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  1. #1
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    Question - how to keep bike clean on hitch mount rack

    For those of you who haul your bike on a tow hitch mounted rack. How do you keep your bike clean when you transport it to and from the places you ride?

    I bought a rack for the back of my Titan, but suddenly thought about when it doesn't rain for a few days, the dirt roads on the state forest put up a pile of fine dusts when you drive across them. That dirt covers everything.

    So how you keep your bikes clean, and how to protect the gears and shifters from getting all gummed up with dirt hauling the bikes back and forth?

    Any advice is much appreciated.

    John

  2. #2
    The Original Suspect
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    I've never seen it as much of an issue and been hauling bikes that way for years in the Arizona desert. I guess if it's a problem where you live you could try wrapping your drivetrain with something during traveling time. Maybe a garbage sack and a couple zip ties would keep road debris off.

  3. #3
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    Small motorcycle cover? You'd have to wrap it in bungees to keep it from tearing up quickly from flapping in the wind.

    Dry lube for the chain. I recommend Squirt lube, for rain or shine. Wet lube is only good for dust or mud free clean conditions, in my opinion, such as pavement.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by derby View Post
    Small motorcycle cover? You'd have to wrap it in bungees to keep it from tearing up quickly from flapping in the wind.

    Dry lube for the chain. I recommend Squirt lube, for rain or shine. Wet lube is only good for dust or mud free clean conditions, in my opinion, such as pavement.
    Yep ^^^^ Best way is to cover it and as Derby said a motorcycle cover would be perfect. I have always hated rear hitches for this problem but mainly the huge possibility of getting rear ended. The most common vehicle collision out there. Especially these day's with 90% of drivers texting, and on their cell phones.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    Yep ^^^^ Best way is to cover it and as Derby said a motorcycle cover would be perfect. I have always hated rear hitches for this problem but mainly the huge possibility of getting rear ended. The most common vehicle collision out there. Especially these day's with 90% of drivers texting, and on their cell phones.
    I was going to say BBQ cover..lmao.. Durrr..

    But yes, I think a motorcycle cover is your best bet, and fairly inexpensive to.
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  6. #6
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    Yeah but.....

    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    Yep ^^^^ Best way is to cover it and as Derby said a motorcycle cover would be perfect. I have always hated rear hitches for this problem but mainly the huge possibility of getting rear ended. The most common vehicle collision out there. Especially these day's with 90% of drivers texting, and on their cell phones.
    Agree but.... we could all pick apart any other way to transport a bike that doesn't involve putting inside the car.

    I haven't been rear ended (yet) but I have driven my bike in to a parking garage ceiling with a roof rack.

    I don't worry too much about keeping my bike clean on the rack. It's going to get just as much dirt on it while on the trail.
    JPark - 3.5- don't listen to dremer

  7. #7
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    Question - how to keep bike clean on hitch mount rack

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken in KC View Post
    Agree but.... we could all pick apart any other way to transport a bike that doesn't involve putting inside the car.

    I haven't been rear ended (yet) but I have driven my bike in to a parking garage ceiling with a roof rack.

    I don't worry too much about keeping my bike clean on the rack. It's going to get just as much dirt on it while on the trail.
    I have never driven a bike into an overhead obstruction, but I have backed several bikes on a rear rack into things.
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  8. #8
    fly on the wall
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    Bike on rear rack: danger of being rear ended, covered in fine dust, better mileage.
    Bike on top: danger of hitting overhang, covered in bugs, poor mileage.

    What's stopping you from putting the bikes in the bed of your Titan?

  9. #9
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    Re: Question - how to keep bike clean on hitch mount rack

    On some vehicles, you cover the bike and you block the taillamps.
    I have this issue in the Midwest. Snowy, wet and salty roads make a mess of the bike. It sucks.

  10. #10
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    If you wrap the bike with any sort of cover, wind buffeting will eventually cause the cover to abraid the finsih on your bike (which presumably you're concerned with since you are worried about dust . . .). The bike will still work if it's a little dusty. The wife and I have driven bikes >10k miles (CA to FL to DC to SD back to CA) on road trips with the bikes on the back of the car (tray style hitch mount), including dust in the southwest, summer storms in the southeast, dirt roads, mud, etc . . . Bikes still shift fine, suspension still works fine, brakes still work fine. You only need to worry if you're especially concerned with having a clean mountain bike. If you are, keep it inside.

  11. #11
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    My $0.02? You have a pickup, bolt some fork mounts to the front of the bed (behind the cabin). Removes the issue of road spray and backing into stuff.

    Hitch racks are pretty easy to re-sell, if you are concerned about that.

    On topic: it's a smaller problem than you'd think. Unless you have open wheel wells/exposed tires, the bike is pretty well protected from being directly hit by dust/dirt/rain. And, as mentioned before...the bike is certainly not going to get cleaner on the trail if it is that dusty on the roads.

  12. #12
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    Question - how to keep bike clean on hitch mount rack

    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    I have never driven a bike into an overhead obstruction, but I have backed several bikes on a rear rack into things.
    Yep. Agree but.... we could all pick apart any other way to transport a bike that doesn't involve putting inside the car....




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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    I have never driven a bike into an overhead obstruction, but I have backed several bikes on a rear rack into things.
    I've seen far more pictures on MTBR of people that drove their roof-rack bikes into a garage or overhang than I have people that backed into something with their bikes. Usually you are looking and aware when doing that, because you can physically see them. Not so much when driving into a garage, etc. There always seems to be a misconception that a bike on top of the car isn't going to see a huge load if the car is hit either. It may stay on, or it may get thrown right off. People that rear end you are almost always at fault, and if you drive your car into the garage, it's your fault.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zuarte View Post
    What's stopping you from putting the bikes in the bed of your Titan?
    Actually, nothing, I did that last year. Guess I should add that I am riding the bike when I turkey hunt in the spring, which means a lot of stop at the gated roads off the main road, get on the bike, ride the state forest roads, come back, load the bike and move to the next area. I can load / unload the bike into the back 5-10 times in a morning. Thought the hitch rack would be easier on the back then lifting the bike into the back of the full sized pick up.

    Quote Originally Posted by wschruba View Post
    My $0.02? You have a pickup, bolt some fork mounts to the front of the bed (behind the cabin). Removes the issue of road spray and backing into stuff...it's a smaller problem than you'd think. Unless you have open wheel wells/exposed tires, the bike is pretty well protected from being directly hit by dust/dirt/rain. And, as mentioned before...the bike is certainly not going to get cleaner on the trail if it is that dusty on the roads.
    I appreciate that comment, the dirt in the area of PA I ride is heavy with clay, so when its dry that dust runs like water getting into everything. Crack your windows and the truck interior is coated. So worrying about the dust cloud the truck puts up driving back and forth isn't much to worry about.

    We recently hooked up a garden hose up at camp, so perhaps a good low pressure light spray and wash down would help.

    I was wondering if carrying the bike on the hitch will shorten the life of any components since the dirt is so incredibly fine. Perhaps not.

    I will look into the motorcycle covers, I didn't know they made such a thing. I'd rather shake that off and toss it into the back then lifting the bike in and out time after time.

    Thanks for the help and suggestions, I appreciate it very much.

  15. #15
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    There are several companies that make Bike bags specifically for traveling- Google it

  16. #16
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    I am not so concerned about the dirt/dust on the bike from being on a hitch rack. what I don't like is the winter salty road spray. THAT stuff does a number on bike parts. I've driven back and forth across country with a bike on the roof rack and have had bugs glued to it. it sucks, but they come off. dirt comes off. salty road spray corrodes metal. that's a little more damaging.

    I like having options. Currently, I carry on the roof or inside the car depending on the situation. I plan to add a hitch rack in the future. One of the local trails is accessed most easily via a covered bridge, which is incompatible with roof rack mounts. going to the other entrance adds a decent bit to the driving distance.

  17. #17
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    Well here is a million dollar idea for someone. MAKE A COVER TO FULLY COVER YOUR BIKE WHILE RACK MOUNTED!!!

    I have a truck big enought to tow or haul anything ( 01 ford f250 superduty crew cab LONG box diesel) and even with that monster I hate the room my bikes take up in the bed.
    It always seams that with coolers, camping gear, my wife's million things she needs, the kids stuff I never have enough room so my bikes stay on the thule t2 to give me space in the bed.

    While I agree I hate the road grim bikes can gather while in the rack I hate even more that lack of room I have in the bed, so someone needs to make a resonable cover that could be used on the road, I would buy between 2 and 4 of them easily.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    Especially these day's with 90% of drivers texting, and on their cell phones.
    You are soooo full of it! I'm texting while responding to this post, and for me, it's simple to do both at the same timsalkf feejfjeoj
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  19. #19
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    Problem solved - White Lightning

  20. #20
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    OP do you have the Utilitrack in your bed? IF so get some Rocky Mount Clutch SD skewer mounts. I have them in my new Frontier with Utilitrack. It's awesome. The bikes are low enough in the bed that I can drive in to my garage (you might have an issue with that though since the Titan is so big in the first place but you could drive in parking garages I guess). I am not as worried about getting rear ended and having my bikes get ruined, they're out of the elements (direct spray anyway) in rain, dust, etc. I'm loving having them in the bed.
    :wq

  21. #21
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    Based on OP's earlier statements that he can load / unload the bike 5-10 times in a single morning while driving back and forth, my guess is he'd prefer the bike being in one piece. Any mounts that require him to keep taking the wheel off would probably be out of the question.

    As for a covered bike to protect it from road salt, I'd be more concerned with someone rear ending you in a hard stop because they weren't paying attention and didn't see any brake lights.

    The other option would be to throw a rug over your tailgate, and hang your front wheel off the back like those downhill shuttlers. Use a bungie cord too if you'd like. Perfect for when you're taking your bike in and out often.

  22. #22
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    Question - how to keep bike clean on hitch mount rack

    Unloading 5-10 times with any sort of cover means covering and recovering 10-20 times. Fun.

    If I were the OP, I'd put a plastic grocery bag over the seat to keep the dust off it and put my bike on a hitch rack.


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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by paboxcall View Post
    Crack your windows and the truck interior is coated.
    I had a Suburban that did the exact same thing ... Don't dare leave the back window down

    I vote for bag it ... It's quick to do, and simple enough to do as needed.

  24. #24
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  25. #25
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    X2 on the low bed mounting. Fork mounts on a board lying in the bed right next to the tailgate. No lifting over the bedside, just drop the gate and roll them in. Got rid of my hitch mount also because of the rear ending possibility. I had plenty of room for two bikes plus weekend camping gear. But there is no arguing that a hitch mount is the quickest way. Tradeoffs...

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