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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings.

I have 2 kids, 7 and 5 yr so my Sienna hauls them everywhere.
And I'd like to carry bikes to trails and camping trips.
That'll be 2 adult bikes and 2 kid bikes (16" and 20" for now).

I don't have a hitch yet so I need one and a rack that can handle 4 bikes.
Can you share your experience and recommendations?

Cheers!
 

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So for starters, you really need a 2" receiver hitch assembly. And there are plenty of threads covering that subject. The current favorite is the Drawtite Maxframe. It tucks up behind the bumper, so only the receiver shows. It was a little bit harder to install, but well worth the effort.

Racks? I have several different 'hanging' racks (inexpensive 2 bike, moderate priced 3 bike, and very expensive 4 bike "Yakima Swingaway" racks. If you can position the bikes so that things like handlebars and seats don't clash, they all work fine for traditional triangle frame men's bicycles. But they fail miserably on women's and other non-traditional frame styles. I have two top tube adapter bars (span the gap from the seat post to the handlebar stem), but they can mess with various components that get in the way. I've totally lifted the women's and some children's bikes over the rack and strapped to the bottom bracket, etc., but that's iffy at best. The smallest kids bikes should just go into the back of the van, unless you can get creative with a custom hanging bar. I made one and secured it to the bike with plastic zip ties.

My next purchase will be a tray-style hitch rack. I have a tray setup for the roof rack on my Subaru, but the older I get, the less likely I am to lift a bike onto the roof, and attempt to hold it steady while bracing it. But low trays out back seem to be ideal. So I too am now researching make / model / versatility / price on tray units. I recently saw a nice Thule 4 bike tray in the stowed, up position. It was huge! Taller than the Outback hauling it and it totally blocks the license plate making you a target for a ticket in many jurisdictions.

Another concern is that the Sienna is very low to the ground. The receiver on the Subaru is maybe 15" off the pavement, while the Sienna is like 9". So the projection of the rack out back creates a hazard of slamming it into the ground on steep driveway approaches. Look for a rack that has an 'up-sweep' stinger, so that it raises the whole assembly a few critical inches. That was a major selling point of the Yakama over the Thule on the 'Swingaway' purchase at the time. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the current Swingaway has this feature.

I would suggest a trip over to BikeForums.net for additional opinions.
 

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Agree with fibber2 regarding the Drawtite Maxframe hitch. Easy to install and hides the main bar. Look at the Sportrack 4 bike racks or equivalent that are not heavy. Remember to check the weight of the bike rack on what ever you purchase. With the Sienna already being low, you want a bike rack that elevates higher. Some bike racks just have a straight bar that levels with the hitch and some that elevates the main bike tray/platform 5 inches higher. This is very important specially when going up a driveway preventing your bike rack from scraping the ground specially with 4 bikes because the bike rack is longer. Hanging racks are okey too if you don't have expensive bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you so much, fibber2 and LetsGoPlaces!
That's a lot of helpful details. :)
My bikes are not fancy so I can check hanging rack.
 

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Hi . I’m new here and I just want to share my set up with hitch and bike rack. I installed DrawTite 76112 tow hitch and for my bike rack I am using Thule 4 bike carrier. Attached some pictures for you to check.

B413C97E-148F-425E-8067-6CBD32520EA0.jpeg
9D467C5E-139C-4103-9A41-CFB0F43B848C.jpeg
 

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Welcome!
 

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My conclusion after over 50 years of using probably every type of bike rack that ever existed is that all types have advantages and limitations.

My dream bike rack for our Sienna would be a 6-bike platform swing away hitch mount rack that's light, never drags on the pavement, requires little space to store, is quick and easy to mount and remove and is reasonably inexpensive. Unless I've missed it, my dream bike rack doesn't exist and there's nothing even close.

If I had the storage space I might have gone with a swing away 4-bike rack. I almost bought one years ago but early versions seemed to often have alignment issues caused by their swing arms sagging. And they are heavy and take longer to mount and remove. I don't leave bike racks on vehicles when they aren't in use so I want one that's easy to mount and remove. I can mount our current 4-bike hanging rack on our Sienna in under 2 minutes and that includes wrenching it's threaded pin tight and attaching a pin lock to it.

The Yakima Backswing turns any 2" hitch mount bike rack into a swing away rack and somewhat addresses the storage issue. I may give it a try next year if we still have the Sienna or get another vehicle that has a 2" receiver hitch. Here it is on the etrailer site: https://www.etrailer.com/Hitch-Adapters/Yakima/Y02483.html

I've been very pleased with the simple 2-bike and 4-bike Pro Series hanging bike racks we use on our Prius and Sienna. They were much less expensive a few years ago before they were sold under the Reese brand name. I paid $109 for the 4-bike version in 2014 and less (don't remember how much) for the 2-bike version. Loading four adult bikes on the 4-bike rack can be a puzzle but isn't that difficult using adapter bars for women's bikes, shop towels and straps from REI to prevent bikes from rubbing against each other. They're extraordinarily sturdy and take up little storage space hugging the wall in a corner our relatively small garage. Photo attached.

Pro Series 2-bike and 4-bike hitch racks.jpg
 
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