need 4-bike rack that is light and good quality- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    need 4-bike rack that is light and good quality

    looking for a good quality, tray style, 4 bikes, 2" hitch (SUV-Class II), light weight.

    This rack will be used for both MTB and road bikes. It will also not be left on the car permanently so we would like it to be lightweight. I'm aware that the Thule and Yakima tray racks have 4-bike options, but iirc, both are steel and weigh upwards of 60-75lbs with the 4 bike extensions.

    What are some good quality aluminum racks that can handle some heavy MTB's and expensive road bikes?
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  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    you fail
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by louisssss
    looking for a good quality, tray style, 4 bikes, 2" hitch (SUV-Class II), light weight.

    This rack will be used for both MTB and road bikes. It will also not be left on the car permanently so we would like it to be lightweight. I'm aware that the Thule and Yakima tray racks have 4-bike options, but iirc, both are steel and weigh upwards of 60-75lbs with the 4 bike extensions.

    What are some good quality aluminum racks that can handle some heavy MTB's and expensive road bikes?
    The best 4-bike racks are the Yakima Holdup and Tule T2. I have the Holdup and love it. It works with all bikes from my daughter's 20" Specialized up to 29'ers as well as road bikes - all quick to load without adjustment. I've got an extensive review on this forum. Over the years it took me going through maybe 6 cheaper racks before I finally sprung the money to get something that worked right.

    I was also not happy with the weight of the heavy bike racks. The long bike extension from four bikes, along with the heavy weight of the bikes and rack creates severe torque that stresses even a Class II or Class III hitch.

    However, I'm sure Thule and Yakima would surely make a lighter rack if it was possible to make a lighter version that would survive properly. As it is, the Yakima Holdup uses a lot of heavy duty plastic, with heavy steel only for the base frame. So it doesn't droop much with 4 heavy bikes. Bending of my Class III Hidden Hitch from the bike weight was the bigger issue. That's why I had the Hidden Hitch receiver cut and welded to bend up a little more and reinforced to be stiffer. The Yakima Holdup rack was good on it's own though, and needed no fixes.

    I guess my point is that you'll have most of your issues from the >140 lbs of 4 bikes extending way out from the hitch. A little extra weight from a stronger rack will help, not hurt.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  5. #5
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    how much does your 4-bike Yakima Holdup weigh all together w/o bikes? the rack WILL be taken off when not in use and carrying a 100lb awkward shaped bike rack about 500ft into a garage is a very tough feat.

    If i'm correct, Kuat has a 4-Bike NV model out, Is it for sale yet? does anyone own one?
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by louisssss
    how much does your 4-bike Yakima Holdup weigh all together w/o bikes? the rack WILL be taken off when not in use and carrying a 100lb awkward shaped bike rack about 500ft into a garage is a very tough feat.

    If i'm correct, Kuat has a 4-Bike NV model out, Is it for sale yet? does anyone own one?
    For convenience and ease of handling, I almost always install the Holdup rack in two sections. For 75% of the rides, I just have me and maybe my wife and only install the first two-bike section at 49 lbs. For bigger groups of 3 or 4 riding in my car, I install the second section at another ~35 lbs. (And for 5 or 6 riders, I next install the HighRoller on the roof.)

    I can install the rack in literally 30 seconds per section, about as long as it takes to read this paragraph. I'll have to make a video someday. I detailed the procedure in another thread, but basically I keep the ratchet with the proper sockets right next to the rack, since it's 90% of the use of my ratchet. I also back up the car close to the rack. (Why are you 500' away?!) I install the first two-bike section in the folded up position so it's easier to handle. I pick it up from the back and walk over and slide it into the receiver until a mark I made lines up with the receiver opening. Then I reach down, slide in the bolt and tighten it first by hand, then the last couple twists on the ratchet.

    For installing the second section for carrying four bikes, I fold the first section down, pop off the end cap, slide in the lighter second section till the holes line up, insert the bolt and tighten it with the second socket on the ratchet.

    On occasions I take the entire 4-bike rack off in one piece, like at a camping trip this last weekend, where I wanted cleaner access to the back of the car. In that case I first fold the four bike rack upright, and remove the hitch bolt. Then slide it out and lift with my legs. It's indeed a bit heavy and awkward, but not too bad as it's upright and has many good hand holds on the cross members. I don't walk more than a few feet with it entirely intact.

    Incidentally, I note that Yakima now rates the Holdup at 240 lb bike capacity. Your bikes may be a lot less, but that means your rack won't droop as much - better for clearing driveways and getting the bikes off the road and more behind your SUV for better mileage. My Taurus X crossover gets the same 24 MPG on the highway with or without the bikes on the rack!
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by louisssss
    how much does your 4-bike Yakima Holdup weigh all together w/o bikes? the rack WILL be taken off when not in use and carrying a 100lb awkward shaped bike rack about 500ft into a garage is a very tough feat.

    If i'm correct, Kuat has a 4-Bike NV model out, Is it for sale yet? does anyone own one?
    we just got the kuat nv racks in stock here in the store, and i'm really impressed. the aluminum construction will alleviate the rust issue you have with the t2, and there is no high-profile wheel tray to hit your bumper. it's definitely a premium product. and it weighs 47lbs, which is about 10 lbs less than the t2
    i just hung up with bill at kuat and their 2 bike add on came out at the end of july and immediately sold out. their next shipment is planning on shipping any day now.

  8. #8
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    Are there any pics of the Kuat NV bike add on?

  9. #9
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    i am waiting to get some from kuat. he told me today....we'll see.
    i'll send a link once we get them.

    but the back of the kuat has a plate with 4 bolts on it. i would venture to say it will attach at that point there.

  10. #10
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    here's the latest photo of the kuat nv 2 bike add on.

    we're expecting ours here early next week.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails need 4-bike rack that is light and good quality-kuat-nv-2-bike-add-.jpg  


  11. #11
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    Raxter makes a 4-bike rack that is compact to store and works pretty well. I've enjoyed mine.

  12. #12
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    The add on looks good. I just got my Kuat NV 2in hitch version. Have not opened the box. The hitch was a mofo to put on my Escape. 45min job took 4 hours, wth.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adim_X
    The add on looks good. I just got my Kuat NV 2in hitch version. Have not opened the box. The hitch was a mofo to put on my Escape. 45min job took 4 hours, wth.
    no doubt that some hitches can take a bit longer, esp. of something doesn't line up just right. we've been doing hitches for a long time, and it's funny to me when someone says they installed their hitch in 15 minutes. even the easiest ones, that go the smoothest will take around 30 minutes when you're using a torque wrench.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cracksandracks.com
    we just got the kuat nv racks in stock here in the store, and i'm really impressed. the aluminum construction will alleviate the rust issue you have with the t2, and there is no high-profile wheel tray to hit your bumper. it's definitely a premium product. and it weighs 47lbs, which is about 10 lbs less than the t2
    i just hung up with bill at kuat and their 2 bike add on came out at the end of july and immediately sold out. their next shipment is planning on shipping any day now.
    The Kuat rack looks nice. I like the orange bar colors. It appears to function very much the same as the Yakima Holdup or the Thule T2.

    But at 47 lbs for Kuat NV versus 49 lbs for the Holdup, what's the big weight difference with Aluminum? And it's over $100 more. $475 versus $359 for the Holdup on your site.

    For handling, I'd say more important than the metal type is the ease of installing the two sections independently for reduced weight to handle. On the Holdup I can add the second lightweight two-bike add-on section in seconds - slide in place and tighten one easily accessible bolt on the rail. How does the add-on section install work with the Kuat? It looks like a couple Allen head screws on the picture - that'd be a lot more time than the two pulls of a ratchet on my Holdup's single large bolt.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  15. #15
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    how much worse in quality is the Saris Thelma 3-Bike rack than the Thule/Yakimas? I know the Kuat is on another level, but Saris gets some good reviews.
    http://www.sarisracks.com/bike-racks...&category_id=8

    How strong is their plastic in the long run? Can it handle 3x Mountain Bikes (1 of them being a 45lb DH Bike)
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  16. #16
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    KUAT. Srsly. If not that stick w/ Thule or Yakima

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    The Kuat rack looks nice. I like the orange bar colors. It appears to function very much the same as the Yakima Holdup or the Thule T2.

    But at 47 lbs for Kuat NV versus 49 lbs for the Holdup, what's the big weight difference with Aluminum? And it's over $100 more. $475 versus $359 for the Holdup on your site.

    For handling, I'd say more important than the metal type is the ease of installing the two sections independently for reduced weight to handle. On the Holdup I can add the second lightweight two-bike add-on section in seconds - slide in place and tighten one easily accessible bolt on the rail. How does the add-on section install work with the Kuat? It looks like a couple Allen head screws on the picture - that'd be a lot more time than the two pulls of a ratchet on my Holdup's single large bolt.
    yes, the kuat does function the same way as the holdup and thet2. i don't know where you saw the holdup at 49lbs, but the t2 and holdup are 59lbs, and 60lbs respectively.

    i can't answer how easy it will be to add/remove the 2 bike add on with the kuat, since we have not received them yet, so i'm not going to bs. but it does look like 4 allen bolts, which isn't much difference than any other rack.
    why the price difference? that's a good question. the holdup retails for $399.00 and we sell it for 10% less. the kuat retails for $499.00 and has a MAP of $475. those are both the minimum prices you can sell those racks for.

    kuat comes with a hitch lock, yakima does not. kuat comes with a bike repair stand that is really nice, and others do not, but can be added with the trail doc accessory. aluminum construction vs. steel. both have lifetime warranties.

    but at the end of the day, it comes down to perceived value...and the thing i love about mtbr forums and all of the discussion about parts, is that we split hairs over the tiniest details, which i think is really good. it allows people to make very informed, educated decisions.

  18. #18
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    The Yakima Holdup comes with the locking bike cable (core included). Not sure about the Kuat.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingOfTheHill
    The Yakima Holdup comes with the locking bike cable (core included). Not sure about the Kuat.
    the kuat nv comes with an integrated cable lock as well. the male part stores inside one of the bike trays, while the female stores inside the other.

    it also includes the hitchlock, which is not included with the yakima. i suspect, though, that this will change soon, as yakima has heard from me enough times that a premium rack should include this item.

  20. #20
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    ^^, u guys sell the Saris Thelma 3-bike?

    know anything about the quality of those against Thule/Yak?
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by louisssss
    ^^, u guys sell the Saris Thelma 3-bike?

    know anything about the quality of those against Thule/Yak?
    not sure if you were asking me...but we don't carry saris racks.

  22. #22
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    ^^ yep i was
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