Best hitch mount 4 bike rack- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    JeffcoHo
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    Best hitch mount 4 bike rack

    Going to hauling a mix of full suspension, hardtails and 29'rs and wonder what the best 4 bike hitch mounted bike rack is.

    Swagman XTC4 ?

    SportRack A30902 4EZ ?

    Yakima HoldUp Plus 2

    Or another rack I don't have listed.

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
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    don't forget the Thule 916XTR T2. there's also the 1up USA rack.

    that first rack you listed doesn't look very sturdy. i wouldn't have any peace of mind if i had that on the back with my bikes on it. the second one doesn't look too bad, and that's one helluva price for a 4-bike platform rack. the Thule and Yakima require add-ons bringing the total investment to $600. the 1up USA rack will run you $900 to hold 4 bikes.

  3. #3
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    I have heard a lot of good things about the Thule. If that second one works, that's a heck of a deal. In the market for one myself, but don't want to be cheap if I'm loading up 4 bikes at $5k+ each.

  4. #4
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    I've gone through a dozen or so hitch racks, not believing the price of the best were worth the money. But after always finding the cheaper ones inadequate, I ended up with a garage full of hitch racks I finally sold off on eBay last year.

    The first two racks you listed hold the bike by the frame, not the wheel, which is only useful for cruiser bikes with big fenders around the wheels. They will take a lot of fiddling to get bikes mounted and aren't that sturdy either.

    So now, I'm fully satisfied finally with the Yakima Holdup Plus 2 hitch rack.
    I have an extensive review of it on a post here along with pictures.

    The Yakima Holdup can handle all sorts of bikes, from roadies, 29'ers, FS, hardtail, even my kid's 20" bike, all instantly inserted without adapation. I put the hitch on my car in literally 30 seconds for each of the two-bike sections, and another ~15 seconds for each bike. (I keep the ratchet & socket handy right next to the rack which is near the end of my car.)

    The Tule T2 bike rack is also very good and in the same class. The T2 has the advantage that the trays can be adjusted for different bike spacing. The downside of the T2 is that you may need to spend a lot of time to adjust trays for different bike spacing. Also, some have had the adjustable slide continue sliding all the way off the end of the hitch (along with their precious bike) while driving along.

    I've never failed in fitting all sorts of bike combinations on the Yakima Holdup, in spite of the fixed spacing. I think it's because the spacing is somewhat wide already, which puts the fourth bike out some distance. Sometimes I need to remove a seat if I can't lower or raise it to prevent conflict with the adjacent bike's handlebars.

    To handle the heavy torque from four bikes extended out on a hitch,. I beefed up my Class III receiver strength some more to prevent the couple inch droop from heavy bikes at the end, and made sure I had road and driveway clearance on my crossover by tilting up the receiver a few degrees (took ~$150 to a welder). Not all cars/trucks need this.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  5. #5
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    I like the Raxter Tarsus with the "Plus Two" - http://www.raxterracks.com/index.cfm?id=3&prodID=5

  6. #6
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    Kuat NV with add on. I have the Nv without the add on and I love it. Customer service is also impeccable.

  7. #7
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    I'll add the Saris Cycle-on to the mix. I'll also suggest going to a bike shop that has racks built and out on display that you can load/unload. I like the user interface on the Saris better than the Yakima, and the build quality seems higher than on the Swagman. I like the bike interface better than the SportRack (the Saris doesn't grab the TT, just the wheels). If I were buying a hitch rack for myself, I'd be looking closely at the Cycle-on and the Thule T2.

    Eric

  8. #8
    Slowest Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by eric1115
    I'll add the Saris Cycle-on to the mix. I'll also suggest going to a bike shop that has racks built and out on display that you can load/unload. I like the user interface on the Saris better than the Yakima, and the build quality seems higher than on the Swagman. I like the bike interface better than the SportRack (the Saris doesn't grab the TT, just the wheels). If I were buying a hitch rack for myself, I'd be looking closely at the Cycle-on and the Thule T2.

    Eric
    Is this the Saris that has the "wheel sleeve" for the front wheel? A friend had one it was a total PIA. It works on the most bikes, but wouldn't properly fit my wider 2.8" tires and XL bike, just for starters.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  9. #9
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    The Yakima Holdup Plus 2 is what I wanted to go with, but my driveway angle is prohibitive ( I used to scrape the bottom lip of my front fender going up the driveway in my sports car ). It might not have been a problem with two bikes, but I would have ruined it when transporting 4 bikes.

    I just ordered a Yakima Swingdaddy.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by nevermiss
    The Yakima Holdup Plus 2 is what I wanted to go with, but my driveway angle is prohibitive ( I used to scrape the bottom lip of my front fender going up the driveway in my sports car ). It might not have been a problem with two bikes, but I would have ruined it when transporting 4 bikes.
    The Thule XTR T2 actually sits up really, really high. I bet i could go wheelin' with it on the back of my SUV and not worry about it contacting the ground.




    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    The Tule T2 bike rack is also very good and in the same class. The T2 has the advantage that the trays can be adjusted for different bike spacing. The downside of the T2 is that you may need to spend a lot of time to adjust trays for different bike spacing. Also, some have had the adjustable slide continue sliding all the way off the end of the hitch (along with their precious bike) while driving along.
    So the Thule has adjustability, unlike the Yakima, but yet it's a downside because you have to adjust it? Anyway, how many times are you adjusting it? I only have 26in MTBs so they never have to be readjusted. If I'm loading a friend's 29er on it, it's still close enough to center that I'm not going to fiddle with it. I adjusted the racks once when I put it together, and never had to do it again.

    If the bike slid off the hitch, it's the owner's fault and they deserve it. The rack comes disassembled and if they didn't tighten the bolts, who is to blame? It's not like it's quick-release or anything. The slides clamp onto the hitch with 4 bolts. If they were so lose as to slide off, then I'd say they weren't tightened at all.



    It's a non-issue.
    Last edited by alexrex20; 05-20-2011 at 06:03 PM.

  11. #11
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    That Thule XTR T2 looks like it would be great for me when I'm just taking 1-2 bikes.

    When I go out with the family I need to take 3-4 bikes and I need to get access to the back of the Denali.

    I wish they made a rack like the XTR T2 that held 4 bikes and would swing out and allow access to the back.

    Now that I just dropped $400, I'm sure that someone will make a rack that will work better for me!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by nevermiss
    That Thule XTR T2 looks like it would be great for me when I'm just taking 1-2 bikes.

    When I go out with the family I need to take 3-4 bikes and I need to get access to the back of the Denali.

    I wish they made a rack like the XTR T2 that held 4 bikes and would swing out and allow access to the back.

    Now that I just dropped $400, I'm sure that someone will make a rack that will work better for me!

    Well, the T2 can only hold 4 bikes with the $300 addon, making it a $700 rack. It does swing down to allow the tailgate to open, but I guess it's still pretty impossible to load/unload anything, and I wonder how easy it would be to swing it back up with 4 bikes on it.

  13. #13
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    +1 on the Kuat NV

    I bought the Kuat NV after reading about the T2 failures. The NV has the same design ideas as the T2 but alot better build in my own opinion. I dont have the add on. The built in bike lock and hitch tensioner are very nice features. Oh the bike stand is also very usefull. No regreats on the NV!!!
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  14. #14
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    Just purchased the t2 at rei for 20% off.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    Is this the Saris that has the "wheel sleeve" for the front wheel? A friend had one it was a total PIA. It works on the most bikes, but wouldn't properly fit my wider 2.8" tires and XL bike, just for starters.

    I think you're thinking of the Thelma. Lots of plastic, cheap and light? The Cycle-on is much beefier build and works MUCH better. Easier and faster on and off, doesn't complain with any wheel size that I've tried, and holds the bikes much more securely.

  16. #16
    turtles make me hot
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    I have the T2 with the add on to carry 4 bikes and I regularly take it from NY to Florida with 4 bikes on it. No problems ever. It drops down and grants me access to the rear cargo area of my Surburban just fine.
    I've seen the videos of them coming apart. I put mine together with red Loctite and check it periodically. I have the later one that clears 29" wheels fine and has a screw on the end to further prevent the tray from sliding off. It's also super easy to convert from two bikes to four and back.
    I like turtles

  17. #17
    Delirious Tuck
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    + whatever on the T2.

    I run the T2 with 4 DH bikes on my FJ Cruiser, probably close to the 200lb limit, or slightly over, every weekend during DH season, and push 80mph. I can easily lift and drop the thing with that much on it, YMMV.

    The only time I had a rack slide was when I was rear ended at a stoplight (I was stopped the jetta behind me had a jump dog and twitchy foot), and the slide probably saved an $8k moots and more. Rack is still fine almost 3 years later even after the rear end incident including some serious bike trips around the NE CT-> ME/VT/PA/DC on rd and on dirt track. I've never had to loosen or tighten bolts outside of the getting rear ended experience, even then I had to LOOSEN the bolts to reset.

    Get the T2, buy once, cry once.

  18. #18
    Clydesdale 29er
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    I guess this qualifies as a hitch mount. I modified a four bike T2 rack to fit on a mini trailer.
    Two of the trays are the new style that fit my 29er perfect. I also love the integrated cable
    lock on each arm.

    little car with lots of bikes

    close-up of custom mount
    MxV=Clydesdale

  19. #19
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    I have the 2 bike version of the Sportrack (#2 on your list). A buddy had the 4 bike version for several years and never had a problem. We used it to go from SoCal to Utah and it held up well, though I admit at times it shook more than I would like as I watched it in my rear view mirror.

    That buddy was recently rear-ended and his Sportrack was toast so he is in the market again and plans on getting the Thule T2 plus the add-on at REI. Like the others, my advice is to bite the bullet and buy the best so you only have to do it once.

  20. #20
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    best is, without a doubt, 1UpUSA http://www.1upusa.com

    Next best is Raxter.

    J.

  21. #21
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    Yakima bighorn 4 works great and is very secure.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry View Post
    The first two racks you listed hold the bike by the frame, not the wheel, which is only useful for cruiser bikes with big fenders around the wheels. They will take a lot of fiddling to get bikes mounted and aren't that sturdy either.
    sorry but that is just not true at all. the swagman can hold any bike you can think of with any frame design. i've used my swagman XTC4 for 3 years and it has held every single bike i've wanted to put on. the wheel trays keep the bike from rolling forwards or backwards and the frame hook holds the bike from going side to side. the rack uses a screw type hitch pin so it mounts solidly to the hitch. no swaying whatsoever. The only weak aspect of the rack is the wheel trays aren't as strong as I'd want them to be. If i didn't crank down the frame holder so tight it wouldn't be a problem though. loading bikes really isn't that hard. make sure the pedals are the same on all bikes and you are fine.

    if you don't have 4 heavy bikes to load on then this rack is a good option. personally, i'd rather hold my bike from the frame than the front wheel.

    one thing i'd like to add also is avoid the saris version that holds the bikes by the front wheel. my friend had his bike fall right off.

    if you plan on hauling only heavy adult mountain bikes, checkout the north shore rack. nothing is sturdier.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by eric1115 View Post
    I think you're thinking of the Thelma. Lots of plastic, cheap and light? The Cycle-on is much beefier build and works MUCH better. Easier and faster on and off, doesn't complain with any wheel size that I've tried, and holds the bikes much more securely.


    Yeah, I was thinking of the Thelma. Don't get that bike mount.
    Last edited by BigLarry; 05-29-2011 at 02:55 AM.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by coiler_guy
    sorry but that is just not true at all. the swagman can hold any bike you can think of with any frame design. i've used my swagman XTC4 for 3 years and it has held every single bike i've wanted to put on
    I agree. I didn't quite say it properly. I meant to say
    "The first two racks you listed hold the bike by the frame, not the wheel, which is the only type that is useful for cruiser bikes with big fenders around the wheels."

    However, you also seem to agree with me that the first two are not as strong as the others.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2rider1964 View Post
    I have the 2 bike version of the Sportrack (#2 on your list). A buddy had the 4 bike version for several years and never had a problem. We used it to go from SoCal to Utah and it held up well, though I admit at times it shook more than I would like as I watched it in my rear view mirror.

    That buddy was recently rear-ended and his Sportrack was toast so he is in the market again and plans on getting the Thule T2 plus the add-on at REI. Like the others, my advice is to bite the bullet and buy the best so you only have to do it once.
    I learned that after spending $150 on a trunk rack. That was $150 I could have put on a hitch rack.

    BTW, Kuat NV is very cool. I considered going cheap with a Hollywood rack. A friend did that and I'm glad I dropped the extra change as it will be with me for a long time. And it has the best and worst integrated lock system on the market ;-)

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pininfarina599 View Post
    Yakima bighorn 4 works great and is very secure.
    I like the long sway bars on that one. The lack of good swaybars are the downfall for frame grabbing racks. It necessitates foam spacers and lots of bungies. The value of wheel grabbers is that it keeps the frames separated well.

  27. #27
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    I had the top end Thule like that. Tore all the decals off of my classic Klein, and was a royal pain to put anything more than one, maybe two bikes on. Put 4 on it and it was impossible to keep the bikes clear of each other - pedals and frames hitting each other. $350 rack, a total waste, IMO. 1 bike, probably works fine except for the finish issues with the straps round the top tube.

    j.

  28. #28
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    Works perfect for me and my bike. Couldnt be happier.

  29. #29
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    be careful of your paint. that's all I can say. Been there done that.

    J.

  30. #30
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    I just changed from the cheap sportrack tray type rack to the yakima double down 4, converted to a 3 bike rack as it it'll only take 120lbs, much prefer it for ease of use and not to bothered about paint, its for mountain bikes after all

  31. #31
    FartFigNewton
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    North Shore Racks. Hands-down. No one else is even close.

    Maybe a bit pricey, but compared to the cost of 4 nice bikes on the back, it's not bad.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrTWT View Post
    North Shore Racks. Hands-down. No one else is even close.

    Maybe a bit pricey, but compared to the cost of 4 nice bikes on the back, it's not bad.
    ^^^^^^^^This.^^^^^^^^^^^

  33. #33
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    Why would "no one else" be close?

    J.

  34. #34
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    +1 for the North Shore Rack with a qualifier...

    it doesn't hold road bikes or kids bikes that well. Also some bikes with certain combination of frame design, size, and 1.5 head tube don't fit well.

  35. #35
    FartFigNewton
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    Why would "no one else" be close?

    J.
    Several reasons IMO:

    1) Holds bikes in a "sturdier" fashion than any other rack I've used (Thule and Yakima, roof mounts, hitch mounts, spare tire mounts.)

    2) Easy on, easy off. I put my 29er on in less than 15 seconds.

    3) Holds 4 bikes, with absolutely NO bike-to-bike touching.

    4) Folds down completely out of the way (even with bikes on it), so I can open the rear door of my FJ cruiser.

    5) Looks pretty effin' cool with the bikes loaded up (not that that means anything to me, but it's true.)

    As far as downsides-- it's not rated for roadbikes so that may be a deal breaker for some. I haven't tried to put my 'cross bike on it yet, though I might just to see if I could get it to work. Also it is pricey, but for the piece of mind and ease of use I get from it, it's worth it.

    Regarding kids bikes, I can fit a Specialized Hot Rock 20 on without problems, as well as a kids bmx-style bike with 16" tires.

    I'll post up some pics with it fully loaded when I get a chance.

  36. #36
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    well my opinion is that your opinion is wrong.

  37. #37
    FartFigNewton
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    That's cool. Why?

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexrex20 View Post
    well my opinion is that your opinion is wrong.


    J.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    best is, without a doubt, 1UpUSA http://www.1upusa.com

    Next best is Raxter.

    J.
    Near as I can tell the 1upusa only holds 3 bikes, which is a deal breaker for me.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlazedHam View Post
    Near as I can tell the 1upusa only holds 3 bikes, which is a deal breaker for me.
    This continually comes up and is incorrect.

    The limitation is the receiver size. 1-1/4" receivers can hold 3 bikes, 2" receivers can hold 4 bikes. This is not a function of the rack but of the industry load rating on the receiver.

    Here is information on the receiver load ratings:

    http://www.1upusa.com/class_hitch.htm

    Here's the problem: With the 1-1/4" hitch, and if someone puts 4 bikes on it, the receiver could fail and the rack manufacturer could be blamed (although unfairly). So, in order to prevent that, they simply said that it's a 3 bike rack. The rack, however, is designed to hold 4 bikes in a 2" receiver. I have used it that way for several years with about 7500 miles of road trips with 4 mountain bikes on board and been very happy with it's performance.

    I'd heard rumors that 1UpUSA is coming out very soon with a 2" version (2" only) that is for 4 bikes. That one would start with 2 bikes and be expandable is what I hear (call 1UpUSA) to 4. I would prefer the current version that can be used in either receiver.

    Since I'm not an overly stupid person and knowing that I should not use it with 4 bikes in a 1-1/4" receiver, I would rather have the rack that can work in any receiver and with up to 4 bikes and take the responsibility to be able to understand when my receiver is 1-1/4" and being able to count up to 4 and knowing when to stop at 3. Seems like a much better option to me. But there are lawyers and stupid people out there that ruin it for the rest of us.

    Don't take my word for it. Call 1UpUSA.

    If I were you, I'd hurry and get the universal version.

    J.

  41. #41
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    another thing to be careful of is the weight restrictions, my yakima double down is a 4 bike with a capacity of 120lbs, as mine and my friends bikes weigh 35-40lbs i use it as a 3 bike only. Not sure what the weight limit is on those 1up ones.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsfsr View Post
    another thing to be careful of is the weight restrictions, my yakima double down is a 4 bike with a capacity of 120lbs, as mine and my friends bikes weigh 35-40lbs i use it as a 3 bike only. Not sure what the weight limit is on those 1up ones.
    50 lbs per bike so, 200lbs for the 4 bike version.

    j.

  43. #43
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    cool! thats pretty generous

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrTWT View Post
    Several reasons IMO:

    1) Holds bikes in a "sturdier" fashion than any other rack I've used (Thule and Yakima, roof mounts, hitch mounts, spare tire mounts.)

    2) Easy on, easy off. I put my 29er on in less than 15 seconds.

    3) Holds 4 bikes, with absolutely NO bike-to-bike touching.

    4) Folds down completely out of the way (even with bikes on it), so I can open the rear door of my FJ cruiser.

    5) Looks pretty effin' cool with the bikes loaded up (not that that means anything to me, but it's true.)

    As far as downsides-- it's not rated for roadbikes so that may be a deal breaker for some. I haven't tried to put my 'cross bike on it yet, though I might just to see if I could get it to work. Also it is pricey, but for the piece of mind and ease of use I get from it, it's worth it.

    Regarding kids bikes, I can fit a Specialized Hot Rock 20 on without problems, as well as a kids bmx-style bike with 16" tires.

    I'll post up some pics with it fully loaded when I get a chance.

    I have been looking at the Thule T2 and the Kuat NV but now that I see the North Shore Rack NSR 4 I am leaning more toward it. I have searched a lot of forum discussions about the NSR 4 rack and read a lot of good things but nobody has talked about the possible stress that this type of rack can possibly do to a bike, (headset/frame) that a hitch rack like the Thule T2 will not. Is there anything to be concerned about or not?
    Also does the NSR 4 rack in the tilted position with bikes on it allow for the FJ Cruiser rear door to open fully or partial. I would only be concerned about this with one bike loaded most of the time, so I'm curious if the bike is loaded on one side or the other, does it make a difference?

  45. #45
    FartFigNewton
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    Quote Originally Posted by vmaxx4 View Post
    I have been looking at the Thule T2 and the Kuat NV but now that I see the North Shore Rack NSR 4 I am leaning more toward it. I have searched a lot of forum discussions about the NSR 4 rack and read a lot of good things but nobody has talked about the possible stress that this type of rack can possibly do to a bike, (headset/frame) that a hitch rack like the Thule T2 will not. Is there anything to be concerned about or not?
    Also does the NSR 4 rack in the tilted position with bikes on it allow for the FJ Cruiser rear door to open fully or partial. I would only be concerned about this with one bike loaded most of the time, so I'm curious if the bike is loaded on one side or the other, does it make a difference?
    I don't think that any undue stress is placed on the bike at all, I wouldn't worry about it.

    Here is a shot of my wife's and my kids' bike on the rack in the upright position:




    Here is the rack fully loaded (29er, 26er, 20er, 16er-- the whole family!), tilted back with the FJ door fully opened:




    No problems lowering or raising the rack; the clearance is tight, but the door fully opens without a problem.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrTWT View Post
    I don't think that any undue stress is placed on the bike at all, I wouldn't worry about it.


    No problems lowering or raising the rack; the clearance is tight, but the door fully opens without a problem.
    Thanks for the reply and pictures. This will help in my decision.

  47. #47
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    Why can't it be used for road bikes? That seems silly.

    Rack holds the bikes by the frame at the fork and at the bottom bracket, correct?

    J.

  48. #48
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    The bike is held mainly by a four-pronged cradle that fits around the fork crown. The problem with road bikes is that the distance between the fork blades too narrow for the cradle to fit through. There's no way to make it work, believe me I've tried everything. For kids bikes with a unicrown fork the clearance is tight, but it will work.

    The bottom attachment is via a rope that loops around the back tire, which pulls it snug against the rack. When the bike is loaded there is barely any sway, it's held very securely.

  49. #49
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    I have read the North Shore Rack does not work with the new 1.5" Headsets. True?

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    The best rack is going to be the one that your insurance co. is going to cover,sometimes unfortunately

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrTWT View Post
    The bike is held mainly by a four-pronged cradle that fits around the fork crown. The problem with road bikes is that the distance between the fork blades too narrow for the cradle to fit through. There's no way to make it work, believe me I've tried everything. For kids bikes with a unicrown fork the clearance is tight, but it will work.

    The bottom attachment is via a rope that loops around the back tire, which pulls it snug against the rack. When the bike is loaded there is barely any sway, it's held very securely.
    ah. makes sense. That would be an issue for me. We need to use this for road, cross and mountain bikes. Plus, learned my lesson long ago about racks touching the frame - although it is less of an issue on mountain bikes.

    J.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by vmaxx4 View Post
    I have read the North Shore Rack does not work with the new 1.5" Headsets. True?
    I sent an e-mail to North Shore Racks and asked this question about 1.5" headset fitting. This was the response.


    [QUOTE][Thanks for your email. Yes, 1.5 head tubes are not a problem (everyone has them now)- if someone has one of our older model racks (before the 1.5 head tubes came out) they were manufactured to accommodate the older head tube size (1 1/8). The tynes that carry the fork crown can be adjusted if need be as they are made from cold rolled mild steel. Hope this helps.



    Alison
    North Shore Racks Inc.

    /QUOTE]

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    I've been using a NorthShore rack all season. It is hands down the quickest and most convenient rack I have used.

    I carry kids bikes on it no problem, but use an extra (longer) strap for my 4 year olds bike as the supplied rope isn't long enough to reach.

    It seems pretty tough. Sometimes I use a strap connected between the top of the rack and the top of my van to stop the rack from bouncing. This is an attempt to lessen the forces on the hitch. When I do this up there is no bounce at all making it the sturdiest rack I have used.

    The only thing I don't like is the rope used to connect the rear wheel. It seems a bit lame for a rack this expensive. It has come off a wheel twice so far. I think you could probably drive around without them done up as long as it wasn't too bouncy, but I prefer there old system, where you could infinitely adjust the tension on the ropes. I hope they change this part of the rack.

    If you want to fit road bikes there is a similar rack to the Northshore called Ratracks? Instead of holding the fork crown it holds the front wheel. I have never used on so I can't really comment, but seems like it could be pretty good.

    http://www.ratracks.com/

  54. #54
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    Not if you hit the front tire

    Quote Originally Posted by Pininfarina599 View Post
    Yakima bighorn 4 works great and is very secure.
    That's the basic problem of a sloping top tube bike with that type of rack. I have one (in addition to my beloved Raxter) and if I use that rack with my 29 incher I must take the front tire off to prevent it from hitting ground on dips and driveways etc.

  55. #55
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    DrTWT -- Thanks for the pics of your North Shore -- I had only seen full-size DH bikes loaded and I was wondering about kids' bikes given the significantly shorter wheelbase. How much finagling is required for the little bikes? Seems there isn't a tray to anchor the rear wheels.

    Also wondering about the bungee anchors for the rear wheels -- seems pretty unrefined. Does it work? Do you wish there were something more secure like a ratchet strap?

  56. #56
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    Hi Fletch,

    You should read my response above, but...

    The kids bikes work fine as long as the fork fit (all of mine do). I use a strap to hold the rear wheel as the ones supplied do not reach my youngest sons bike. Two of our bikes do not reach the tray but it doesn't matter. It works very well, and does not slow me down much.

    You are right about the rear bungees. The are actually static ropes and stretch very little. They depend on the tires to give 'stretch.' They do work, but I think there is significant room for improvement. Mine have come undone twice without losing any bikes.

    Hope this helps.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fletch F. Fletch View Post
    DrTWT -- Thanks for the pics of your North Shore -- I had only seen full-size DH bikes loaded and I was wondering about kids' bikes given the significantly shorter wheelbase. How much finagling is required for the little bikes? Seems there isn't a tray to anchor the rear wheels.

    Also wondering about the bungee anchors for the rear wheels -- seems pretty unrefined. Does it work? Do you wish there were something more secure like a ratchet strap?
    It doesn't matter if the rear wheels don't reach the tray. The rope will pull the whole bike downward, securing the fork crown in the holder. Works very well.

    I personally haven't had problems with the rope, I kinda like it insofar as it is easy and fast to use. I do agree that a sturdier solution might be better, but it's a nonissue for me and shouldn't be a deal breaker. If one was really concerned about it, it would be easy to make your own straps out of nylon webbing, etc.

  58. #58
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    Stupid question I'm guessing but does anyone know of a fork mount hitch rack in existence any longer? I don't do downhill or all mountain and I live in Europe where we drive really fast and I don't want my bike wobbling around. I like the security of a fork mount as well as the narrower size. Thanks.

  59. #59
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    Swagman Jacknife.

    Swagman

  60. #60
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    Best hitch mount 4 bike rack

    Used my NSR 4 for the first time last weekend, couldn't be happier with it. Handled 4 completely different bikes, everything from my XL tallboy lt to my sons 20" bmx bike. Great rack, extremely well built and getting the bikes on and off couldn't have been easier. Only reservation I would offer is if you aren't very tall you might find getting the bikes on/off a bit more difficult. Otherwise, if you're in the market for a 4 bike hitch rack I highly recommend the NSR 4.

  61. #61
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    HOW about NOW? 4 bike, Hitch-mounted racks for 2014.

    The OP's references are a couple years old now. I'm sure some are still available and others not. I'm wondering what the best 4 bike racks are at this point. The Kuat NV looks the best, but like with me, looks are not everything. And spendy. The Kuat NV is spendy. The NSR does not seem to work for me due to a camper situation I have going on.
    What else is out there that is secure, stable, and more or less indestructible (the old thing about looking back to see one or more of your bikes cartwheeling down the road behind you).
    Many thanks!

  62. #62
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    Still 1UpUSA.

    J.

  63. #63
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    The 1up racks are nice but even spendier than the Kuats. ~$900 for a 4 bike rack is crazy. The new Yakima holdup is very stable, folds up smaller than the 1up and is $300 cheaper.

  64. #64
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    First of all, the request is for the best rack not the cheapest.

    Price drives tradeoffs and if you want the "best" one, you don't want to put up with the tradeoffs. That's the market position of the 1UpUSA. It's the best rack but you will pay for the top end as you do for the best in any product. But the difference is only $159 not $300.

    The Holdup in the 4 bike configuration is about 91 lbs in an exceptionally awkward package. So you are going to have to heft that out of the garage and onto the car with two people for most normal people. Storing the holdup takes a much larger footprint and is exceptionally awkward compared to the 1UpUSA rack which in contrast, breaks down into 3 pieces super easily (is meant to be broken down) with the heaviest piece being only 48 lbs and being about half the size of the full up 4 bike version of the holdup. The other pieces are about half of that and easily carried by even a child.

    The Holdup, is not particularly convenient and is very awkward if you want to go with less than 4 bikes. You will have a LOT of rack hanging way out there. With the 1UpUSA, you can just use the double rack and then add singles as required. I also believe that the pitch between bikes is less on the 1UpUSA making for a more compact package but I haven't measured it recently.

    If you get the other 1UpUS version, you can go all the way down to a single rack. I have an older version that works in either 1.25" or 2" receiver and goes to 4 bikes in increments of one with the heaviest piece being something like 25 lbs. I can put that on the car in less than 30 seconds (and have done it in that time) all by myself many times.

    In my case, I'm happy to pay more for a rack that I use all the time because of it's modularity and it's convenience compared to a rack that is still pricey at $768 but never gets used because it's big and unwieldy. The price difference is only $159 (not $300) for a double silver rack and two add ons compared to the Holdup and add on for $768 at REI. I guess I think that $159 is a pretty good value despite being willing to pay more for the convenience of the best rack out there.

    J.

  65. #65
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    The 1Up sure looks sleek and I noticed the modularity as well. The in house sales manager (idea wife) however is convinced we are going to find something off Craigslist that will work. She may be right, I did find a 4 bike Kuat 350 miles away for only $700.

  66. #66
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    The Yakima holdup plus 2 bike add on is $602.24 on amazon. And I bought mine at REI at one of their ubiquitous 20% off sales for less than that. So actually is it $300 less since I've never seen a 1up on sale.

    As for what's "best", that's all relative. Some people, including Francis feel that that Yakima is "best."

    Review: Yakima HoldUp Bike Rack | Mountain Bike Review

  67. #67
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    Price is a function of features. The better a product is, the more price it can command in a market. One does not pay less (for long) for a better product. So, it really isn't relative but it's more a cause and effect relationship. Better drives higher prices less better is worth less not the other way around.

    Depends on if you find it on sale, I guess. Either way, it's still not a rack that I'd buy since I can't put a 90+ lb rack on the car by myself easily (much less my wife or daughter). I use my rack for 1-4 bikes and I don't want a big long cantilevered rack out behind my car for a single bike or two. In point of fact, I had one rack like like that which was impossible to store for me, was just as heavy as the Holdup and never got used. I finally gave it away when I bought the 1UpUSA rack and was glad to get rid of that boat anchor. Like I said, a $600 rack that never gets used because its too inconvenient is not a bargain for me. It would be $600 that was pretty much wasted. That would be true if it was half the price yet again.

    So, I'd think that a 4 bike HoldUp for someone that is going to use 4 bikes all the time and who has help to put it on and take it off and a lot more room in their garage than do I (way too many toys) - then sure, why not? The usability when you go to 4 bike version drops pretty significantly due to weight.

    As far as Francois' review goes - he reviewed the 2 bike version. Whole different deal. Double the weight again and it's an entirely different animal. Probably would get the front wheels of that Subaru off the ground (just kidding). And he's just one user.

    As far as ratings go, check out the ratings page:

    1UpUSA is rated at 4.82 out of 5 with 115 reviews against a 4.14 for the HoldUp with 7 reviews.

    J.

  68. #68
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    Best hitch mount 4 bike rack

    I have a (2-bike) 1-Up. I'm a fan. I have also used the Yakima system quite a lot - we have a community shuttle that carries bikes via Yakimas mounted on a flatbed trailer. I really dislike the ratcheting plastic straps and cheap feeling plastic cradles. I like (and own) Yakima's ski and kayak offerings, but am underwhelmed by what they and Thule offer for bikes.

    The Yakima looks like it extends a ridiculous distance from the bumper, but the 1-Up, while shorter, is still farther out than I'd prefer. If I ever get a 4-bike rack, I would want a system that hangs them, like the North Shore Racks. There are dozens of them in my town - they work great if you don't need to carry a road bike. They carry very securely as-is, but can also be improved by bending/shaping the cradle arms slightly. And getting your knots tied in the right spots can be a little tricky.

  69. #69
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    It's pretty hard to stick with just one supplier for racks.

    I'm pretty much fully invested in Yak, Thule and 1UpUSA. I have the Whispbars from Yakima on two of our cars. They work great and look like factory equipment - super quiet. I have a Thule ski rack that fits on there. I have Thule fork mounts on my car roof (Echelons - most aero of the racks I can find) during the summer. I all had one of those Thule swing away hitch racks (total POS). In the winter I have a Yakima Box on top for skis. The third car (Subaru) has a Yakima rack that mounts to the hard points that Subaru supplies, with a Thule fairing, a Yak bike mount in the summer and a Yak box in the winter. I finally just gave up and bought a ton of keyed alike locks for both systems so there are only two keys I need to worry about.

    I think Yak's bike mounts are the weakest part of their line, their boxes the best. And I really like their new Whispbars. I like Thule's fork mounts the best (by far) and their ski racks the best. Their boxes (which I've had) are not so great, IMO although they are great looking. If it weren't a different keying system, I'd probably look at RockyMounts fork racks too - but they are not better than the Thule Echelons.

    Had an Inno rack (their rack feet) that are super easy to mount but they just don't hold up and rusted out in two years.

    It just seems that there is no clear leader and if you have a lot of sports stuff you are going to wind up with both systems at some point. After having all of that, I have to say that the 1UpUSA sort of owns the bike hitch mount for me. After all of the bike racks I've had, it's the best by far.

    J.

  70. #70
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    Best hitch mount 4 bike rack

    Here is a shot of my NSR4 fully loaded. As you can see its incredibly versatile. I also have a 1 bike 1up and agree its great but the NSR is equally well built and significantly cheaper than a 4 bike 1up would be. I am an extremely satisfied customer, great job NSR!

    Best hitch mount 4 bike rack-imageuploadedbytapatalk1388234556.296953.jpg

  71. #71
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    The NSR is MTB only, right? If so, wouldn't work for me but it does look interesting.

    J.

  72. #72
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    Im not a fan of the NSR. It rubs on the fork and with some bikes you have to bend and adjust the rack.

    My buddy makes a custom rack that holds the tires. I love it. Mine is a 4 bike version but he makes 5 bike too. His rack is cheaper than the NSR too.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Best hitch mount 4 bike rack-rack.jpg  


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    Best hitch mount 4 bike rack

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    The NSR is MTB only, right? If so, wouldn't work for me but it does look interesting.

    J.
    Yes, mtb only.

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by kntr View Post
    Im not a fan of the NSR. It rubs on the fork and with some bikes you have to bend and adjust the rack.

    My buddy makes a custom rack that holds the tires. I love it. Mine is a 4 bike version but he makes 5 bike too. His rack is cheaper than the NSR too.
    Okay, I'll bite: Does your buddy have a web site? Name of the rack?
    I have one of those 2.5 inch receiver hitches....(just in case I need to haul cattle or something.) A custom-ish rack is something to ponder....

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by idea man View Post
    Okay, I'll bite: Does your buddy have a web site? Name of the rack?
    I have one of those 2.5 inch receiver hitches....(just in case I need to haul cattle or something.) A custom-ish rack is something to ponder....
    No website. No name for the rack. He owns a welding shop and is a mountain biker and makes bike racks for people.

  76. #76
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    Anybody out there using this 4 bike hitch rack yet?

    V4 Teleporter 4-Bike Rack

    https://www.letsgoaero.com/products-.../v4-bike-rack/

    I was about to drop a grand on the 1up, then I thought of just buying a small, used trailer and adding a homemade rack and then I saw this for $300. I'm tempted to take the plunge. The video makes it look like those bikes are pretty secure. I have 2 kids bikes, mountain bikes and road bikes so I want the flexibility of carrying anything.

  77. #77
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    I have a Yakima Double Down Ace 4 and it seems to be a really good rack. I have a 1.25" hitch. I put both Trek X Cal 4's on it.

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    Have owned the Kuat NV with the add-on to hold 4 bikes for two years now. Great rack, and it gets used weekly fully loaded during the late Spring until early Fall riding season. It is heavy, but easy to load and unload the bikes, and it leaves ample spacing between bikes.
    Andrew

  80. #80
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    Birmy,

    Do you still like your Kuat NV? We are thinking of getting one.

  81. #81
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    I own a Kuat NV but not with the +2 extension. Had I needed to haul more than 2 bikes, the rack I would have purchased was the 1Up USA with 3 extensions. It's an ingenious design and versatile in that you can easily swap out trays so you can carry 1 bike up to 4. The best thing about that rack is how it collapses for storage. Just brilliant.

    I really like my Kuat NV, don't get me wrong, but I would say the 1Up is the best rack for carrying more than 2 bikes. No question.




  82. #82
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    For those of you with any of the 4 bike platform racks, how easy are they to manage while driving and maneuvering? We have a full size pickup already and adding an additional 48" or so hanging off the back will alter the length of the vehicle of course. Just seems like quite a distance hanging off the back.

    I'm not able to find any other good options for 4 bikes. The hang and dangle type for 4 bikes isn't real easy to use. I thought about putting bars across the bed, but then my tonau cover doesn't work. Want to go camping and having the camping gear under the cover in the bed is nice. having it out in the elements isn't as good.

  83. #83
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    I have a 4-bike Yakima platform rack on my crossover, which has a locking bolt to prevent rattle. I really don't even notice it's there as for handling. The front wheel drive already puts weight on the front, and the couple hundred pounds on back doesn't change that. Might even balance out the load.

    The hitch mount barely affects gas mileage, being in back. I did get my hitch modified to point more upwards for better driveway clearance. That's about the only effect that was worth noting. Oh, and being careful backing up. Sometimes you may want a spotter.

    Bottom line the rear hitch racks work very well and the nicest way to go for most people.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  84. #84
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    I picked up the 2 place Yakima today. Had a hard time deciding between Thule and Yakima. In the end they are both really nice racks. Most of my other rack stuff is Yakima so I stayed that route for key reasons. Will get the 2 bike add on when I'm over what I had to plunk down today.

  85. #85
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    has anyone used a Rhino Rack Dual Trekker 2-Bike Platform? i can get a great deal on one.

  86. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by kntr View Post
    Im not a fan of the NSR. It rubs on the fork and with some bikes you have to bend and adjust the rack.

    My buddy makes a custom rack that holds the tires. I love it. Mine is a 4 bike version but he makes 5 bike too. His rack is cheaper than the NSR too.
    Can you send me his info. I'm interested in get a 4 bikes rack. Thanks

  87. #87
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    I'm looking into the ISI Carriers out of Australia. I drive a Defender and I love that the rack is made for offroad usage and has the option of a fork mount (how I still believe bikes should be mounted). iSi Advanced 4x4 Bicycle Carrier and Bike Rack Systems

  88. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5trempler View Post
    Can you send me his info. I'm interested in get a 4 bikes rack. Thanks
    None better IMO. Get one.

    Recon Rack Co

  89. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1 Speed View Post
    I'm looking into the ISI Carriers out of Australia. I drive a Defender and I love that the rack is made for offroad usage and has the option of a fork mount (how I still believe bikes should be mounted). iSi Advanced 4x4 Bicycle Carrier and Bike Rack Systems
    I'm in Australia and recently brought an ISI for my truck... Excellent carrier, nothing else like it in terms of a rack that is designed to take anything you can throw at it... I brought the compact version to minimise overhang, with the dead vertical rear on my canopy it means I have to twist the bars on the front bike 90 degrees when the canopy is on... This would not be an issue for most vehicles, as the rear window has a slope to it, also they do an extended version which eliminates this, but I wanted to keep everything tucked as close to the vehicle as possible.

    Here it is fitted and loaded up... Please note the tail lights are something I added, they don't come with the rack.


    The spacings of the bikes are able to be incredibly close without touching at all... There is less than 5mm between the derailleur and forks on the 2 middle bikes and they didn't touch at all in the 2000kms I drove in the last 2 weeks...


    Also the slope on the main beam is steeper than the departure angle on most vehicles meaning it kept my bikes high and dry when this happened... Whoops




    Also, the customer service is outstanding and the owners have put the racks through far more than I'm ever likely to throw at it I can't recommend ISI highly enough!

  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheJesusfreak View Post
    I'm in Australia and recently brought an ISI for my truck... Excellent carrier, nothing else like it in terms of a rack that is designed to take anything you can throw at it... I brought the compact version to minimise overhang, with the dead vertical rear on my canopy it means I have to twist the bars on the front bike 90 degrees when the canopy is on... This would not be an issue for most vehicles, as the rear window has a slope to it, also they do an extended version which eliminates this, but I wanted to keep everything tucked as close to the vehicle as possible.

    Here it is fitted and loaded up... Please note the tail lights are something I added, they don't come with the rack.


    The spacings of the bikes are able to be incredibly close without touching at all... There is less than 5mm between the derailleur and forks on the 2 middle bikes and they didn't touch at all in the 2000kms I drove in the last 2 weeks...


    Also the slope on the main beam is steeper than the departure angle on most vehicles meaning it kept my bikes high and dry when this happened... Whoops




    Also, the customer service is outstanding and the owners have put the racks through far more than I'm ever likely to throw at it I can't recommend ISI highly enough!
    Wow.... thanks a lot for the info., recommendation and photos. If I get it, I might hit you up for how you did the lights. In Europe they're really freaky about tail lights and license plates being visible so I'll have to find a way to add something.

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    No worries... The coppers on my side of the Australia have the same hangups with lights, although plates have been a grey area for a while (Changing now they have finally brought in Auxiliary Plates for bike racks)

    Make sure you get the optional licence plate holder when you order

    Just PM me if you get one and I'll send you some close-up pics and directions to make up the light attachments... The way I've done them they can be fairly easily removed when you need to reconfigure the wheel holders...I also used waterproof LEDs for the obvious reasons

    Also, unless you are happy to keep turning the bars, you would probably be best with the extended beam on a Defender because the rear of those is pretty much vertical like mine... Gets the bikes up a little bit higher also...

  92. #92
    mtbr member
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    Dec 2008
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    705
    Quote Originally Posted by kntr View Post
    Im not a fan of the NSR. It rubs on the fork and with some bikes you have to bend and adjust .
    I have been running a nsr 4 rack for years. Best rack available for carrying 4 mountain bikes. Pretty competitive on price too. I have never had any issues with fork rub. I did need to modify the hooks a bit to fit the new crop of DH bikes with oversized head tubes. Very easy to do. These racks are bomb proof. Thousands of miles of off road travel and no problems. I recently got rear ended hard enough to bend my hitch but the rack was still functional. Great product and great customer service.

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