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4 Bike Platform Rack That Sits Away From the Rear of a 2017 Honda Pilot EX-L

Question:

I just returned a Thule 9031XT Vertex Swing Away 4 Bike after using it twice. First, the handle bars on a mountain bike are two wide and the first time I used it they scratched my car when I opened the swing away. Then, the first trip one of the rubber holders slipped, causing the second bike to slide into the first and scratched irreparably my first bike. It is not a good fit for a 2017 Pilot. Thus I am looking at a Thule T2 Pro XT tray but I want to make sure when folded it does not run the risk of hitting the hatchback of my pilot. have you done any measurements on that?

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Expert Reply:

I'm sorry to hear that happened with your Thule Vertex. One of the best ways to avoid damage is to make sure that you have enough bumper clearance for your chosen bike rack.

You can take this measurement for yourself by using a measuring tape and a flat edge. Hold the flat edge against the furthest out part of your bumper, normally the center under the license plate and in line with your hitch, and measure from the center of the hitch pin hole. To avoid contact with your vehicle, you'll want to add an inch to that measurement and only pick bike racks that have a "closest point/part of rack when folded up" measurement of at least that distance.

For example, with the Draw Tite, part # 75225 or Curt, part # C13146 installed on a 2017 Honda Pilot, you have 5 inches from the center of the hitch pin hole to the bumper. This means that a low-risk installation will require that the bike rack have at least 6 inches to its closest part when folded.

I have a few suggestions for you, but unfortunately the Thule T2 Pro XT, part # TH83JV, has a part 5 inches from the center of the hitch pin hole, so you unfortunately won't be able to use it without risking damage to your vehicle. All of Thule's 4 bike platform racks are all positioned this closely to the vehicle, so there isn't a good fit from them for the pilot.

Instead, I'd recommend the Yakima HoldUp, part # Y02443-2. This rack has its closest point at 12 inches away when folded down, and 7 inches away when folded up, giving you plenty of distance to avoid the rear hatch when stored. Additionally, the rack tilts away from the vehicle, letting you easily access the rear hatch even when bikes are loaded. This rack does have an integrated hitch lock, but you'll need to add a cable lock like part # e98891 to secure the bikes to the rack.


For even more clearance, take a look at the Saris Freedom Bike Rack for 4 Bikes - 2" Hitches - Frame Mount - Tilting # SA4414B. It sits 13-1/2 inches from the hitch pin hole to the closest part of the rack when in use and 10 inches when the bike is folded. This gives you the most clearance if you like it. This rack has an anti-rattle hitch pin but does not have an integrated hitch lock. You would need to add the Hitch Tite Anti-Rattle Hitch Lock for Saris Bike Racks # SA3022, and a cable lock like part # SA981 to secure the rack and the bikes to the rack.

I've included a video so you can get an idea of how these racks operate in practice and make the best choice for your vehicle.

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