Bike Racks for those who can't lift a heavy bike

SKent

Member
There is a article on EBR about best bike racks for e-bikes, but very few manufacturers or forums talk about the difficulty of trying to lift a heavy e-bike onto a rack. If you are older, or basically not strong enough to easily lift an e-bike up, it can be really challenging. Fortunately there are now some manufacturers who are *finally* getting it and are designing easier to load racks, or including ramps. Here I will talk about some of those racks.

Thule Easy Fold. A hitch rack that includes a ramp. Very expensive at over $700 and the rack does not fold up close to the car. That means in a tight parking lot it gets challenging. Having caused $2000 of damage to car that pulled up behind me while my old bike rack was on, I am particularly leery of this type of rack. Either you have to take if off when not in use (it is heavy) or you deal with it. Some of them may block your backup camera. It also tilts down easily so you can get into the back hatch. For those who want an easy loading rack and have the money to spend, it is a good option

BuzzRack They have several well-priced racks including several that are similar and way less expensive than the Thule Easy Fold. The main difference is that Thule has well-placed handles to tilt and fold, whereas the BuzzRacks have futzy pin type devices and you may have to reach underneath the rack to get it to tilt down. Like the Thule Easy Fold, it does not fold up close to the car and sticks out. They have an optional ramp for $29 (on Amazon) that attaches to the bike rack. The rack is mentioned quite a bit as a favorite on other e-bike sites.

Kuat Nv base or 2.0. A nice tilting rack with that comes with an optional ramp that is $89. Not as expensive as Thule, folds up close to the car, but may block backup camera. (Some cameras have a warning signal that can be disabled). Tilts away to allow access to hatch back.

1 UP bike racks. (Made in USA). They have very nice hitch rack that is similar in style to the Kuat NV. Folds up close to the car and may block the back up cameras. (However, the one I saw on a car, looked like it *might* be lower than the camera.) Tilts away to allow access to hatch back. Ramp is extra and you have to search for it or ask them. Runs about $80 (I think). This is also a popular rack on other e bike sites. It is not cheap, and they recommend including a special handle attachment that makes tilting a lot easier

The other thing you can do is make your own bike ramp. There is a nice video of one made with 2' PVC pipe for cheap.
. (Note that cheaper bike racks may not be able to hold heavy e-bikes.) There are also lots of way to make a bike rack. My husband is making one out of lumber scraps and a few nails. You might also consider purchasing some type of aluminum, but strong U channel or C channel. Make sure the edges are not sharp though. A metal steel stud track might work, but you will have to have the tools to cut it to size.

Unfortunately I learned about these *after* I purchased my rack. For the heck of it, I have mentioned two other hitch type racks that are suitable for heavy e-bikes, but as far as I know, do NOT come with a ramp. But you can make your own.

Thule XT 2 pro. This does NOT come with a ramp, but it does fold up close to the car, easily tilts, but does block the backup camera. Less expensive than the Easy Fold. I have this rack, and my husband is making me a ramp so I can load my e-bike. Besides the ramp, he had to make an I (eye) beam attachment on top of the main rack/holding bar because when I loaded the bike even with a ramp, it slipped off the rail before I could get it into the other wheel basket/attachment. If you can lift your bike up and place it into the holders, it is great. If not, a weaker person needs help or a ramp.

Hollywood Racks has two racks suitable for ebikes, including the TRS. It is very similar to the Thule XT 2, and less expensive but instead of easy to reach handles, it does have some pins that have to be removed before the rack can be tilted. It folds up close to the car, and also can block the backup camera. You would have to make a ramp for it.

Good luck selecting a rack that works for you.
 

Camac

Active Member
I have a thule easyfold which came out before the ramps. I find that if I line the bike up parallel with the carrier, put the rear brake on hard, rear the bike up on the rear wheel and swing the front wheel over to its position on the carrier, release the rear brake and apply the front brake. Grab the frame near the rear wheel and lift it over. My bike incl battery is close to 25 kg. Sounds more complicated than it is to do.