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Appreciate opinions on hitch mount racks(22 posts)

Appreciate opinions on hitch mount rackskilimanjaro
Dec 17, 2003 2:40 PM
With a growing family (5 total) and the hope of getting the whole familiy riding (Already am reeling in my 5 year old son), I have received the Financial Director's permission to purchase bike racks for the Minivan.

With a minivan, I think that hitch mounted bike racks would be the easiest to mount. The wife also think it wise to get hitch racks which allow us to access the rear hatch with the bikes loaded (imagine that on our fully loaded road trip the youngest "blows" out of his diper, and all the wipes just happens to be in the rear hatch area).

I talked with an associate at REI about a Yakima ROC'NGATE which swings away from rear hatch. Problem is that model costs ~450 USD, more than the cost of all my current bikes + trailer combined.

The salesman said that a hitch that can be lowered with the bikes mounted would create too much stress at the lower joint. However, I noticed that Performance has just such a hitch mounted rack under their XPORT label for $260.

Anyone has recommendations or experiences with either? Any additional suggestions are welcomed as well of course.

you might save money at this sitelotterypick
Dec 17, 2003 2:54 PM

I have the yakima and it works great, but mine does not swing way. it swings down, which isn't so great.
My bad. here's your rack $18 plus free shipping.!lotterypick
Dec 17, 2003 2:56 PM
What! $418 plus free shipping. One other thing.lotterypick
Dec 17, 2003 3:03 PM
Don't forget to get the adapters for unconventional frames.

The child bike will probably need one, plus any mountain or odd top tube bikes. Even my wife's hybrid had a weird fit so I used the adapter (which spans the head set and the seat post to create a false straight top tube section with clearance.).
This is what you wantMel Erickson
Dec 17, 2003 3:19 PM

Others like Saris make similar racks. No muss, no fuss, no bother. Bikes are on and off in seconds. No straps, no removing wheels. Fits all bikes.

You need to suck it up and pay the price. Remember, it's an investment for years to come. You'll have gone through many bikes but be on the same rack years from now.
This is what you wantkilimanjaro
Dec 17, 2003 3:36 PM
This looks pretty cool; any idea on price? Also, I am guessing that you need to remove the bikes to access the rear hatch, correct?

Thanks again
They're priceyMel Erickson
Dec 17, 2003 7:26 PM
A four bike rack (two inch receiver hitch only) would be around $550, ouch! Google it for an online retailer or find a local dealer through Sportworks dealer locator

They fold down for access to the rear.
Do they allow you to mount kids bikes as well.kilimanjaro
Dec 18, 2003 12:59 PM
I could not tell from the website. You are right, they are kind of pricy, but my family might be worth it.

Thanks again
Handles bikes with tires 20" on up.Mel Erickson
Dec 18, 2003 3:26 PM
I suggest you go see one at a dealer. Take the bikes you intend to mount and try them out. That's the only way you'll know for sure if it's the right rack for you.
Agree, and Sportworks is the best, hands down. -nmTig
Dec 17, 2003 7:46 PM
In the same boat as you; no cheap way around it.shawndoggy
Dec 17, 2003 3:59 PM
Look at how that Performance rack works... when you tilt the rack down it's going to pile all of the bikes onto one another. And it doesn't look like there's any "assist" mechanism, meaning you need to be able to deadlift 150 lbs of wobbly bikes to get the thing back into position. Not easy. Finally, I've owned a different model of performance hitch rack and it was pretty poor quality. The only good thing about it was that I could take it back to their store. If you don't live near a store, you are virtually SOL, as shipping one of these boat anchors is pretty pricey.

Having kicked it around about 10000 times, the only real option with the minivan which allows access to the back is roof mounting (which comes with its associated drawbacks), or the swing away hitch mount that you've identified. Note that the roof mount will give you EASY access to the rear; the swing away rack will still require work.

Don't know if they make one for your model van, but can you get a receiver mounted on the FRONT of the vehicle? You could mount the bikes on any old hitch rack up there, with no need to swing away, you'd maintain door access, and the bikes wouldn't need to be hoisted overhead to mount. Of course it would kill your aerodynamics and leave the bikes coated with bugs, but the roof solution does that too.

For us, right now, I've foregone the rack altogether and just fold down the rear seat when we travel with my bike. But a cycling vacation can't be too far off. Let us know what you decide.
re: Appreciate opinions on hitch mount rackslemonlime
Dec 17, 2003 4:58 PM
I have a Thule hitch mount that works pretty good. Not sure which model, but I've had three mtn bikes on it at a time and had no problem lowering them to access the rear hatch on my Pathfinder. Also lucked out that my FSR fits pretty well without an adaptor.

Keep the diapers and wipes in a small bag in the front with the passengers. Works better that way.
re: Appreciate opinions on hitch mount rackskilimanjaro
Dec 17, 2003 5:19 PM
I agree, diapers and wipes should be in the front. However, with three kids there is always a possibility that something we "need" is in the rear. The diaper/wipe example was but an example.

I think I am going to seriously consider the Thule Trailblazer. It costs around $300 and swings out to allow rear access. Throw in ~$100 for the U Haul hitch and another $60 for a trasmission cooler and we are still under 500 clams.
Addentum: Minivan need transmission cooler?kilimanjaro
Dec 17, 2003 5:22 PM
Went to the U Haul website and their literature recommends a transmission cooler. Any down sides to adding such an "accessory"?

Thanks again
Addentum: Minivan need transmission cooler?EvilDeer
Dec 18, 2003 6:12 AM
You generally need a transmission cooler when you install a hitch because of the extra load on the transmission when towing a heavy trailer over extended distances. The extra heat generated in the transmission reduces the life of the transmission significantly.

If the only thing you'll use your hitch for is a bike rack, or towing a utility trailer for very short distances, then don't worry.

However, if you think you'll be tempted to do 'anything' more with the hitch, then get the transmission cooler. Basically, it's just a little radiator for the transmission fluid. It can't hurt and can only help. It may even extend your transmission life anyway, especially if you drive in hot/mountainous areas.
To haul a bunch of bikes??????? Ridiculous. (nm)94Nole
Dec 19, 2003 7:38 AM
Look @ Bauer Swing Out ---Excellent! nmDUOHEAD
Dec 17, 2003 6:33 PM
re: Appreciate opinions on hitch mount rackssnapdragen
Dec 17, 2003 7:14 PM
Check out this site -
BVG XR2 RevolutionBikinCO
Dec 18, 2003 7:50 AM
I have had this rack for four years not problems. It is very stable and very sturdy. I have had four bikes on it without any problems including a 42 pound Santa Cruz Bullit. Its on sale for $231.
Saris B.A.T. rackTurtleherder
Dec 18, 2003 7:50 AM
Check out the Saris B.A.T. rack. A simple, elegant design that holds four bikes, swings down to allow access to the rear hatch and sells for $190.00 at
HollywoodReed Weedakowski
Dec 19, 2003 5:33 AM
I have the hitch mounted one on my Caravan. It holds 3 bikes and with the set up Hollywood uses any bike, including unusual frames will be held securely with no adaptors. Give them a look.
Hollywood Destination 5Cary1
Dec 22, 2003 9:23 AM
I can't speak highly enough of the Hollywood racks. I tried the Yakama and Sportworks hitch racks and they weren't cutting it. The Hollywood works great, fits almost any bike and is very stable. The Destination 5 racks are used by Downieville outfitters on their suberban. They have had the rack for 2 years and it gets fully loaded with 5 bikes probably 4-5 times per day all summer long. Check out this link for AE bike and a good price ($160).