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Platform hitch racks: Saris vs Thule vs....

Old 09-20-21, 08:47 PM
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atnyc
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Platform hitch racks: Saris vs Thule vs....

I bought a Saris Superclamp 2 bike platform hitch rack from REI. It developed a creaking noise after a 3 week long road trip. Fortunately, REI take them back and refunded my money fully.

During the 3 week tour, I developed some like and dislike of that rack. So before I replace the defective one with another Saris, I'd like to look into other alternatives.

REI carries several of the well known brands: Thule, Yakima, Kuat. But having assembled the Saris, which took a bit of time, I'm not too keen on trying out every single brand only to find they have the same thing I dislike. So I'd like to hear from people who have the other racks to give me some first hand report.

Like (from MY perspective):

- Rack is light, not too difficult to put into the hatch and take off. I'm not saying easy, but not too difficult. So any rack that's significantly heavier than that, I'm a little worry about that process. (I only use the rack when I travel, either carrying 2 of my own bike, or have a companion. Rest of the time, for regular daily use, the bike goes inside the car)

- Assembly was easy. Only a few pieces to put together. (I looked at the Thule's instruction on you tube, it's a lot more pieces I need to put together. Granted, I only need to do this once)

- I can take either bike off and on the rack independently. In other words, I can take the "inside" (close to the car) bike off without having to take the "outside" (rear) bike off.


Dislike:

- Tilting when loaded is not easy at all. Although I don't have anything to compare with yet. Maybe it's just the nature of the beast?

- The bikes sits quite far away from the car. (I could easily walk between my car and my bikes) So it stick out a lot when parked. I'm slightly worried about other cars hitting the bikes if I park at a high traffic spot of a busy lot. Though I don't know if that's due to the 1 1/4 to 2" adopter design of this rack? Or are all racks sits that far back?

- The wheel trays are positioned such that the two bikes are offset by a fair amount. Good for avoiding interference in theory. But not so good when used on a narrow car. One of the bike sticks out beyond the width of the car. While not a huge problem driving (once I got over it psychologically), it makes parking more difficult, especially if I want to back into a spot, due to the extra width of the bikes.

- The location of the bike lock is low, and at a spot that gets all the dirt and mud when driving in unpaved roads (I happened to drive through a couple of muddy puddles). So much so I had trouble unlocking the bikes when I got to the trail head on one ride!

- The Saris Superclamp offers 2 wheel straps and 2 wheel holder for EACH BIKE. At first, I thought that's a good idea. My bikes aren't going anywhere even if my absent minded brain forgot to strap one or didn't put the wheel holder quite right. But in reality, the wheel holders don't always line up for BOTH bikes. I have to compromise to hold 1 bike over the other.

- I have a 2" hitch receiver, but the Saris rack is a 1 1/4 with a metal sleeve to make it 2". That's where the creaking noise developed. I thought that's a cheesy design.

Now, some of my dislike maybe something I have to learn to live with, IF all other hitch racks are like that. I'm incline to try a different brand/model next. But I don't feel like trying out every brand before I find the one I like. So I'd like to hear from others if other racks they have have or don't have the same issue.

The models REI carries several Thule of the T2 line and the Yakima HoldUp, OnRamp. So experience on those would be particularly appreciated.
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Old 09-20-21, 09:24 PM
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My bike rack is a Yakima SingleSpeed. I have a 1-1/4" Class I receiver hitch on my Ford Focus, because that's all I can get for it, so I appreciate the racks that work with it.

It has an internal clamping mechanism that takes out the play in the hitch to keep the rack from swinging and rattling around. If that's not super tight, it will eventually work itself a little loose, and that's when it creaks. Going back there, positioning the rack square in the hitch, and torquing it down good takes the creak back out.

The one thing I don't like about mine is that if I forget to put the rear wheel strap on (which I have done twice), the rear of the bike will bounce out and then drag on the highway and rather instantly bend up the rim (which it has done twice). It's obviously my fault when that happens, but somehow the design of the thing lends itself to me forgetting.
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Old 09-20-21, 09:27 PM
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1UP racks are outstanding , what I like about it is that I can run a single bike rack or easily add the second bike add on in less than 10 seconds. since they are separate pieces, nothing weighs more than 22 lbs., really super simple to operate. I had a Yakima Hold Up for 10 years, nice rack, worked like a champ, but I always hated the weight, about 48 lbs if I recall. I sold it to a friend and bought the 1UP system. THE 1Up also folds up and can easily be hung from a wall and takes up so much less space.
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Old 09-20-21, 10:45 PM
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While my experience with 1Up was impeccable, I can't recommend the Kuat Sherpa 2 highly enough, and it ticks nearly all of your boxes: 2" receiver, lightweight and super easy to take on and off (I remove mine when not is use), and it doesn't take much garage space. The build was very straightforward, all tools were included, with clear instructions. Both bikes are accessible/removable when mounted, the thing doesn't wobble or shake, and it comes with an integrated cable lock. It easily tilts so I can lower my truck's tailgate, even with two bikes loaded. The only caveat is that the max tire width is 3", so you can't put a fat bike on it. I think it works best with wider tires in general, but I've hauled my road, gravel, and mountain bikes many, many times without a care in the world for their security. I'm hoping it's the last rack I ever buy.


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Old 09-20-21, 10:51 PM
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I unfortunately own a Saris - ditch the Saris.

I shortened by a few inches so when folded it is two inches off the bumper but it was a pain. Works for now.
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Old 09-20-21, 11:04 PM
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I've got the Sherpa 2. Assembly took a bit of time/effort.

I've got the 2inch version for my 2 inch hitch. It has a knob to snug it into the receiver and that really tightens it well. I marked the insertion point on the rack's insert making it much easier to get it centered for the locking pin which comes with the rack. Same key locks/unlocks the cable for securing (as much as such things secure) the bikes. Oh, the lock for the cable is on the top surface but I imagine with enough mud kicking up it might get dirty. The pin securing the hitch to the car has a plastic dust/mud flap to keep it clean/dry.

It is relatively heavy but a friend has a light rack and boy does it sway! The front wheel "hook" needs to be as close to frame as possible which means NO fenders or tightening against them!!! I do have to remember to secure the rear wheel. It holds two bikes. I've not tried getting the inside bike off first. It might be tricky to lift it high enough to clear the wheel trays before rolling front or back and lifting, if possible.

It drops down to allow access to the hatch but don't let it free fall - bikes and rack and to drop! It interferes with both the backup camera and the sensor alarm.

It does not have any ramp to aid with heavier bikes.

Got it from REI during one of their coupon discount sales.
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Old 09-21-21, 07:03 AM
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Personally, I don't like rear hitch or truck mount racks for one reason:

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Old 09-21-21, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
Personally, I don't like rear hitch or truck mount racks for one reason:

How often does that tend to happen to you?

I'd be much more likely to impact a low overhead...


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Old 09-21-21, 09:02 AM
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If you don't like a rear rack, keep that to yourself or open your own thread.

This is about WHICH rack, not whether.
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Old 09-21-21, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by atnyc View Post
If you don't like a rear rack, keep that to yourself or open your own thread.

This is about WHICH rack, not whether.
Just trying to point out a pitfall about rear racks. No need to get grouchy.
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Old 09-21-21, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by gpburdell View Post
How often does that tend to happen to you?

I'd be much more likely to impact a low overhead...


Yes, that can happen, but in such a situation, it would be due to one's own forgetfulness. I have a small tag that I clip to my visor that says simply, "Bikes on Roof". If you're stopped at a light, and someone not paying attention rear ends you and crushes your bike, I for one would be more upset.
A friend of mine had his bikes destroyed while on a rear rack, and his car was rear ended. The offending driver told his insurance company that the bikes blocked his view of the brake lights, and therefore he wasn't 100% at fault. .
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Old 09-21-21, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
Just trying to point out a pitfall about rear racks. No need to get grouchy.
I would prefer people to delete their post on the TYPE of rack, as it distracts from the discussion on the pros and cons of different modals
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Old 09-21-21, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by atnyc View Post
I would prefer people to delete their post on the TYPE of rack, as it distracts from the discussion on the pros and cons of different modals
Welcome to BikeForums. Discussions tend to wander a bit whether you PREFER it or not.

I echo the positive comments on 1UP - the folding up aspect is super handy when using it with my Miata and I want to store the rack in my trunk.
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Old 09-21-21, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by atnyc View Post
The models REI carries several Thule of the T2 line and the Yakima HoldUp, OnRamp. So experience on those would be particularly appreciated.
I have had a Thule T2 for 5 or 6 years now.

- Its heavy. I have the 2 bike platform and the 2 bike extension. With all 4, its very heavy. But I dont really care for more than a few minutes about the weight because the car handles it and not me.
- I would rather have a quikrstuff or 1up rack, I think. But the costs are just too high compared to what I bought the 4 bike T2 for. Quikrstuff is especially cool. Light, customizable, etc.
- get over it being difficult to use the tilt feature. The T2 XT has it in a more convenient place than my T2, but its still not easy since you are lifting a bunch of bikes.
- the bikes sitting out way from the vehicle isnt good or bad- its just how the rack is. I cant imagine excluding a rack for that reason, but we all have priorities. I also am not concerned a car will hit me due to my bikes sticking out. That car is oblivious if they hit my vehicle with 4 bikes on it. The odds are so small I dont weigh them.
- If you dont want offset trays, then you generally get a rack that is less easy to load. Take your pick on which to complain about, I guess.
- I havent used the T2 locks before, but they are integrated into the locking mechanism that goes over the front wheel. They are conveniently located. I instead use a simple cable lock and wrap it around the bikes and rack.


Look into quikrstuff.
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Old 09-21-21, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
- the bikes sitting out way from the vehicle isnt good or bad- its just how the rack is. I cant imagine excluding a rack for that reason, but we all have priorities.\
I'm not excluding racks because of it. But if two racks are similar in other aspect and one rack stick out less than another, it's get priority.

- If you dont want offset trays, then you generally get a rack that is less easy to load. Take your pick on which to complain about, I guess.
Do you mind elaborate a bit on that? Or, how do you find your Thule T2 in that regard?

(I think all racks offset a bit. It's just the Saris Superclamp seems to offset a lot. Granted, I have a relatively short bikes so I may noticed it more? Also I'm in a position to use a rack with minimal offset and not run into interference)

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Old 09-21-21, 12:09 PM
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Somebody posts a question on a PUBLIC forum, and someone responds with some comedic relief, and WOW!!
I was going to post my thoughts, but I will refrain from enabling a (Ken) grouch.
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Old 09-21-21, 02:23 PM
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I second the Kuat Sherpa 2. Very solid and light for the build. I store it on the Kuat Dock on the garage wall, and that works very well to keep it out of the way but handy.
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Old 09-21-21, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by gpburdell View Post

Had a neighbor that did this after driving back from South Carolina and getting into an argument with his now ex wife and completely forgot about the bikes being on the roof. Destroyed 10K worth of bikes, not to mention the damage to the garage door, and the car roof and rear window. I've known more people that have had issues with them on the roof than on a hitch.
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you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way.










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Old 09-21-21, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by gpburdell View Post
Welcome to BikeForums. Discussions tend to wander a bit whether you PREFER it or not.

I echo the positive comments on 1UP - the folding up aspect is super handy when using it with my Miata and I want to store the rack in my trunk.
Oh yea that is another plus. I have a Honda ridgeline and I can store the rack in the bed trunk if needed or easily sore under the rear seat.
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you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way.











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Old 09-21-21, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by atnyc View Post
I'm not excluding racks because of it. But if two racks are similar in other aspect and one rack stick out less than another, it's get priority.


Do you mind elaborate a bit on that? Or, how do you find your Thule T2 in that regard?

(I think all racks offset a bit. It's just the Saris Superclamp seems to offset a lot. Granted, I have a relatively short bikes so I may noticed it more? Also I'm in a position to use a rack with minimal offset and not run into interference)
The 1Up allows you to positions your bikes as needed since it does not have wheel cups like the others. I am can easily position my drop bars bikes and my wife's flat bar without issues of bars and seats hitting or pedal issues.
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Old 09-21-21, 08:20 PM
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Another happy customer with 2 inch Kuat Racks Sherpa 2.0. The bike rack is my favorite upgrade. I think nothing of taking my bike out of town. Before there was always a thought was it worth it to disassemble the bike/stuff in car/drive to said location vs just riding locally.



https://www.amazon.com/Kuat-Racks-Sh.../dp/B01M69ISSU
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Old 09-22-21, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by jaxgtr View Post
The 1Up allows you to positions your bikes as needed since it does not have wheel cups like the others. I am can easily position my drop bars bikes and my wife's flat bar without issues of bars and seats hitting or pedal issues.
Neat, hadn't thought of that aspect - my 1UP is a single right now but plan to order an addon tray sometime to have on hand when needed.

Originally Posted by jaxgtr View Post
Oh yea that is another plus. I have a Honda ridgeline and I can store the rack in the bed trunk if needed or easily sore under the rear seat.
Yeah, no need to fold when using my truck, but sometimes it's fun to take the convertible to where I'm meeting folks to ride and I'll sometimes put the rack in the trunk just to reduce chances of it disappearing.

I did see they now have a swing-out adapter for folks who need it such as older Rav4's and similar with side-opening rear doors. They keep making the system even more versatile.

https://www.1up-usa.com/product/rakattach/
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Old 09-22-21, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
- get over it being difficult to use the tilt feature. The T2 XT has it in a more convenient place than my T2, but its still not easy since you are lifting a bunch of bikes.
One more question, does the T2 has the kick switch for tilting?
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Old 09-22-21, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Mojo31 View Post
I second the Kuat Sherpa 2. Very solid and light for the build. I store it on the Kuat Dock on the garage wall, and that works very well to keep it out of the way but handy.
Damn, I did not know they made that DOCK. Looks neat although they suggest it not be mounted more than two feet from the floor. My garage has four+ feet tall concreate walls making that hard to accomplish and since it is below ground level, I'm not drilling into it. But I have already created my own DOCK. I've mounted two 2x4 studs crosswise across the wall studs with space for the hitch to slide between them. Nowhere near as secure at the Kuat Dock and my system already violates the two feet above floor suggestion. But one more bike related item on the list!
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Old 09-22-21, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by atnyc View Post
One more question, does the T2 has the kick switch for tilting?
Not sure what a kick switch is. There is a lever at the junction where the rack can pivot. You lift the rack with one hand to take weight off the lever area and pull the lever with your other hand to allow the rack to pivot up for storage or down when loaded to access the vehicle's tailgate.
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