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Light Weight Bike Rack Recommendation for a 2012 Subaru Impreza with a Class I Trailer Hitch

Question:

I just purchased the Curt 11286 hitch for my 2012 Subaru Impreza Sport hatchback. I am interested in the Yakima Aluminum Highlite 3 bike rack. You list this bike rack as a class 2 rack, but my hitch is only rated as a class 1. My question to you is why is the Yakima rated as a class 2 rack when it is so light, and can I use the Yakima Highlite if I only put 2 bikes on it?

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Expert Reply:

A Class II accessory will physically not fit in a Class I hitch. Also, it is not the weight of the rack or even the bikes that lead to the 2 bike restriction on Class I hitches. It is the distance the bikes are away from the receiver. The further away the bike is, the more stress it puts on the hitch.

You can use a 3 bike rack in the hitch as long as it is Class I rated and you only load 2 bikes on it. I recommend the Swagman Trailhead, # S63365. It has anti-sway cradles, the ability to tilt down, and it has an integrated cable lock. This rack weighs about 30 pounds if you consider that light weight. I have included some informational links for you to view.

Or for a very light weight rack we have the Thule Helium Aero, # TH9042PRO. This is a 2 bike rack, Class I compatibleMost notably, this rack weighs only 19 pounds. I have included a link to a video review for you to the right.

If you will be carrying any bikes that do not have a top frame bar that goes straight across (like a typical men's bike would) then I recommend using bike adapter bar # 64005. This will allow you to carry those bikes more level and will provide better ground clearance. I have to use these adapters and without them my wife's bike would be at a severe angle and I would not be able to load my son's bike at all. I have linked a video showing how the adapter works.

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