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Recommended Trailer Hitch and Bike Rack for Carrying 2 Bikes with a 2018 Subaru Outback Wagon

Question:

We have a 2018 subaru outback that needs both a 2-inch hitch and a 2 or 3-bike rack. I am concerned that a 2-bike rack does not allow enough room for 2 mountain or 2 road bikes without them touching and rubbing against one another. We would not be taking 3 or 4 bikes at one time. One mountain bike uses the top-bar adaptor. We will not be using the hitch for towing. What do you propose we should buy? Want to be able to lock the bike rack and hitch together with a locking mechanism/bolt/key. Enjoyed your video on how to mount a Class III tow bar/hitch on the 2018 Subaru. Very informative! Of course, a bike rack hitch should be much easier, I think? My concern is having enough room between the bikes so that they don’t make contact, especially with odd-length handlebars on our mountain bikes. Also, want a hitch/rack system that doesn’t hang down so much that it bottoms-out as we use gnarly forestry roads. Maybe a platform-style rack could work but what I’ve seen have a long horizontal extension that can easily bottom-out. Anything you can suggest is appreciated. Thank you,

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Expert Reply:

For a trailer hitch I recommend the etrailer.com Trailer Hitch Receiver # E98847 because it has the most bumper clearance and comes with a matte black finish that does a better job of hiding scratches and dings over the glossy black options. Trailer hitches are used for both trailers and accessories like a bike rack so there is no difference in the installation.

If you'd like one with a hidden crossbeam (for a cleaner installed look) then I recommend the Draw-Tite Max-Frame Trailer Hitch Receiver # 76227 because it will give you the most bumper clearance out of the available Class III trailer hitches that feature the hidden crossbeam. Once installed this option has more of a sleek look over the etrailer.com mentioned above but it does have a more difficult installation process.

Then for a bike rack I recommend the Kuat NV 2.0 Base # BA22B because it is a platform rack that secures your bikes why the wheel (so it is compatible with any style that doesn't have a front fender), it has a 3-1/2" rise in the shank for ground clearance, and it has an aluminum construction with an anodized black matte powder coat finish meaning it won't ruse or corrode when exposed to the elements. Kuat backs this up with a limited lifetime warranty and customer service that is truly "face-melting".

The NV 2.0 Base also comes with integrated bike and rack locks that use the same key so it is easier to keep track of the locks (since they are on the rack) and you only have to carry one key for the whole rack. I am attaching a review video and a picture of the Kuat NV 2.0 # NV22B for you to reference. The 2.0 is an upgraded version of the Base as it comes with the bike repair stand that can also be added to the 2.0 Base with part # TDKB for on-the-go repairs.

If you would like a recommendation that is a little more cost-effective then let me know but since it sounds like you are looking for something that is durable, handles a lot of use well, and gives you great ground clearance the NV 2.0 Base is the way to go.

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Jon G

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