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  1. #1
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    Hitch Rack ideas....my car is so dang low!

    Alright. Here is my setup.

    2009 VW Jetta Sportwagon with Class 1, 1 and 1/4in hitch. Roof racks need not apply.

    The issue with this vehicle is twofold.

    1) Ground clearance. The hitch sits about 10inches off the ground. When taking steep inclines/etc my rack usually drags/scrapes/etc.

    2) Bumper clearance. For whatever reason, my hitch is about 6inches "beneath" the car/bumper, so for folding the rack up neatly/nicely I often have clearance issues with bumper contact.


    My current rack is the Thule T2. It works fine, it has OK ground clearance, and thankfully I can slide the trays all of the way out to avoid the bumper issue (the trays can be adjusted along the center beam). The issue is how freaking heavy this thing is. Given the low ground clearance issue and how much I travel without the bike, I am taking this off 2-3 times a week and hating every moment of it.


    So I am shopping for a new rack. My friend has a 1upUSA, but I am not in love with it for various reasons. I am going to borrow it for a few weeks while he is out of town and see if it will change my mind, but as far as recommendations go 1upUSA need not apply because it is already mid-interview.

    Lastly, the NV/Sherpa need not apply. The Sherpa was a front runner due to the weight, except my DH bike has a 47inch wheelbase and it takes a max of 44.1inches or something like that. The NV is just too dang close to my T2 in weight/function to drop that kind of cash on.

    So basically, think outside the box. Remember this is a shitty class 1 hitch so a lot of the cooler vertical racks won't work.
    El Guapoooooooo

  2. #2
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    I bought a cheap Hollywood 3 bike rack. It also scrapes from time to time.

    I will say that it is well made and fairly well thought out but it holds bikes via two rubber straps over the top tube and one around the seat tube so probably not the best for carbon fiber bikes.

    I drive a 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE so I didn't want a roof rack mounted on the top of my car because that would kill the aerodynamic efficiency and fuel economy for the majority of everyday use (driving to and from work).

    The hitch rack is nice because I can easily remove it when I'm not using it. I use it once a week right now but will probably start using it more as I get my legs back and start riding more.

  3. #3
    Ride Responsibly
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    Have a welding shop build you a "Receiver extension" with some lift.

  4. #4
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    Tried extensions....rattle fest and wobble fest. I am sure it can be done, but not the solution I am looking for.

    I am going to try the Raxter Tarsus. It has a 9inch bumper clearance (8 inches on the Thule T2), and is super light. 38# instead of 57#. It also looks like it will give me another 1-2 inches of clearance from where I scrape on my T2.

    I will report in. Why my stupid hitch doesn't just stick the hitch out 2 more inches I will never know.
    El Guapoooooooo

  5. #5
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    How low are you really? A stock height JSW?

  6. #6
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    Yes stock height. No fancy rims/wheels/etc since I end up off the road up gravel fire-roads to camp/bike more often than not. I think it is mostly with the longer "ass end" of the wagon that hangs further over the wheelbase. That could be made up...but this car is pretty low. My buddy had a Mazda 3 that had much more clearance than my car.
    El Guapoooooooo

  7. #7
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    Keep us posted on what you ended up doing.

    Have you borrowed your friend's 1UP rack yet? I am curious what you thought about that rack after actually using it.
    2011 Specialized Ariel Sport
    Hybrid with 29ers

  8. #8
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    I am using a Swagman XC on my 09 Honda Accord Coupe which is pretty low slung. It has an offset hitch tube and has plenty of clearance. I have not had any clearance/scraping issues at all.

    There is a video review of it on this page mounted on a Jetta no less: Swagman XC - 2 Bike Rack Platform Style for 1-1/4" and 2" Trailer Hitches Swagman Hitch Bike Racks S64650

  9. #9
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    The Swagman has great clearance, but I hate frame-touching in any way/shape/form. That is part of the reason my T2 got the boot (it has marred the crap out of many fork lowers). I had the cheap Performance version of the Swagman and it did well with clearance but when I got my new Heckler frame there was some subtle rubbing in weeks.

    So I ended up with a Raxter Tarsus. Light, simple design, great bumper clearance, and it is about 1/2inch higher than the T2 (but basically the same ground clearance). No fork contact or frame contact. I added an anti-wobble pin for my longer trips, and will use the super quick "button" feature for the majority of the time. I have used it a grand total of 1 times at this point because of the crappy weather, so don't have a great review yet. I do like the KISS approach they take.

    Hitch Rack ideas....my car is so dang low!-2hmc4le.jpg

    Hitch Rack ideas....my car is so dang low!-nrdmw7o.jpg
    El Guapoooooooo

  10. #10
    ballbuster
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    It's not so much the height, it's the rear overhang past the rear 'axle'. .. well, yeah, it's both.

  11. #11
    Workin for the weekend!
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    The hitch usually has a few mounting points, that with creativity you can angle the receiver up a few degrees (provided you're not towing anything). Shimming the hitch using a few flat washers will have a big effect on the angle out the back

  12. #12
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    OP needs a car with a low front end. I have a low air-dam on my camaro SS and the front of the WRX stuck way out since the engine was in front of the front axle. This solves the "rear" problem because you won't get the rear end to hit without first screwing up the front of your car. The awareness of a low front has kept me from scraping any of these with racks on. You take soft-curbs at angles always, you take descents to transitions in grade at angles or if it's not too drastic of a transition, you creep over it so slow that your suspension never compresses, giving you the max height. You judge uphill transitions before you get there and go somewhere else if it looks too steep, etc.Hitch Rack ideas....my car is so dang low!-2011-11-19_10-08-35_16.jpg
    "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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