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Best Way to Carry 4 Bikes on a 2012 Lexus IS250C Convertible

Question:

I recently purchased a 2012 Lexus IS250C hard top convertible. I dont want to put a trunk mount bike rack on, because the trunk opens up to store the hard top. In another answer, you said that the class 1 hitch, and likely the car itself, could not hold more than 2 bikes plus the bike rack. I am confused as to why this is the case. The specs say that the hitch holds 200 lb max tongue weight. We have a platform rack that weighs 50 lbs and 4 mountain bikes that are not exactly light, weighing around 30 lbs each. All told, this would weigh 170 pounds. Since this is 30 lbs under the tongue weight, wouldnt that be acceptable? Admittedly, I have not yet found the specs for what Lexus recommends, so Im mainly asking you about tongue weight versus actual weight. Thank you!

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Expert Reply:

This particular instance has to do with the way that a Class I hitch, like the Curt Class I Round Tube Receiver, part # C11047, is structured and the way that the leverage applied by the weight of the bikes will affect a light duty hitch.

Class I hitches are only intended for use to carry 2 bikes because putting weight further back on the shank of the bike rack will apply undue force to the hitch and the rack itself, causing the shank of the bike to possibly bend and fail because of the weight of the bikes jostling around on the rack.

Class I accessories and hitch receivers are built with this in mind, often with a stopper that prevents longer shanks from being inserted into the receiver, preventing this issue altogether.

Finally, sometimes the vehicle itself, especially when not intended for towing any cargo at all, can be rated for less tongue weight than the hitch receiver. There's no real way to prevent this except for being aware of it and verifying the weight in your owner's manual or with the manufacturer themselves.

I've included a help article that helps visualize the differences in loads that each class of trailer hitch is designed for.

In short, you won't be able to carry all four bikes on the trailer hitch itself, but I have a solution that may work for you.

A rack like the Hollywood Racks Destination Bike Rack for 2 Bikes # HLY94FR will be a good partial fit for what you're looking to do. This is a super lightweight (20 lbs) platform rack that comes with an anti rattle hitch lock for added security. I've included a review video of the rack for you to check out.

If two or three of the bikes have a quick release front wheel, there is a rack available that you can use to carry the other bikes on your trunk. The SeaSucker Bomber, part # 298-BB3008 and Mini Bomber, part # 298-BM2006, are unique, vacuum cup bike racks that attach to the exterior surface of a vehicle in order to carry three bikes or two bikes on the mini bomber. I wouldn't recommend mounting these to the hardtop itself, but this can be a great solution for your additional bikes. You can use the SeaSucker Hogg wheel carrier, part # 298-BA1580 to carry the wheels inline with the bike's rear wheels and prevent having to carry them inside the vehicle with you.

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