Bike rack and hitch advice needed

Discussion in 'Prime Accessories and Modifications' started by pkluttik, Jul 9, 2018.

  1. pkluttik

    pkluttik New Member

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    We have 2 bikes and they don't fit into the body of the 2 2017 prius primes we own. So one needs a bike rack. We've discovered that a hitch is the only option with the curvy window issue in the back, so we will be getting a 1 1/4 inch receiver for a bike rack. We have good bikes and love the prius. Does anyone have any advice regarding which rack would be good for this car?

    I'm wondering if the clearance is enough since the back seems low.

    Also wondering about the weight limit for the hitch and rack plus 2 bikes. Is it too much for the car?

    Thanks!
     
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  2. Windhorse23

    Windhorse23 Junior Member

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    Did anybody ever respond, or did you get some good answers you could share? I'm in the same situation. Thanks!
     
  3. Windhorse23

    Windhorse23 Junior Member

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    PS I have a Prius Prime 2017 with the curvey window. I need to update my profile. I traded in the 2012 PIP.
     
  4. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    I have a 1upUSA bike rack for our other car. We haven't got a hitch on the Toyota yet so I can't offer any specific fit advice. On the other hand there's not much to it. I can't see anything about it that works against installing one on a Prius.

    The 1up is just incredible hardware. They aren't cheap, but they make all the Thules and Yakimas look like rattling heaps of erector set parts. Tough, light weight, easy to fold up and store off the car when you don't need it.
     
  5. lextoy

    lextoy Active Member

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    not sure if you have considered it, but what about the roof rack style carrier for bikes?? i never liked all that extra stuff hanging off the back on a single point hitch type rack.
     
  6. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Rooftop is safer for an investment-grade bike. Hitch is better for easier mount/dismount access and higher MPG when carrying.
     
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  7. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    FWIW...

    I 100% agree with using 1UP USA and a 1-1/4" receiver and did on our 2010 and 2015. We did the single with the add on. While the 2017 Prime is slightly different as it applies, I would not then or now chance damaging a car's finish loading and unloading any priced bike on the roof.
     
  8. bruceha_2000

    bruceha_2000 Senior Member

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    I agree, lifting bikes up on top of the car is asking for "incidents". Much easier to hide them behind the car, much less drag and noise as well. I'm planning to get this hitch, no current need for a bike rack but I will get a cargo tray.
    2018 Toyota Prius Prime Trailer Hitch - Draw-Tite
     
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  9. m8547

    m8547 Senior Member

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    Don't get a 1 1/4" hitch. It's not sturdy enough for the load a bike rack puts on it.

    I have a 2-inch Ecohitch. Torklift Central | 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Stealth EcoHitch It's a little more expensive than most hitches, but it's really solidly built.

    I have a 1up USA rack. I've had up to two bikes on the Prime, and it's no problem at all. I think three would be OK if the suspension doesn't sag too much, and if you're not driving at night (the headlights will point up in the air), and if you're not going on rough roads.

    On my last small car I had a 1 1/4 hitch, and the weight of three bikes plus the rack bent the hitch. The hitch was not very solidly built. The metal used on the Ecohitch is probably twice as thick, and it mounts with eight bolts instead of three.

    I used to have a 1 1/4" 1up USA rack, and on one trip with three bikes on rough dirt roads the aluminum fatigued where the hitch bar was welded to the frame of the rack. It's just too much torque on a 1 1/4" bar even if it's solid aluminum. It has a lifetime warranty, so 1up USA replaced that part for free.

    I recently upgraded to a 2-inch 1up USA rack, and it's amazing how much less flex there is in the rack. It's totally solid whether it's on my SUV or on my Prime.
     
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  10. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    For those inclined to carry more...the 2" receiver is better. However, I have hauled the 2 bike 1UP USA, a 5x9 utility w/ramp and 5x8 cargo (with loads) using the 1-1/4" receiver on extended trips without issue.
     
  11. bruceha_2000

    bruceha_2000 Senior Member

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    MAybe it wasn't the 1 1/4" size but the design/build/materials that caused the problem?
     
  12. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    I guess you can break anything on the right trail or obstacle. If you're going that far off road you'd probably want a more advanced design with multiple attachment points.

    I've had the loaded 1up down some nasty washboard beach trails with nary a rattle, but I don't generally go further off road than that.
     
  13. PriumCamper

    PriumCamper New Member

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    If you have not look already you can get a few different 1 1/4" hitches from e-trailer online. We have the Curt for our 2012. They have one for your 2017 for $150. Have used it for 3 years with 3 bikes and a Thule Helium bike rack. Probably 135-140lbs in weight. No issues. Also started pulling a utility trailer this year. 1 1/4" is just fine your your needs.
     
  14. avongil

    avongil Junior Member

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    I agree with this - have 1.25", two bike are ok. I would certainly get the 2" - you have more options with it.
     
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  15. avongil

    avongil Junior Member

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    I have this one, it's only 50 bucks more than the one you are looking at and I think its way better. Transfer - Kuat Racks

    It's fairly safe to put two bikes on it. it has 1.25" hardware regardless if you have a 2" hitch or 1.25"
    It also folds out of the way when you are at your destination and do not want to remove the rack. Easier to mount bikes on it since you step through it and there is no awkward thing you have to muscle the bike over.

    Note that this was not my first choice. If I was going x country or on bad roads all the time, I do not feel that 1.25" hardware is rugged enough. If you search for 5 bike hitch mounted bike racks on amazon and read the reviews you will see many failures. You find some for 4 bike hitches also.

    If you do some stress calcs on just the 1.25" hardware (other parts are probably the weak link depending on the rack) the factor of safety is not bad. 3x to 6x for most things with 2 bikes roughly just by eyeballing the overhang and the max listed weights. I really stressed over buying a rack, I don't want to kill a family behind us. With a repetitive shock loading application you should design the part for 10x or more if you want to ensure no failures. So I would say most racks are adequate. Not great - adequate... They probably wont be used that much, and the Prius has great suspension. With one of these bike racks at max capacity mounted to a camper (harsh suspension) it is only a matter of time before failure.

    The Kuat is pretty beefy for a two bike rig. I also purchased their product because I felt they were responsible for not offering anything over 2 bike capacity for a 1.25" hitch.

    The previous recommendations for a 2" hitch and the awesome racks I would certainly consider if you are going to use them alot and long distance or bad roads. I'm happy with the Kuat Transfer but its no aerospace quality product.

    The upside of the cheaper hitches is the installation time. I did not realize until someone pointed it out that it is a lengthy job to install that 2" hidden hitch.

    Pics of the transfer and the curt hitch. The transfer is $300 and the Curt 1.25" hitch is $125

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/AMG2s9R1NH7XzHyT9
     
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  16. jb in NE

    jb in NE Senior Member

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    I would be interested in this calc if you still have it.
     
  17. m8547

    m8547 Senior Member

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    Is installation that much different? Installing the 2 inch Ecohitch was pretty difficult because it fits between the metal bumper and the unibody. But it looks like the 1.25" hitches on etrailer mount the same way and are listed as a 10/10 difficulty.

    I never did a calculation, but one of the biggest problems I saw was torque on the 1.25" bar, and on whatever anti rattle mechanism that keeps it from twisting. As the bike rack rocks side to side the torque creates a huge force on a relatively small bar. The interface was probably never designed for twisting or levered loads like bike racks.

    One thing that helped a surprising amount was a metal shim that takes up almost all the extra space between the rack and the hitch. Even with an anti rattle mechanism, taking up the extra space seems to help a lot.
     
  18. PJRpriusV15

    PJRpriusV15 New Member

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    What is the weight of each bike?
     
  19. avongil

    avongil Junior Member

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    same thing... brain malfunction. did not realize 4th gen.
     
  20. PJRpriusV15

    PJRpriusV15 New Member

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    It’s called a hitch lock, all it is is a 2” wide x 3”long U-bolt that has a 1/4” thick x 2”wide x 4”long metal plate that has a 1/4” lip on one of the long sides of the plate. The U-bolt goes over your bike rack the metal plate has two holes that the u-bolt goes through and I use two lock nuts and washers, the metal plate with the lip goes to the back of the car and the flat part of plate goes on the hitch about 1/4”. Some people put the u-bolt hanging down but if you bottom out on a steep driveway the threads will get mashed so I put mine to the side ( you might have to grind a bit off of plate so it doesn’t hit plastic bumper) when you have the u-bolt set where you want it and the washers and nuts are on start tightening up the nuts make sure you get them even and as tight as you can. What this does is it pulls the u-bolt snug against the the bike rack so the only thing that is going to be loose on the back of your car is your bikes, but make sure that they are strapped down to the carrier and then use bungee cords to tighten the bikes to the hitch rings that will stop your bikes from swaying back and forth when you stop or take off.
     
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