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How to Carry 4 Bikes on a 2017 Subaru Forester that has Factory Class I Trailer Hitch


Hi - I recently purchased a 2017 Forester with a Subaru factory hitching mount. I would like to use the hitch receiver for a 4-bike rack. I have since learned about the issues posed by the short distance between the receiver opening the the hitching mounting hole. Thule and Saris have recommended I not use their 4-bike racks with the Subaru hitch design. Ive seen reference to some of the Yakima options working, and while their customer service didnt definitively say not to use one of their, they are checking for me. My question is are there any 4-bike racks available that will safely fit the Subaru factory installed hitch receiver? If not, what hitching mounts would you recommend if I were able to have the Subaru hitching mount replaced? Thank you!


Expert Reply:

There are a couple of issues that are going to prevent you from using a 4-bike rack in the factory hitch on your 2017 Subaru Forester. First is the short distance between the hitch pin hole and the face of the receiver. Basically because of pin location there won't be enough of the bike rack shank to fit inside of the receiver to safely use most bike racks.

The other issue is that it is a Class I trailer hitch and they are limited to a maximum of 2 bikes no matter where the hitch pin hole is located.

The solution for a hitch mount would be to have the factory hitch removed and install an aftermarket hitch such as # 75876. But this will only work if the factory hitch is bolted on and not welded on. With the aftermarket hitch installed you will be able to use the Yakima racks you mentioned such as the RidgeBack # Y02458.

If the hitch is welded on then you could carry 4 bikes by using the Curt in the hitch, # C18085, and carry the other 2 bikes on the roof. If the vehicle does not have crossbars that run side to side on the roof some will need to be added. If the roof has side rails that run front to back you could use SportRack roof rack # SR1098. And if the vehicle has no crossbars or side rails you can add a roof rack using the following parts: bars # INB117, feet # INXP, and fit kit # INTR128.

Then to carry 2 bikes you can use 2 of the ProRide XT bike rack # TH598004. It holds the bikes at the frames so you won't have to remove any tires.

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