with them I could take it back. It is a quality rack and pretty light weight but I just don't like it all that much.

  25. #25
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    I haven't heard of those yet. Going to take a look but don't think I want to go that route.

  26. #26
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    Picked up a Thule T2 hitch mounted rack today. I have been tossing around the Thule and the Kuat racks and after discovering an open box item at REI for 10% off, plus the "REI warranty" I couldn't pass it up being $100 less than the Kuat. Hoping to break it in this weekend on the trails.

    Unfortunately the tray that holds the front tire on the attachment closest to the car rubs on the bumper when it is in the folded up position. Going to try and pick up a dermal this weekend to make it fit properly.







    Tight fit:

  27. #27
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    Unfortunately I had a bad trip up to Mt Laguna last weekend. Did some frame damage to the carbon XC bike which is luckily covered under warranty but I also damaged my bike rack. The ratchet system that holds the rear tire in place snapped on my second use with the rack. I do not over tighten it at all as it was flimsy plastic with a cheap metal rivet and after the drive up, it was broken. Unfortunately REI couldn't replace the part so they said I needed a new rack. I returned it and decided to place an order for the Kuat NV. Should be in this weekend...

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Island20v View Post
    Anyone running roof racks? Thule or OEM Subaru?
    I am running the Subaru aero bars on top of my 2014 Forester. Unfortunately, they are not compatible with all bicycle roof racks. I have a Thule side arm up there now and it works well.

  29. #29
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    REI called and the rack was in. Picked it up and installed it this afternoon. The Kuat NV puts the Thule T2 to shame. The build feels much stronger and I do not have to modify the tray to mount it in the up position like I had to with the Thule. I tested it with my buddies 29er and it fits in the declined position so the handlebars will NOT hit the hatch when opened.






  30. #30
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    A little late to the thread, but I just got my Kuat NV today and threw it on my 2014 Forester with a 2" Curt hitch. There's only about 2 inches of clearance between my handlebars (740mm wide) and the rear window, which is definitely too close for comfort. And when the rack is folded up, I have about 1/2" from the rack arm to the bumper. Island20v, have you had this issue? I've thought about drilling a new hole in the hitch, but likely will just get a 7" extender. I may also try to jerry-rig some kind of cushioned sleeve to put over the grip so the bar end can't smack the window.

  31. #31
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    Forester Hitch Rack

    When folded up, it's close but never touches. As for the bars, mine are 720 and they've never touched either. If mount it on the furthest rack before I put an extension tube on it. I also have a 2" Curt hitch.

  32. #32
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    When mine is folded up I have about 100mm of space between the folded wheel arm. Heaps more than shown in post #29 above. The end of my hitch is about level with the rear bumper.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by crank1979 View Post
    When mine is folded up I have about 100mm of space between the folded wheel arm. Heaps more than shown in post #29 above. The end of my hitch is about level with the rear bumper.
    What hitch do you have?

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Island20v View Post
    What hitch do you have?
    The Subaru dealer fitted model.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by crank1979 View Post
    The Subaru dealer fitted model.
    Gotcha. I was going to go that route but they wanted too much money. Do you have a straight on pic from the rear or an angled shot? Would like to compare it.

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    Reviving the thread. Does anyone have pictures of their bike loaded onto a '14+ Forester on a 2" Kuat NV? I'd like to see the side shots to get an idea of how close the handlebars and pedals are to the rear hatch (similar to the pic taken by Island20v with the T2).

    If the bike stand was removed and the rack is folded up, would the license plate be obstructed?

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnowBound View Post
    Reviving the thread. Does anyone have pictures of their bike loaded onto a '14+ Forester on a 2" Kuat NV? I'd like to see the side shots to get an idea of how close the handlebars and pedals are to the rear hatch (similar to the pic taken by Island20v with the T2).

    If the bike stand was removed and the rack is folded up, would the license plate be obstructed?
    Yes, the license plate will be obstructed when the rack is folded up. In NSW we have to buy a bike rack number plate to fit to the bike rack. I attach mine with cable ties and an occy strap so I can rotate it into position when it is up or down.

    The bike is a small size Nicolai Helius AC Pinion. The bars are 720mm wide Answer ProTaper carbons.

    Here is the bike on the rack nearest the rear of the car.


    With the rack folded down and the hatch up. When opening there is about 200mm between the bottom edge of the hatch and the bars. The pedals are nowhere near the hatch.


    I hope that is useful.

  38. #38
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    Thanks a bunch! Your pictures were exactly what I'm looking for to see the clearance between the bike and car. Btw, nice SWP XT!

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnowBound View Post
    Thanks a bunch! Your pictures were exactly what I'm looking for to see the clearance between the bike and car. Btw, nice SWP XT!
    Not the XT, it's the diesel S.

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    Once again reviving this thread.

    Scoured many a threads but feel like I haven't quite seen an exact answer to my questions. I'll likely find one shortly after posting.

    I'm looking at the Curt 2" hitch (13144) plus the 1up on the 2015 Forester. Here are my questions/concerns:

    1) Any issues with the non-heavy duty 1up rack with the adapter, an add-on rack, and 2 29ers? Saw some posts about sway and maybe stability. Can't tell whether I just need to go with the heavy duty or whether the 1 1/4" with adapter will be just fine. Wouldn't ever have more than 2 29ers but don't like sway and instability....

    2) If I go the heavy duty route, are there clearance issues with the hitch and the body since the Curt is recessed and all? Or clearance with a bike and the car? I've seen a few posts about that. I'm guessing without the adapter and the 1 1/4" version, there is less clearance.

    I tend to overthink things, but would also just prefer to not deal with returns.

    Thanks a bunch in advance.

  41. #41
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    What receiver size is your hitch? Personally, I love my swagman bike rack that I got from Hitchweb. I got #63360: Hitch Mounted Bike Racks

    It's great because it fits with my bike tires and the rack tilts down so you can access the rear of the vehicle. Free shipping and got it the next day

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcd View Post
    Once again reviving this thread.

    Scoured many a threads but feel like I haven't quite seen an exact answer to my questions. I'll likely find one shortly after posting.

    I'm looking at the Curt 2" hitch (13144) plus the 1up on the 2015 Forester. Here are my questions/concerns:

    1) Any issues with the non-heavy duty 1up rack with the adapter, an add-on rack, and 2 29ers? Saw some posts about sway and maybe stability. Can't tell whether I just need to go with the heavy duty or whether the 1 1/4" with adapter will be just fine. Wouldn't ever have more than 2 29ers but don't like sway and instability....

    2) If I go the heavy duty route, are there clearance issues with the hitch and the body since the Curt is recessed and all? Or clearance with a bike and the car? I've seen a few posts about that. I'm guessing without the adapter and the 1 1/4" version, there is less clearance.

    I tend to overthink things, but would also just prefer to not deal with returns.

    Thanks a bunch in advance.
    Curt/Drawtite/Hidden Hitch are all basically the same, made by same manufacturer. I just put a Curt 1 1/4" on my '15, and I cannot fold my 1Up up. It's a one-bike model so it's OK. But I highly suggest getting the OEM hitch, as expensive as it is. Or see if the Tork Lift hitch sticks out further.

    You WILL need to use a hitch extender if you want to fold up your 1Up if you get a Curt.
    '15 Specialized Fatboy
    '14 Kona Zone Two
    '13 Surly Big Dummy

  43. #43
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    I have a NV two, took me forver to fit it properly. But today I'm very happy with it!

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