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Old 03-31-2015, 09:36 PM   #1
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Heavy bikes, toad, oh my (!?!)

Hey all,

So here's the deal. We're trying to have our wagon, a Subaru Impreza, outfitted for towing by a shop back home while we drive our new class A back to said home over the next few weeks. Before we left, we dropped off the car and a shiny new Kuat bike rack plus extender for them to work on.

Shop is supposed to install tow plate, blue ox towbar, braking system, and arrange a dual hitch (not sure if that's the right word) so that the rack can go above the tow bar. Shop also agreed to put a hitch on the back of the Subaru for flexibility with said bike rack.

Today I get word that "this isn't going to work." The rack itself is about three feet long with its extender. It weighs maybe 80 pounds. In addition, I have four bikes I'd potentially like to bring. Two are commuter ebikes, each weighing about 50 pounds. One is a mountain ebike that weighs 35lb. And one is my road bike that weighs about 18lb. I realize this is a lot of heavy bikes; that's why we picked the Kuat.

First of all, can anyone see a way that this is feasible? Is there a tongue weight issue if we put the rack on a split receiver up above the tow bar? Is there a clearance issue for the tow bar with doing that? Shop is suggesting that the tow car would require a "huge four or five foot extension" which is apparently untenable. Shop also thinks it will be too much to install a class 2 hitch on the back of the Subaru for mounting the rack there.

I don't have any experience with any of these things, but I also don't have reason not to believe them. I know some of you have used the Kuat (without a toad, as far as I can see) and many of you have used other racks (that honestly don't look strong enough for our big heavy bikes with nontraditional frames and, in some cases, front forks that don't have quick-release wheels), but I don't know if we're in the twilight zone here or if my shop is just overreacting.




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Old 04-01-2015, 12:49 AM   #2
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roof rack on the car....

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Old 04-01-2015, 06:17 AM   #3
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Mount the bike rack on hitch on the back of the Subaru. Thats what we do with our on our jeep.
Ken & Kay and Airedales Johnny and Lacy
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Old 04-01-2015, 06:41 AM   #4
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That would be too much weight for a car hitch on that Subie. So, I don't know except for mabey a roof mount. Or, just take 2 bikes.
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Old 04-01-2015, 06:53 AM   #5
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I bought this from Amazon and had it modified by a local welding shop.


I raised the top part by 4" because the blue ox hitch would not stow underneath. I only carry 2 regular bicycles. You might have to split your bikes up to carry all that weight.
2007 Fleetwood Bounder 38V
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Old 04-01-2015, 07:06 AM   #6
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I think 4 bikes off the back of the coach, while towing a car, is going to leave a nice amount of damage on the toads hood.

I don't know why it wouldn't work off the back of the car. Unless they can't get the right hitch foe the car.
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Old 04-01-2015, 07:12 AM   #7
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I have a 4-bike rack on the back of my toad... like this:

It's hard to see in that picture, but the bike rack extends behind the Jeep quite a bit.

I installed turn signal and brake lights on the end of that bike rack too so that other drivers are aware of it. Maybe overkill, but especially at night, I worry about others' attentiveness.
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2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Toad w/ Blue Ox Aventa tow bar and M&G Braking System
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Old 04-01-2015, 07:49 AM   #8
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2 bikes on the roof & 2 bikes on a hitch mount on your toad.
2011 40' Monaco Cayman PBQ ISC 360
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Old 04-01-2015, 08:25 AM   #9
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One option may be to attach a separate 2" receiver to one of the 2 main rails of the chassis. You can then use an offset hitch to raise it above the toad. It would be completely independent of the toad hitch.

I did something similar to this. I made a spare tire carrier that I also carry heavy dog X-Pens for my wife's dogs. The spare tire carrier swings down so the tire is closer to the ground for loading, if I dump air & raise the front of the coach the tire is easy to get off. Total carrying weight is in excess of 500 lbs. It is high enough so that I have clearance to pull my Jeep GC, I do have to use an extension on the Jeep.

I mounted 2 receivers, one on each of the chassis rails, 2' long. I then used an dual offset receiver and then a heavy clevis type receiver on each side. I then made a cross beam that I can remove and/or by pulling one of the heavier pins and swivel it out of the way. This gives me the ability to swing the whole thing out of the way to be able to lift my engine hatch cover for full access, there is enough room to just lift the hatch to inspect and check engine oil. I also put an extra receiver on the cross beam which gives me a place to store my Blue Ox or I could put something else. See pictures
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Old 04-01-2015, 08:54 AM   #10
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my Allen (off the shelf at walmart) 4 bike rack sits
on TOP of my regular 8" 'drop' receiver which makes
it a 'double' receiver(Reese brand) - works fine, and
bikes never touch my toad
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Old 04-01-2015, 09:20 AM   #11
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Since a Class A RV has a long distance from rear axle to the bumper, forces are greatly increased by lever action.

I'd really suggest, as others have, of putting 2 bikes on a roof rack of the toad and 2 bikes on the rear bumper of the toad. Our Subaru Forester has a class III hitch and it rated to tow 3,000 lbs with brakes. This means a tongue weight well in excess of two bikes on a rack. A class II hitch should easily support two bikes, 4 might be a bit much with the length of the bike rack so far extended to the rear. (lever effect again)

Bob & Donna
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Old 04-01-2015, 10:30 PM   #12
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2 roof and 2 rear is best

There is not much frame in the back of the subaru and sure you could make something work for some time....

but eventually 400lbs bouncing will cause it to fail.... or a front rack on the RV would be the other option... (city bus may not be the look you are going for!)

I have sold lots of racks years ago and done lots of insurance claims for bikes falling off or going into undergrounds etc..
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Old 04-01-2015, 10:36 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the helpful suggestions.

After further analysis, it looks like dealer may have found a hitch extension that's long enough so that the toad can clear the rack. Moreover, we're going to plan on only putting two bikes on the coach unless it just seems really rock solid and stable. (The math suggests that we can put four bikes on there, but it's close and we'd have a huge lever arm.)

We're going to assemble all this on Friday and see what comes of it. I'll be sure to report back, with pictures -- perhaps of all my bikes scattered around the freeway smashed into bits.
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Old 04-01-2015, 10:40 PM   #14
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Oh, and to clarify: we believe the Subaru can't take the full weight of all four bikes plus the rack. Just too much weight levered out there in space. It might also compromise the driving of the car for all I know. We could probably get by with it for short shuttles to the trailhead, but crosscountry driving is a no go.

If push comes to shove, I will break down and leave one bike home, break down my road bike and store it under the coach or in the toad, and just put the two ebikes on the rack. That's the worst case, backup plan.

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