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Best Hitch-Mount Electric Bike Carrier to Fit All Hitch Classes


I have a 2018 Subaru Outback with a 1 1/4inch hitch receiver installed by dealer. My wife and I just bought two Trek e-bikes that weigh in right around 45-47 pounds each less if we take batteries off, so we are replacing our Swagman XTC2 because that has a limit of 35 pounds per bike. I am considering the Swagman Chinook and the Saris Superclamp X2. I like the Saris but it does say its for Class 2 hitches and ours I think is Class 1. Does that really matter if the weight limit for the rack is 60 pounds per bike and our bikes are 45 pounds? Would the Class 2 rack still work for us with no issues? Or is the Swagman Chinook the better option since its rated for Class 1, even if the weight limit is less at 45 pounds per bike. Does it matter with the Swagman that our bikes are right at the weight limit? Weve liked the XTC2 but it does have some sway and wobble when riding. First, is that normal? Should I be worried at all? Second, will the Chinook be better in that regard. Thanks for your help!


Expert Reply:

There is one electric bike carrier that will deliver all of the characteristics needed for your application, the premium EasyFold Electric Bike carrier from Thule, part # TH903202. This carrier costs more because it is designed and built to be a class-leading product, one that is sold all around the world. Here's why I recommend this rack over all other e-bike carriers.

The EasyFold fits all hitch classes: 1, 2 and 3; it has a 65-lb weight rating for each bike so you have extra capacity and don't have to bother yourself with taking the batteries out every time you ride; its lightweight composite and aluminum construction and built-in wheels make it easy to handle; it features a built-in loading ramp (that stores in the rack) so you never have to lift the bikes' weight; it includes all the needed locks; it easily tilts away from the car for better access to the rear cargo area; and true to its name, it folds up to a compact size/shape for easy storage. I know of no other bike carrier that is as well thought-out and so thoroughly engineered.

All you need to ensure fit is that you have at least 1-1/2-inches from your hitch pin hole to the end of the receiver as shown in the linked diagram.

Any accessory installed in the hitch on a moving vehicle will show some motion. This is true for bike racks and cargo carriers too. Some carriers may exhibit more or less motion than others but all will have some and this is simply unavoidable. Heavier carriers will naturally tend to have more motion.

In fact, hitches themselves are designed to have some flex. A hitch's mounting brackets are actually made of a different grade of steel than the main crosstube so that when under the stress of a trailer or carrier load they have some "give" to reduce the chance for stress-related damage to the vehicle frame, the hitch itself or what is connected to that hitch.

It is certainly better to use a carrier that has more capacity than you actually need; this extra capacity becomes safety margin and can tend to ensure longer life from the carrier and safer transport for your bikes. If it still meets the bikes' weight requirements a lighter carrier will often be the better choice since it will be easier to handle and use up less of the hitch's own capacity. Swagman racks are great - I own one, their original - but they are heavy due to their steel construction.

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