Author Topic: Bike Rack Question  (Read 4764 times)

DollarBill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 901
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Austin TX
Bike Rack Question
« on: October 01, 2014, 12:27:01 PM »
I'm about to purchase a Class I Trailer Hitch Receiver for my Focus, so I can attach a basket carrier. I already have a basket carrier for my old Class III hitch and I attached some low rider bike clamps so I can carry two bikes. I never worried about over loading the hitch on my truck but since the Class I is only rated for 200 lbs (Tongue weight) then I worry I might over load it. I still should be under weight back there but I wonder if it might snap when hitting bumps or braking hard.

Has anyone had a problem with a Class I hitch while carrying bikes?

I might need to buy a new basket carrier (Mine is 60 inches wide). I think it might help because then I won't need to use an adapter. Plus, some of the smaller (48 in) ones have a rise bar to lift it off the ground some and would shave some weight too.

Shortbus

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 23
Re: Bike Rack Question
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2014, 09:12:17 AM »
I have a class I on my Prius and have carried 2 bikes with zero issues. Note that I do have a bike specific carrier that is pretty lightweight to begin with (26#). We've also loaded it up with a basket carrier and 50+ lbs worth of stuff on several 600+ mile trips. The carrier was a bit sketchier. I went with the aluminum one from Harbor Freight to save weight. Unfortunately almost all of them out there have a 2" bar which means I had to use an extension to connect to the 1 1/4" receiver. The combination had the whole thing sitting way to far out from the vehicle so I had a welder friend cut down the bar on the basket to bring the whole thing in closer to the bumper. It's much better that way and I've had no problems with it since.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 15825
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Bike Rack Question
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2014, 10:01:32 AM »
I couldn't imagine two bikes being much over a quarter of the weight limit you're talking about . . . plenty of margin for bumps and braking.

unpolloloco

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 185
Re: Bike Rack Question
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2014, 11:54:05 AM »
I'd bet there's a factor of safety built into the hitch for exactly that reason (bumps/breaking adding G-force loads).  The bigger issue is probably the change in departure angle with the hitch + basket + adapter on it.  You might want a riser of some sort to reduce the chance of bottoming the basket out on bumps or driveways.

gt7152b

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 234
Re: Bike Rack Question
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2014, 12:30:14 PM »
The 1 1/4" to 2" adapter is the biggest problem. Adding extra length to your basket + load puts alot more leverage on the rear frame where the hitch is attached. Tongue weight is specified without an adapter. I have a Yakima 4 bike rack that I need to use an adapter with and it really makes the back of my car squat with a couple of bikes on it just because it sits out so far. Departure angle, like unpolloloco mentions, is also a problem. Be careful on any steep driveways or roads.

DollarBill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 901
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Austin TX
Re: Bike Rack Question
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2014, 05:02:19 AM »
I ordered the Curt receiver hitch PN#C11158 because it tucks under the car a few inches more. From the top of the receiver opening down to the ground will be about 10-3/4", and from the center of the hitch pin hole to the edge of the bumper will be about 4-3/4".

Compared to the hidden hitch/draw-tite: From the center of the hitch pin hole to the outer most part of the bumper is 2 inches. From the top of the receiver tube to the ground is 11 inches.

Also, ordered the 20x48 Pro Series Cargo Carrier for 1-1/4" PN#6500 because it has the riser and won't need the adapter. Plus, you can adjust the basket closer to the car.

The basket weight 50 lbs + bikes 60 lbs= 110 lbs. So still some room for extra gear like cooler, tent or luggage. I also have an anti-rattle hitch lock so it will take away some of the slop movement.

Thanks for all the input.

Quote
The 1 1/4" to 2" adapter is the biggest problem. Adding extra length to your basket + load puts alot more leverage on the rear frame where the hitch is attached. Tongue weight is specified without an adapter. I have a Yakima 4 bike rack that I need to use an adapter with and it really makes the back of my car squat with a couple of bikes on it just because it sits out so far. Departure angle, like unpolloloco mentions, is also a problem. Be careful on any steep driveways or roads.
I saw that Curt hitches recommend using a strap that hooks on the trunk or hatch to support the weight. I ended up not getting it because I think I'd rather let the other parts bend or break instead of my hatch. But it may help tame the movement when carrying 4 bikes.

capital

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 451
Re: Bike Rack Question
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2014, 07:50:18 AM »
My parents have used a tiny li'l hitch (probably class I) on their Honda Civic with a Hollywood-brand rack to carry two big ol' recumbent bikes on long trips for years without issue.

darkadams00

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 395
Re: Bike Rack Question
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2014, 08:52:38 PM »
Has anyone had a problem with a Class I hitch while carrying bikes?

Not here. Two bikes have been fine. Based on numerous bike forum discussions, I would only suggest two bikes for a Class I hitch. For me, the need for a third or fourth bike only happens a couple times per year. If it happened much more frequently, I would factor that more heavily in my vehicle decision and not push the limits of the hitch.

I might need to buy a new basket carrier.

I don't have experience with a basket carrier, but owners on bike forums have probably discussed this at length. If it weighs much more than the average hitch rack or has significant ground clearance/design issues, then you might have to rethink your choice.

m8547

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 311
Re: Bike Rack Question
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2014, 09:13:20 PM »
That looks like a good hitch since it attaches with six bolts. Hopefully the metal on the car where it attaches is substantial. I had a class I hitch on my last car, and it only attached with two bolts to the "frame" and two bolts to the tow hook. The "frame" was actually just sheet metal. I have a 3-bike tray type carrier that weighs about 60 lbs, and three bikes weigh about 90lbs, so 150lbs total. It never snapped, but over time it bent slightly down so it was no longer parallel to the ground when the car was level. I never took it off to see if it was the hitch or something else that bent.

I eventually bought one of those straps that goes to the trunk, but I never used it because I couldn't find a good way to attach it to my bike rack, it would rub on the bikes or the trunk (paint protection tape would be good), and it seemed like it would take most of the bouncing force (most of the weight as the hitch and rack flex) when the whole idea of the hitch rack was to keep force off the trunk, which isn't really designed to support anything. If anyone wants one I'll send mine to you for free!


DollarBill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 901
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Austin TX
Re: Bike Rack Question
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2014, 07:04:29 PM »
Got it installed. I think it's a good set-up. Let me know if you need more pic's or info.

Sid Hoffman

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 744
  • Location: Southwest USA
Re: Bike Rack Question
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2014, 09:54:19 AM »
I like the look of the finished product.  Keep in mind however that cargo things like this are not the same as tongue weight with a trailer.  With a real trailer, tongue weight is a certain maximum weight in a static configuration and will always be that same value as long as the trailer is properly loaded.  With a bike carrier or cargo basket, the weight is dynamic depending on how far it is from the hitch.  You can very easily end up WAY over the rated tongue weight if you load it up too far back.  You have a lever effect going on with basically only 8 inches or so in the hitch and several feet of leverage at the other end.  Even a 20 pound bike might be putting 60 pounds of pressure on the drawbar due to leverage.  I would attempt to keep the load as physically close to your rear bumper as possible, to reduce the leverage effect.


DollarBill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 901
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Austin TX
Re: Bike Rack Question
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2014, 04:43:58 PM »
That was on my mind too. I could probably move it in another inch or so but I'd worry about the pedals hitting. Most of the time it will only be one bike. It already came in hand this past weekend when I hauled off some bushes I dug up. It would have been pretty messy inside the car.