Archive for the ‘Hitch Bike Racks’ Category

New Racks

Friday, December 19th, 2008

We have done it this time. Over the next few months we will be adding several new racks. Hitch bike racks, cargo carriers, roof racks, ski racks, from our current suppliers like softride and swagman however we are truly excited to offer Thule hitch bike racks and accessories. So, keep checking as we add more new racks all of the time.

Hitch Bike Racks Save Gas!

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

We’ve always been fans of hitch bike racks, but we came across another reason that we hadn’t thought of. One of our customers recently did an experiment with gas mileage while carrying bikes. We were surprised at the results and thought we’d share them.

Brian Johnson drives a 2006 Toyota Prius and was looking for a solution for carrying two bikes. He started with a roof rack and measured the resulting impact on mileage. The empty bike racks on his roof caused his mileage to drop between 1-2 mpg. When driving with his bikes on the rack he found that the mileage dropped by nearly 10 mpg!

He does a lot of driving and decided to try a hitch rack to see what the impact would be. He bought the Toyota Prius Trailer Hitch and a Softride Versa hitch bike rack and started tracking the mileage. The impact of the rack without bikes on it was not measurable, as it is in the wind shadow of the car. When the bikes were on the hitch bike rack, the mileage only dropped by about 4 mpg, a savings of 6 mpg!

Now, it’s not as if you’re going to retire on the savings, but at $4 per gallon, every mpg matters! We decided to calculate a scenario to put into perspective. Let’s say you go on three 250 mile family biking trips per year. Plus, you drive your car 15k miles a year and get 45 mpg on average.

That give 750 miles driven with bikes for a savings of 3.1 gallons of gas by using a hitch bike rack. The extra roof rack drag adds an additional 15.5 gallons of gas over the 15k miles. At $4 a gallon, having the hitch rack would save $75 per year, or $375 over five years of ownership. Not bad! Who knows what it would be with a car that is less efficient than a Prius?

If anyone else out there has a knack for science and wants to log some miles, let us know what you come up with.

Best value bike racks, Softride Access Racks

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

The old adage is “ you get what you pay for”. Isn’t that what shopping is all about, paying the least amount for the best product available? If you already know what you want you can shop for the best price. What if you don’t know exactly what you want? It’s OK, this blog will help you decide. If shopping or the idea of shopping for a bike rack has worn you out but you still want the best value, go with one of Softride’s Access racks. The inovation, quality, design, and price of these bike racks clearly sets them apart from the competition. Today’s entry I will introduce two styles of Softride hitch mount bike racks. Choose the Softride rack that fits you and your bikes the best, and you can rest assured that you are getting the most for your money.

Lets start with the Access Dura 4 bike hitch mounted rack.
Softride Bike Rack loadedSoftride Bike Rack lowered

As you can see in the images it is constructed out of Powder-Coated Steel for strength & corrosion resistance and the Patented Parallelogram Design allows for easy rear vehicle access

Some of the features you can not see in the images are:

• Spring Loaded Pull Pin Release for Easy Maneuverability Up & Down
• QuietRide™ Locking & Tightening Anti-Rattle Technology
• Super Reinforced Top Plate

• Holds Four Bikes or 150 lbs
• Accommodates Children & Adult Bicycles
• Includes Padded Anti-Sway Cradles & Rubber Straps
• End-of-Arm Safety Reflectors for Nighttime Visibility
• Integrated Cable Lock Included

This rack has a MSRP of $279.99 we sell it for $251.99
The other style option in Softride hitch mounted bike racks is the Access Versa. The Versa Rack will accommodate bikes of many different styles that are not as compatible with the cross bar cradle type of rack.
Softride Bike Rack loadedSoftride Bike Rack lowered

Looking at the pictures you can see the anodized Aluminum extrusion and the Powder-Coated Steel construction. The Access Versa Rack is the most compact and lightweight receiver mounted rack available. This rack holds two bikes and the telescoping tubes adjust to fit your bikes size. It folds up when you are not using it. Just like the Access Dura Rack the Versa has spring loaded pull pin release for easy tilt up & down

 and QuietRide™ locking & tightening anti-rattle technology.

The Access Versa Rack has an MSRP of $299.99 we sell it for $269.99
These two hitch racks are not the cheapest in their field but, they are close to ½ the cost of the bigger name brands. The most expensive is not always the best. So, you don’t need to shop, Softride Access hitch mounted bike racks are the best value.

Choosing a Hitch Bike Rack

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

Most bike racks fit into one of three categories: 1 hitch mounted, 2 roof mounted,  and 3 trunk mounted.   A few (usually designed for high-end, recumbent, or tandem bikes) combine features from multiple categories, others are designed for pick-ups, inside SUV’s, or to mount on the spare tire or ladder on the back of a van.  Because we are trailer hitch specialists and the mind-boggling number of products on the market, I will be focusing on hitch bike racks.  Hitch mounted bike racks are easiest to install, take the least effort to load bikes onto, are extremely versatile, and deliver the greatest value.  What that means is, you can easily load bikes and go without breaking the bank.  Simple consideration prior to purchasing a rack will help you narrow the field down to a hand full of choices that can fulfill your needs.  Understanding product features and benefits will be the key to finding the rack that fits you,  your vehicle, and your bikes best.  In this article I will discuss some considerations that will help you select a rack,  and the various types of hitch mounted bike racks available.  So, let’s start by looking at what we already have. 

First, what type of vehicle do you have?   Starting with your vehicle is the first step in choosing any style of bike rack however, since we are focusing on hitch racks, examining  what type of hitch we will be connecting to is more important than the type of vehicle.  One of the beauties of hitch bike racks is that they are easily interchangeable between vehicles.  

Second, how often will you use the bike rack?  Everyday use is far more demanding than once a year, while I am on vacation, use.  If you plan to keep your rack for a long time, it’s worth it to buy a higher end rack.

Third, how important is the security of your bike and rack?  In the city you will want to keep everything locked up to prevent someone from walking away with your gear.  On the other hand, convenience is more important in isolated areas.  Most hitch rack manufacturers provide locking hitch pins with the bike rack. 

Fourth, what type of bike / bikes will you need to carry?  If your bike is a recumbent, tandem or if the frame is a unique size you can narrow the field.  

Fifth, is versatility.  Is carrying other gear (ski / snowboards or kayaks) on the same rack or moving the rack to multiple vehicles in the plans.  This is all possible with the right rack. 

Last but not least, the budget.  Finding a rack that offers the most in quality, function, and value is the goal. 

Hitch bike racks

If your vehicle already has a trailer hitch you can begin choosing a rack.  The cost of adding a hitch is a  concern for people without one on their vehicle.  Installing it yourself is easy and it can help you stay within your budget.   

Hitch racks start under $90.00, find an average price of around $250.00 to $300.00 and plateau at $500.00 to $800.00 for top of the line and specialty versions. Hitch bike racks mount 4 different ways.  The largest selection comes in the most common mounting style where the rack slides directly inside of a 2” trailer hitch receiver and uses a hitch pin to secure it in place.   Many of the options available for the 2” style mount are are also available for a 1.25” trailer hitch receiver.  The third and forth styles are designed for specific applications.   One is designed to allow simultaneous rack use and towing.  A towing rack slides over a 2” ball mount instead of replacing it.  It is not the only way to allow for rack use and towing but, offers an easy cost effective solution.  The final design bolts directly to the hole in the ball mount

Beyond how they connect to your vehicle  hitch racks come in different bicycle mounting styles, top bar cradle, wheel tray, and combination fork mount/wheel tray.   Top bar cradle is most common and allow for bikes (2-5).  Y bikes and women’s bikes may hang crooked or require adaptors. These hitch racks are easy to use, simply set your bike in the cradle and strap or clamp it in tight.  Many of the popular top bar cradle bike racks can be converted into ski and snowboard carriers as well.  Prices for top bar cradle racks varies but,  from $100.00 to $180.00 you can get 2 and 3 bike stationary racks and $200.00 to $300.00 for 5 bike and tilt away hitch racks (Top of the line retail about $400.00).  Wheel tray hitch racks accommodate recumbents, children’s bikes, downhill, cruisers, full suspension, bmx, Y frames and much more without hassle. Top models allow for up to 4 bikes.  Prices for wheel tray racks start around $100.00 to $150.00 for a 2 bike fixed hitch rack.  $200.00 – $275.00 steps up to features like tilt away and 4 bike racks.  Top of the line retail is around $300.00 – $400.00  The combination fork mount/wheel tray work for all bikes, require the front wheel be removed and get expensive.  This type of rack keeps your bike most secure and effects vehicle performance the least. They are essentially a roof style rack that slides into a trailer hitch receiver. The combination racks start at around $400.00 for a 2 bike rack, $475.00 to $550.00 for 4 and 5 bikes ($850.00 for top of the line retail). 

Why I like hitch bike racks

Simplicity.  Just slide it into your trailer hitch and you’re ready to go.  If you can lift your bike off of the ground you can secure it to the rack.  Less chance of scratching or denting the vehicle.  They are not vehicle specific and transfer easily from one vehicle to another. There is an application for everyone. The bottom line is that a hitch rack is more secure and less damaging to your vehicle than a trunk mount, even if you do not have a hitch on your vehicle you can get a one, and a bike rack for less than most decent roof racks.  They are easier to use and you can take them with you as you change your vehicle. This is the first blog on hitch racks.  I will be following it up weekly with topics like new products side by side comparisons in each category, and specialty applications e.g. (recumbents or y frame).  

Here are some reviews:

XC 2-Bike Hitch Rack – 2″ by Chris Hibbitts Date Added: Saturday, April 19, 2008
Great bang for the buck. Needed to carry a step through frame and cross bar frame bike. Did not like the bike adapter bar idea with the single bar type hitch bike carriers. This bike rack is very solid and an excellent design. The bikes load and unload in seconds. With the center bar hold down the bikes cannot touch each other and are held solid. Could not ask for a better solution for carrying two bikes and the price is great also.

Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!]

If you have a topic you would like to discuss or information to share please contact us and let us know. Other wise until next time.