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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    402

    Cheap 4-bike hitch-mount platform racks: What's best?

    I need a new four-bike platform rack that fits a 2 inch hitch. Really want to keep this under $500!

    I need it to hold both kids and adult bikes, 24 inches to 29 inch tires, and 2.6 inch wide tires down to 1.0 inch tires. Would be nice if there was an option to carry fat bike tires, too.

    The rack will go on a pickup and a Nissan Rogue. Would like both tilt up for storage and tilt down to the gate/hatch can open, and would love it if the rack included a hitch lock and a cable lock or some other way to secure the bikes.

    Will be used equally for short trips to trailheads and long cross-country journeys, and both on-road an mild off-road.

    Turns out there are a ton of rack makers out there I've never heard. Can anyone recommend or not any of these, or suggest anything similar?

    Hollywood Sport Rider SE4: https://www.etrailer.com/Hitch-Bike-...s/HR1400Z.html

    Saris Freedom 4: https://www.etrailer.com/Hitch-Bike-.../SA4414B.html?

    Have also been looking at the Yakima 4Timer: https://www.moosejaw.com/product/yak...rrier_10276411

    Others? Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Hell Track
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    If you're even mildly concerned about keeping the bikes from getting scratched and gouged during transport, you don't want any of the racks you mentioned. The bikes are close together, and the clamp on the top tube will destroy the paint.

    That said, you're gonna have a tough time finding a new, 4 bike rack for under $500 that's worth owning. I'd be watching craigslist for a decent tray rack or a north shore type thing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Southeast New York
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    7,441
    Front wheel holder tray racks for 4 are mostly $700 or more with a reasonable feature level. Don't try too hard to save $$, it will bite you in the ass at the most inopportune time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    On a genuine ol' fashioned authentic steam powered aereoplane
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    12,819
    Yeah, cheap racks = thrashed bikes = more money lost anyway.

    I know it doesn't need to be said, but the 1up racks are the real fucking deal. Mine has been across the USA multiple times now. Zero shitty plastic parts. They are worth every penny.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Eugenio Oregón
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    7,269
    Just spend the money on the 1up and be done with it. Go with the double and two add ons.

    Mind your tongue weight limit though if you start offering to shuttle drive and load up 4 full size bikes instead of 2 adult / 2 kids. Look it up specific to your vehicle. Doesn’t matter what your hitch receiver is good for if your frame can’t handle it. My Subie XT has upgraded springs but the tongue weight limit is still 200 lbs.

    4 bikes at 30 lbs each makes 120, and a 4 bike rack can exceed 80 lbs. Thats why I only run 3 trays on my rack.
    _______________________________________________
    "Strapping myself to a sitski built with 30lb of metal and fibreglass then trying to water ski in it sounds like a stupid idea to me.

    I'll be there."
    ... Andy Campbell

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    1,024
    1up usa for sure for 4 bikes. I have a thule t2 xt (bro deal) and wish I had gotten the 1up. my brother got 1up and the ability to easily switch between 1 and 4 bikes is huge. also much lighter and tighter.
    but a 1up for 4 bikes is huge money. Kids bikes could go on the roof?
    Quote Originally Posted by splat View Post
    Nothing in the ski industry is ever as it seems or is being made out to be - unless you were just buried in an avalanche.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    108
    I’ve been looking into this also as kids have started riding - 1up for four bikes is like $1,200. I found Thule T2 classic for $400 open box (https://www.rackattack.com/hitch-mou...2-bike-2-inch/) and the extra 2 bike add on is like $250 and that’s about as cheap as I’ve found for half decent platform - still enough $$ that I’m hesitating.


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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    2,071
    Also looking at this. Brother is pretty happy with his Yakima Holdup. Currently I have a 12 year old clamp mount that makes slightly weary with carbon frames and paint.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Strong and Free
    Posts
    379
    I'm looking for this too, for occasional (few times a year) family road trips and vacations. The 1up looks nice, but it's pushing $2K Canadian for the 4 bike solution, once I factor in exchange rate, shipping, brokerage fees and taxes. This is more than the combined value of the 4 bikes it would carry.

    This one is obviously lower quality, and non-folding, but comes in at ~$300 Canadian all-in. It also works as a cargo carrier, which is another thing I was looking at getting (for infrequent use when I need to transport stuff that doesn't easily fit inside the vehicle). Any thoughts?

    https://www.amazon.ca/Tow-Tuff-TTF-2.../dp/B004RFKBEO

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Durango
    Posts
    766
    Might also look at Kuat. Might be able to find one used. I love my one up especially being able to use a single rack and use the extra hitch adapter to basically have two racks for a little extra. I also owned a Kuat and it was a solid rack. I havent looked for several years but in my opinion it was significantly better then Thule, Yakima, etc for a tray rack, but that was several years ago.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Hell Track
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrueNorth View Post
    I'm looking for this too, for occasional (few times a year) family road trips and vacations. The 1up looks nice, but it's pushing $2K Canadian for the 4 bike solution, once I factor in exchange rate, shipping, brokerage fees and taxes. This is more than the combined value of the 4 bikes it would carry.

    This one is obviously lower quality, and non-folding, but comes in at ~$300 Canadian all-in. It also works as a cargo carrier, which is another thing I was looking at getting (for infrequent use when I need to transport stuff that doesn't easily fit inside the vehicle). Any thoughts?

    https://www.amazon.ca/Tow-Tuff-TTF-2.../dp/B004RFKBEO
    If the sole purpose of the rack is to serve as a place where you can pile 4 bikes, with little regard for rubbing, scratching, or general banging about, then I'm sure that thing would work fine. It seems like 1 notch up from just piling 4 bikes on top of each other on the roof and cam strapping everything down.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    402
    OK then 1up.

    Which to get: Super duty, heavy duty, or Equip D?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Eugenio Oregón
    Posts
    7,269
    Here's the comparison chart. Super Duty is probably overkill if you have zero plans to ever own an e-DH bike - the only difference between SD and HD is that SD has an additional bracing bar underneath to bump the weight capacity from 50 to 75 lbs.
    https://www.1up-usa.com/compare-racks/

    The bigger issuer is how much time will the rack spend on the Rogue? I just looked it up and saw that the Rogue has a tongue weight limit of 110 lbs! That's only enough for a double-rack and 2 lightweight bikes - you won't be able to use additional trays to add the kids bikes on that car. You do *not* want to be messing around with exceeding tongue weight on a passenger car.

    There weren't these many model choices when I got my rack several years ago, but I ended up going with a single rack over a double because I ride solo a lot, and the single rack lives on the back of my Subie most of the summer, folded up and out of the way of my tailgate. With the extra add ons (you can have up to two add ons), I need to have the rack at 45* or level to open my tailgate .... I can't get in at 90 degrees. Also it kind of obscures my backup camera when I have multiple add-ons, vs being unobstructed with just the single rack. When my wife and/or others are coming along I just bolt on the extra add ons before we leave. It's all very fast so if you want to get a double base unit for extra strength, it's not a big deal to take it off if you have a garage near where you park the car.

    Also, do you have a 2" receiver on the Rogue or 1.25"? If the Rogue has a small receiver and you still want to use the rack on both vehicles, then you have no real choice but to get the Quik Rack and add/remove the included shim when running it on your pickup.

    I use a Quik Rack (which is 1.25" tongue width plus bolted shim) in my 2" receiver. It has a little bit of bobble when I'm driving over bumps with 3 bikes, probably not much more than the HD rack. Most of the bobble comes from the locking bar that sets the rack tilt. It's a burly and well built rack.
    _______________________________________________
    "Strapping myself to a sitski built with 30lb of metal and fibreglass then trying to water ski in it sounds like a stupid idea to me.

    I'll be there."
    ... Andy Campbell

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    402
    Ahh thanks for the comparison chart -- I missed that.

    The Rogue has a 2 inch hitch so that's not a problem.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    livin the dream
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    Has anyone tried the “budget” Kuat Transfer? Only 3 bikes...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Best Skier on the Mountain
    Self-Certified
    1992 - 2012
    Squaw Valley, USA

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Hell Track
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickwm21 View Post
    Has anyone tried the “budget” Kuat Transfer? Only 3 bikes...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I have one. It's definitely not built with the quality of the more expensive racks. For occasional use, it's functional. If it's your main method of transporting bikes that you're using multiple times a week, spend the money for something better.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    NorCal
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by nickwm21 View Post
    Has anyone tried the “budget” Kuat Transfer? Only 3 bikes...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I've got the 2 bike kuat transfer. Have beat it up for about 2 years now. Often only one full suspension bike but 4 or 5 days a week of usage.
    As far as being a rack, it does the job. Easy to put on/remove, I have the lock kit to lock it to my hitch and then a cable around the fork (which probably won't stop much). Pretty easy to attach the bike.
    Durability is ok, about what you would expect from a pretty plastic rack. Things have started to loosen up but tightening down bolts every once and a while helps. It's definitely not a 1up but it'll last a few more years. I do have a ridiculously rough road leading to my home trails which leads to a lot more bouncing than most.

    Overall: No complaints but it is a budget option.

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