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Trunk Rack or Hitch Rack for 3 Mountain Bikes on 2012 Mazda CX-9


Hi, Were looking for a bike rack to transport 3 bikes: my husbands mountain bike and 2 boys mountain bikes. Are the trunk-mounted racks really sturdy enough to carry the load? Our Mazda CX-9 doesnt have a trailer hitch, but wed be up for adding one from U-Haul, or wherever to support a hitch-mounted rack. Do you have an expert opinion on what would be the best for our needs? Thanks!


Expert Reply:

As long as each of your mountain bikes weighs under 35 pounds, a trunk mounted rack is physically capable of safely supporting them for travel.

With that being said it's not going to be a particularly enjoyable experience. Loading similarly sized bikes onto a hanging-style trunk rack can be somewhat difficult, as the cradle spacing typically isn't ideal to easily prevent bike-to-bike contact, and I have a feeling the two boys' mountain bikes will each require a separate adapter bar like # UB01 to create a level attachment point on the carrier.

Having loaded a few mountain bikes onto a trunk-mounted rack on my vehicle, I can also speak to the anxiety you feel watching all that weight push down onto the trunk/hatch even though you know deep down that it's capable of holding the weight. It's also really important to remember that with a trunk rack you won't have rear cargo access without completely removing the bikes and carrier.

This is a long way to say that for your 2012 Mazda CX-9 I really do recommend adding a trailer hitch for a hitch-mounted bike rack. This pushes the bikes away from the vehicle so you don't have to worry about weight damaging the rear hatch or scratching any paint, allows for a much easier bike loading/unloading process depending on the rack you choose, and allows you to still access the rear cargo area without removing anything. It just makes for a much nicer overall journey to the trails and back.

Starting with the hitch for your Mazda CX-9 the Curt Class III # 13575 will work perfectly and line up to existing holes in the frame rails for a simple bolt-on, no-drill installation.

Once the hitch is in place I highly recommend the Kuat Transfer V2 Bike Rack # KU24FR. This rack can handle 3 bikes at up to 40 pounds each, features a convenient foot pedal that lets you tilt it back (with the bikes still loaded) for rear cargo access, and uses ratcheting hooks that grab the bikes by the wheels without any frame contact. Its platform-style also makes for much easier loading compared to a trunk rack since you don't have to lift the bikes up nearly as high.

I do just recommend adding the Lock Set # PTSCLK13 to help protect your investments.

I have attached a short video demonstration on the Kuat Transfer that you can check out, along with a couple of images of it being used on your 2012 model CX-9 so you can see exactly how it will look.

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expert reply by:
Chris R

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