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Thule Apex XT4 VS Yakima Ridgeback 4 On A 2017 Toyota Highlander

Question:

I am looking for a bike rack for 2017 Toyota Highlander with # C13200 Both Thule Apex XT4 and Yakima ridgeback 4 appears to be similar in features and price. Which one should I buy? I am hoping to carry 3 bikes on a long road trip. Thanks

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Expert Reply:

Since you have the Curt Trailer Hitch Receiver - Custom Fit - Class III - 2" Item # C13200 on your 2017 Toyota Highlander you aren't limited to a certain type of rack because your hitch is a class III hitch receiver. Both the Thule Apex XT 4 Bike Rack for 1-1/4" and 2" Hitches - Tilting Item # TH9025XT and the Yakima RidgeBack 4 Bike Rack - 1-1/4" and 2" Hitches - Tilting Item # Y02458 will work with your hitch.

Both racks are pretty similar, they both tilt away, both are compatible with two different hitch sizes, both will carry 4 bikes. Where they differentiate is how the bikes mount to the rack. Yes, both have the same style mounting system but the RidgeBack uses the Yakima Zip Strips. These are completely removable from the two top cradles and the anti-sway cradle. I am not a fan of the Zip Strips. I'm not a fan because I misplace things quite often and that's just another thing to lose. If you lose them when you're at the trail or something you won't be able to get your bike back!

That's just a little thing that I personally have found to be a negative to the Yakima racks that use the Zip Strips, but it is still a solid rack and we do carry replacements # Y8890297 if you did misplace a couple. If it were me I would go with the Thule Apex XT4 because the straps stay on the rack but also the Apex comes with both a hitch lock and cable lock for your bikes. The Yakima RidgeBack only locks the rack to the hitch so you would have to purchase one separate.

If you go with the Thule Apex XT4 you won't have to buy anything extra at all, if you wanted to go all out I say grab the swing away version # TH9027XT! It's pretty neat because you can still sit down under your rear hatch with the bikes completely out of your way. I love the swing away system on any type of vehicle just because its so nice to have a little prep station in the back of the vehicle before or after the ride.

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Adam E

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