Which rack setup for 2 adult mtbs and a kids 20 inch bike- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2016

    Which rack setup for 2 adult mtbs and a kids 20 inch bike

    Iím trying to figure out which hitch mount bike rack to get. Iím curious of peopleís experiences with different models and sizes. I need to be able to carry 2 mountain bikes and a kids bike.

    I have a family of 3. We travel with our bikes about once a month to do rides as a family or take our bikes on car camping trips. I also hit the trails about once a month by myself or with a riding buddy. Even though we arenít traveling with our bikes that much, itís enough that Iím sick of hoisting our bikes up on the car; Iím short and my car is tall and our mountain bikes arenít light.

    Something Iím concerned about is access to rear hatch on days that we donít have bikes on the rack. This is probably less of a priority for most folks who haul their bikes more often. It seems like none of the racks make it super convenient to fold the rack down and get into the hatch. Also, the 3 and 4 bike racks seem like theyíre even less convenient since thereís more length to work around. I had been focused on 3 and 4 bike racks, but my daughter is on a 20 inch bike and will be for a while probably. It will fit in the hatch with no gear in there and on the occasion that the hatch is full, it goes on the roof without a lot of trouble.

    Iíd love the 1upusa, particularly because of the modularity, but I donít think it will work for us because my wife has a rear luggage rack on her mountain bike since she uses it for commuting as well. That leaves me with rack options that hold the bikes by the frame or the front tire only. So, hereís what Iíve narrowed it down to:

    Kuat Transfer 3. Holds 3 bikes and price is reasonable. It just looks like its awkward to fold up and down since the up/down lever is so far from the 3rd bike tray. I think Iíd love it on riding days, but might not love it on non-biking days.

    Kuat Sherpa. Looks like itís really easy to take on and off the car since it has the tool free install and itís light weight. Also, looks like with less length it would be more convenient to fold up and down. It only holds 2 bikes though, so Iíd have to put my daughterís bike in the hatch (for day trips or on the roof.

    Kuat NV. Similar benefits of Sherpa, but itís heavier so not quite as easy to take on and off the vehicle. Has the flexibility to get the +2 add on in the future though (for mucho cost though and also it looks like itís not super easy to put it on).

    Saris Freedom 4. I really like that the up/down lever is at the end of the rack so that you donít have to reach under to move it. I donít like that you canít make it a 2 bike rack. The frame mount is interesting. I like that itís compatible with bikes with racks and fenders, but I worry about it interfering with bottle cages.

  2. #2
    Your Best Friend
    Reputation: Silentfoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    The 1up will work. If you moved one of the clamping bars to a lower position on the lever arm, it would engage the larger wheel sooner, making it so it wouldn't hit the rack.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in southwest Utah

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: tk1971's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    What size hitch do you have?

    I have a Saris Thelma 3 for my 1.25" hitch and it has the outer cradle designed for a kids bike.

    If I were to be using my SUV with a 2" hitch, then I'd use my Highland Sportwing rack, which secures each bike by the wheels:


    The arms are detachable with the bikes removed, so that you can have access to your hatch/trunk.

  4. #4
    Why so uptite?
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Why not the Kuat Trasfer that is designed for 3 bikes?

    Amazon.com : Kuat Transfer - 3 Bike Rack - Gray TS03G : Sports & Outdoors

    Unfortunately I need space fir 4 bikes so we have it narrowed down to Kuat NV + add on or the Thuke T2 Pro + add-on. If I only needed 2-3 I'd get the Kuat Transfer I linked to. The transfer works great. One of the guys I ride with had put his thru the ringer and still holding up well.
    Collection of fun carbon & titanium bikes



  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    The Transfer 3 is definitely one of my top contenders. My reluctance is I haven't seen it in person. No local shops carry it. I've watched some videos of it on etrailer and one thing concerns me. The foot pedal to raise and lower the rack seems handy, except when you watch the video, the guy in it is like 6'4" and he has to stretch way out to hit the foot pedal to raise the rack up. No way I could do the same move with my short legs and old body. In another video there's a short gal and she has to move all the control arms to get access to the foot pedal. That seems really inconvenient. Any owners of this rack find this to be an issue?

    Aside from that ergonomic issue it does really fit the bill for my family

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    I have the transfer 3 and it's a good rack. The foot level is easy to operate. My hatch swings up and doesn't hit the bike which is convenient. Unfortunately I mostly use it for one bike. I had thought my family would ride more, now I need to look for a 1 bike platform and sell the transfer. I had researched a lot between the Thule and Kuat and for the price value and weight, I really like the Kuat.

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