it really varies on what kind of car/vehicle you plan on using your bike rack for.
I currently use a Thule (hitch mounted), and that is all I have ever used. You pay the price up front, but what you get out of it you really can not put a price on. The first one I had I used for 10+ years on MANY trips and it took a beating, and now the one we have is great. I have the T2 Classic w/ 4 racks on it. It is durable, has locks, and you can easily access any of the 4 bikes.
I have a Yakima trunk rack and the Yakima Hold up hitch rack. The Hold up is awesome and would recommend it. The trunk rack I use on my car and I’ve scratched the crap out of my car with it. Mostly because of hasty loading and unloading. Stuff like “oh, I should have checked what was rubbing before I took off” type stuff… so mostly my own fault. I got the trunk rack first and the reality is that my frequency of riding went through the roof when I could go places without having to remove a wheel and stuff my bike in the trunk of my car. I went from a once a week rider to 4-5 times a week. That was apparently a fairly large mental hurdle for me to clear… lol.
I use the Kuat hitch rack on my jeep cherokee. It doesnt get in the way of my hatchback. The Kuat rack unlatches far enough for someone to reach in an grab your biking gear. After a long ride i will open hat hback sit in it and rezt my feet on the rack and eat a protein bar. Love my Kuat.
With the fatbike tire modification & use for all 4 seasons, we can easily transfer the rack between both car receiver hitches, on the back of our travel trailer for any of our bikes on the roughest BLM roads (using a modified rigid hitch extension-helps handle the bucking) (without wheel removal or fear of scraping off the seriously spendy equipment at home, at a parking garage or lower hanging branches)….Spendy but provides peace of mind. Didn’t realize you could add 3 units to the base for 4 bikes (? thought it was a total of 3).
Tray racks are the best! Tons of options that transport your bike with ZERO frame contact. I personally use the Saris SuperClamp which accommodates up to 4″ tires out of the box and tilts up out of the way when not in use. Good luck picking a rack that fits your needs!
We humbly suggest the ALTA SIX GPR by ALTA RACKS. The rack can carry up to six bike of any size, and then coverts to other activities as well. One rack to rule them all. http://www.altaracks.com. Made in the USA.
Look at it this way: If you can convince 5 of your buddies to chip in for gas money, you might actually make money on every trip! That extra income could go toward paying off the rack… Uber bike shuttles anyone?
I don’t know, Altaracks doesn’t sound like a cost effective option for someone who doesn’t run a shuttle service. I would never have a need to haul more than 2 bikes so I can’t see how spending $1200 on a rack would be a good idea. If you guys had a nice $500 2 bike setup, then you could say it’s on par with a 1Up or Kuat, then I would give it serious consideration. The OP has “A” bike, not 6, that he needs to haul. Kinda hard to justify that kind of expense….Sorry.
edit: oops I missed @BBelfield ‘s post before I replied. didn’t mean to pile on.
Here’s a little theft prevention tip for those using roof racks. Certainly spend the extra dough for the cross bar tower locks for whatever system you purchase. On the trays instead of using the hand tightened fasteners that come with them (Thule) I used nylon lock nuts and a open end ratchet wrench to tighten them. This makes it way more time consuming to remove the racks. However, I never have had a roof rack stolen or messed with and I’ve used Thule’s since ’99 with this method. I cannot say same for a hitch rack where I had one pinched while my SUV (effing hated that POS and hate SUV’s, but I digress) was at a dealership overnight for work. This was with a lock system too. Finally, get a wheel mount system so you don’t have to eff with taking the wheels off. Again, Thule’s are rock solid albeit a bit clunky and you can find used trays via Craigslist all the time.
you can find used trays via Craigslist all the time.
I wonder if your stolen hitch rack ended up on Craiglist? I actually had an entire Yakima system (clips, towers, cross bars, and trays) stolen off my car in a Home Depot parking lot. I figured it was just sold for scrap metal, but now I’m thinking it wound up on Craiglist. 🙂
@JeffBarber: “I wonder if your stolen hitch rack ended up on Craiglist? I actually had an entire Yakima system (clips, towers, cross bars, and trays) stolen off my car in a Home Depot parking lot. I figured it was just sold for scrap metal, but now I’m thinking it wound up on Craiglist.”
This occurred back in Norfolk, Virginia and cars getting broken into and then the goods ending up in pawn shops is so common up there that they have a police detail that combs these places weekly for illicit property. It’s a military town and there are many transient unsavory characters associated as such. I have recovered stolen items (bikes, cameras, guitars, gear) from pawn and guitar shops in this manner. Craigslist is an endpoint as well, but most thieves avoid it since it’s not a quick cash turn around and leaves them open to exposure. Still, there are plenty of dickheads on CL without a doubt.
<p>I use the 1Up-USA bike rack. Specifically the hitch mount 2 tray with 2 more when I need them. I’ve had roof racks and other hitch racks, including the Kuat NV, and this is the best rack I’ve ever had. 5/5, would rack again :)</p>
I use a Reese Sportwing hitch rack, only cost $80 and works great IF you either (a) don’t take steep driveways or (b) have a higher vehicle like a pickup truck. On my Forester, the bikes rode scarily low to the ground so I chopped it and welded in a 12″ gusseted vertical section. Now they sit nice and high and I am very happy with it. For the price, would buy and modify again.
As for configuration, I would vote for the hitch mount over trunk or roof mount. I like being able to look in my rearview mirror and see what my bike is up to at any given moment, and the hitch mount takes seconds to remove or attach (I use a hitch tensioner to keep it nice and solid, no rattling in the receiver). No need to remove the front wheel either.