Trailer Hitch Mount Bike Rack that Can Tilt with Bikes On it for a 2012 Ford Explorer

Question:

I desire a two bike hitch mount rack that will tilt with the bikes on it and I still be able to open the hatch of my 2012 Explorer. Ideally the rack will accommodate 1 1/4 and 2inch hitches but if necessary I will settle for 2inch only. I really like the Thule TH9042 Helium but am concerned that I read in comments that the rack cannot be tilted with the bikes mounted to it. Is that really true for all vehicles? I can see that with a vehicle that is low to the ground that there would not be enough room for the rack to tilt with bikes still on it but with my vehicle with a factory installed receiver is almost 19inch above the ground it seems to me that there would be enough height to allow the two bikes to tilt down before hitting the ground therefore allowing the hatch to open. Perhaps I am missing something. Could you comment on this issue please.

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Helpful Expert Reply:

The issue with certain racks not being able to tilt with bikes attached is an issue with the racks themselves and not the vehicles. Ground clearance is typically not the problem but it is rack design and what racks are rated for that limits its abilities. You may end up damaging a rack and/or the bikes if you tried to tilt the rack down with the bikes attached.

Some racks will allow you to tilt them with bikes loaded but these are typically platform racks that have the wheels stabilized. For example the Thule T2 Classic, # TH9044, which is a platform style rack will tilt down with the bikes on it. However, there is still no guarantee that you will be able to fully open the rear hatch even with the rack tilted. We know it can be done on a 2012 Ford Edge, see video, but have not had the chance to try it on an Explorer.

If you want the most amount of access to the rear of the vehicle while still having the bikes loaded, I recommend a swinging bike rack like # TH9027XT. This rack will swing off to the side so you have complete access to the rear of the vehicle. This is a 4-bike rack only and will only fit a 2 inch hitch but if you want the most access to the rear of the vehicle, this is the best option.

helpful expert reply by:
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Michael H

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