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Trailer Hitch and Bike Rack Recommendation for 2012 Scion xB

Question:

Im looking to install a 1.25 hitch receiver on my 2012 Scion xB for a bike rack. I like the swinging bike racks so I can have full access to the back while the bikes are on the rack. I know Ill have to get an extension attachment for the hitch to attach the bike rack. I intend to keep the bike rack on at all times. Is this bad? Advice?

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Expert Reply:

I can certainly help you choose a trailer hitch and bike rack for your 2012 Scion xB. Many people choose to keep their bike racks installed on their trailer hitch all the time. What we recommend, and what is recommended by most manufacturers such as Thule, to remove the bike rack when not in use so it is not exposed to the elements more than is necessary. Keeping the rack protected from rain, dirt, debris, and the sun will help extend the life of your bike rack. Removing the rack when not in use also helps protect your investment in the rack to limit theft opportunities.

The trailer hitch I recommend for you is the Curt Class II Receiver Trailer Hitch # C12490 because this rack offers a higher tongue weight capacity and will allow you to carry up to 4 bikes on a hitch mounted rack. The Class I hitch option is limited to carrying only 2 bikes. I do want to note that the Curt # C12490 hitch will require the use of a stabilization strap # 18050 when using a bike rack or cargo carrier to comply with the manufacturer's warranty.

A hitch extender is an option to be able to use certain Swing-Away bike racks with your xB. I really like the Brophy Hitch Adapter with 5 Inch Rise # HT5R. This adapter no only expands the hitch receiver but will also raise the receiver up 5 inches to improve ground clearance. The important thing to remember is that using a hitch expander will reduce your trailer hitch's capacity by 50 percent. For the Curt # C12490, this means you'll have 175 pounds of tongue weight available rather than 350 pounds to carry your bike rack and bikes. This adapter does not come with a pin and clip, but the # PC2, or # 5200 with a lock, will work well.

The bike rack I recommend for you is the Thule Apex Swing # TH9027XT because it is approved for use with a hitch receiver adapter and will work well on your Scion xB. This rack has some great features, such as a built-in cable lock, dual arching arms to make loading bikes easier, and an anti-rattle device to keep the bike rack shank tightly in the hitch receiver. With the reduced hitch capacity due to the adapter and after subtracting the weight of the bike rack, the rack will have a carrying capacity of 130 pounds on your xB. I've attached a review video of this rack for you.

While the bike rack has an integrated anti-rattle device, there is nothing built into the hitch adapter to keep it from rattling inside the trailer hitch receiver. To secure the adapter, an anti-rattle device like the Trailer Hitch Wedge # GY88XR is a great solution. I've attached a review video of the wedge for you.

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