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  1. #1
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    carrying 4 (maybe more) bikes on minivan hitch carrier - how much weight is too much?

    I have a minivan (Odyssey) with a class 3 hitch, according to the shop that installed it the tongue weight capacity is 350lbs. I currently have a cheapo hanging carrier (allen 542RR) but I'm looking at getting better bikes for my kids and myself and I'm thinking that perhaps I would be better off spending a bit to get a better carrier, probably a 4-bike tray style, looking at the Yakima FourTimer or Holdup.

    I have a couple questions - the big one is, how much leveraged weight is too much? If I load four 29" bikes on this thing, figure each bike weighing around 30 lbs and the carrier weight around 80 lbs, that's quite a bit of weight to be hanging off the back - anything to worry about? I know it's well under the 350 limit but it's also hanging out there a ways.

    Second, anyone with experience with both the Yakima racks I mentioned? The Holdup is a few hundred more total for four bikes, are there features that make it worth the extra money?

    Finally, there's potential that I might end up needing to carry five or six bikes total. At that point, I guess my options would be either to add a couple to the roof, or perhaps buy a small trailer? I could get a 5x8 flat trailer fairly inexpensively and add fork mounts or wheel mounts of some sort.

  2. #2
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    The problem with a minivan is not the weight capacity (its easily capable) - its the height off the ground that becomes the issue. The longer stretch behind the axle with 4 bikes means you have a good chance of the bikes hitting the ground when you drive into a road dip or down a steep driveway.
    Grit, spit, and a whole lot of duct tape!

  3. #3
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    gotcha - I suppose I could cut and weld the carrier at a bit of an angle if that's a problem.

  4. #4
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    How bout a North Shore rack? North Shore Racks

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobie View Post
    How bout a North Shore rack? North Shore Racks
    I've seen North Shore racks with 6 bikes on minivans. Probably your best bet.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  6. #6
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    Nice, I like the look of that vertical carrier, I suspect it would probably actually do a better job keeping the weight closer to the vehicle. Thanks for the pointer, that looks like it might just be the best solution for my situation.

  7. #7
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    1UpUSA with 4 bikes for sure on the hitch and maybe 2 on the roof if that is a possibility. The 1 up has a nice rise with each add-on so height of the hitch has never been an issue for me.

    My wife has Town and Country and I will caution I only put fork mounted sleds on the roof, could be just me just doesn't seem the sturdiest of factory rack, hopefully honda is better.
    XC, Road, XXC, Endurance, Mtn, All-Mtn, Cross, Gravel, just go have fun on 2 wheels!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    I've seen North Shore racks with 6 bikes on minivans. Probably your best bet.
    This ^^ I did a shuttle tour this past weekend and they used the North Shore rack on a Chrysler minivan to shuttle (6) people around all day
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  9. #9
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    I have the North Shore 4-bike rack on my Odyssey and it works great. Very happy with it.

  10. #10
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    4 bike Yakima Holdup, 08 Odyssey, no problems

  11. #11
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    [QUOTE=scoobie;13169013]How bout a North Shore rack? [url=http://www.northshoreracks.com/NSR%206

    I have a NS 4 bike rack. It is awesome and secure. Almost got the 6 bike but they add heavier components to support that load making it a pretty significant jump in cost and weight.

  12. #12
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    I have an '07 Odyssey and a 1up rack. I found that four bikes really caused the fan to squat in the back, especially when you loaded it up with people and gear. There is a lot of leverage with four bikes on a platform rack. My solution was to put in airbags. Relatively simple for a local shop to install, I purchased r bags from Etrailer. Separate air lines to Schroeder valves under the bumper keep it simple. I change the air pressure easily with a floor pump as the weight of what I am carrying changes.

    Now I can have nice ride of the van when empty with 18 to 20 psi. When loaded, I raise the pressure to 35 psi the the van rides level with three or four bikes and a full load of gear.

  13. #13
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    I use a Saris super clamp 4, its angled up to help with clearance, never had a problem with it and i use it almost everyday and numerous cross country trips a year.

  14. #14
    RAKC Industries
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    Man everyone is really missing the part that matters (rack means nothing).

    Minivans have a Max of 300lbs of hitch load. And that number is actually far lower as a bike rack puts heavy leverage load on the hitch. So at Max it's half that. 4 bikes is doable but it's really too much on a minivan unless you talking XC CF race bikes.

    Hauling 4 DH bikes your overloading the hitch for the van.

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    Life on a bike doesn't begin till the sun goes down.


  15. #15
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    I am starting a new job soon which is going to involve a commute, which I haven't done in a long time. Looks like my solution is going to be to sell the van and buy a little car for commuting and a truck for everything else, an F-250 crew cab long bed is going to be an excellent solution for hauling stuff around.


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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAKC Ind View Post
    Man everyone is really missing the part that matters (rack means nothing).

    Minivans have a Max of 300lbs of hitch load. And that number is actually far lower as a bike rack puts heavy leverage load on the hitch. So at Max it's half that. 4 bikes is doable but it's really too much on a minivan unless you talking XC CF race bikes.

    Hauling 4 DH bikes your overloading the hitch for the van.

    Sent from my XT1565 using Tapatalk

    The weight and leverage comment is dead on. My toungue weight limit on the Odyssey is 350# and four xc race bikes would really sag the rear end without the airbags. DH bikes would really be over the limit. That last bike spot is really far out from the bumper of the van.

  17. #17
    RAKC Industries
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    I have an Odyssey as well as an older caravan (less capacity). Seems 300lbs is about what all vans the last several years are rated for. I do 2 bikes, if I need to haul more they go in the van (gotta love the flush hiding 3rd row).

    I'm going to be putting helpers is the coils soon since we'll be towing a "teardrop inspired" mini camper soon with it. Between trailer weight and gear in the back of the van it's going to save bad otherwise.

    Biggest issue though isn't sagging as much as just the body isn't designed for handling the extra force. Eventually causing issues (seen minivan hitch get ripped out of the frame before).

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  18. #18
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    When factoring in all of the load of people and gear, it might be better to have three bikes on the hitch and the other two on the roof of the minivan.

  19. #19
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    Get a trailer
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfgiantsfan View Post
    Get a trailer
    +1
    A harbor fright trailer is'nt any more expensive than a decent bike carrier.
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