Hitch racks for Cars

Johnny

Well-Known Member
I was hoping to get a hitch bike rack however I have a car which has a towing capacity of 1500lbs hence tongue weight limit is around 150lbs. It is also limited to 1.25" receiver.

Although offerings like Thule xt 2, Rockymounts monorail, Yakima etc. seem to be offered in 1.25" receivers and rated for 60lbs per bike, even without the batteries two bikes + the weight of the rack will come close to 150lbs depending on the bike (I think I can go as low as 135lbs but may also exceed 150lbs by 5-10lbs at times).

In a previous video I have seen that @Court installed a Kuat NV rack on his Prius which seems to have similar tow capacity. I was wondering about the experiences of people who installed a hitch rack on a car with class 1 1.25" receiver and carry 2 ebikes at the same time.

Is it doable or should I just forget about installing one of these on my car(can the additional 5-10lbs weight bend the frame?)?
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
Keep in mind that 150lb tongue weight limit refers to the weight applied to the ball of the hitch. Many hitch racks extend further away from the rear of the vehicle. This creates a "lever" effect and can more than double the weight when measured at the hitch ball location. Unless the weight of the bikes on the rack is centered on that ball location, your estimated 5-10lb overage could be much greater.

Most published tongue weight limits are conservative and a 5-10lb overage would be of little concern. Double or triple that and it may be different though.
 

Mike_V

Active Member
Hi Johnny
I overloaded a compact car hitch rack with it's perforated steel flat cargo tray using plastic bins while moving 230 miles.
2 heavy bins on the hitch ( height limited ! ) 2 in the hatch/backseat 2 passengers
No damage to the vehicle, however:
Slightly Squirrely Steering for those miles as the front end lifts.
Mike
 

MikeDD

Active Member
I don't know much about the smaller hitch sizes but you should look at the videos of bike racks on various vehicles on etrailer.com.

They install racks with bikes on most vehicles and drive over speed bumps and such. This may help you decide on a rack and the weight effect.

The quality of the roads you drive on will have an effect. I have an emtb and drive rough roads so I have a heavy bike rack.
 

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
1UpUSA has 1.25 inch receiver model. Mine has only one tray on it so I carry my own bike. You can get the number of trays you need, up to four, which of course would require the larger receiver. The quality of these things is a whole other level than most of them, certainly better than my Yakima rack whose ratchet failed and threw my new gravel bike on the ground a couple of years ago. The 1Up stuff is fantastic. All aluminum, very nicely engineered.
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
Thank you for the answers.
I am aware of the tong weight limit and that's why I didn't want to go for a 2" bike rack and an adapter since the adapter seems to increase the distance further away.

There is also one hitch installer who would install a 2" receiver (the quote is quite expensive though) however I don't know if 2" receiver will be worth it since the car frame itself is not really capable of carrying that weight to begin with.

So the problem is more about if the car can handle it rather than the bike rack. As for bike racks I looked at rockymount monorail, Thule xt, Yakima hold up, 1Up, Kuat Nv and all looked well designed solid racks.

I was wondering has anyone get the hitch installed at a Uhaul?
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I remove batteries before mounting bikes on a rack. This cuts down the weight. And makes lifting them easier. It also depends on the kind of driving, whether Across town to a Regional Park or Across gravel roads traversing Western Canada? The receiver racks with trays for the wheels to rest in are best.
 

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WattsUpDude

Well-Known Member
Thank you for the answers.
I am aware of the tong weight limit and that's why I didn't want to go for a 2" bike rack and an adapter since the adapter seems to increase the distance further away.

There is also one hitch installer who would install a 2" receiver (the quote is quite expensive though) however I don't know if 2" receiver will be worth it since the car frame itself is not really capable of carrying that weight to begin with.

So the problem is more about if the car can handle it rather than the bike rack. As for bike racks I looked at rockymount monorail, Thule xt, Yakima hold up, 1Up, Kuat Nv and all looked well designed solid racks.

I was wondering has anyone get the hitch installed at a Uhaul?

I have no idea how handy you are but it's not super difficult to install a hitch. It's basic hand tools, jack stands and 1-2 hours of your time. Though you may want to look at some Youtube videos as the install on my Fiat 500 required widening a pre-drilled hole with a drill and metal bit.
 

FezUSA

Active Member
We have 2 vehicles, a large SUV with a 2" receiver and a smaller Hyundai Kona that didn't have any receiver. I installed a model specific hitch to that car, the max was a 1.25" with a 200lb capacity. I purchased a Motow USA hitch and lift and carry 2 60lb ebikes (without batteries) and without issues. Their website has the details on how much the carrier weighs and you don't have to get the optional lift kit which will save some weight. https://motowus.com/product/double-ebike-bike-carrier/
 

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
I’ve had several installed at UHaul, every time I buy a new car. For my current 2018 Honda Accord, it turned out to be quite a trial for them. Very tight working area under there apparently. For the hundred or so it costs - no wiring, just the hitch - it’s well worth it to me to let these guys do it.
 

FezUSA

Active Member
I’ve had several installed at UHaul, every time I buy a new car. For my current 2018 Honda Accord, it turned out to be quite a trial for them. Very tight working area under there apparently. For the hundred or so it costs - no wiring, just the hitch - it’s well worth it to me to let these guys do it.

I'm an IT guy and will do some wrenching, but not a mechanic by any stretch of the imagination. The first thing I did was look at the YT videos to see how easy/hard it might be. If it seems quite straight forward I'll give it a go. Thankfully the hardest part of it on the Kona was the "fiddly" bits and the general "how do I hold this here while maneuvering that over there" type stuff! Could have saved me 90 minutes and spent $100? Sure, and each person has to make that call for themselves. It's all good either way at the end of the day!
 

Mr Scott

New Member
Region
USA
We have 2 vehicles, a large SUV with a 2" receiver and a smaller Hyundai Kona that didn't have any receiver. I installed a model specific hitch to that car, the max was a 1.25" with a 200lb capacity. I purchased a Motow USA hitch and lift and carry 2 60lb ebikes (without batteries) and without issues. Their website has the details on how much the carrier weighs and you don't have to get the optional lift kit which will save some weight. https://motowus.com/product/double-ebike-bike-carrier/
Hi, Fez, USA: New forum user and ebike shopper. Looks like this rack is for us. How do you find loading the bikes? Just tilt up each end as show on the video? We're both quite fit, but my wife is only 5'2". No issues on the 1.25" hitch? We have both a truck and a Subaru Crosstrek that we'd like to use to carry the bikes, which, like yours, will probably end up weighing 60 lbs. without battery. The Motow video show loading a regular bike, which weighs virtually nothing compared to a fat tire ebike. Thanks for your time. There's so much information to wade through!
 
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Eband

New Member
Out two Como's (@ 45 lbs each) easily are carried on the ' K2 Overdrive" brand carrier. The sturdy carrier is 2" and fairly heavy (@40lbs) with a 120 pound load limit. The locking hitch puts carrier way out past rear of vehicle to enable lifting hatch/trunk. I re-drilled 2" carrier pin holes to insert it another 10" . We have to fold down to open rear hatch but reduced the weighted lever effect significantly.

If you carry two heavier E-Bikes, a motorcycle type carrier on a suitable vehicle or small trailer for small car may be safest.


* - Must have been designed in SoCal = K2-OD carrier is 'powder coated' steel but one winter on back of our Subie and support bars ooze rust and corrosion from inside and fold-release button was totally rusted immobile . A messy spray inside mechanism with WD' and eventually got release working.

have fun
 
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harryS

Well-Known Member
Court may only be carrying one bike on his Prius.

When I bought my Swagman XTC2, I didn't think at the time to look at weight limits. It's only rated for 35 pounds per bike., but I owned a Honda Pilot with a 2" hitch, so there was no tongue weight issue, I also judged that the rack would not explode with my bikes stripped down to 45 and 50 pounds. .

Later, I downsized to a VW wagon with only a 100-150 pounds tonque weight on its class 1 hitch. I've always used supplementary roof straps. With enough strap tension, I felt I could keep the effective weight close to 100 pounds. However, it's a light car and two bikes plus luggage for three people and a dog, and the rear springs would sag 2-3 inches. The bottom of the hitch would scrape going into gas stations.

SInce then, our traveling bikes were reduced to 35 pounders, less w/o batteries, so I can use my Swagman within its advertised limits. It's still a wiggly rack. In the future, perhaps an SUV, a 2' hitch, and a less wiggly rack.

When I was younger, I could lay under a tall car like Jeep and lift the 80 pounds of rack. I've installed two hitches. but the last two were done by U-Haul. For 100 bucks, it's worth it. My VW hitch appears to have one bracket screwed to sheet metal. I'm glad I didn't install it. I would have been second guessing the integrity.
 

FezUSA

Active Member
Hi, Fez, USA: New forum user and ebike shopper. Looks like this rack is for us. How do you find loading the bikes? Just tilt up each end as show on the video? We're both quite fit, but my wife is only 5'2". No issues on the 1.25" hitch? We have both a truck and a Subaru Crosstrek that we'd like to use to carry the bikes, which, like yours, will probably end up weighing 60 lbs. without battery. The Motow video show loading a regular bike, which weighs virtually nothing compared to a fat tire ebike. Thanks for your time. There's so much information to wade through!
So far I've only done a test fitting on the 1 1/4" hitch, and it was good. Each time we've gone to ride though, my middle daughter has had the car, or we've also been taking our two youngest with us and their bikes are inside (Yukon XL).

I do have the lift option as the Yukon hitch is so high. I drop that to the ground and then load the bikes. The first few times I recommend giving yourself some extra time while you figure it out. Our first time I loaded the bikes in the daylight, we went for a ride but returned to the vehicle late and it was dark. With no lighting in the car park it made it a little more challenging. The 'trick' I've learned is that you have to pay careful attention to your spoke pattern as the cradle arms pass through those. This is primarily only an issue for the inner bike, but to a certain extent also true for the outer bike. If your wheels have good spoke gaps, then it's a non-issue altogether. My wife's bike is a 20x4 wheel though, and the spoke gaps make it a little harder. In the dark, loading for only the 2nd time I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong and knew that it worked because the 1st time the bike went straight on no issue! If I was trying to hold a 60lb bike in the air during this process I would have probably said forget it!! Once I figured it out though, it hasn't been an issue since!! So check your spoke spacing during the load.

I also widened the 'safety' hole in the lift kit. Once raised, you put a bolt through with a nut on the other side, to stop the lift from going down perhaps? I decided that I'd rather have a hitch pin with bigger handle, and a standard hitch pin clip so that I didn't need another 'tool' for the job. The hitch pin must be a fraction thicker than the provided bolt, but 5 minutes later the hole was big enough.

I also use a locking hitch pin for when the car will be left with the bikes on.

I liked the Thule Easy Fold and that was my first choice, except it wasn't available. Then I came across the MoTow. I like that it's all metal (pros and cons!) and I like that its made in the US. It works well for us. If I was buying again I would want to try the load/unload process of the Thule with the ramp option, and see how stable the bikes were once loaded. The MoTow is solid and I have no doubt about the longevity of the carrier. I would NOT want to try loading bikes with smaller wheels though without the lift kit. Trying to hold up 60lbs of unwieldly bike in the air while positioning spoke gaps would be a 2 person job for sure.

Let me know if there are other specific questions I can try and answer
 

Mr Scott

New Member
Region
USA
Thanks, Fez. I ordered one today with both 1.25" and 2" mounts. Don't know how high your Yukon is, but our Tundra shouldn't be too bad. Also, according to the video they post online, you should only be lifting one end of the bike at a time, which doesn't sound or look too bad. The video on the website is with what look to be conventional bikes. Below I've linked one they sent me with a guy loading a 65 lb. ebike, which is about the weigh of the two m2s bikes I've also just ordered--very excited!


https://shop.m2sbikes.com/collections/frontpage/products/all-terrain-electric-fat-bike