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Trailer Hitch Bike Carrier for a 2015 Honda Fit with Class I Trailer Hitch

Question:

Today I received my Draw-Tite hitch 24920 for a 2015 Honda Fit. I was going to order a Yakima DoubleDown 4-bike rack Y02424 to go with it but then I became embroiled in the Class ratings. The hitch is a Class 1. The Yakima is rated only for Classes 2-3. What does that mean? The Yakima rack weighs 31 lbs. A Thule rack TH9025XT that weighs 34 lbs is rated Classes 1-3. Im confused. Thanks for any help.

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Expert Reply:

The weight of a bike rack is not factored into whether or not it can be used in a Class I trailer hitch. The issue is how long the bike rack shank is from the center of the pin hole to the near end of the shank.

A Class I hitch will have a stop inside the shank to prevent Class II accessories from being used. This is a safety feature designed to prevent users from accidently overloading a Class I hitch.

On hitch # 24920 you can't see the stop from the outside but if you look down the receiver opening you should be able to see something sticking out from the side wall of the receiver.

Also, both trailer hitch and bike rack manufacturers agree that only 2 bikes maximum can be carried on a Class I hitch. This is not because of the weight of the bikes but because of how far that weight is from the hitch. Three or more bikes puts too much torque on the hitch, like using a cheater bar to loosen a lug nut on a wheel, and could thus damage the hitch or vehicle.

Some bike racks, like the Apex # TH9025XT are Class I compatible but have a 4 bike capacity. This is because the rack also fits Class II and 2 inch hitches. But when used in a Class I hitch the capacity is limited to 2 bikes. I have included a link for you to all of the Class I compatible bike carriers we have.

To carry up to 3 bikes you could use a trunk mount carrier such as the Thule Passage # TH911XT. I have included a link to a video review of this carrier for you.

For a hanging style bike rack, if you will be carrying any bikes that do not have a top frame bar that goes straight across (like a typical men's bike would) then I recommend using bike adapter bar # 64005. This will allow you to carry those bikes more level and will provide better ground clearance. I have to use these adapters and without them my wife's bike would be at a severe angle and I would not be able to load my son's bike at all. I have linked a video showing how the adapter works.

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