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3-Bike Rack Recommendation for 1-1/4 Receiver and Alternative-Frame Bikes

Question:

Looking for recommendation for a bike carrier to be used in 1 1/4” hitch receiver. We would be carrying a beach cruiser bike, bike for my wife that has angled center bar and a kid’s bike. Was looking at Thule and Yakima reviews and some were complaining about redesign of straps for the Thule carrier.

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Expert Reply:

I believe you are referring to hanging style bike racks for your application. I recommend going with a Thule hanging bike rack over the Yakima simply because Thule just revamped their whole bike rack line and all of the newer models have 7" of space between the cradles and the cradles are a lower profile while means loading and unloading your bikes will be much easier.

The Thule bike racks have a lot in common and so there are just minor differences like locks, the hitch pin works easier, or the tilting/folding features are easier to use. Out of all of them I really like the Helium Pro 3 # TH9043PRO because it is an aluminum rack with the newer style cradles/straps, and it is just super easy to use. I have attached a review video for you to check out.

I didn't see any reviews about complaints with the newer Thule straps but I can say that I've used both many times and I prefer the newer straps. The older straps had specific spacing between the holes and so at times you were stuck with the strap being too lose (so the bike will have some movement) or the strap being way too tight (puts stress on the bike). The newer style uses a ratcheting system that makes it easy to fit the size and shape of your various bike frames. Just makes sure that none of your bikes weighs more than 37-1/2 lbs so the bike rack isn't overloaded. If any of your bikes do weigh more let me know and we can explore other options.

It also sounds like you'll be needing to use a few adapter bars to help keep your bikes level while traveling. The Thule Adapter Bar # TH982XT is my recommendation because it has the widest adjustment range so you can be confident it will fit your application.

Please note that if your 1-1/4" hitch receiver is a Class I then you'll only be able to safely carry 2 bikes as the 3rd bike will sit too far away and add too much stress to the receiver. You need at least a Class II for 3 or more bikes.

expert reply by:
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Jon G

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