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Recommendation to Transport 4 Bikes with Hitch Mounted Carrier on 2014 Subaru Forester

Question:

I have a draw-tite 75876 installed on a 2014 subaru forester, and am wanting to use it for carrying 4 bikes on the Curt 18086. Ive seen online varying info about the max tongue weight being anywhere from 178 to 200lbs...though its not clear if thats for the OEM hitch with the smaller receiver tube. the draw tite hitch itself is rated for an impressive 525lbs. the rack itself is listed as 86 lbs and the 4 bikes total about 117lbs. so Im trying to get a definitive answer about whether this is safe to do with my forester, or if it can be done with the assistance of something like the curt 18050 rack support strap? Ive read some claims in forums online about all that weight bouncing around being too much for the connection points on the unibody or possibly causing issues with the stability of the car

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Expert Reply:

When determining the tongue weight capacity of your 2014 Subaru Forester and trailer hitch, you will be limited to the setup's weakest component. This means that even if the Draw-Tite Trailer Hitch # 75876 features a 525 pound tongue weight capacity, you will still need to follow the vehicle's limits if they are lower.

I took a look at the online owner's manual for your 2014 Forester and did find that it has a maximum tongue weight capacity of 175 pounds. This is the limit you will need to follow when loading up a bike rack with your 4 bikes. Since the combined weight of the Curt 4 Bike Rack # C18087 and your 4 bikes will come out to around 203 pounds, I cannot recommend doing this. Adding a stabilizing strap like the Curt # 18050 will certainly help to stabilize the carrier and reduce some movement, but it won't actually upgrade the vehicle's capacity.

In order to transport your 4 bikes, I recommend looking into a lighter bike rack like the excellent Swagman Trailhead # S63381. This carrier weighs 30 pounds and has a 100 pound capacity.

I have attached a short video demonstration on this bike rack so you can get a closer look at all of its features.

expert reply by:
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Chris R

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