4 Bike Carrier for 2010 Prius

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Accessories and Modifications' started by Jpstewart19, May 9, 2011.

  1. Jpstewart19

    Jpstewart19 New Member

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    I been doing a lot of research here and online and am looking for a way to transport 4 bikes with my 2010 Prius. I have 2 kids, 10 & 12 so their bikes are fairly decent sized and since they will be in the car, loading bikes inside the car is not an option.

    Based on my research, it seems my only options are a roof mounted Thule or Yakima, but for $700+, it seems like a really pricey option.

    I was considering a hitch, but it seems like they are all Class I and not recommended for 4 bikes.

    Anyone have any suggestions or other options?

    Thanks in Advance.
     
  2. nickfromny

    nickfromny Member since 2007

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    Thule and get fork mount trays and seperate front wheel carriers. Don't spend $ on the locks. You will have to 69 the bikes/wheels to fit on Prius. Still using these bike carriers 25+ years. So are most bike race team carrier cars/vans. Prius hitch would not hold one bike well. Too much leverage would tear it off frame. Mabey you can rent bikes once you get there. Getting my girls off the beach towels to ride was always a chore.
     
  3. Jpstewart19

    Jpstewart19 New Member

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    Thanks Nick, i cant believe what a mission this has become. Has anyone tried 4 on the roof?
     
  4. artnc

    artnc Junior Member

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    Tear one bike off the frame if using a hitch? Please elaborate. I just put ona curt hitch contemplating getting a platform carrier (about 35 pounds) for 2 cruiser bikes that are about 35 lbs each. I had read other posts of people who used various hitch mount bicycle carriers and this is the first time I heard of the potential problem you describe. Again, please elaborate and let me know if you can why you think that a hitch mount carrier will not work and actually you imply it will cause damage? thanks
     
  5. sa68ta

    sa68ta New Member

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    I did. But I was feeling little uncomfortable with all this load on the roof.
     

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  6. nickfromny

    nickfromny Member since 2007

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    Better on the roof between the axles vs behind the rear end of the car. Hitch rack puts incredible leverage on the hitch and rear of car. A strong 2" reciver is needed. I damaged 1.5" hitch and rear undercarrige of Honda 2 seater I 0wned when using hitch rack. The cheap strap 2 bike carriers rest on glass/metal and work OK. That bike rack set up looks great. I would get wider bars and use fork mount trays with seperate wheel carriers. Its a Stronger set up. Aero feet rack is almost strong enough to use to tow the car so it will hold the bikes.
     
  7. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    That rack setup is impressive. However, I am currently using a rear, hanging 4 bike rack on a hitch. I installed the Quality S hitch, which has a 2" receiver and fits the rack. Agree with last poster that the leverage is quite high, which is why I wanted a 2", but with some stuff also in the trunk the extra weight on the rear axle is definitely noticeable. The current load is two adult mountain bikes and two kids' bikes, though the kids' bikes are pretty darn heavy since they are made out of the cheapest pig iron on the planet.

    I would have done a roof approach but it was far more expensive.
     
  8. mgb4tim

    mgb4tim Noob

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    you gotta let me know how the 4-bike setup goes. I'll probably be doing much the same next summer
     
  9. revhigh

    revhigh MPG Enthusiast

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    You're kidding, right ? That's about the most absurd statement I've ever heard.

    There is NO WAY that one bike or 4 on a hitch mounted carrier would bother the Prius or the Class 1 hitch bolted to it. PERIOD. I have one, and have transported 3 mountain bikes many times, used a hitch haul carrier with 100+ pounds of gear on it, and towed a 6 X 10 landscape trailer with 2 yards of mulch on it a few times (for short distances) as well. A Class 1 hitch is as good and as solid on a Prius as it is on any other car.

    Rip the hitch off the car ? If you've ever installed a hitch, you'd realize how ridiculous this sounds. I would challenge you to 'rip a hitch off a car' with almost any reasonable tools or by standing on it (or whatever), let alone a few bicycles on a hitch mounted rack.

    I have a Curt 1.5 inch (Class 1) hitch with a 9 inch long 1.5-2 inch adaptor for my bike rack. The 1.5 inch to 2 inch adaptor is a solid 1.5 inch piece of square bar steel welded inside a 2 inch female adaptor, giving the 2 inch opening. It gets the bikes a little farther from the car, thus increasing leverage even a little more, and is as solid as a rock. I weigh 250 and can stand and bounce on the adaptor with no issues whatsoever.

    I'd say if you damaged a hitch or a car as you say ... either the hitch was not the correct hitch, it was improperly installed, or the car (or it's frame) was rusted beyond repair.

    There is absolutely NO WAY you would damage a Prius or the hitch with 4 bicycles on a hitch mounted carrier.


    REV
     
  10. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    It does seem unlikely the hitch would rip out of the car except under dire circumstances. It's held in place using two pretty beefy steel bolts (per side), through the exact same holes as the tie down area that is used if it's carried around on a flat bed truck. Even though leverage exerts a lot of force on these the pull out strength of a 3/8" (?) bolt must be many hundreds of pounds each.

    The only "testing" I did on my Quality S hitch was after hanging the four-bike carrier I hung on it (200 lbs of pure "muscle" ;)), though I admit I didn't try bouncing up and down on it, more because I expect my bike carrier would fail before the hitch. The hitch claims 200 lbs tongue weight fwiw, but there are always huge safety buffers in these kinds of numbers.
     
  11. revhigh

    revhigh MPG Enthusiast

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    Exactly ..... neither the bike carrier, the hitch, OR the car is going to fail from some bikes on a hitch mounted carrier. The whole concept is patently absurd.

    REV
     
  12. mgb4tim

    mgb4tim Noob

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    Sooo, your saying it's OK? :cool:
     
  13. bmott

    bmott New Member

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    I recently had UHaul install a hitch on my 2007 Prius, bought a hitch mounted Thule bike carrier for 4 bikes and had no problem for the first few weeks with two bikes. Then I put on four for a short trip, and later that day transported two, one adult and one kids bike. The kids bike somehow came off the rack but didn't drag b/c lock kept it off the ground. I was perplexed b/c I knew I had strapped it on safely. That night, driving home down interstate, I carefully strapped on two bikes again. This time my bike came off the rack and dragged on highway for about 200 meters while I tried to pull over. Needless to say the bike got heavily damaged, and I'm returning the bike rack to the store b/c I don't think I can trust that type of rack on the back of my Prius knowing I'd done it all properly. I'd never heard of this before and would assume if someone told me that they'd obviously been a bit careless with the straps but I know 100% that I strapped the bike/s on very tightly and yet it still somehow came off. I'll not be using that hitch on the Prius ever again. One other thing, I noticed a huge drop in gas mileage with the bike rack. Usually on highway, at least, I get about 50 mpg; with the hitch and only two bikes, I got about 33 mpg.
     
  14. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    Which hitch exactly? FWIW I was able to muster mid/high 40's with four bikes on a hitch at 40-50 mph speeds common to driving around hilly/mountainous areas of NY.

    When I attach my bikes I have some additional bungee cords. You just honestly cannot over-bungee. I always have some spare bungees in my trunks of all cars, too.
     
  15. mgb4tim

    mgb4tim Noob

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    Skoob-what bike rack are you using? Going to start out hauling bikes with the wife's SUV (her hitch is coming this week), then progress to the Prius once I get hitch for it.
     
  16. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    Walmart.com: Deluxe 4-Bike Carrier for 2" Hitch: Bikes & Riding Toys

    Paid $99 in the store, geeez, they are up to a 5 bike version now. Walmart.com: Allen Deluxe Hitch-Mounted 5-Bike Carrier for 2'' Receiver Hitches: Bikes & Riding Toys

    These take 2" receivers. Adapters do exist but will weaken the contact. Whether critically or not I have no idea.

    In Walmart the other day I saw different ones by a different brand for $150 and were still 4 bike hitches but had two V pillars coming up from the hitch area and the bikes kind of hung on them instead.

    The 4 bike version is well reviewed on Amazon. A few people have had it bend and fail in other ways. All I can say is with two adult bikes closest to the tower and two kids' bikes (smaller but they are heavy for the size) I've not had issues.

    I will say that I often see people loading up pickups, trailers, etc. and then driving as if they are not towing anything, paying no heed whatsoever to bumps in the road, wind, physics, etc. so you're always going to have people flying over speed bumps even with something mounted on a hitch and it's possible the failures are from people like that. If I'm hauling something I'm more careful, that's common sense (one would hope).
     
  17. revhigh

    revhigh MPG Enthusiast

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    I have this one ... it tilts, which I needed for my previous RAV4. Costs a bit more, but all the bikes are locked.

    Folding 4 Bike Towing Rack for 2" Trailer Hitches - Swagman XP Swagman Hitch Bike Racks S64975

    Believe me ... if you install the bikes properly, THEY AREN"T GOING ANYWHERE .... period. If you've had bikes fall off and drag down the highway, then you didn't attach them properly. The Prius acts like it's not even there ... even with 4 bikes on it ... it probably gets a few less MPG, but nothing ridiculous in terms oif losses.

    REV
     
  18. txl146

    txl146 Member

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    I have a question for you guys with a hitch. Has dealer said anything about it when you brought your car in for service? I am worried that dealer may try to void the warranty when they see the hitch installed.

    Thanks,
     
  19. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    I haven't brought mine in for service since. For what it's worth I don't expect to get hassled. The manual says the thing has a 0 lb tow rating, but I'm not actually towing anything :)

    My car is leased. If I get rid of it in 18 months (and highly likely if I do it's only to get a plug-in!) I can remove the hitch quite easily and put back the normal tow straps.

    My understanding of warranties is that they are not all or nothing. For example, if you tell the dealer you use your car in races you'll likely void the powertrain, but if your radio breaks it should still be good. If you don't ever change the oil and want them to replace a busted engine they'll rightfully say no but if some unrelated component needs repair and is otherwise covered it should be fine.

    Remember that ultimately the dealer is a representative but does not have the final word, that is for Toyota. There are several manufacturers of hitches that fit only the Prius now and I'd like to think if toyota was rejecting people's warranty requests just because they'd carried a few bikes people would have heard of it.

    --

    BTW, the allen bike rack I have swivels also! That way it can be lowered without being taken off if one wants to get in the trunk. The idea of that one linked above that has the tow hitch behind so that you can tow and carry bikes is a nice idea but I guarantee it would obliterate the tongue weight limits in short order, plus the leverage on the hitch would be kind of insane!
     
  20. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    I researched further the warranty situation and I cannot find a single example of anybody actually contacting Toyota to find out their official position on warranty. A lot of people with "probably and maybe" responses like mine above.

    I bet in the owner's manual there is a section on warranty saying how certain parts if not authorized will not be covered and if they are responsible for another part breaking then you lose warranty on that part. This is fair, though, and also Toyota will have a hard time proving that your bike rack caused the power train to die (should it die).

    EDIT: I Just sent an email to Toyota. We'll see what they say. Unfortunately I expect a kind of wishy-washy answer, which is typically what customer service of any corporation says when the person answering realizes that they need to "CYA" :) Maybe not, though. Will respond to this thread if the response has any meat to it.