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  1. #1
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    Bike sway on hitch rack

    Any ideas on how to prevent bikes from swaying too much when installed on a hitch mounted rack?

    My thought is with the added weight of the fat tire bike - it's more prone to sway and cause more damage to a vehicle or the bike frame against the rack pole in a hard stop.

    I installed my new hitch rack today and gave it a test fit with my hood bike. Just got me thinking about a panic stop and how to reduce or prevent the bike(s) from swinging forward and hitting my Explorer!





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  2. #2
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    Being cheep I'd just get a bit of 2x4 cut a couple notches in it to fit between the downtube of the bike and the vertical portion of your rack and then wrap a ratchet strap around it to hold everything in place. Or just get a better rack, like a 1up USA.

  3. #3
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    That kind of hitch rack is from the 90s, not a modern design at all. That's why the bikes sway and bang into each other. Modern tray-style bike racks generally have none of these issues.

    People that use those types of racks often resort to bungies and straps to try and secure the bike, but as you realize, all of this tends to wear the bike's finish and little nicks and scratches tend to occur. That's also one of the heaviest fatbikes possible, so putting that much weight on a lever arm that far away from the ground is going to be conducive towards sway/play/movement.

    A modern tray-style rack will have the bike secured much closer to the ground/shorter lever arm. You have to make sure the tray-style takes fatbikes, but there are several that can.
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  4. #4
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    ^^^
    Agreed with above regarding old design.

    The only way to help with bikes moving around on a rack like that, bungee from the hitch, around a crank arm, through front wheel, and back down to hitch.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by orangutanracer View Post
    Being cheep I'd just get a bit of 2x4 cut a couple notches in it to fit between the downtube of the bike and the vertical portion of your rack and then wrap a ratchet strap around it to hold everything in place. Or just get a better rack, like a 1up USA.
    I may have to rig something up like you said. I wanted to buy a better rack but - nothing decent on craigslist and in 1.5 years I'll have a new F150. Figured I'd try the hitch rack to hold me over..

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    That kind of hitch rack is from the 90s, not a modern design at all. That's why the bikes sway and bang into each other. Modern tray-style bike racks generally have none of these issues.

    People that use those types of racks often resort to bungies and straps to try and secure the bike, but as you realize, all of this tends to wear the bike's finish and little nicks and scratches tend to occur. That's also one of the heaviest fatbikes possible, so putting that much weight on a lever arm that far away from the ground is going to be conducive towards sway/play/movement.

    A modern tray-style rack will have the bike secured much closer to the ground/shorter lever arm. You have to make sure the tray-style takes fatbikes, but there are several that can.
    I don't mind so much having to use quick ropes or bungies to help keep things from swaying so much. I have a few neat "toys" for securing loads. But like everyone else - I'm always open to easier ideas!! lol

    I wanted to get a tray rack but that posed two issues for me which is why I did not go that route. Price (Around May 2018 I'll have a Ford Raptor or at least F150) so I won't need a rack by that time. And Storage. I only have a single car garage which is mostly man-cave. Not much spare room to store items so a selling point of the rack I bought was that I can hang it on HD hooks on a chunk of wall that would go otherwise un-used.


    I'll toy around with some methods and see what I can come up with. Maybe a simple paracord rope from the furthest out point wrapped around the pedal to help 'pull' the bike out away from the vehicle/stop it from swaying into the vehicle/hitch bar during a panic stop.
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  6. #6
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    I use a Kuat Alpha 3. Aluminum and light. Very strong elastic straps. I use small micro fiber towels wrapped around the top tube to protect the bikes finish. I position a pedal close to the rack upright and tie them together. If I've a second/third bike I link their pedals. This prevents sway forward or back.

    When I first install the rack I tighten the internal expanding receiver clamp but first I shim the receiver/rack mount with zip tie shims. They are tapered enough to work. The internal expanding clamp feature is not common. Absent it, I'd suggest finding a shim (screwdriver?) that works and take as much jiggle out of the receiver/rack mount. Hit a bump? If you don't have that rack/receiver tight it'll shake the crap out of your bike.

    I can take 95% of sway out this way:bike l(s) and rack sway.

  7. #7
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    OP, for starters, use a no sway hitch pin like this one:

    https://m.summitracing.com/parts/cht...2mSBoCG2fw_wcB

    But this will mostly stop side to side sway.

    For the movement fore and aft, have you confirmed the bike in the pic can even reach the bumper? It doesn't look like it from pic 3, it looks like the down tube will hit the vertical bar.

    If it does, you could get a 6 inch hitch extension. This will also potentially give you better access to open the lift gate with the rack in the angle down position.

  8. #8
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    Bike sway on hitch rack-img_20160823_060922.jpg

    1up USA on the hitch, Thule sidearm on the top.

    Racks don't damage paint on bikes, they don't sway, rub, etc.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

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    1up USA on the hitch, Thule sidearm on the top.

    Racks don't damage paint on bikes, they don't sway, rub, etc.
    Nice! Plenty of room in the bed, still.
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  10. #10
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    Getting one of these https://www.amazon.com/Yakima-800253.../dp/B00066YTGO to place between the stem and seatpost allowing the bike to hang lower on the rack. The bar will take the rubbing of the clamp instead of your top tube. Now wrap the rack vertical post with foam pipe insulation or a pool noodle. Bungee the cranks/pedal tight against the rack vertical.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    That kind of hitch rack is from the 90s, not a modern design at all. That's why the bikes sway and bang into each other. Modern tray-style bike racks generally have none of these issues.

    People that use those types of racks often resort to bungies and straps to try and secure the bike, but as you realize, all of this tends to wear the bike's finish and little nicks and scratches tend to occur. That's also one of the heaviest fatbikes possible, so putting that much weight on a lever arm that far away from the ground is going to be conducive towards sway/play/movement.

    A modern tray-style rack will have the bike secured much closer to the ground/shorter lever arm. You have to make sure the tray-style takes fatbikes, but there are several that can.
    ^^^This. 1upUSA or Thule T2

    https://www.thule.com/en-us/us/bike-...9044-_-1689772

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImaBum View Post
    ...in 1.5 years I'll have a new F150. Figured I'd try the hitch rack to hold me over..

    (Around May 2018 I'll have a Ford Raptor or at least F150) so I won't need a rack by that time. A
    So you're going to spend $40-$50k on a new truck but won't spend ~$300 - $500 on a rack that you can easily sell later?

    **walks away scratching head**

  13. #13
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    I have a Saris freedom superclamp 2. No sway.

    Don't be cheap and get a new rack.




  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
    So you're going to spend $40-$50k on a new truck but won't spend ~$300 - $500 on a rack that you can easily sell later?

    **walks away scratching head**
    baffling, isn't it? like the guy whose bike I saw in the shop once who bought a brand new Di2 road bike for $5,000+, and whatever cheap POS rack he could find at Walmart. Rack dropped the bike on the highway at 70+mph before he ever had a chance to ride it.

    Whatever happened to the days when people had rack setups that were worth more than their cars, to haul their bikes that were also worth more than their cars?

    I use a Kuat NV. Also no sway.

  15. #15
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    Bike sway on hitch rack

    I have a thule 2 bike hitch mounted rack.. I feel sway and rattle but still like the overall design enough to refrain from spending a few hundred bucks on a new one. I opted for the 10 dollar no sway adaptor on eBay

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bme107 View Post
    Getting one of these https://www.amazon.com/Yakima-800253.../dp/B00066YTGO to place between the stem and seatpost allowing the bike to hang lower on the rack. The bar will take the rubbing of the clamp instead of your top tube. Now wrap the rack vertical post with foam pipe insulation or a pool noodle. Bungee the cranks/pedal tight against the rack vertical.
    This actually helped TONS! My bike frame is a tad.. odd. So This is the ticket.
    Thanks to Amazon prime, it'll be here on Sunday!

    Quote Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
    So you're going to spend $40-$50k on a new truck but won't spend ~$300 - $500 on a rack that you can easily sell later?

    **walks away scratching head**
    I'd keep scratching head too. If not for lack of storage space - I would have opted for a flat rack to roll up on! Or use my "cargo basket" and weld on slots for the bike to sit on and such. But again - space is an issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    baffling, isn't it? like the guy whose bike I saw in the shop once who bought a brand new Di2 road bike for $5,000+, and whatever cheap POS rack he could find at Walmart. Rack dropped the bike on the highway at 70+mph before he ever had a chance to ride it.

    Whatever happened to the days when people had rack setups that were worth more than their cars, to haul their bikes that were also worth more than their cars?

    I use a Kuat NV. Also no sway.
    I'd take my $45k SUV over a bike rack any day! (however jokes on me - I never drive my Explorer. It only has 11k on the odometer and is nearly 2 years old! I drive a 2015 Fusion as my daily driver and almost bought a trunk mount rack for it but a 60lb bike on that setup seems a bit much!!!)



    Quote Originally Posted by jfudge02 View Post
    I have a thule 2 bike hitch mounted rack.. I feel sway and rattle but still like the overall design enough to refrain from spending a few hundred bucks on a new one. I opted for the 10 dollar no sway adaptor on eBay
    I think I'll just add some black electrical tape wrapped around the assembly so that when it slides into the hitch it will have less moment. Worked well on my cargo basket I once had. Completely forgot about that until the post above when I mentioned my basket!







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  17. #17
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    Upgrade the rack.


    I use the Kuat NV 2", no sway and bikes are on/off quick. Not to mention the Kuat rack only touches the tires.

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by EBG 18T View Post
    Upgrade the rack.


    I use the Kuat NV 2", no sway and bikes are on/off quick. Not to mention the Kuat rack only touches the tires.

    Products | KŁat Racks

    Woah. Now that is nice! I will need to watch a few videos on it and see what the storage is like as I have very little storage room left in my garage. That is a sexy rack tho!

    And thanks for posting up that website - I seen the "skinny" cargo basket they offer as well for the roof. Which I may need to pickup as well being I can use it on my Explorer now & once I get my F150 in a year or so - it can mount up very nicely on the hard top bed cover (where I also plan to mount my bike)


    In other news - tried out my bike rack today for the first time. It works. Solid. Yeah it wiggles a little bit but I have a few ideas to work with to make it far less wiggly. Overall it worked like a charm and hopefully it works for a year or so.

    My hollywood frame adaptor should be here Sunday. I did not like the mounting setup at all as pictured above. The bike stood way too far out past the driver side of the vehicle.


    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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  19. #19
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    Awesome, next order of business: that saddle angle is up way too high in the front.

  20. #20
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    what do you mean?
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    needs moar shimz; root beer cans work best

  22. #22
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    I almost bought a Kuat bike rack.. but I think for now I'm just going to try this setup.

    I bought a Hollywood Frame Adapter and after drilling a modification hole - I think this will work out quite fine.

    Give it a month or two and I'll re-visit the issue.

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  23. #23
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    Nice solution with the pin through the adapter and into the rack to keep it from swaying. As I mentioned above I just used to use the inner-most bike cradle and bungee it to the rack vertical to keep it from swaying.

    Used to have one of these, and the only way to mount it on a hanging style rack back in 1999 was to use the down tube. That was really awkward. Then I found the adapter. (not my bike)

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImaBum View Post
    what do you mean?
    Your saddle. Its ball-crunch height in front. Taint bruising. Scrotabrasive. It should be roughly level.

    Bike sway on hitch rack-4b95b336-9f27-49a8-9b34-c488d71e221b_zps4ozujo9d.jpg


    The only way it would work would be if your seat were way to low, resulting in your riding posture approaching that of a recumbent, which would in turn be bad for your knees.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by bme107 View Post
    Nice solution with the pin through the adapter and into the rack to keep it from swaying. As I mentioned above I just used to use the inner-most bike cradle and bungee it to the rack vertical to keep it from swaying.

    Used to have one of these, and the only way to mount it on a hanging style rack back in 1999 was to use the down tube. That was really awkward. Then I found the adapter. (not my bike)
    I only needed a few beers to brew up the idea of the cotter pin (bolt for the time being) to keep everything secure!

    ..so it voids warranties. Eh. It's all cheap china crap anyways. Modifications required :P



    Quote Originally Posted by Procter View Post
    Your saddle. Its ball-crunch height in front. Taint bruising. Scrotabrasive. It should be roughly level.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	4B95B336-9F27-49A8-9B34-C488D71E221B_zps4ozujo9d.jpg 
Views:	411 
Size:	242.8 KB 
ID:	1090741


    The only way it would work would be if your seat were way to low, resulting in your riding posture approaching that of a recumbent, which would in turn be bad for your knees.


    Ahhh I get what you're saying. Honestly I haven't really noticed. My seat may be a bit too low. Honestly, growing up as a kid - we didn't care about seat height or anything proper for the most part. Fast forward from age 13 to age 30 and I can see how proper seat height is a huge part in keeping the joints happy! Needless to say I do need to learn about proper seat height and other adjustments to keep my aging body in the slow lane.

    I appreciate your reply and guidance. Thank you,
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImaBum View Post
    I only needed a few beers to brew up the idea of the cotter pin (bolt for the time being) to keep everything secure!

    ..so it voids warranties. Eh. It's all cheap china crap anyways. Modifications required :P
    You may find that the bike now sways more in the adapter "loops" than the adapter in the rack cradle. I know if i hit bumps that the bike would jump up as the seatpost and stem slid vertically through the adapter. Still had to strap it down on the low side somehow.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by bme107 View Post
    You may find that the bike now sways more in the adapter "loops" than the adapter in the rack cradle. I know if i hit bumps that the bike would jump up as the seatpost and stem slid vertically through the adapter. Still had to strap it down on the low side somehow.
    I thought about this. I have a simple "figure 9" an paracord tie down system that is easy to use an secure the bike from that type of sway
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  28. #28
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    Bike sway on hitch rack

    I feel really dumb. I thought I was getting a bunch of sway in my Thule bike rack. Make sure you periodically tighten the bolts on the mount/hitch junction! Haha , sway gone

  29. #29
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    Well I broke down and decided to get a "nice" bike rack.

    I went with the Kuat because of the ability to fit my 4.5" wide tires, the overall style, built in locks & simplicity.

    After some hard thinking - I believe I will be keeping my Explorer or upgrading to a 2018 Explorer SPORT. A pickup may still happen but I really need something for the next 1.5 years at the least. And I'm hoping I could resell the Kuat for at least $300 in two years, worst case.

    All this became after seeing how difficult it was to lift up my 60# bike, not scratch/dent up the upper frame, all the bungie cords to keep things from swaying and the lame "Anti-sway" hitch assembly requiring a socket set to tighten/loosen up everytime I install or remove the hitch rack.





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