Are there Trunk Racks strong enough for an ebike?

Xtina

New Member
Hi all,
I am really struggling... I get that ideally I should go with a hitch style bike rack, but good grief, by the time I get a hitch installed and buy a rack it's nearly as much as I spent on my ebike. I have a Subaru Legacy - Subaru would charge me $375 labor and $450 for the hitch. Are there really no trunk rack options?
 

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
I've had several U Haul hitches installed on cars. They always do a good job so far. You can also order just what you need... if it's for a bike rack, you don't need all the electrical stuff a full trailering setup would require.

The most recent hitch last fall when we bought the ebikes was right around $200 all done.
 

mattbytes

Member
Or you can find an independent hitch installation shop. It will be much cheaper than a dealer install.

To answer your question, the majority of trunk racks have a max of around 30lbs per bike whereas average weight of an electric bike is 50lbs. This precludes all the trunk racks as an option for electric bikes.
 

Matt A

Member
Hi all,
I am really struggling... I get that ideally I should go with a hitch style bike rack, but good grief, by the time I get a hitch installed and buy a rack it's nearly as much as I spent on my ebike. I have a Subaru Legacy - Subaru would charge me $375 labor and $450 for the hitch. Are there really no trunk rack options?
You may not be able to lift the bike onto the roof, but if you're willing to you can get a roof rack.

A hitch is probably the best idea, but I ended up purchasing a roof rack from AutoAnything, if you chat with them they will give you exactly what you need. They pieced together the best roof rack I could buy apparently. I got the Yakima Streamline Corebar roof rack system, with special towers for my car, and I got the RockyMounts BrassKnuckles bike rack. This allows you to keep the wheels on. For the roof system and 2 of the brassknuckles, I believe it was $700. So for one bike you are looking at a little less than $500. I have a Riese & Muller Delite and a Riese & Muller Charger that goes up there, about 100 pounds of bike on a 2012 honda civic coupe. I wanted to make sure the bikes would be safe and stable up there and that they would be safe on top of my car, everything checked out and it works well. I drive between Philadelphia and Brooklyn to Propel Bikes, over 200 miles round trip with bikes on my roof worth more than my car.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
You can get good hitches at a place like UHaul. About $200-250. My last two were installed by UHaul.

A good hitch rack capable of holding two 60 pound bikes is going to $250 or more though. I'd still want to use nylon support straps between a roof rack and the bike rack for stability too. On a sedan, maybe I'd use clips to the front f the trunk.
 

Cuajinais

New Member
Not suggesting you do the same, but I bought a Saris Bones 2 for $50 on Craigslist and have been using it successfully without issue. I only carry the one ebike without it's battery but so far so good in the 3 months I've used it. Something to consider, but please do some tests by applying force to the installed rack. And with bike installed, drive slowly around the neighborhood, test on speedbumps and driving through curves. I did this a few times. Also used the country roads for the first 2 times I went to the mountain. Now I drive on the highway like its nothing. Good luck.
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opimax

Well-Known Member
You need a rack that can carry your bike safely, the liability of bike flying at me at 70 mph is pretty high!!! I doubt insurance will cover you if you bought a 30 lb rack for a 60lb bike. I bought a hitch for a 2004 Acura for 170 on line shipped to my house yesterday. Last time on a different vehicle i was charged 30 bucks to install , .5 hours of mechanic time (cheap labor to begin with!), saw an estimate on line for 120 to install this one so maybe more this time. Then I move my Saris rack between vehicles to carry the 2 Stromers i have

My wife's car, a Sonata the hitch was 120, that was the 30 install. my rack was 400 btw on sale, maybe 5 years ago
 

Trail Cruiser

Well-Known Member
I placed 2 ebikes on my 5-bike regular bike rack with their batteries mounted. I have no issues with my rack. But I recommend removing the batteries for less stress to the hitch mount.
http://www.realrecreationusa.com/p/Allen-Sports-Premier-Hitch-Mounted-5-bike-Carrier-35781111.html

I would not recommend a trunk rack. First, it can dent your car, second, you delete the use of your trunk, third it is not stable enough for the heavy load. Fourth, you later buy the hitch rack anyway, after being unsatisfied with the trunk rack. (Yes, I have been there, done that).
 
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LimboJim

Well-Known Member
Ugh, when I hear or read things like "so far, so good," I cringe. Optimax nailed it - the savings of a cheap rack pale in comparison to your potential liability if it fails. Insurance shouldn't be expected to cover such recklessness, IMO.

FYI, Planet Cyclery sells the Saris Bones 2 for $130, but they don't list its weight capacity, they just say "two bikes." A visit to Saris' website, however, says "2 bikes, 35 lbs each."

This doesn't mean you can put one bike that weighs up to 70 lbs on it and assume it's good to go. The straps that hold the bike on the rack are probably not designed to sustain that much force bouncing up & down when you hit potholes etc., and even if you duct tape or rope it down, the concentration of all that weight on one section of the rack might cause it to buckle, eventually.

I got the Saris Freedom Superclamp 2, which is rated for 60 lbs per bike and lists at $430.* I also added two Curt Stabilizer straps for $9 each - they really do stabilize and help support all that weight! I now drive with the utmost confidence that, in the highly unlikely scenario of my ebikes bouncing off at highway speeds, USAA will "have my back."

* My brother and I found our Superclamp racks from two different websites - 6 months apart - for about $350 shipped. If you search and/or can wait a bit, you can probably find one on sale (eTrailer and Outside Outfitters currently show $430). His Subaru Legacy came with a hitch, but my Honda Fit required another $200 for a hitch, installed. Well worth it!
 

Cuajinais

New Member
Ugh, when I hear or read things like "so far, so good," I cringe. Optimax nailed it - the savings of a cheap rack pale in comparison to your potential liability if it fails. Insurance shouldn't be expected to cover such recklessness, IMO.

FYI, Planet Cyclery sells the Saris Bones 2 for $130, but they don't list its weight capacity, they just say "two bikes." A visit to Saris' website, however, says "2 bikes, 35 lbs each."

This doesn't mean you can put one bike that weighs up to 70 lbs on it and assume it's good to go. The straps that hold the bike on the rack are probably not designed to sustain that much force bouncing up & down when you hit potholes etc., and even if you duct tape or rope it down, the concentration of all that weight on one section of the rack might cause it to buckle, eventually.

I got the Saris Freedom Superclamp 2, which is rated for 60 lbs per bike and lists at $430.* I also added two Curt Stabilizer straps for $9 each - they really do stabilize and help support all that weight! I now drive with the utmost confidence that, in the highly unlikely scenario of my ebikes bouncing off at highway speeds, USAA will "have my back."

* My brother and I found our Superclamp racks from two different websites - 6 months apart - for about $350 shipped. If you search and/or can wait a bit, you can probably find one on sale (eTrailer and Outside Outfitters currently show $430). His Subaru Legacy came with a hitch, but my Honda Fit required another $200 for a hitch, installed. Well worth it!
No need to cringe. The bike without the battery is about 45 lbs. Any engineering student that has successfully completed her 3rd semester can tell you about vector forces and bending moments. Of particular interest to some posters here would be how much bending moment a load of 35 lbs. acting on the furtherst rack position imparts on the pivot, vs. a load 45 lbs in the position nearest the pivot. I will not spoil the answer. I will spoil however, that the odds of your insurance company covering the claim on your bike-on-the-highway accident don't look so good. Is "bike rack accident" even an option when buying insurance? I guess maybe in an umbrella policy? I'd like know which type of insurance covers this.

Anyway I'm an engineer, not an insurance claims agent, but all anecdotal evidence I've heard point towards insurance companies looking for the simplest excuse to deny a claim. If someone can dig up statistics for claims on bike rack accidents, now that would be some very useful information to add to this thread.

For the sake of argument, suppose this type of insurance exists; (it very well may but I would like a to see a link). In this case, we don't know the % of successful claims on bike rack accidents, but I reckon that in case of an accident, the insurance claims agent will want to evaluate that the "safe bet" hitch rack was used per instructions. So here is a sampling of the user manual for the hitch-mounted
Saris Freedom Superclamp 2, which is rated for 60 lbs per bike and lists at $430.
Hope you never exceeded 70 mph on the highway/replaced the strap on the first sign of wear/tightened the straps regularly during the journey/ etc. etc./

Yeah good luck with your claim...

All requirements for compatability/fit as stated in the current Saris vehicle/carrier compatability

guide must be followed. (Available at any Saris dealer or www.saris.com). If your vehicle is not listed or you have any questions, please call our customer service at 800-783-7257 or visit www.saris.com.

  • Read and follow instructions carefully. Save owner’s manual for future reference or parts information. Ensure that any other users of the bicycle carrier are familiar with their content.

  • It’s the end users responsibility to ensure that use of this product meets all local and state laws.

  • When cleaning vehicle and rack, use only water soluble cleaners. Do not take rack through car
    wash.

  • Make sure bike tires are not directly behind exhaust pipe.

  • Do not mount to any type of trailer, towed vehicle, or RV.

  • Prior to usage on the road, remove all loose parts from bicycle, including (but not limited to) child
    seat, basket, lock, light, pump, etc.

  • This carrier is not recommended for off-road use or for use at speed exceeding 70 mph (113 km/h).

  • The handling characteristics of a vehicle will change when a rear bicycles carrier is fitted and
    especially when it is loaded (in particular crosswind sensitivity, handling on bends and braking). Driving techniques should be altered to allow for these changes, reduce speed, especially on bends and allowing for longer braking distances.

  • The vehicle’s total length increases when the bike carrier is attached. The bikes themselves may increase the vehicle’s total width and height. Take care when reversing and/or entering garages or ferries, etc.

  • Remove carrier from vehicle when not in use.

  • This carrier is constructed to carry standard-bike-frames. It is not intended for use with tandem or
    recumbent bicycles.

  • Replace any mounting strap at the first sign of wear. Replacement parts are available through your
    local Saris dealer or call 1-800-783-7257.

  • Tighten straps regularly during the journey.

  • Vehicle should be in good condition in the area at which the hitch is located.

  • Do not exceed maximum load capacity of carrier (120 lbs max or 60 lbs max per bike!) Secure
    properly and adjust for even load distribution, loading the heaviest/biggest bike first and closest to
    the vehicle.

  • Saris absolves itself of responsibility for any personal injuries or consequential damage to property
    or wealth caused by incorrect fitting or use.

Warning and Disclaimer:
This carrier has been designed to carry bicycles on specific vehicles. Before installation, user must read and follow current Saris Fit Guide (available through Saris dealer) recommendations and enclosed instructions. Fit recommendations are based on vehicle’s standard features; optional features may affect the fit recommendations. User must attach carrier correctly to the vehicle, check its attachment before each use, and inspect carrier parts for wear. Carrier’s attachment to the vehicle is critical and beyond the control of the manufacturer. Manufacturer and seller expressly disclaim any and all liability for personal injury, property damage or loss, whether direct, indirect, or incidental, resulting from the incorrect attachment, improper use, inadequate maintenance, or neglect of this carrier.
 

LimboJim

Well-Known Member
@Xtina - maybe I should have asked this first: what does (do) your ebike(s) weigh?

Many are well over 50 lbs without their batteries, and I have yet to learn of a trunk rack that's rated anywhere near that capacity. Detailed insurance/liability/engineering concerns aside, I'd also be concerned about the bike(s) and the safety of cars behind you with a trunk rack.
 

McApple

New Member
We just had a hitch installed on our Outback, which I believe shares the Legacy frame. The dealer charge was going to be near $1,000, we got it done at a local truck center for $350 including the wiring.

If you go with a hitch, I strongly recommend a 2" receiver as well as a lockable anti-rattle pin to secure the rack to the hitch.
 

opimax

Well-Known Member
I could not find a 2" hitch for the 3 cars I have, not the most common size for cars. I would get it if i could just make sure the rack you get will take a 1.25 hitch and all good
 

McApple

New Member
We have 3 hitch-mounted racks, a suspension rack and two platform racks. We started with the suspension rack, but when DW bought her first cruiser bike, we went to the platform style. The first of the platform racks, while fitted for a 2" receiver, was made out of 11/4" square stock, with both our ebikes in the rack, over 125 lbs, the rack exhibited an alarming amount of sway and twist. The second platform rack is made from 2" square stock and is much sturdier.
 

neil johnson

New Member
I would agree with the above threads/replies. U haul has the most reasonable prices, get a 2 inch receiver for strength and you can mount a variety of things to your vehicle without being limited to just lightweight items. Our 2 inch receiver carriers that we produce are tested for strength, and the 2 inch is extremely strong and rides a little better, less sway. Go with the hitch mount, totally worth it.
 

Bakari45

New Member
My issues with a trunk rack.
I got a Thule Venture 3-Bike Trunk Vehicle Rack to mount my Townie 7D. I was able to get it on the rack, though there's no straight horizontal frame on the stepover model. Plus the bike weights 48lbs. I figured if the rack can carry three bikes it should be able to carry my e-bike.

I took it on the road, but I was constantly concerned about the rubber straps and cradles slipping off because I had to mount the slanted of the frame of my bike at an angle.

I made to and from my destination, about 40 miles roundtrip, over the freeway and some bumpy roads. I did have to pull over once and adjust secure the strap on there front end and add a sway cage (see photo) for extra support.

I'm thinking about ordering the Thule crossbar adapter (which can hold up to 50 lbs), but even that will be awkward, because the steering wheel is not perpendicular to the bar under the seat.

8620ED6C-5F1C-4E1C-BD26-AAB94A29CCF0.jpeg
 
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Sierratim

Well-Known Member
Hi all,
I am really struggling... I get that ideally I should go with a hitch style bike rack, but good grief, by the time I get a hitch installed and buy a rack it's nearly as much as I spent on my ebike. I have a Subaru Legacy - Subaru would charge me $375 labor and $450 for the hitch. Are there really no trunk rack options?
I don't know that there's a trunk mounted rack that's actually rated for the weight of an ebike. I try my best to buy products that are rated for my intnended use. I also carry an umbrella liability policy. As an engineer I'm supposed to know better if the product isn't rated for my intended use. Just sayin'...😎
 
Here are some hitches below 200$...

Can search by make/model/year...i put in 2016 subaru legacy just to get some hits



can usually watch a youtube to see how to install or maybe some gearhead friend could do it...

here is the hitch rack i just bought...holds 200lbs and was like $140 delivered to my door!

 

jenhoffman22

New Member
Here are some hitches below 200$...

Can search by make/model/year...i put in 2016 subaru legacy just to get some hits



can usually watch a youtube to see how to install or maybe some gearhead friend could do it...

here is the hitch rack i just bought...holds 200lbs and was like $140 delivered to my door!

That Fultyme RV 1300 rack looks like a great deal! Thanks for the idea.