Hitch bike carrier questions

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10/5/2020 4:09 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/5/2020 4:10 AM

Got a new (to me) SUV and am going to put a hitch on and get a hitch mount bike carrier. Any experience on brands? I'm worried about the bolt on hitch handling the weight of the carrier/bike, highest tongue weight offered I've seen is 350 lbs. Looking at Uhaul brand, any other suggestions?

And is the Harbor Freight aluminum bike carrier worth a crap?

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10/5/2020 5:11 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/5/2020 5:18 AM

If all you’re going to haul are dirt bikes, this one will get the job done nicely. If you ever plan to haul a street bike, I’d go with the steel version. I have the steel version, and it has performed flawlessly for years.

https://www.discountramps.com/motorcycle-carrier/p/AMC-400/

What SUV are you mounting it on? If you can get a class 3 hitch installed, that will give you 800lb tounge weight. If I was going to use a hitch hauler, I wouldn’t go under a class 3 hitch. A class 2 with a 350 lb tounge weight should work just fine, but class 3 would offer more peace of mind.

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10/5/2020 5:15 AM

Friend of mine uses the HF one. It's holding up fine but we run a tie down over the bed to help support it and keep it from bouncing.

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2015 Kawasaki KX 250F
2015 GasGas TXT Racing 125
2015 Husqvarna TC 125
2018 KTM 150 XC-W

10/5/2020 5:26 AM

The black widow brand is pretty good, better quality then HF. Summit Racing sells them.

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10/5/2020 5:26 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/5/2020 5:27 AM

For the hitch, contact a dealer and see what they sell. Then look for aftermarket hitches with the same specs. 350lbs is plenty for most off-road bikes. Towing capacity is always understated, so no worries if you get close to the max.

For a hitch hauler, if you're gonna use it every weekend, the "Add-A-Bike" hauler with the single footpeg post is perfect. Load and unload the bike in 2 seconds, no straps. It's also very light. I've been using it for years hauling a KTM 250SX and I strap a 2-gallon gas can under the bike -- Daystar Cam Can (it's not technically rated for gas for legal reasons). This setup works great.

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10/5/2020 7:08 AM

I’ve used a ton of them. They all get the job done but I really like the ultimate mxhauler . Way expensive but it’s the only one I never worried about my bike on. Also doubles as a work stand at the track.

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10/5/2020 7:15 AM

quadzrulebro wrote:

If all you’re going to haul are dirt bikes, this one will get the job done nicely. If you ever plan to haul a street bike, I’d go with the steel version. I have the steel version, and it has performed flawlessly for years.

https://www.discountramps.com/motorcycle-carrier/p/AMC-400/

What SUV are you mounting it on? If you can get a class 3 hitch installed, that will give you 800lb tounge weight. If I was going to use a hitch hauler, I wouldn’t go under a class 3 hitch. A class 2 with a 350 lb tounge weight should work just fine, but class 3 would offer more peace of mind.

Mazda CX5, I haven't done a ton of digging, but if it's just mounted with 1/2" bolts, I'm not sure I could find a hitch that's rated for 800lb tongue weight. 350 should be fine, but it's close enough to make me think about it breaking off if I hit a big pothole...

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10/5/2020 7:26 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/5/2020 7:27 AM

davis224 wrote:

Mazda CX5, I haven't done a ton of digging, but if it's just mounted with 1/2" bolts, I'm not sure I could find a hitch that's rated for 800lb tongue weight. 350 should be fine, but it's close enough to make me think about it breaking off if I hit a big pothole...

I had a Mazda CX9, pretty similar with a 350lb tongue weight. I bought a hitch from etrailer.com and had an oil change shop install it for $50. I used a single and a double hitch hauler with it. The single was perfect. The double hauler would sometimes rub the ground when turning into parking lots or driveways with hills. You'll be fine.

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10/5/2020 7:36 AM

I had the same experience as Brian9. You may want to look into air shocks for the rear of the suv. My old jalopy 1999 Escalade really sagged with a 2 bike hualer. Still sagged more than I would like with one bike on it.

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10/5/2020 7:40 AM

I've been using the Harbor Freight one for a couple of years... over 100 days of use and it's held up fine. Super solid, almost no movement when driving.

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10/5/2020 8:09 AM

Read the reviews from actual customers,
https://www.rockymountainatvmc.com/parts/all-jacked-up-switch-hauler-with-foot-peg-restraint-p
While RM is presently out of stock, you might be able to get one earlier by going direct.

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www.alljackedupinc.com home of the Switch Hauler, the only modular hauling system www.sprocketstuff.com home of the Counter Sprocket Tool

10/5/2020 8:11 AM

I had one for years the double one and never had an issue with it.

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10/5/2020 8:17 AM

str8line wrote:

I've been using the Harbor Freight one for a couple of years... over 100 days of use and it's held up fine. Super solid, almost no movement when driving.

Happy with my HF one as well. Did a 6 hr trip with mine and forgot it was back there (you know...because it worked so well, not because it fell off smile

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10/5/2020 8:43 AM

quadzrulebro wrote:

If all you’re going to haul are dirt bikes, this one will get the job done nicely. If you ever plan to haul a street bike, I’d go with the steel version. I have the steel version, and it has performed flawlessly for years.

https://www.discountramps.com/motorcycle-carrier/p/AMC-400/

What SUV are you mounting it on? If you can get a class 3 hitch installed, that will give you 800lb tounge weight. If I was going to use a hitch hauler, I wouldn’t go under a class 3 hitch. A class 2 with a 350 lb tounge weight should work just fine, but class 3 would offer more peace of mind.

davis224 wrote:

Mazda CX5, I haven't done a ton of digging, but if it's just mounted with 1/2" bolts, I'm not sure I could find a hitch that's rated for 800lb tongue weight. 350 should be fine, but it's close enough to make me think about it breaking off if I hit a big pothole...

That’s a crossover, not an SUV, so it might be tough to get a class 3 hitch installed on it. At any rate, I don’t have any experience mounting hitch haulers on crossovers, so I’m afraid I won’t be of much help. As I’ve stated, I have had good luck with discountramps.com products, so you might want to give them a call to see if they have any advice for you.

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10/5/2020 8:47 AM

Originally got a Harbor Fright hauler for moving bikes between my house and shop where I work on them. Ended up bolting one the Harbor bike wheel chocks on it. So I am $130 total into it. Hard to beat the super coupons. It’s fine for any my 125-500s. But my 690r seems to make it flex. A bit.

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10/5/2020 9:00 AM

toomanykaws wrote:

Originally got a Harbor Fright hauler for moving bikes between my house and shop where I work on them. Ended up bolting one the Harbor bike wheel chocks on it. So I am $130 total into it. Hard to beat the super coupons. It’s fine for any my 125-500s. But my 690r seems to make it flex. A bit.

You put your 690 on the HF carrier? Dang! What car is that carrier mounted to?
(I have a KTM 640 and want to do this but it seems a bit much.)

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10/5/2020 9:30 AM

str8line wrote:

I've been using the Harbor Freight one for a couple of years... over 100 days of use and it's held up fine. Super solid, almost no movement when driving.

Teej317 wrote:

Happy with my HF one as well. Did a 6 hr trip with mine and forgot it was back there (you know...because it worked so well, not because it fell off smile

2019

The only vehicle I had with me to get my bike from Redding to Mammoth was an Escalade. The only carrier I could find was at Harbor Freight. It worked really well.

Good luck.

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I ripped a start from Egypt and I was happy about that.

10/5/2020 9:37 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/5/2020 9:42 AM

davis224 wrote:

Mazda CX5, I haven't done a ton of digging, but if it's just mounted with 1/2" bolts, I'm not sure I could find a hitch that's rated for 800lb tongue weight. 350 should be fine, but it's close enough to make me think about it breaking off if I hit a big pothole...

Go to etrailer.com or other such source for class III hitches to install. Just because its a class III, doesnt always mean its rated for 800lbs. Models and applications can vary, but even if only 600lbs, it would still be an improvement over a class II 1 1/2" receiver with a much lower tongue weight rating... I wouldn't recommend a class II in my experience unless there is no other choice.

Remember that more often than not, the actual weight is going to be carried further back than where the ball is usually mounted and rated, acting like a lever increasing the force at the receiver.. So you want a considerable fudge factor in your favor in my opinion.

As already mentioned, you may or may not need helper springs. In addition, the further back off the bumper and away from your rear axle, the more the weight will be felt when driving (especially vehicles with shorter wheelbases.) Trucks and full size SUVs don't seem to even notice.

I run the Ultimate MXhauler on a class III hitch mounted to my Land Rover Discovery II. The disco has a relatively short wheel base with a long rear overhang and a spare to clear, so the bike is way back. Adding to it, the disco is lifted slightly with a soft offroad shocks. The receiver and carrier are stout, but I do feel the weight back there. Fine with my dirtbikes, but I've carried an XR650L a few times at 350lbs + and wouldnt do it regularly, with my rig as set up. Needed to really slow down on the twisty mtn roads. Just my experience.

That said, I've seen Outbacks, Elements, etc haul just fine with a bit reason. Buddies FJ with similar wheelbase but less rear overhang carries bikes with the same Ultimate MxHauler without a fuss, likes its not even there. I suspect my extreme overhang and offroad set up are responsible for my results.

Just things to consider when setting up your system.

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10/5/2020 9:47 AM

I bought one for $80 from walmart i believe. Works perfect. Only complaint is the little ramp isnt wide enough for the rear tire on my 450. I run the 120 rear tire.

I have an f150, so theres not tongue weight concern.

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10/5/2020 9:49 AM

toomanykaws wrote:

Originally got a Harbor Fright hauler for moving bikes between my house and shop where I work on them. Ended up bolting one the Harbor bike wheel chocks on it. So I am $130 total into it. Hard to beat the super coupons. It’s fine for any my 125-500s. But my 690r seems to make it flex. A bit.

FWYT wrote:

You put your 690 on the HF carrier? Dang! What car is that carrier mounted to?
(I have a KTM 640 and want to do this but it seems a bit much.)

2000 Silverado. Was an old guy truck. Pretty mint. Has one those fiberglass flip up tonneau. And a complete Bed Rug. It’s so handy hauling and locking stuff up. I never removed it. Is why I got the hitch carrier.

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10/5/2020 9:52 AM

I've been using one of these for years, durable!!! Big Bikes or small bikes

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Germany 1975 250 CZ Centerport, laydown shocks, mikuni with reed valve, Marzocchi forks with me as the motopilot

10/5/2020 11:52 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/5/2020 4:35 PM

I bought this one this year and its probably one of the best things Ive ever bought. https://racknride.com/

I also have a cx5 I put a class three on a few years ago, have never used the hitch hauler but we have towed a small 4x8 with two bikes all over the place with no issues the car towed it great.

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10/5/2020 12:19 PM

davis224 wrote:

Mazda CX5, I haven't done a ton of digging, but if it's just mounted with 1/2" bolts, I'm not sure I could find a hitch that's rated for 800lb tongue weight. 350 should be fine, but it's close enough to make me think about it breaking off if I hit a big pothole...

the problem you'll have with the CX5 is by the time you get your hitch receiver mounted it's so low to the ground,
just about every dip you'll be grinding your carrier on the ground.
Photo
With this in mind we built a few just for those CX5s and some others with the same problem.
It's not a standard offering so it's not like you could call and get one shipped right out but this is what you need,
It's the Switch Hauler® with the 3 inch lift.
If you have any questions you could PM me
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www.alljackedupinc.com home of the Switch Hauler, the only modular hauling system www.sprocketstuff.com home of the Counter Sprocket Tool

10/5/2020 1:13 PM

I'd suggest the motojack rack. Had one since it came out 20 years ago and it's still solid. Only had to replace the jack once but the rest is thick steel and looks like it will outlive me. The HD is the one I have.
https://motojackrack.com/product/hd-motojackrack/

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10/5/2020 2:07 PM

I say check out Add a bike. I’ve driven across the country and use it all the time when I don’t feel like pulling a trailer.

I’ve had mine for 4 years and it’s still going strong.
www.addabike.com

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10/5/2020 2:48 PM

quadzrulebro wrote:

If all you’re going to haul are dirt bikes, this one will get the job done nicely. If you ever plan to haul a street bike, I’d go with the steel version. I have the steel version, and it has performed flawlessly for years.

https://www.discountramps.com/motorcycle-carrier/p/AMC-400/

What SUV are you mounting it on? If you can get a class 3 hitch installed, that will give you 800lb tounge weight. If I was going to use a hitch hauler, I wouldn’t go under a class 3 hitch. A class 2 with a 350 lb tounge weight should work just fine, but class 3 would offer more peace of mind.

davis224 wrote:

Mazda CX5, I haven't done a ton of digging, but if it's just mounted with 1/2" bolts, I'm not sure I could find a hitch that's rated for 800lb tongue weight. 350 should be fine, but it's close enough to make me think about it breaking off if I hit a big pothole...

ToolMaker wrote:

the problem you'll have with the CX5 is by the time you get your hitch receiver mounted it's so low to the ground,
just about every dip you'll be grinding your carrier on the ground.
Photo
With this in mind we built a few just for those CX5s and some others with the same problem.
It's not a standard offering so it's not like you could call and get one shipped right out but this is what you need,
It's the Switch Hauler® with the 3 inch lift.
If you have any questions you could PM me
Photo
Photo
Photo

This is what I was afraid of, I really don't want to go through the hassle of finding a small trailer cheap enough and paying the newly increased registration fees on it... but I want the bike carrier to work and not worry about driving down a bumpy country road.

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10/5/2020 4:19 PM

20 years on my motojackrack doubles as a work stand. Love it. Bulletproof. Modern version is the ultimate mx hauler

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10/5/2020 9:11 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/5/2020 9:27 PM

Semi related-
I made this set up for my Escape a couple years ago and it works FANTASTIC. (Team Green has seen it in action and can verify. smile )

I welded some receivers to the sides of the factory class II hitch. Then those hoops just slide in when needed. The middle receiver is used as the mounting point and those load links hold the bike SOLID. When not in use, the pieces just sit out of the way in the back of the car. Nothing to stash on the side of the house or anything. Works unreal. I'm actually working on V 2.0 at the moment that is going to be even better.


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10/5/2020 9:41 PM

I bought one from a local welder for like $120, says it will hold 400lbs. It's heavy but works great.

That black widow one looks nice for the price.

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2019 TX300
'10 200 XC-w

10/6/2020 2:13 AM

Just used the HF one to haul my 200 EXC,1600 miles and back. No complaints.

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