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  1. #1
    Plinker

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    Need Opinions On Bike Racks

    Happy Memorial Day! I need opinions, feedback, comments, etc. from folks who have used both of these differing hitch mount bicycle racks. Unfortunately, none of our cars have hitches so I can't quite test these racks out yet to determine which is the best. One rack is a Bell rack and the other is a Coleman.

    From handling these bike racks, I have determined the following:

    Similarities:

    1) Both racks are suitable for both 2.0" and 1.25" hitch receivers.
    2) Both racks have a hinge so that they can be tilted down.
    3) Both racks have the capability to accommodate transporting 4 bikes.

    Differences:

    1) Bell rack has two arms to support bike frame in two spots. Possibly more supportive?
    2) Bell rack uses Velcro straps to secure bikes to rack. Possibly less secure? Although this can be remedied by ratchet straps, etc. Not talking about anti-theft security here, but rather, stability on a road or highway.
    3) Coleman rack supports bikes only in one spot, in the center. Possibly less supportive, more wobbly?
    4) Coleman rack uses a threaded rod to "clamp" the bike frames to the rack. Although this seems potentially more secure overall, I am curious what happens if you have bikes with different frame thicknesses. Each threaded clamp secures two bikes, so I would assume that it would be best to mount two bikes together that have a similar frame thickness.
    5) The Coleman rack does seem beefier overall, with a larger gusset on the bottom near the hinge. I haven't weighed them to determine weight difference, and perhaps it is visually confusing since the Coleman rack's tubing is bigger, but it also feels a little bit heavier as well. Not confirmed.....

    So, who here has used both styles of these racks? What are your comments, what did you like and dislike about each style? Which one did you feel was the best all-around bike rack, if I was ultimately going to keep only one of the two racks?

    Thank you!
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  2. #2
    Sharpshooter

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    Neither of those are going to be high quality racks for long term use. Look for Yakima or Thule racks to get better quality.


    Neither of those names are to be trusted as both are owned by holding companies that sell the name to just about anyone that will pay them to do so...
    Last edited by Ingomike; 05-27-2019 at 21:53.

  3. #3
    Master KittySlayer's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ingomike View Post
    Look for Yakima or Thule racks to get better quality.
    ^^^THIS^^^

    I have used both brands and these are the go to racks for hauling bikes that cost more than the car transporting them. Four bikes on a hitch rack is a lot of weight on a lever, you want something well designed and well built. The issue is not you losing the cost of a poorly secured economy bike, it is the bike flying off on the interstate and causing mayhem and destruction those driving behind you.

    As a caution, be conscious of where your exhaust exits in relation to the tires on the bike(s). Not an issue at highway or city speed but if you get stuck in traffic for an extended period you might mess up a tire if it is too close to the tailpipe.
    When seconds matter the 2nd Amendment matters.

  4. #4
    Plinker

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    Thanks for the recommendations to go with another brand, but unfortunately, these suggestions do not relate to the original inquiry. It is highly unlikely that either of these hitches will be used for long distance hauling of a $10,000 carbon fiber bicycle.

  5. #5
    Master KittySlayer's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlaineBug View Post
    Thanks for the recommendations to go with another brand, but unfortunately, these suggestions do not relate to the original inquiry. It is highly unlikely that either of these hitches will be used for long distance hauling of a $10,000 carbon fiber bicycle.
    Which means that four less expensive bikes will be even heavier, requiring a well made rack.

    While the bike may not be worth $10k the car behind you that eats a poorly secured bike may incur some substantial damage. Not to mention if it causes an accident where another driver or their passengers is injured.

    1) Bell rack has two arms to support bike frame in two spots.
    4) Coleman rack uses a threaded rod to "clamp" the bike frames to the rack. Although this seems potentially more secure overall, I am curious what happens if you have bikes with different frame thicknesses.
    Based on this alone I would lean towards the Bell. Not only would the Coleman present an issue with different frame top tube diameter sizes there could also be a problem with different frame designs rather than a traditional triangle shape.
    When seconds matter the 2nd Amendment matters.

  6. #6
    Plinker

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    It is also unlikely that this rack would ever be used to haul four bikes at once. Most likely two or three.

    It's hard to say, I can't really test it out with different frame thicknesses without having a hitch to mount it in at the same time.

    I was browsing Craigslist today and saw a Reese bike rack (albeit it looked to be the type that clamped to a bumper, perhaps on a camper) which looked VERY similar in design to the Coleman. Reese is known for their towing and hauling products. Nearly identical with the exception of the clamp mount versus receiver mount.

    Heck, I even saw the Reese Outfitter bike rack that has a ball on the end so that you could still pull a small trailer at the same time. Talk about some HINGE action!


  7. #7
    Master KittySlayer's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlaineBug View Post
    It's hard to say, I can't really test it out with different frame thicknesses without having a hitch to mount it in at the same time.


    I don't think this style of clamp will work well with a variety of bikes you may end up trying to haul. The Bell rack would allow more flexibility, including upside down.






    When seconds matter the 2nd Amendment matters.

  8. #8
    Grandmaster MCgrease08's Avatar

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    If you don't have a hitch, and you don't really plan to haul 4 bikes at once, is there a reason you're limiting yourself to hitch mounted four bike carriers?

    What vehicle type will you be using?
    Well the sheriff couldn't catch me now, but his little girl? Sure wish she would.

  9. #9
    Plinker

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    Quote Originally Posted by MCgrease08 View Post
    If you don't have a hitch, and you don't really plan to haul 4 bikes at once, is there a reason you're limiting yourself to hitch mounted four bike carriers?

    What vehicle type will you be using?
    It's just something to keep around for "potential" future use, but I don't want to keep both around. We have a sedan and an SUV currently, although that could change. There are no plans to buy a hitch any time soon.

    I used to have a 2003 Toyota Camry V6, I installed a hitch and trailer wiring but only ever toted around a cargo basket. I sold the car 8 months later. It was kind of dumb to buy the hitch and install it just to end up selling the car later...oh well. The cargo basket was handy but not the most sturdy. However I did transport a 1980s Troy-Bilt garden tiller in the basket without incident, surprisingly. I sold the basket too for a profit actually. I would not buy a basket with a hinge in the future, however. I liked the ability to have the basket attached to the car but have it upright without hanging off of the back, but I felt as if the hinge was a potential weak spot.

  10. #10
    Grandmaster gregkl's Avatar

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    The only time I could think about using a hitch mounted rack would be if I had some kind of cover/topper on a pickup truck and I didn't want to mess with it to stick bikes in the bed.

    Otherwise I would either have a trunk mounted or a roof mounted rack for a car and a couple of these for my truck bed;

    Screw them to a board. When ready to haul bikes, throw the board in the truck, bolt you forks to them, add a strap maybe and off you go!

    Just my and I didn't stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night. But I have toted bikes, both cheap and expensive from here to Wisconsin, Iowa and other points as well as local. Other than picking up some bug stains, I have never had any damage done or lost a bike.

    Outlier

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