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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all. A couple of questions - Id love your advice.

1. Im thinking that on my new Forester, rather than get a roof rack for skiis and bikes I will get a hitch rack. It seems like the roof rack results in more wind noise, obstructs the beautiful pano roof and will descrease mileage (due to worse aerodynamics).

Does anyone think that a hitch rack is NOT a good solution for some reason? Which hitch racks would people recommend?

2. I know for a hitch rack I need to get a trailer hitch. Should I just get the Subaru accessory trailer hitch? Is there any reason to get an aftermarket hitch instead (cost? something better about other hitches?)

Thanks for the advice.
 

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Premium Member
2010 2.5 XT Limited
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342 Posts
Hi all. A couple of questions - Id love your advice.

1. Im thinking that on my new Forester, rather than get a roof rack for skiis and bikes I will get a hitch rack. It seems like the roof rack results in more wind noise, obstructs the beautiful pano roof and will descrease mileage (due to worse aerodynamics).

Does anyone think that a hitch rack is NOT a good solution for some reason? Which hitch racks would people recommend?

2. I know for a hitch rack I need to get a trailer hitch. Should I just get the Subaru accessory trailer hitch? Is there any reason to get an aftermarket hitch instead (cost? something better about other hitches?)

Thanks for the advice.
1. If you use it just for the bike, I would suggest a hitch rack, because it's much easy to access the bike from the back then on the top. (I have a mountain bike, so it's too heavy to lift it to the top). However, if you have skiis, It would be better to put it on the roof.

2. If you want a trailer hitch, I would suggest either Curt Hitch. If you don't want to install yourself, you can get it install at U-Haul. The U-haul hitch is manufactured by Curt, so basically it's the same thing. I would suggest you get the Class III or the 4000lbs hitch. You won't able to tow 4000lbs, but it's a 2" reciever, which is much common for trailer.
 

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2010 Forester
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You will notice the weight of the bikes more on handling with a hitch rack than a roof rack, but it will be quieter. I use both types.

That said, the Yakima rack with a bike seems quieter than a Thule with a bike did on my last four cars. Perhaps the round bars help. I never got around to putting the little wings on the Yakima, either.

Good advice on getting the rack with the two inch receiver. I got the Subaru one and it is kind of a pain finding things to fit the smaller receiver. Just don't try to pull more than the recommended weight (or much more, at least!).

I bought the hitch rack from Performance Bicycling and am generally pleases. It works with both size receivers and is a good value for the money.
 

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The Sub kit guy
2005 Forester X & XT VF39
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For skis and Kayaks I use the roof rack, but for Bikes I use a hitch mount. Skis are pretty streamline and don't add much noise. I also find my car handles WAY better with bikes on the back vs the roof. On the roof it pushes the center of gravity up, and crosswinds affect the car more. With bikes on the rack it slightly sinks the rear, which makes my progressive Swift springs more responsive. I actually like how it feels better than with no bikes on the hitch.
 

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2010 2.5 XT Limited
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I got the Yakima Holdup installed today. It's take me about half an hour to get that install. If you have 2 person, it should take 5 minutes. The only problem I find out after I install that is the backup senor scram everytime I put the gear on reverse.

 

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2010 Forester 2.5X SE
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I dont carry my bike places but i do snowboard and i stick mine on the roof. IMHO i would think that the hitch rack would get in the way of accessing things in the trunk but this is speaking from INexperience :Banane14:
 

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I definitely agree with what has been said ^^ regarding keeping bikes on hitch mounted racks. However, if your bike use isn't super often, I'd say go with a roof rack. IMO, roof racks are more versatile (you don't need something with a certain hitch to throw it on the car.) Plus, it simplifies opening the hatch. :biggrin:
 

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2009 Forester XT Limited
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376 Posts
I have been thinking about this and may end up with a smallish cargo trailer that will still allow me to haul what I need to without making parking too big a pain and also let me open the back when I need to.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I have a question...

People have recommended the UHaul hitch (I need help with the install) but have also recommended a 2" hitch over the 1.25".

I just got off the phone with UHaul and they said their 2" hitch only comes "round tube" and the 1.25" hitch comes "square" and the guy I spoke with said he thought that the Thule/Yakima bike racks require a square hitch - so Id need to go with the 1.25".

Does that sound right? Should I look elsewhere for a 2" hitch that is square instead of round?
 

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Premium Member
2010 2.5 XT Limited
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342 Posts
I have a question...

People have recommended the UHaul hitch (I need help with the install) but have also recommended a 2" hitch over the 1.25".

I just got off the phone with UHaul and they said their 2" hitch only comes "round tube" and the 1.25" hitch comes "square" and the guy I spoke with said he thought that the Thule/Yakima bike racks require a square hitch - so Id need to go with the 1.25".

Does that sound right? Should I look elsewhere for a 2" hitch that is square instead of round?
It doesn't matter it is round or square hitch. round and square in here doesn't mean it's a round reciever, it's just the bar is rounded. I have a Yakima bike rack. It work perfectly find as you saw the photo above.
 

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Whatever brand you choose, I'd recommend a Class III (2") over a Class I or II (1 1/4") for two reasons relating to stuff haulers (bike racks, cargo carriers, etc.)
1) Class III opens up more options. When you look at bike racks, for example, there are a lot more units available for Class III than for Class I/II.
2) Stability. I don't have experience or data to back this up, but it makes sense to me that a 2" hitch will be more stable against torsional (side-to-side or twisting) forces than a 1 1/4" hitch. This isn't as much of a problem with towing a trailer where the couple is inches away from the hitch, but more of a problem with a bike rack or cargo carrier, where the center of mass is a couple feet above the hitch. I'm just considering this from an engineering standpoint, though. Maybe someone can chime in on the real impact of this if they have experience with both.
 

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Long and technical. Read at risk of brain explosion

I am a fan of stuff on the roof over the rear hitch especially Skis.

Here in the PNW where mountain passes can have all kinds of road conditions in the same trip, road spray mixed with cinder dust...(think red mud), slush, and Ice, the back of the rig picks up a lot of dirt and grunge, as does anything attached to it. Skis do little to change the CG of the vehicle.

I have gone to roof mounted bike racks over rear, primarily because of access to the hatch (yes I know that some racks swing away) and because with a good roof mounting system, the bike is secured in a way that it will not bounce or twist. (How many bikes do you see attached to the rear of chase cars when bike races are televised?) I have used roof bike racks for 20 years and the advancements in the mounting systems, along with lighter bikes makes this task easier. On the down size they can be difficult to lift up, and do raise your CG.

Bikes on the back of the rig are easy to lift on and off, but can bang each other, bounce more, and in some instances (poor rack design) contact paint. I have also seen tires baked from long trip exposure to the exhaust. That said, a high quality hitch mounted bike rack can eliminate most of these issue.

Lastly, you are hanging a lot of weight on your hitch. If you decide to go hitch, definitely go with a class III. A class one hitch frame is rated for a vertical load of about 200 pounds at the trailer ball. A III is usually 500 or more pounds. The manufacturer engineers the hitch to handle the downward force of the tongue weight at typical ball location. This is generally 3 or 4 inches out from the vehicle. A bike rack, by design moves this load away from the vehicle, as much as as 16 or so inches from the rear of the vehicle. The additional shaft length of the "stinger" on the bike hitch acts like a lever, multiplying the downward force in proportion to the length increase.

So if your bike mount weights 40 pounds, each bike 20 or so pounds, and you hang 3 bikes on the mount, you are at a measured weight of 100# and that would be your measured tongue weight. Except the weight is much further out, which significantly increases the downward force on the fixed mount. So you might have a calculated tongue weight of close to 200#s or more! And...when you go over uneven surfaces, the bikes will bounce a bit....(think of how a lever multiplies force) which can raise this number much higher for short times.

I realize this is a bit extreme, but I have seen hitch failures due to high tongue weight.

Gary
 
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