29er bike rack on a Prius?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    29er bike rack on a Prius?

    Ok I am a Prius NooB, but have done my research and after my first tank at 46.7 have the HSI reading 55. something on this tank after 400 miles. I have an Red 2010 and absolutely love it. I traded in a 2010 Ford F150 after feeling it in the wallet the last few months commuting about 40 miles a day. BEST DECISION ever . I am an avid cyclist and one of my main concerns was, "how am I going to carry these darn bikes?" Well my ticker got to tickin and I started a little research on bike racks for the Prius. My initial idea was to just stuff them in there, but so far I have one serious scratch on my 2012 Tarmac Expert from loading/unloading, and lots of dirt-debris-marring from loading my ginoourmous 2012 Epic Comp 29" (takes a lot of pilates moves and patience to get it in and out of there). And this is only a weeks worth!

    Obviously I needed a rack. Roof Rack... no. kills gas mileage and I am not trying to look cool like the wanna be frat boys and pretenders. Trunk rack... naw, they are just stoopid to take on and off and there aren't really any that fit the Prius perfectly anyways. Hitch rack... well... a hitch on a Prius? for real? This may void the warranty (i'm at 32, ish thousand) and decrease the fuel econonomy (weight and underbody aero)- and I don't want to do either. I guess you could remove the bolt on hitch when you took it in for warranty work, and maybe there is a light weight aerodynamic hitch alternative. The hitch mounted racks i have experienced before are heavy and not really what I wanted to use on my super efficient Prius, and at the same time all the hitches I started to research on the Prius were bulky, left little room for departure, and seemed a bit heavy to carry around everyday for the small hatchback.

    Products to the rescue. It seems some companies were listening as I thought and created products just for me and my new (to me) hybrid car. After lots of time, deliberation, deciding, and saving (top of the line doesn't come cheap). I have decided on an EcoHitch from TorkLift Central and the Kuat Sherpa from Kuatracks. These two products seem to fix all the problems I have seen with hitches on cars and hitch mounted racks over the years.

    I ordered today. They should be here Friday. I plan to take you on a trip from research to installation to use here on this forum. I'll let you know what's up when they get here. Maybe I can help you out and save you a little time when you decide to get a bike rack for your Prius and bikes (they'll thank you for not stuffing them in there)!

    Thanks,
    Scott

  2. #2
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    Just wanted to chime in to say that a hitch cannot void your warranty unless it can be proven that said hitch caused whatever problem it is that they are denying you warranty coverage for.

  3. #3
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    Should have got a rack from 1-Up. Much nicer and snugs up to the rear bumper real good. They are made to a much higher finish quality than any other system out there.....oh well enjoy your new rack

  4. #4
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    why don't you just put a rack on your bike and put the prius in a sack or something and bungee it to the rack?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onetrack View Post
    Should have got a rack from 1-Up. Much nicer and snugs up to the rear bumper real good. They are made to a much higher finish quality than any other system out there.....oh well enjoy your new rack
    Bah, the Kuat is a fine rack. Its not like he bought a Performance rack

  6. #6
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    we got ours while they where still shipping from japan... awesome car, it's our travel rig due to the great milage. we used to have a roof rack but quickly found out it's better to fold down the rear seat
    and place the bikes inside. tons of room, for two people, bikes, and gear.

    a small aerodynamic covered trailer would work well also...

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  7. #7
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    yes i agree lots of traffic should have given me bigger disct % ;/ in the car= bad news bears, kuat=brand reliance+ two bikes which is what i "desire" one up seem like a croc.... plus i need to carry two bikes outside car. me + friend+ race or "epic" ride = we need a rack that doesn't scratch our awesome bikes or my awesome prius. I will report this is the point of this.

    maybe i shoulda bought a 26"

  8. #8
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    If i was stronger than 12th in local xc race i would tow prius

  9. #9
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    I love my 1UP rack, works great with the 29er
    got tired of lifting the bike on the roof rack
    very sturdy set up , Quick and easy bike
    on and off very much worth the $ 300.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wasfast View Post
    why don't you just put a rack on your bike and put the prius in a sack or something and bungee it to the rack?
    It's a Prius, not a Smart car.

  11. #11
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    I saw a Prius with a hitch rack last week at the trail head. Not sure which rack it was. What freaked me out was when he drove away in stealth mode like a golf cart- only then did I note it was Prius
    FWIW I have a Civic coupe with a 1Up toting a 29er, and while it is great for low speed commuting and a killer rack, it slaughters my fuel efficiency at 75-80 mph- like from 35 to 27 mpg. Your car(t) , being a little more boxy in the rear might not suffer as drastic a reduction as the bike will be more in the draft.
    Last edited by Noclutch; 05-23-2012 at 12:56 PM.

  12. #12
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    rear racks do screw up aerodynamics.

    Quote Originally Posted by Noclutch View Post
    ... it slaughters my fuel efficiency at 75-80 mph- like from 35 to 27 mpg. Your car(t) , being a little more boxy in the rear might not suffer as drastic a reduction as the bike will be more in the draft.
    Cars that rely heavily on aerodynamics are impacted by both roof and hitch racks. Basically, anything that jacks with the shape will produce drag. Roof racks are worse I think, but one of the major goals of aerodynamic design is to reduce the sucking effect of the air that has already gone past the car. The Prius is sloped front and rear. Both ends matter to the overall aerodynamics of the car.

    Cars like the Prius and the Civic have relatively low horsepower, low weight, and focus on aerodynamic shapes. When they are carrying a normal amount of passenger and cargo weight and the exterior of the vehicle has not been altered, they get great fuel mileage and have adequate performance. But with those kind of vehicles if you compromise either of those things you will see a noticeable impact in mileage and and some in performance. It's happening because you are operating the engine at a higher level of output than is optimal. Basically, you're flogging it.

    Take a Ford F150 and put 1200 lbs of passengers and cargo in it and hang a hitch rack off the back and you won't notice much change from normal. But take a little high-efficiency car and mess with it and you'll see impacts, especially if you're trying to rock it at 75-85 mph.
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  13. #13
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  14. #14
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    WTF is an eco hitch? Looks kinda like a regular hitch that got marketed to a prius owner.

    Made By Eco people for Eco people? It's a freaking hitch. Sorry, it may be the best fit/finish/function out for there for you car but the marking garbage on that page makes me want to puke.

    On a more on topic note is there any good articles with some real data to compare bikes on a hitch rack vs a roof rack? Closed course constant speed comparisons or at least some computer modeling drag coefficient numbers etc..

  15. #15
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    I have the same receiver on my Prius. Other than feeling a little silly about bolting a hitch on a Prius it was easy to install. It did it myself in about an hour. It would have taken less than 30 minutes if I had someone to help.

  16. #16
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    In theory that's possibly true

    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    Cars that rely heavily on aerodynamics are impacted by both roof and hitch racks. Basically, anything that jacks with the shape will produce drag. Roof racks are worse I think, but one of the major goals of aerodynamic design is to reduce the sucking effect of the air that has already gone past the car. The Prius is sloped front and rear. Both ends matter to the overall aerodynamics of the car.

    Cars like the Prius and the Civic have relatively low horsepower, low weight, and focus on aerodynamic shapes. When they are carrying a normal amount of passenger and cargo weight and the exterior of the vehicle has not been altered, they get great fuel mileage and have adequate performance. But with those kind of vehicles if you compromise either of those things you will see a noticeable impact in mileage and and some in performance. It's happening because you are operating the engine at a higher level of output than is optimal. Basically, you're flogging it.

    Take a Ford F150 and put 1200 lbs of passengers and cargo in it and hang a hitch rack off the back and you won't notice much change from normal. But take a little high-efficiency car and mess with it and you'll see impacts, especially if you're trying to rock it at 75-85 mph.
    But in practice I never saw any significant change in fuel economy numbers driving with a 29 inch wheeled bike mounted on a hitch rack on the back of the 2007 Prius I used to own. I got 45-52 MPG depending on conditions whether the bike was on the back of the car or not. However if you're "rocking" any vehicle at 75-85 MPH (especially into a headwind) the fuel economy will suffer. That's just one of the reasons I much prefer hitch racks and hitch racks are the best way to go on a Prius IMHO.

  17. #17
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    I drive a yaris sedan , I got the 1up hitch rack for practicality
    over the pain in the A** roof rack, fuel economy had nothing
    to do with, I would say close to same I dont pay a whole lot
    attention to mpg, but I checked it last trip I did averaging
    around 70 mph on the Interstate I still got 35+ mpg with
    the 29er in the hitch rack about the same as the roof rack
    ever watch car wind tunnel test with the smoke going
    over the car and you will see that a hitch rack really
    wont improve your mpg.

  18. #18
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    Although much better than a roof rack, the bike on the back of the Prius will still negatively affect fuel economy.

    The Prius has what's called a "kamm back", i think the guy's name was Alfred Kamm who discovered that the sloping rear window into the sudden, angled dropoff was very slippery. So putting a bike back there musses up the slipstream, or whatever.

    With that said, i dont give a crap. I put my bikes uptop, that way i won't be charged with murder if i ever get rear ended. Plus i dont mind the fuel economy dip on days i ride.

    Edit: My bad, his name was Wunibald Kamm:

    Kammback - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    If this was moved it prolly should have been moved into Car & Biker. Otherwise this may be the precedent for a deluge of bike rack questions for people with 29ers who really should be asking them in the Car & Biker forum. The horrors!
    Last edited by XJaredX; 05-24-2012 at 07:12 AM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by XJaredX View Post
    The Prius has what's called a "kamm back", i think the guy's name was Alfred Kamm who discovered that the sloping rear window into the sudden, angled dropoff was very slippery. So putting a bike back there musses up the slipstream, or whatever.
    The additional upside to the hitch rack is that when there is no bike on it stows out of the way, does not effect the aerodynamics and mpg. The same cannot be said of a roof rack.

    I have seen a general mpg draw of about 5% with a roof rack with no bike and no draw with the hitch rack with no bike on it. I have seen about a 13% draw with a bike on the hitch rack, car full of gear and people and doing freeway speeds. I don't have any data on doing freeway speeds without a bike on the hitch rack though and would expect it to be in the 8% range.
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  20. #20
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    Oh, no doubt the hitch rack is better for MPG. I just don't like it wobbling around back there all the time. Plus I don't like lowering it to open the trunk. Plus, I have the newish Thule Aeroblade bars and they are stupid quiet.

    Pro's and con's to both, obviously, nothing new discussed here

  21. #21
    mnoutain bkie rdier
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    Car and Biker forum might have some more pics/thoughts..

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by tl1 View Post
    But in practice I never saw any significant change in fuel economy numbers driving with a 29 inch wheeled bike mounted on a hitch rack on the back of the 2007 Prius I used to own. I got 45-52 MPG depending on conditions whether the bike was on the back of the car or not. However if you're "rocking" any vehicle at 75-85 MPH (especially into a headwind) the fuel economy will suffer. That's just one of the reasons I much prefer hitch racks and hitch racks are the best way to go on a Prius IMHO.
    No argument from me, I'm a hitch rack proponent:



    I will never have a roof rack again. Had one way back in olden times, 20 years ago on a 91 Civic sedan. Took one trip to Wyoming from Colorado with two bikes up top and averaged 25 mpg. Also scraped my bike off driving into garage twice. So I'm not smart enough to use one, hate the wind noise, hate the gas mileage, would rather not have to boost them up there every time it's time to load them up...

    +1 for hitch racks.

    And, as for your experience with the Prius, YMMV
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  23. #23
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    hitch rack is the way to go. i don't see any real reduction in gas milage in my fit.


  24. #24
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    Picked up a 2012 VW Passat TDI SE in a 6 Manual gearbox configuration. Huge trunk, plenty of bikes fit back there if you want to keep the aerodynamics clean. 52.5 MPG at 67 MPH driving from St George, UT to Los Angeles.

    Put a Curt hitch on it shortly after buying it, 30 minute job by myself. Special version for TDI that has an Adblue tank. The Niner WFO pinches me about 3 mpg in the rack at highway speeds of 65 to 70, which is the speed limit here in California.


  25. #25
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    +1 on the roof rack for me. my car is low so I don't have to worry about scraping it off on driveways and such and I too would probably murder somebody if I got rearended with a bike on the back of my car. Plus it makes my car look all tough. As tough as a Kia can get anyway...

  26. #26
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    Google seasucker bike racks and try one of these, I have had one in use on my 2010 Honda accord for about six months now and can not say enough good things about it, I love the fact that I can use it on any car, and that it takes about two minutes to attach it to the car and thirty seconds to get it taken off the car, and once the bike is attached it is secure and not going anywhere. Try it you will love it also.

  27. #27
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    Does the Ecohitch look like a regular low profile hitch to anybody else? I got my Curt hitch for $70 and I seriously doubt there is any difference in how they look or perform. Thats a lot of gas money spent on the extra $200 for the ecohitch.

    I really dislike roof racks because of the inevitable fork into the roof or dragging my pedal across it as well.

  28. #28
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    Rename: A week in the life of a Mountain Bike Enthusiast/Bike mechanic.

    After the moment of holding the product box for the first time until now my life has been in a bit of a flurry. I have a new job as a bike mechanic at the local bike shop and am still trying my hardest to really ride my bike and stay in good shape I took the Prius in to the dealership with a stereo amplifier problem (jbl upgrade) in this same time frame and it took a few days to get everything straight (thank goodness for dealership offer of loaner car!). In that time all the parts were delivered and waiting patiently to be installed (hitch arrived Wednesday… installed Friday night). In my lifestyle I really need a bike rack, especially when living with a smaller eco mobile (ok I admit I look at it as a save money mobile ☺) I have taken my longish wheelbase Epic 29 Comp in and out of that da4n car so many times in only 3-4 weeks time! It is over for me!

    After at least an hour of assembly for each, hitch and rack I have a ballin bike rack. Thank you Kuat and Torklift Central for such quality products… check the pic, I got my money’s worth. Pic’s to follow and a full review on the way with more daytime shots!

    <a href="https://s209.photobucket.com/albums/bb17/skey44/?action=view&amp;current=9005c68b.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="https://i209.photobucket.com/albums/bb17/skey44/9005c68b.jpg" border="0" alt="Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App"></a>

  29. #29
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    I will take a picture. The "eco-hitch" was more of a ground clearance/stealth look issue for me as it tucks under the bumper instead of hanging down beneath the rear spoiler. I did not buy this hitch because of the marketing, it was the product details.

  30. #30
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    1UpUSA and a decent hitch.



    I have my Chumba Hx2 on the back in the image above and below.
    Also in this pic above... you can see the marvel of engineering... the shelf for cooking breakfast and coffee while on the road!


    In this last one you can just see that I have two tracks on my rack. To keep from blocking the license plate when I don't have a bike on the racks, I either leave them down or rotate them up to the angled setting. Even slightly angled, the two tracks together do not block my rear plate. If I have both on and put the rack all the way up vertical... my plate gets blocked somewhat.

    I will have to say that with the extension of the hitch and rack out the back... driving through "v" or even "u" features in the road will scrape bottom... go slow and/or at an angle.

    What I'm talking about is like the situation where you have a sloping driveway meeting the level street.

  31. #31
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    Eco Hitch........funny stuff.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by skey44 View Post
    I will take a picture. The "eco-hitch" was more of a ground clearance/stealth look issue for me as it tucks under the bumper instead of hanging down beneath the rear spoiler. I did not buy this hitch because of the marketing, it was the product details.
    The only part you can see of my hitch is the actual receiver and it looks literally the same. I'm interested in seeing the picture.

  33. #33
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    i have not stopped using my new hitch and rack for a second to take any pictures I will try to snap a few of it in use today! on my way to Dupont to ride some southeast slick rock and hit some of the best flow trails in the world... I love the mountains

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