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Bike Rack for Electric Bikes on a 2018 Chrysler Pacifica


Hi - Ive got a 2018 Pacifica without any tow hitch. I have two electric bikes that weigh 70lbs each, and ultimately more bikes as our kids get older. Which of your non-tow hitch hookup bike racks would you recommend, based on strength and ease of use and protection against scratching our van, if thats a variable. Thank you.


Expert Reply:

I have a solution for you, but there isn't a non-hitch solution for your electric bikes at this time.

Most trunk mounted solutions will have a maximum of 30 pounds and the best capacity on a roof rack solution is 50 pounds. After adding in the weight of the roof rack itself and the bike racks to the weight of the bikes, may exceed your roof capacity and risk damage to your vehicle.

Instead, I strongly recommend purchasing a hitch and hitch mounted rack for at least the electric bikes, given their higher weight. Having a hitch mounted platform rack will give you an easier time loading the bikes, as well as better than normal security options for the bikes.

Up until the children's bikes are over 16 inch wheels, they are best carried in the trunk of the vehicle, as training wheels are difficult to carry on a rack and they tend to get caught in the other bikes. When the training wheels come off, then its much easier to transport the bikes on a traditional rack.

If you let me know the exact model of electric bike, I can narrow the following recommendations down to hitch racks that will fit your bikes the best.

Specifically, you'll want to purchase the Draw-Tite Class III, part # 76046. This rack will provide the capacity you need to expand to four bikes on the rear of the vehicle over time. I've included a video of the rack's installation process on a 2017 Chrysler Pacifica and an article about hitch installation tips to make the no-drill installation easier.

For a rack, it will depend on your specific model of electric bike what the best long-term solution ends up being. One of the biggest upsides of a hitch rack is that outside of your hitch's limit, there isn't any risk of scratching your vehicle during normal use. I'm also only recommending racks that have a tilt-away feature so you can easily access the rear hatch of the vehicle.

If your bikes batteries aren't removable, you'll have to go with a two bike solution for your bikes now, and then find a roof or alternate solution when the kids' bikes get bigger. Over time, I've noticed that electric bikes' batteries are getting lighter and lighter, so this may not be as much of a problem when your kids are older if you replace your electric bikes by that point.

For your bikes, the best solution with the battery installed is the Hollywood Racks Sport Rider SE, part # HLY84FR. With a massive 80 pound per bike capacity, this will easily carry almost any bike you can throw at it. Its adjustable frame mount also fits alternative frame bikes easily. It does include hitch and bike locks for additional security and tilts away from the vehicle as well as folding up for storage on the vehicle or in the garage.

If your bike's batteries are removable, you'll have an easier time buying an expandable rack for the bikes, especially if removing the battery lowers the weight by 10 pounds or more. In this case, there are three racks that really stand out for your application.

The Yakima HoldUp, part # Y02443-2 has an overall capacity of 200 pounds, and a per-bike limit of 60 pounds. It has fully adjustable wheel cradles that will let you carry bikes with 14 inch wheels. The HoldUp is made of two parts, and the rear two positions are removable, and comes with a set of red LED lights and safety flag for when it is installed. I like this for your use because it lets you get the kids bikes out of the trunk earlier, plus can tilt away, allowing access to the rear hatch of the vehicle. Integrated security for the hitch and bikes means that its a great rack for trips and adventures across town.

The HoldUp is fairly hefty, coming in at close to 80 pounds assembled, but will offer the best range of features for your bikes. It is a wheel mount, so it will have less compatibility with the electric bikes if they have fenders on the front or rear wheel.

I'll note another rack that we've had success with in this sort of application is the Saris Freedom SuperClamp EX, part # SA4026F. This shares a lot of features with the Yakima HoldUp but doesn't have a removable rear location. If you absolutely want the kids bikes out of the vehicle, this is your best option if you don't mind not being able to convert to a 2 bike rack. It can carry 60 pound bikes in the two inner positions and two 35 pound bikes in the outer position.

If you absolutely don't want a hitch on your vehicle, then there is unfortunately no good solution for the electric bikes at this time.

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