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  1. #1
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    Best Bike Rack - Period

    Have to say that I am tired of trying to squeeze my Large Trek Fuel into the back of my car with the back seats down…
    Just got a nice new class III trailer hitch installed and looking to get a hitch mounted bike rack(2 bikes max)…

    Question is…for the money ($200-$600) range…what really is the BEST BIKE RACK?

    Thoughts and opinions are most welcome…

  2. #2
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    For me North Shore Bike Racks. Fits your budget, Canadian made and easy access to trunk etc.

    North Shore Racks
    Last edited by kmac999; 11-06-2011 at 01:32 PM.

  3. #3
    namagomi
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    Do you have a hatchback? If so try to find a rack that swings...

  4. #4
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    Kuat NV!

    Kuat NV.. even has a bike repair stand. Swings low so you can open the hatch without de-biking. Built in bike lock as well.

    Kuat NV

  5. #5
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    i have been researching the same issue for a while now...

    i really liked Kuat concept, and the company. seems that they are on the right track... they even covered the cost of the damage on the bike when the rack malfunctioned and dropped the bike. that is customer service - thumbs up.

    however, it seems that they have not figured out a good way to stop rack wobble in the hitch - blaming it on the hitch tolerances. in my experience - Thule and Yakima both have the same system that works - bolt through and tighten it hard. no wobble.

    what i don't like about Thule and Yakima is STEEL. lots of it. and it likes to rust.

    i had T2 by Thule, and it is a solid design. the ONLY thing that i disliked about it was - RUST.

    they didn't change their design much - as it works, but they did not address the rusting issue - OUT.

    Yakima - they use STEEL too - however - they have addressed rusting issue somewhat, by using automotive quality paint and painting process. i can accept that. Yakima is also built like a tank - i think it is the heaviest in the bunch. very good front locking system that does not touch the fork, unlike Thule and Kuat. i also like Yakima rear strapping system. the only dislike is STEEL but i may have to live with it since i still think that Kuat did not nail the wobble issue.

    Kuat - the best design bar none, and by far the best looks. i like the concept of the smaller company with great service - no concerns there at all. they use lots of aluminum and the design is bullet proof. they also make add-on bike stands for other manufacturers - so you can add it to your Yakima rack too. Kuat also includes hitch lock and cable lock in their price. Both Kuat and Yakima have built in cable lock - Yakima being a bit better.

    for me it will be between Yakima and Kuat, with slight advantage to Yakima right now. Yakima can also be had for less in the USA while Kuat keeps the (high) price pretty solid on both sides of the border. there is a distributor on the west coast for Kuat in Canada.

    so - if i had to buy it RIGHT NOW - it would be Yakima Holdup.

    i will make my decision in January - so giving Kuat another couple of months to address the wobble issue.

    hope this helps...

  6. #6
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    First question would be type of car- trunk.. hatchback...and so on.

    Roof racks big negative is if you aren't paying attention can destroy bikes and rip of your car roof.

    Keep in mind no rack is secure. I laugh at people still mounting bikes to roof racks especially the ones with front and wheel mounts. Then lock the wheels... it's like only locking up your bike to the rack via the wheel only.

  7. #7
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    Sir - OP said he got HITCH

    Quote Originally Posted by Enduramil View Post
    First question would be type of car- trunk.. hatchback...and so on.
    hitch... like in trailer hitch...

    unless there is a design breakthrough that allows a roof rack to be mounted in the hitch - we are looking for hitch racks...


  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by osokolo View Post
    hitch... like in trailer hitch...

    unless there is a design breakthrough that allows a roof rack to be mounted in the hitch - we are looking for hitch racks...

    Hmm.... I need more Guinness.

  9. #9
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    that is too easy... forget you have a bike on the roof and zoom into the garage...

    KaBOOOm...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enduramil View Post
    Roof racks big negative is if you aren't paying attention can destroy bikes and rip of your car roof.
    ?? Please elaborate.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by osokolo View Post
    that is too easy... forget you have a bike on the roof and zoom into the garage...

    KaBOOOm...
    Bingo.

    The average person driving cars these days has the attention span of a sleep deprived 4 year old hopped up on sugar in a toy store. Look at all the car parks with the big metal height markers.. see all those dents? Yep.. people who don't pay attention.

    Now add in the tired cyclist factor after a race coming home.....

  12. #12
    namagomi
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    Quote Originally Posted by MovinUp View Post
    ?? Please elaborate.
    Parking garage, drive through, low hanging trees by the parking lot. Not to sat you can't drag your hitch across the pavement while pulling into a steep drive.

  13. #13
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    Thanks... I've never even considered those things to be an issue, I guess I'm just careful.

    On another note, I'm surprised the Thule stuff for hitches isn't better. My roof stuff is Thule and it's all aluminum and stainless. It lives on my roof and looks great after years of use.

  14. #14
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    If cost is a factor....

    I believe you can get a Swagman 2-bike hitch rack for $149 from dealers that sell them. I have the 4-bike version and it is great. I think it is a Trailmaster.

    Like Oggie said, Swagman's are steel as well, and that may be an issue, but for value they are a 5 flaming chili's.

    Also, Oggie used to fondle electrical outlets with his postage stamp tongs, so his flame burns less bright than it used too! Marinate your steel parts with Fluid Film and it will look good for ever....
    "I love being on a bike. It helps me feel free. I get it from my dad", by Guillaume Blanchet

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    drag your hitch across the pavement while pulling into a steep drive.
    Done that!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by osokolo View Post

    i really liked Kuat concept, and the company. seems that they are on the right track... they even covered the cost of the damage on the bike when the rack malfunctioned and dropped the bike. that is customer service - thumbs up.

    however, it seems that they have not figured out a good way to stop rack wobble in the hitch - blaming it on the hitch tolerances. in my experience - Thule and Yakima both have the same system that works - bolt through and tighten it hard. no wobble.
    fyi my kuat nv has a hand tightening cam system as well.. no wobble whatsoever.. looks like your decision is made !

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Parking garage, drive through, low hanging trees by the parking lot. Not to sat you can't drag your hitch across the pavement while pulling into a steep drive.
    It happens especially when one pulls in straight on. The trick is to not pull in straight on.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by pathogen View Post
    fyi my kuat nv has a hand tightening cam system as well.. no wobble whatsoever.. looks like your decision is made !
    Yes. That is the system that Kuat uses to address the wobble. Few reviewers had the same finding that it is not as effective as Thule or Yakima. If it works for you , that is the end of it. If I knew it would work for me, I would pull the trigger right now.

    Do you have 2" hitch?


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  19. #19
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    class 3 is a 2" receiver, get a north shore rack as mentioned. easy to put on the bikes, stable, high ground clearence, made in canada. i haul around my bikes, friends bikes, drive out to the east coast/artic watershed and 4x4 with it. usually the more simple the design the better. those other racks are over priced flacid weaksauce and wouldn't hold up to the constant abuse.

    here's a pic of my rack in use.





    Quote Originally Posted by PickeringMTB View Post
    Have to say that I am tired of trying to squeeze my Large Trek Fuel into the back of my car with the back seats down…
    Just got a nice new class III trailer hitch installed and looking to get a hitch mounted bike rack(2 bikes max)…

    Question is…for the money ($200-$600) range…what really is the BEST BIKE RACK?

    Thoughts and opinions are most welcome…
    broadcasting from
    "the vinyl basement"

    build trail!

  20. #20
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    thule doubletrack is a decent option too

    Bought it more than 3 years ago still in really good condition.
    Holds the bikes rock solid,upload and download the bikes is a breeze,folds up nice and tight to the car when not in use,comes with an adapter so works with both hitch sizes.
    Cons:
    Steel construction, bit heavy if you planning to remove it often.

  21. #21
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    I have been using Thule racks for about 10 years. I have never had any issues with them. I tend to keep the rack on the whole summer and I did have a bit of rust after several years. I am using what they call the Ridgeline which accepts four bikes. It also has the ZiP stick which allows you to strap the bikes so they don''t swing. I am on my second rack as the first was involved in a rear end collision. The insurance company replaced it even though all that was wrong was that the Zip Stick portion was destroyed. I have adapted it, and have mounted it on a utility trailer I have. Now I can tow my camping gear and carry my bikes all in one package. This rack is about 10 years old and for a little bit of rust, it really is not that much, is still good. The second rack is about 4 years old and still holding up fine. I have replaced the cradles in the first rack and a couple in the second.

    The main issue with this rack is for full suspension bikes without a top tube or non-standard top tubes like the ones SP shows. They tend to have low clearance depending on the vehicle. I now have a truck and it is not so much of an issue. Apart from this, these racks are rock solid. They are heavy and overbuilt, but work well. I have never had an issue with shaking or wobble.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by osokolo View Post
    Yes. That is the system that Kuat uses to address the wobble. Few reviewers had the same finding that it is not as effective as Thule or Yakima. If it works for you , that is the end of it. If I knew it would work for me, I would pull the trigger right now.

    Do you have 2" hitch?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I have a 2" hitch.. you are welcome to swing by and check it out in person if you want. PM me if you are interested.

  23. #23
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    thank you.

    PM sent.

    Oggie

    Quote Originally Posted by pathogen View Post
    I have a 2" hitch.. you are welcome to swing by and check it out in person if you want. PM me if you are interested.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Parking garage, drive through, low hanging trees by the parking lot.
    Still waiting for my first "incident" after 12 years with the roof rack. Let's hope I can tack another 12 years on to that running total! The potential for destruction is definitely there, and I know some people who have done the deed.

    On the flip side, I also know 2 people who have had bikes on hitch mounts damaged due to being rear-ended.

    Not saying one is better than the other. If I were to do it all over again I'd have a difficult time deciding. Just saying that's there's potential for damage both ways, and in some ways I prefer the option that I have control over.

  25. #25
    namagomi
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    Quote Originally Posted by Circlip View Post
    Still waiting for my first "incident" after 12 years with the roof rack. Let's hope I can tack another 12 years on to that running total! The potential for destruction is definitely there, and I know some people who have done the deed.

    On the flip side, I also know 2 people who have had bikes on hitch mounts damaged due to being rear-ended.

    Not saying one is better than the other. If I were to do it all over again I'd have a difficult time deciding. Just saying that's there's potential for damage both ways, and in some ways I prefer the option that I have control over.
    Fuel economy is better with the rear rack i hear(wind noise also), though how much you notice it depends on how efficient your car was to begin. Percentage wise fuel economy takes a larger hit the smaller your car is, so it can be shocking... particularly if you've got a lead foot. Being rear-ended always hurts(rimshot)... but maybe not so bad if it means a new bicycle?? haha!

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Fuel economy is better with the rear rack i hear(wind noise also), though how much you notice it depends on how efficient your car was to begin.
    Initutively I'd agree. However, the total frontal profile of a bike is so small relative to an entire car I'm not sure it's a material concern, especially when it may also be that the "clean" airflow coming off the bar of a vehicle is noticeably "dirtier" with a hitch rack, so that the differential may not be so large between roof and hitch. Dependent on specific vehicle and rack configuration though. Would need an engineer qualified in aerodynamics and/or real world testing with a specific setup to really know.

    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Being rear-ended always hurts(rimshot)... but maybe not so bad if it means a new bicycle?? haha!
    They suffered damage to the bikes and the vehicles in both cases. Double whammy. n one case the vehicle was worth more than the bikes. In the other case it was an inexpensive vehicle, and expensive bikes. 20/20 hindsight says he would have preferred a roof rack at that moment.

    When using racks belonging to others, I definitely prefer mounting tray racks at ground or body height rather than way over my head on my roof rack.

  27. #27
    namagomi
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    Quote Originally Posted by Circlip View Post
    Initutively I'd agree. However, the total frontal profile of a bike is so small relative to an entire car I'm not sure it's a material concern, especially when it may also be that the "clean" airflow coming off the bar of a vehicle is noticeably "dirtier" with a hitch rack, so that the differential may not be so large between roof and hitch. Dependent on specific vehicle and rack configuration though. Would need an engineer qualified in aerodynamics and/or real world testing with a specific setup to really know.



    They suffered damage to the bikes and the vehicles in both cases. Double whammy. n one case the vehicle was worth more than the bikes. In the other case it was an inexpensive vehicle, and expensive bikes. 20/20 hindsight says he would have preferred a roof rack at that moment.

    When using racks belonging to others, I definitely prefer mounting tray racks at ground or body height rather than way over my head on my roof rack.
    If you're short the roof-racks are no fun either.. you'll need a step-stool! Particularly if you've got a SUV type deal driving in a cross wind must be bad in those. I agree seeing your ride smushed is no fun... particularly because it's hard to get something similar given how fast the bike industry "updates things.

    The effect of drag can be quite pronounced if you're in a car that already has high aerodynamic efficiency.



    The other strike against roof-racks is UV damage gives your car cyclist tan, rust from the rack can start rust on your roof, you've always got the "rack" parts attached to the top of the thing which is a bit silly looking and effects the economy when you're not going to the trails.

    At least you can do one less set of shoulder presses if you have the roof rack..

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    If you're short the roof-racks are no fun either.. you'll need a step-stool! Particularly if you've got a SUV type deal driving in a cross wind must be bad in those.
    True dat. My wife at 5'2" hates loading up the kids' bikes on to the roof even with our standard height sedan roofline.

    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    The effect of drag can be quite pronounced if you're in a car that already has high aerodynamic efficiency.
    Geo Metro as our reference test vehicle? Nice!

    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    At least you can do one less set of shoulder presses if you have the roof rack.
    At every available opportunity for the past year that's what you've been implying that I need. Don't go soft on me now.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Circlip View Post
    Don't go soft on me now.
    hmm, would you like mr electrik (I am too sexy for you) to go harder on you?

    I am sure it can be arranged.

  30. #30
    namagomi
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    Quote Originally Posted by Circlip View Post
    True dat. My wife at 5'2" hates loading up the kids' bikes on to the roof even with our standard height sedan roofline.



    Geo Metro as our reference test vehicle? Nice!



    At every available opportunity for the past year that's what you've been implying that I need. Don't go soft on me now.

    Shoulder presses and perhaps some time on the adominator....





    Geo metro is the bomb! It's like an aerodynamic pop-can with a motor in the front... seriously though the type of vehicle you have makes a difference to the frontal area and the engine efficiency given a certain load so the relative increase caused by a rack can be noticeable.

    I'm no wheelsucker, so i wouldn't know, but i hear that hiding behind somebody's wheel in the turbulent air is a lot easier!

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by osokolo View Post
    hmm, would you like mr electrik (I am too sexy for you) to go harder on you?

    I am sure it can be arranged.
    Well there's something to think about. I had always just assumed it was Mrs. Electrik.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Circlip View Post
    I had always just assumed it was Mrs. Electrik.
    really?

    well, that would explain a few things...

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by singlesprocket View Post
    i like this rack as it doesn't obscure the licence plate which has been an issue with some folks.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by osokolo View Post
    that is too easy... forget you have a bike on the roof and zoom into the garage...

    KaBOOOm...


    had new garage doors put in recently but did not get garage door openers just for this reason.
    now i have to get out and will hopefully see the bikes.

    remember seeing a post somewhere on mtbr where some guy drove into the garage damaging the stucco finish over the garage, damaging the bike,the roof racks and the car.
    there was even a picture.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Circlip View Post
    Still waiting for my first "incident" after 12 years with the roof rack. Let's hope I can tack another 12 years on to that running total! The potential for destruction is definitely there, and I know some people who have done the deed.
    Well.. we wouldn't expect anything less then anal retentive attention to detail from a guy who thinks 8 hours minimum on a bike is fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by Circlip View Post
    On the flip side, I also know 2 people who have had bikes on hitch mounts damaged due to being rear-ended.

    Not saying one is better than the other. If I were to do it all over again I'd have a difficult time deciding. Just saying that's there's potential for damage both ways, and in some ways I prefer the option that I have control over.
    There is only one true solution for bike and vehicle safety while driving. Long live the ML.


  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by PickeringMTB View Post
    Have to say that I am tired of trying to squeeze my Large Trek Fuel into the back of my car with the back seats down…
    Just got a nice new class III trailer hitch installed and looking to get a hitch mounted bike rack(2 bikes max)…

    Question is…for the money ($200-$600) range…what really is the BEST BIKE RACK?

    Thoughts and opinions are most welcome…
    here is my rack Pickering. You will not regret this, and you can check out the testimonials in the other forum for carriers. You're welcome to check it out if you are in the area.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/santa-cruz/1s...ml#post8425165

    This year also comes in black ano

    1up USA Ultra Rack

  37. #37
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    I would definitely go roof rack with this truck. Hitch rack would make it too awkward for me and my buddies to jump out the back with rifles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Enduramil View Post
    There is only one true solution for bike and vehicle safety while driving. Long live the ML.


  38. #38
    namagomi
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    Quote Originally Posted by Circlip View Post
    Well there's something to think about. I had always just assumed it was Mrs. Electrik.


    Confused yet?

  39. #39
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    So long as your partner likes it then no worries here.

    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post


    Confused yet?

  40. #40
    namagomi
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    Quote Originally Posted by Circlip View Post
    So long as your partner likes it then no worries here.
    ... and if they don't like my rack then they're out of luck because nothing is going in my trunk.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailtrash View Post
    i like this rack as it doesn't obscure the licence plate which has been an issue with some folks.
    Depends on where the plate is mounted on the vehicle. I've been hassled for plate obstruction with my North Shore Rack.

    They really have proven themselves to be "THE" rack for riders here on the west coast. Loading bikes (bike must have modern suspension fork) is way faster and easier. Hold the bikes secure and stable over the nastiest of logging shuttle roads.

    One word of caution. The rack is heavy, then add in four heavy bikes and four riders and gear and you'll find the back end of most mid sized SUV's sagging. It's one thing that you should consider.

    You can also get a 2 and 6 bike version.

  42. #42
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    I recently purchased Yakima Holdup 2 after considering Thule and Kuat NV. Main reason for decision was I was looking for best departure angle and considered consequences of a hefty contact with ground. Local mtb carpark is an off-road torture track. I'm in Australia so can't see the Yak and Kuat to compare but some people commented about damage to plastic knob. Yak goose neck appeared to be best option - though wish it positioned bikes a little higher and a little closer to car. So far i'm happy but surprised that departure angle is not a primary consideration for purchasers especially when the rack is to be mounted on a normal car with minimal ground clearance. I could not see any mention of this in reviews or discussions. It is a good product and worth considering but here are a couple of observations....RUST... I washed it and when it dried rust speckles showed through the paint. 3 days old. Not a big concern but unsightly and annoying on a brand new rack. PLASTIC...one of the wheel cups had a half inch crack down the centre at one end. Raises concern of durability when plastic splits before any UV light has even touched it. HITCH THREAD...was fouled and caused the hitch pin to cross thread. Retailer replaced under warranty but the replacement was the same. I took it to a workshop and they ran a 5/8 tap through it and now it is perfect. Yesterday I bought (American) Mountainbike Action Oct 2011 and review mentions same problem but fails to identify that it can wreck your rack. Yakima needs to address this quality control problem but until then if you want this rack check first by hand tightening - if you can't screw it in a good half inch by hand get the thread tapped by a friendly mechanic. I still like mine despite the flaws. PS. Buy from a reputable retailer. Jenson USA was absolutely fantastic in responding to me and my experiences have been forwarded to Yakima hopefully to help them fine tune this very good product.
    Last edited by C138599; 11-07-2011 at 07:15 PM. Reason: Typos using mobile phone.

  43. #43
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    I also have the Hold Up and I had the same problem with the wheel holder and also got a new one under warranty which I still haven't put it on as it is the second bike and rarely do I have two bikes on it. I really like my rack as it is quick and easy to load bikes. I drive with it on all summer and I ahve not had a problem about the license plate being blocked but I have read on other posts that people have been ticketed. So another thing to watch when buying a rack.

  44. #44
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    1UpUSA Info

    Quote Originally Posted by hmto View Post
    here is my rack Pickering. You will not regret this, and you can check out the testimonials in the other forum for carriers. You're welcome to check it out if you are in the area.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/santa-cruz/1s...ml#post8425165

    This year also comes in black ano

    1up USA Ultra Rack
    + 1 on this. I have the rack and am very impressed by it. It's light weight, all aluminum and modular so it's easy to put on and has no play at the receiver once installed.

    It works really well with both 26" and 29" tires and can be adjusted down for kids or BMX bikes. Anti-theft (of the rack) is built in and the shipping boxes are also the long-term storage boxes. The system is expandable to carry up 3 bikes.

    One caveat is that they won't (or wouldn't) ship to Canada when I bought mine last winter. I had mine brought back by my folks when they returned from an extended US trip but it's worth a call to speak with them on it.

    Note: One thing most people don't know is that if you are in the US for a week or more you can have "unaccompanied goods" shipped to you and use your $750 exemption. Just make sure you have a receipt to use for declaring the goods at the Custom's & Immigration booth. Odds are you'll still pay brokerage fees, but you'll save the taxes!

    Good luck!
    Last edited by SparxFlyer; 11-08-2011 at 05:45 AM. Reason: Add Note...
    Santa Cruz Tallboy - lovin' the full squish 29'r!

  45. #45
    Slick Rick
    Reputation: stefanb's Avatar
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    TufRack...local, not that expensive, super simple design and really tough...

    tufrack.com

    Can buy right off their site...installs in 3 seconds
    www.trailburn.ca
    2012 Norco Truax 2

  46. #46
    No. Just No.
    Reputation: Circlip's Avatar
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    Looks highly functional at first glance, yet mega-fugly at the same time. Obviously created by adults with a lingering childhood Meccano fetish.

    Quote Originally Posted by stefanb View Post
    TufRack...local, not that expensive, super simple design and really tough...

    tufrack.com

    Can buy right off their site...installs in 3 seconds

  47. #47
    mtbr member
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    We've had a lot of different racks

    and were never happy until we got the Thule bottom rail type hitch rack. It is so easy & has fit any bike we've tried - crazy frames & all - even kids bikes. It's very solid - no wiggling at all. We've had it about 3 yrs now & it lives outside all year long - either on my vehicle or leaning on the house.

    Thule*-*990XT Doubletrack

  48. #48
    namagomi
    Reputation: electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Circlip View Post
    Looks highly functional at first glance, yet mega-fugly at the same time. Obviously created by adults with a lingering childhood Meccano fetish.


    Brrrrap, er wait.. what were you saying??

  49. #49
    No. Just No.
    Reputation: Circlip's Avatar
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    Yes, I've seen that and will take the first available opportunity to buy the set for myself, oops, I meant for my son.

    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post


    Brrrrap, er wait.. what were you saying??

  50. #50
    mtbr member
    Reputation: J.R.B's Avatar
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    42
    The Thule rack posted above is nice. If you don't want to spend that much there's the SportRack 2EZ rack. 2EZ HITCH PLATFORM SYSTEM - A30901 - SportRack®.
    I've used this for the past 2 years with no problems and had DH bike to XC bikes of all sizes on it. Only drawback I've had with it is the contact point on the top tube will scratch the paint if you don't clean the mud off your bike before you put the hook down. You can get it for cheap at Canadian Tire or go to a LBS for a bit more.

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