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Recommended Bike Rack for Cross Country Trip with 2008 Toyota Prius

Question:

Looking for a bike rack that is safe, strong and stable to withstand a cross country road trip from Reno NV to Washington DC area in winter/spring.

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Expert Reply:

For your upcoming cross country trip (and every trip, short or long, thereafter) I highly recommend a hitch-mounted bike rack for your 2008 Toyota Prius. I'm not sure if this was already the way you were leaning but even if your Prius isn't already equipped with a hitch, adding one and a bike rack is a much better setup than a trunk-mounted carrier, especially for longer trips.

A hitch-mounted rack will offer greater support and stability for the bikes, won't leave any scuff marks or dents on the vehicle itself like a trunk rack potentially could, and will also let you gather any gear from the trunk at various pit stops on your way to DC and back. A trunk rack would have to be completely removed each time the trunk needs to be opened.

Starting with the hitch itself, I recommend the Curt Class I # C11468 that will line right up to existing holes in the Prius' frame rails for a simple bolt-on installation and provide you with a 1-1/4" receiver opening for the bike rack. I have attached an installation video and the written instructions as well.

Then for the bike rack I really like the Thule Camber # TH9058. This is an extremely sturdy hanging-style bike rack. It can handle two bikes that weigh up to 35 pounds each and you can add the Hitch Lock # THSTL2 to secure it to your vehicle to help deter theft.

Now with a hanging-style rack like this you may need an adapter bar like the Thule # TH982XT if you will be transporting any children's, women's, or alternative frame bikes (this would be the case with a trunk rack as well). This will provide a horizontal attachment point for the rack for level and stable transport. I have included a short video review below so you can see exactly how it's used and why it might be needed.

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Chris R

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