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How Does Tongue Weight Work With 4 Bikes on a Class III Hitch?


My hitch that I added to my Honda Odyssey has a tongue weight of 525 lbs. My bike rack weight 125 lbs. Can I put 4 50lbs bikes on it? Does the 50lbs bike further from the number have more tongue weight the the one right next to it?


Expert Reply:

It sounds like you have a total load of 325 lbs which is within the hitch capacity of a hitch like # e98855 on your 2020 Honda Odyssey.

Tongue weight is the relevant capacity when it comes to bike racks because they put a vertical load on the hitch. When you add things further and further away from your hitch, then leverage becomes a factor. In your case, with a class 3 hitch like # e98855 and a bike rack like # HR1400Z, you're fine.

A good bike rack is designed to not just support your bikes but also balance their weight on your hitch. That's what makes heavy-duty bike racks even more impressive. That's also why you're supposed to put your heavy bikes closer to the hitch and your lighter ones at the end and not vice versa so that you can utilize the full potential of your rack.

As for your hitch, you're fine since leverage is only a really big problem in Class I hitches. It's the reason why you can't load more than two bikes on a Class I hitch even if they're technically within its weight capacity. But once you get to Class III hitches and above, you don't need to worry about leverage anymore and can just focus on their stated towing and tongue weight capacity.

Of course, still try to distribute the weight as evenly as possible to get the most out of your equipment. If you're worried about your rack's weight or plan to drive off road or on bumpy terrain, you can pick up Curt Stabilizing Straps # 18050 which will help with weight distribution and prevent bouncing. I highly recommend using these straps since your 325 lb load comes close to the 350 lb capacity of your 2020 Honda Odyssey.

expert reply by:
Evangeline M

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