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#4703519 - 03/22/18 05:48 PM carrying four bikes w/ a Class 1 hitch
Number_35 Offline


Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 859
Loc: Winnipeg MB CA
The Thule bike-rack literature says to not carry four bikes when the carrier is used with a Class I receiver. My work-around was to reduce the sway and tongue weight by using ratcheting straps. The Mazda 5 doesn't have a roof rack, so I installed a couple of nylon straps w/ eyes to attach the ratcheting tie-down strap to. The other end of each eye strap is bolted to the top attachment point for each rear hatch strut. Foam pipe insulation protects the paint on the hatch from the straps.


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#4703525 - 03/22/18 05:51 PM Re: carrying four bikes w/ a Class 1 hitch [Re: Number_35]
skyactiv Offline


Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 4619
Loc: The Midwest
Can a vehicle behind you see your tail and brake lights?
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#4703536 - 03/22/18 06:05 PM Re: carrying four bikes w/ a Class 1 hitch [Re: skyactiv]
Number_35 Offline


Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 859
Loc: Winnipeg MB CA
Originally Posted By: skyactiv
Can a vehicle behind you see your tail and brake lights?

It's not perfect, they're somewhat obscured, but that's an issue with any hitch-mounted bike rack. I use the red LED lights on the bikes as running lights when traveling when it's dark. The turn-signals are amber and show up well.

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#4703564 - 03/22/18 06:35 PM Re: carrying four bikes w/ a Class 1 hitch [Re: Number_35]
oldhp Offline


Registered: 06/28/12
Posts: 1685
Loc: USA
Man, I don't know. That looks illegal to me, and not very secure safe either.
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#4703583 - 03/22/18 06:50 PM Re: carrying four bikes w/ a Class 1 hitch [Re: oldhp]
Number_35 Offline


Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 859
Loc: Winnipeg MB CA
It's very solid with the strap on. No negative feedback from the authorities so far, and we've been using hitch-mounted bike racks for years and years. This particular round trip in 2013 was about 4000 km with no problems. I could install a roof rack and move two bikes up to the roof, but that really kills the highway mileage, and one has to remember not to drive into the garage with the bikes on!

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#4703611 - 03/22/18 07:12 PM Re: carrying four bikes w/ a Class 1 hitch [Re: Number_35]
KD0AXS Offline


Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 2445
Loc: Nowthen, MN
Not sure what the law is there, but you should probably have a red (or other bright color) flag on the end. Most places require a flag for a load that extends a certain distance past the end of the vehicle.

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#4703615 - 03/22/18 07:18 PM Re: carrying four bikes w/ a Class 1 hitch [Re: KD0AXS]
Number_35 Offline


Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 859
Loc: Winnipeg MB CA
I don't think it's the law here (as no-one does) but it's a great idea. I'll do this in future. Thanks for the idea!

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#4703621 - 03/22/18 07:22 PM Re: carrying four bikes w/ a Class 1 hitch [Re: Number_35]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 6189
Loc: Waco, TX
Originally Posted By: Number_35
My work-around was to reduce the sway and tongue weight by using ratcheting straps.


That is a fantastic idea
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#4703628 - 03/22/18 07:27 PM Re: carrying four bikes w/ a Class 1 hitch [Re: Linctex]
Number_35 Offline


Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 859
Loc: Winnipeg MB CA
Originally Posted By: Linctex
Originally Posted By: Number_35
My work-around was to reduce the sway and tongue weight by using ratcheting straps.


That is a fantastic idea
Thanks! I use it with the Kia too, even though it has a Class III hitch - it still takes the stress off the rack.

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#4703656 - 03/22/18 08:04 PM Re: carrying four bikes w/ a Class 1 hitch [Re: Number_35]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 32881
Loc: ME
I ran that rack on a class I hitch on my wife's old HHR. Worked fine. Worst issue was the compromised approach angles. I used bungee cords to tangle all the bikes together. The ensemble swayed around a bit but I never lost a thing. approved

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#4703669 - 03/22/18 08:31 PM Re: carrying four bikes w/ a Class 1 hitch [Re: eljefino]
Number_35 Offline


Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 859
Loc: Winnipeg MB CA
Originally Posted By: eljefino
I ran that rack on a class I hitch on my wife's old HHR. Worked fine. Worst issue was the compromised approach angles. I used bungee cords to tangle all the bikes together. The ensemble swayed around a bit but I never lost a thing. approved


Amen to the compromised approach angle! As well, I tend to try to park so I can drive out forward. That sometimes means backing into the spot, and I try to keep in mind how long that load is. I use lots of bungees as well.

The Thule manual said not to run four bikes (on their 4-bike carrier) with a Class I hitch, so figured a mod was in order, and that stressing the hitch, not the rack, was their concern.

As well, a friend had a Class I hitch fail on a Ford Fusion, so I was not willing to chance it.

These were not particularly heavy bikes though - two cyclocross bikes, one mountain bike, and a hybrid. I tried to load the bikes by weight, with the heaviest farthest inboard, and the lightest at the back.

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#4703674 - 03/22/18 08:38 PM Re: carrying four bikes w/ a Class 1 hitch [Re: KD0AXS]
Chris142 Offline


Registered: 06/05/03
Posts: 17106
Loc: Deplorable in apple valley, ca
Originally Posted By: KD0AXS
Not sure what the law is there, but you should probably have a red (or other bright color) flag on the end. Most places require a flag for a load that extends a certain distance past the end of the vehicle.
4 ft past the rear of the car here.
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#4703692 - 03/22/18 08:58 PM Re: carrying four bikes w/ a Class 1 hitch [Re: Number_35]
Miller88 Offline


Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 12797
Loc: Onondaga County
I have a harbor freight bike rack that I put some nicer cradles on. I've had 4 bikes on it. It's just 1-1/4 and rated for 2 bikes. I ran a ratchet strap through the trunk of the car and tightened it against the spare tire which was bolted to the floor. Worked awesome!
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#4703870 - 03/23/18 03:57 AM Re: carrying four bikes w/ a Class 1 hitch [Re: Number_35]
dlundblad Offline


Registered: 09/30/13
Posts: 10311
Loc: Indiana
I have the swagman dispatch2, but I believe they make four bike versions too.

The frame bolts into the hitch and thereís no play whatsoever. The only downside is the weight.
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#4703922 - 03/23/18 07:14 AM Re: carrying four bikes w/ a Class 1 hitch [Re: Number_35]
khittner Offline


Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 344
Loc: Michigan
Iíd be budgeting for new rear struts. Years ago, I overtaxed the rear suspension on our 1st-gen Odyssey hauling 4 bikes like that. Just because you can Rube Goldberg various bits together to make something work for awhile, doesnít mean itís a solution that wonít roach more critical hardware prematurely.

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