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1.25" or 2" Hitch Receiver for Bike Rack?

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1.25" or 2" Hitch Receiver for Bike Rack?

Old 05-20-20, 02:54 PM
  #1  
michaelm101
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1.25" or 2" Hitch Receiver for Bike Rack?

I'm contemplating the purchase of a platform bike rack for a vehicle. I have no plans on towing any trailers or anything of that nature

In light of this, would you recommend the 1.25 or 2 inch hitch receiver, and why?

Many thanks in advance!
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Old 05-20-20, 02:58 PM
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kingston 
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I've had both and would always prefer a 2" receiver unless there is something about the car that would prevent me from getting one.
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Old 05-20-20, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
I've had both and would always prefer a 2" receiver unless there is something about the car that would prevent me from getting one.
This ^^^^^^^
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Old 05-20-20, 04:00 PM
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I have 1-1/4 but then I have a Camry. My P/U truck has a 2 inch. But itís a Quad cab with a loooong bed so I donít need a hitch carrier.
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Old 05-20-20, 04:31 PM
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Canker
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A 2" receiver will work with either a 2" or a 1 1/4 rack so there is no reason not to get a 2" if you have the option. Pretty much every 1 1/4 rack will come with an adapter to put in it a 2" receiver.
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Old 05-20-20, 04:57 PM
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I have a Forester that can't tow a dang thing, even though it is the Police Interceptor version.
Still, I put a 2" hitch on it. A platform rack will sway and pivot less in the larger receiver. I also have an anti-rattle bolt that tightens the rack into the receiver. It's similar to this one:


You thought I was kidding, din't ya?
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Old 05-20-20, 06:13 PM
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Alzerbster
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I own a forester also, and its good for towing 1500 lbs. I have a 2" Receiver for a bike rack, and I have a 5 foot by 8 foot aluminum, trailer I tow just fine with it for hauling lighter things. As canker stated, why not get a 2" and anything will fit it.
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Old 05-20-20, 06:54 PM
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Bigger is better, other things equal. Get the 2".
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Old 05-20-20, 07:39 PM
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JustinOldPhart
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Originally Posted by Alzerbster View Post
I own a forester also, and its good for towing 1500 lbs. I have a 2" Receiver for a bike rack, and I have a 5 foot by 8 foot aluminum, trailer I tow just fine with it for hauling lighter things. As canker stated, why not get a 2" and anything will fit it.
Yup, and 1500 pounds is pretty minimal. I'd dang near max it out with a two-rail trailer with my two motorcycles and a gear box. The Euro version, IIRC, is at least 2000Kg. My wife's '18 Outback is 2700 pounds. Pretty much the same engine and transmission.

Why the US version of the Forester is so puny, I've not a clue. It would seem to have something to do with regulations and not with mechanicals.

Doesn't make me no nevermind though. Mine tows nothing; the hitch is there just to hold a bike rack.
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Old 05-20-20, 07:44 PM
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Alzerbster
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Originally Posted by JustinOldPhart View Post
Yup, and 1500 pounds is pretty minimal. I'd dang near max it out with a two-rail trailer with my two motorcycles and a gear box. The Euro version, IIRC, is at least 2000Kg. My wife's '18 Outback is 2700 pounds. Pretty much the same engine and transmission.

Why the US version of the Forester is so puny, I've not a clue. It would seem to have something to do with regulations and not with mechanicals.
I think you are right about the regulations. I have been thinking about trading in the forester for an Outback. One advantage with my aluminum trailer is that it weighs 400LB. So I'm good for loading 1000 Lb. on it.
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Old 05-20-20, 07:51 PM
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Always 2" if I can fit it. 1 1/4" if I am SOL. I would much rather have more load capacity and more rack capability.
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Old 05-20-20, 08:04 PM
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Just put a 2" receiver on my Rav 4 for the stability and to be compatible with my truck. I am not really concerned about the carrying capacity.
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Old 05-20-20, 08:18 PM
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You don't need to be a structural engineer to answer that questions. Add to that the fact that 2" receivers cost almost the same as 1-1/4". And when you have larger racks for more bikes, they only come in 2" (for a reason...).
The questions is more why 1-1/4" even exists.
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Old 05-20-20, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by JustinOldPhart View Post
Yup, and 1500 pounds is pretty minimal. I'd dang near max it out with a two-rail trailer with my two motorcycles and a gear box. The Euro version, IIRC, is at least 2000Kg. My wife's '18 Outback is 2700 pounds. Pretty much the same engine and transmission.

Why the US version of the Forester is so puny, I've not a clue. It would seem to have something to do with regulations and not with mechanicals.

Doesn't make me no nevermind though. Mine tows nothing; the hitch is there just to hold a bike rack.
This went around on ADVrider once upon a time, IIRC it has to do with the EU/AUS requirements for trailers to have braking systems on much smaller trailers, that in the US are typically un-braked. So the 'EU' version of a car has a higher tow rating because EU trailers require less of the tow vehicle (and are typically towed at lower speeds)

As far as which reciever to use for a bike rack, get the 2" if it's available. There's more rack options in a 2" than the 1-1/2" (especially if you're shopping used racks) and it's more stable.
Most of the 1-1/2' racks are pretty light-duty, too, and typically don't have the fold-up or swing-away features of the 2" racks.
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Old 05-20-20, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
This went around on ADVrider once upon a time, IIRC it has to do with the EU/AUS requirements for trailers to have braking systems on much smaller trailers, that in the US are typically un-braked. So the 'EU' version of a car has a higher tow rating because EU trailers require less of the tow vehicle (and are typically towed at lower speeds)...
It went around on the Forester forum, too, with I think pretty much the same conclusion. EU requires trailer brakes on any trailer over 750Kg.
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Old 05-20-20, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Canker View Post
A 2" receiver will work with either a 2" or a 1 1/4 rack so there is no reason not to get a 2" if you have the option. Pretty much every 1 1/4 rack will come with an adapter to put in it a 2" receiver.
Originally Posted by kingston View Post
I've had both and would always prefer a 2" receiver unless there is something about the car that would prevent me from getting one.
I will add another voice to the 2" choice. I have found that there is a much greater variety of hitch mounted items that come in 2". Also, before you buy, check if the rack or hitch maker requires a top strap (from the car roof or trunk lip).

This is for two reasons,
1. some hitch makers will not warranty their hitch with a bike rack unless you use a top of the hitch post to the top of the liftgate or forward trunk gap to act as a support strap since the loaded racks can get bouncy when loaded (especially for more than one or two bikes; and;
2. on some vehicles with over the rear window spoilers on the liftgate, attaching such a strap can break the spoiler and high mount brake light. Those spoilers are usually plastic and are painted body color. Damage from the strap will require a replacement and repaint. I have seen this more on smaller receiver hitches and/or hitches that are recessed to be hidden when not in use.

I had a hitch all picked for my Santa Fe that did not lose ground clearance and was very discrete. Unfortunately, (or fortunately!) I read the online instructions and warranty and found out the hitch needed the support strap to carry the warranty.
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Old 05-20-20, 11:21 PM
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I'd go by a combination of your car and your expected load. So, for a small car with 1L to 2L engine, and 1 or 2 bikes, then go with the Class 1 or Class 2 (1 1/4") hitch rated at 2000 to 3500 lbs and 200 to 350 lbs tongue weight.

If you have a small SUV or pickup with a 2.8L or larger engine, go with a full Class III or Class IV hitch (2") rated at 6,000 to 12,000 lbs and 600 to 1200 lbs tongue weight.

And, of course, the more bikes (3 or 4 bikes?) the larger the hitch.

The twisting motion of a bike might be a little different than a trailer, but either size should be fine if the rack is constructed properly.
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Old 05-21-20, 12:19 AM
  #18  
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I've always enjoyed driving small cars and I just need to transport two bikes, so I went with a 1.25 instead of the 2. My little Mazda 3 is not rated for any significant towing, nor do I have any desire to do so. My Kuat NV 2.0 two bicycle rack requires only a 1.25 hitch and also swings out so I can open the hatch door with bicycles on it. I couldn't be happier. I would have needed a 2.0 hitch if I purchased the four bicycle Kuat rack.
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Old 05-21-20, 12:16 PM
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Two inch will be more stable even if you don't care about weight limits.
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Old 05-21-20, 12:35 PM
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Thanks everybody!

2 inch it is!
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Old 05-21-20, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by michaelm101 View Post
Thanks everybody!

2 inch it is!
Your car's towing capability will dictate this more than anything else. You didn't say what your vehicle is?

For example, my 2013 A3 had to be a 1 1/4 hitch because that's what the car is rated for towing (Class I). My 2015 Q5 has a 2" hitch because it can tow more (Class III).

Go to etrailer.com and plug in your vehicle's specs. Go from there. This isn't one of those debates like 27.5 vs 29 or disc vs calipers. You go with what your vehicle can accommodate.
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Old 05-21-20, 01:48 PM
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I can only get a 1 1/4 inch receiver on my current vehicle, and my last one. I have a two bike rack from Thule, and have had no issues, including multiple 800+ mile day trips. With a 1 1/4 inch receiver you are limited to a two bike rack. Other than that, it is no issue. Just get a good receiver. The receiver made for my vehicle by Curt, required a special strap if a bicycle rack was used. The receiver I bought, from Reese did not, as the Hidden Hitch receiver for my last receiver also did not require a strap.

Of course if a vehicle can accept a 2 inch receiver, go with that, you can then use 1 1/4 or 2 inch.
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Old 05-21-20, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by phughes View Post
I can only get a 1 1/4 inch receiver on my current vehicle, and my last one
I'm sure I could get a 2" or a 2 1/2" receiver attached to my Fiat 500 that I'm building up now. But, that would be pretty pointless. I may tow a trailer with it, but doubt there would be much need to exceed 3500 lbs tow, 350 lbs tongue CAT 2, and I don't think I could trust the car frame for much more than that. Certainly not pulling without trailer brakes.
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Old 05-21-20, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I'm sure I could get a 2" or a 2 1/2" receiver attached to my Fiat 500 that I'm building up now. But, that would be pretty pointless. I may tow a trailer with it, but doubt there would be much need to exceed 3500 lbs tow, 350 lbs tongue CAT 2, and I don't think I could trust the car frame for much more than that. Certainly not pulling without trailer brakes.
I don't know of anyone who makes a 2 inch receiver for the Fiat 500, and yes, that would be pointless. That's probably why they don't make one. I have a Fiat 500 as well, but don't have a receiver for it right now, just a receiver on my Nissan Cube.
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Old 05-21-20, 06:33 PM
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If you can fit it, 2". I have a 1-1/4" on the ST cause that is all that will fit with the center exhaust, I hate it.
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